We caught up with our watch case designer, Euan, who shared some insight into the processes involved in design, prototyping and collaboration at anOrdain. Euan holds a first class honours degree in Product Design Engineering from Strathclyde University and joined the anOrdain team shortly after completing his Masters.
What do you do at anOrdain?
I design the watch cases primarily, but also things like manufacturing jigs for the dial makers or anything which involves a knowledge of 3D design and manufacturing.
Were you interested in the design of watches before you started at anOrdain?
I’ve had a fascination with mechanical watches since inheriting my grandfathers Omega Seamaster. I imagine that’d be the same for anyone from an engineering background!
What is your favourite part of the design process?
CAD has always been a real interest of mine and it’s a very useful part of the product design process. With watches specifically it’s a tool that allows me to first visualise the cases and then print them in plastic to help the team better understand scale and form. There’s always a difference between what you see on screen, even with the best 3D renders and what you get back from the casemaker as a prototype, so being able to use the 3D printer is invaluable. Most watch companies still send 2D drawings to the case manufacturers, so it’s a huge advantage being able to go back-and-forth with 3D files. Also, working in enamel brings in complications with the design of the cases. You really need to be on top of it and we couldn’t work with 2D drawings alone to do that.
How is it working for a small team such as here at anOrdain?
I think it’s a fairly unusual setup for a watch company, but from my perspective it works really well. There’s everything you need here to prototype a new model in a few days, which is a real luxury. And because the development of a new watch case needs to consider multiple elements, having dial-makers and a watchmaker in the same building means you’ve the input to push the envelope as far as you can.
Do you bring anything additional to the team apart from case design?
Having worked with numerous manual and controlled machining processes in the past, I feel that my knowledge of how things are made will be of use to the team. I’m hoping that it may help us to produce more in-house and potentially offer new levels of customisation to our buyers.
I’ve begun working with Chris, our watchmaker, to get a better understanding of watch mechanics, with a view to seeing how my CAD and manufacturing abilities could allow us to experiment within movements, but it’s early days yet.
Finally, any interesting new cases in the pipeline?
Many! We’ve a lot underway but I would say as a word of caution that everything we’ve got in development has some aspect to the design which hasn’t been done before, and that’s an approach the team takes. If it’s not bringing anything to the table, why bother?
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