This article was originally published in the Design 2023 issue of WatchTime print magazine.
Founded 262 years ago, Bear Watch & Jewelry in Zurich, Switzerland is the world's oldest jeweler. However, this does not prevent you from expressing your youth in other ways. Bear announced the Time Warp Collection in April 2022, a series of his 30 virtual NFT watches designed by four different creators. This makes Bear the first jeweler to offer NFT watches. Under normal circumstances, NFT items are bought and sold with cryptocurrencies. Beyer wanted to make this collection available to anyone interested, not just the tech-savvy, so they made the watches available for purchase with Ethereum or credit cards. His first 100 watches were “manufactured” (or introduced to the market) at an initial price of $450, known as the “Genesis Drop.” Purchasers received a “mystery watch box” containing one of his 30 models. The purchaser did not know in advance which one it would be. Despite this, or perhaps because of the element of surprise, his first batch of 100 watches sold out within minutes. The second drop occurred on June 29th, when the price of 382 NFTs was $950.
One of the four creators of the Bayer Crypto watch (pictures of items made by the other three are also shown here) is a German-born, Swiss-based designer named Simon Hasslein, who works with Nomos, Braun designed the Ventura watch. , and his own brand Bolido as well. We spoke to him about the project, his work, and the role of NFT collector items in the future.
Simon, even in the wild world of watches, NFTs have become a very hot topic. You are one of his four creators who designed his NFT watch collection for jeweler Bare. What approach did you take here?
The first idea that came to mind was to create a watch that everyone knows but is impossible to own.This is what the movie clock looks like pulp fiction That's what I came up with.
Bruce Willis received it as a child from a soldier who was his late father's comrade, and kept it hidden in his body for years. This is a cultural scene.
This movie has millions of fans, but only one person really supports it. So I thought the idea of producing this watch as an NFT was interesting. We developed a digital version that looks identical to the film version, with only the crown changed. It's sinking. However, it was later decided that this watch should not be manufactured, but rather be part of a collection. We believed that this scene glorified war to some extent.
Another watch NFT is called “Continuum” and is made of one continuous thread that makes up the case and bracelet, dial and hands, rotating continuously like a spider’s web. . Is there anyone who could actually make such a watch?
Yes, in theory. If you 3D print it, you'll end up with something that looks like a spider's web. But in this hour there is no movement! Some NFT watches can be created in the real world and others cannot. That's what's interesting about this project. Understand the conversion process from physical to digital. I asked myself what is impossible in the form of a watch. A cocoon-like three-dimensional clock is created using a single continuous thread. This is actually not possible. And now we have this watch. That ideological approach appeals to me.
What type of program did you use to design the watch?
Using a VR headset, we sketched the continuum directly in virtual space. This process is similar to using a mouse and keyboard, but it's easier because you can use the controllers inside your headset to move around objects. You can think of it like working on a large sculpture made of wood or stone. The software I used is called Gravity Sketch and is primarily used by automotive and product designers.
NFT watches are 3D objects, not 2D images, right?
Yes, all watches are designed and manufactured as 3D objects. However, existing technologies for delivering NFTs to the masses are still somewhat limited. For example, wallets that store NFTs do not accept 3D files, only images and videos. So in Bear's case, the clock was displayed as a spinning animation. A movie (rendering) of the object rotated 360 degrees around its axis is displayed. The watch is clearly described in this way.
Do you know any other designers who worked on the Time Warp project?
Yes, but surprisingly it's only at the end of the project. It was only after a while that I realized the great historical potential of this project. Working at Bayer is a pioneering job that tests your skills in the world of watches. It's exciting to see how digital watches (not to be confused with traditional digital watches!) evolve over time. When we look at the history of watches, their origins were completely different from today. As more people work on it, another world will be created, with its own technology, new ideals, and cult objects.
In April, Bear began selling NFT watches with an initial drop, the Genesis Drop. The first phase sold out within minutes. The second decline occurred in June. Have you been able to receive your work in any way?
We received an NFT of each watch we designed for Bear for the Genesis Drop. I added them to his wallet on a platform called Meta-Mask (metamask.io). As a creator, I can create countless more NFT objects. But watches from the Baer collection are special because they are part of the official collection.
NFTs still belong to young, tech-savvy people. How would you explain to your former students what's so interesting about this?
NFTs are part of a larger shift in which parts of our identity are moving from physical to digital spaces. That is, just as now on the street we can see people wearing nice sneakers, special watches, and fur coats. These are the things that distinguish these people from each other and express something about their personality. We will increasingly make such statements about our identities in the digital realm. There are already early examples. When you visit someone's Instagram account, you can see what's important to them. If you are interested in cycling or want to vacation in Tuscany. In the world of NFTs, this type of communication becomes more extensive and detailed. Owning an NFT makes a statement. For people who don't spend time in the digital world, it doesn't seem to make much sense. But the networked generation has already started building their digital identities. They have VR chats with personalized avatars and post digital assets on social media. This world is changing from below. More people, not just young people, will start participating and buying NFTs.
So instead of walking around town in cool sneakers, you want to show it off in your Metaverse avatar?
The possibilities for integrating digital assets are almost endless. Whether you're taking an object to a virtual concert or storing it in your virtual home, the desire to have something that represents great work or a desirable brand naturally carries over into the digital world. This is not about whether a virtual Rolex will replace a physical Rolex. It's special when I'm the only one out of 100, or perhaps the only one in the world, to have a Gucci digital asset. I believe that big changes will occur in the digital world. At the moment, the Metaverse is still in its very early stages. Very few of us spend time in a 3D digital world, but it won't until it becomes completely normal for us to wear headsets to work, learn, and meet friends. It won't take long. These experiences will have a huge impact on us and inspire ideas that we can't even imagine today.
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