Typography, in its simplest form, is the arrangement of type in a way that is both functional and engaging.

There are three key things to consider when designing type: functionality, legibility and beauty.

For good type design to work, it needs to draw the eye in but in an almost unnoticeable way. It should sit harmoniously within its surroundings without causing a distraction. This is especially true when designing type for a watch dial.

Custom-designed by our in-house typographer, the numerals on anOrdain Models have been carefully crafted to complement the dials on which they sit.

To achieve this delicate balance, our typographer Imogen considered three main points. First was the highly skilled workmanship of the enamel dial production. Next was the high-tech precision of watchmaking and, lastly, the heritage of the Highlands.

Initial inspiration drew from old Ordnance Survey maps of the Scottish Highlands. The cartography’s precise workings - balanced with the handcrafted lettering - seemed intrinsically relevant to the skills inherent in anOrdain’s practice.

First drafts were produced by tracing over the map’s lettering to retain their hand-drawn qualities.

Imogen utilised the contrasting thick and thin lines to create elegant curves and sharp, attractive angles. To give the numerals a more modern touch, she replaced the beautiful old serifs of the map’s lettering with angular cuts at the number’s edges.

Model 1 numerals in development

For our second watch, the Model 2, it was important to adapt our type design to suit the function and nature of a field watch. More rugged and robust, it required something less elegant and punchier than our first watch.

Using the Model 1 numerals as a starting point, we pushed the numbers to their extreme. Stretching the density of the lines to their limits, we cut dramatically into their curves to achieve striking results. Their hollow outlined shapes allow for high legibility without distracting from the dial surrounding it.

Although distinct in character, the numbers on each model feel very much part of the same family. And, as we grow, our numerical typeface will continue to grow - both on existing models and new.

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