anOrdain x Paulin

November 06, 2020

Collaboration between two watch companies is a rare occurrence, but perhaps even rarer is the two founders of said companies being married to one another!

We had played with the idea of anOrdain designing and making a watch for Paulin for some time now, but only recently did we set our plans to action. The brief was to make something which was not mass-produced and that would encapsulate what we love about mechanical watches, all the while keeping it at an accessible price.

We looked at Paulin's market, examining the swathes of minimalist watches out there and decided to take our collaborative watch in a different direction. Paulin’s approach to design has always been distinctly fun and colourful, producing watches, clocks and accessories for many years now, building a loyal following amongst the creative scene in Glasgow.

Paulin had previously taken inspiration from art-deco for the ‘Geo’ font used on their recent models, so we began our research examining different art and architecture movements. We landed on Postmodernism, as a move away from austerity. The playful juxtaposition of old and new seemed to resonate with both Paulin’s ethos and our own.

During the research and design process, Imogen took inspiration from Dutch graphic designer, Wim Crouwel. Crouwel, though categorised as a Modernist, had a truly unique approach to design which revolved around a purist use of grids, but the results of which were far from stark or restrained minimalism. Using a similarly purist grid and set of rules, Imogen created a typeface and a set of hands that played off this blockiness and simple use of shape.

In order to accommodate our smaller budget, we made a few clever design decisions. Using the Seiko NH35A - a good value, if rather beefy, Japanese movement - we chose not to encase it within a 15mm thick outer body, but instead created a slim profile, adding a Hesalite diving crystal on top to make the watch wear significantly thinner.

Making the dial was the tricky part. We couldn't spend days enamelling each one, so we teamed up with two local companies. A machining firm, based just outside of Glasgow, laser-cut and anodized our chosen aluminium, while Helen Swan, an artist based in the city's West End, individually dyed each anodized piece. The team here at anOrdain then continued to print and assemble the dials.

The end product is very much a hand-made mechanical watch, with the constraints of the brief and creativity of the team resulting in something really quite special.