It all started with a compass.


I get asked a lot if I am a "watch guy" or, "why watches?". Well, it actually started with a compass I designed for my side project several years ago. Since I am a graphic designer I wanted to name it, brand it and have an online store for swag as well as showcasing my paintings. One thing became really clear.

Venturian founder jason strong paints in his art studio alongside some graphic design for the brand boneworx. 

I was spending more time designing the brand than working on my paintings. I ended up designing a compass that would set the wheels in motion for Venturian years later. Here is a look at that brand and a detailed view of the compass that would end up transforming into my first watch design.

Compass design by Venturian founder Jason Strong is the inspiration behind the watch brand

I love compasses for their obvious outdoor functionality AND their action-packed and highly detailed compositions. The curvilinear typography, graphic markings, hand and case design are all addicting to look at.

And I love watches for the same reasons.

First, there is the overall case which is proclaiming fashion, sport, utility or a blend of a few of these. This is the main storyline and everything else should follow suit in my humble opinion. The Wildsider pulls from sport and utility with a more rugged aesthetic and gun metal finish. The most important inspiration for the case design was a compass which typically have a flat face and glass while the bottom is rounded. Other design treatments—inspired by brand typography—were brought in for key details.

The overall case is minimal and simple yet full of character with it's curve-tapered lugs, round dial and soft, yet steady, side profile. The lugs are rounded for wrist comfort while allowing for any strap to dress this bad boy up or down. The mantras on the side of the bezel were meant to serve as a grip for the ratcheting compass.

Engineer drawings of the Venturian Wildsider watch form, case and watch lug design

Next is the bezel can be a useful tool like a timer for divers, or an elegant ring or a tooled illustrious chase around the glass that has a touch of elegance like an Oris Big Brown. The Wildsider is considered a tool watch and selected for its outdoor aesthetic and functionality. The bezel is a compass that helps the wearer use the sun and time as a measurement to find north.

The main event is the dial or the face of the watch. This is where numbers, line work, graphic markers and words and logos all play a huge part in the storyline. The designer has to be disciplined to articulate a design language that has the personality to fit the this story. There are loads of watches designed with terrible typography, for instance, or varied type mixed with varied graphic design. The Wildsider has gone through this hurricane of choices only to make it to prototyping a bit too complex.

Venturian Wildsider solar titanium watches in black, red and white

The watch case and size were on point while most of the type and numerals came out too small and design adjustments needed to be made. The hour and second hands, along with the seconds hand, will move forward unchanged except for color. What wasn't working was the numbers, seconds, 24 hour numerals, millisecond markers, and ledger lines—commonly called train tracks. I needed to act quickly to stay on my production timeline and was set on a less is more design treatment while increasing readability and illumination on the hour markers.

 Venturian Wildsider field watch hand design

The new design is everything I set out to achieve. A new definition of a sport watch that doesn't copy the category. I wanted an original design and feel I achieved just that. The Wildsider is confident and energetic just like the feeling you get when heading out for an adventure.

 To finish up, the Wildsider comes with a custom designed, universal case-back with essential details about your watch including materials, ATM rating and more. This will allow any watch repair outfit to access and service your Wildsider when the time comes.

Venturian Wildsider 20MM watch strap design

Lastly, the strap is no oversight. It holds an important role in the storyline of a watch. Again, is it refined and premium or utilitarian, functional yet comfortable? Is it waterproof and, therefore, silicone? Or, is it super soft horween leather that patinas to look worn over time? Since the Wildsider is an adventure watch, I chose the hard working and wildly popular nylon strap in a standard black color with gun metal stainless steel rings that match the titanium case. It comes in a universal 20 millimeter size that can accommodate other straps of any material.

There you have it. The Wildsider. A combination compass and watch. Ready to roam. Made for adventure.

 

 

 


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