Many a young design student has searched for a way to manufacture the feeling sentimentality in object design—it's a great moment when you buy a product and build a special type of inherent knowledge of its quirks and inter workings. In the Color Wheel Timepiece, ID Student Scott Alberstein of Carnegie Mellon has attempted to shake up the traditional use of a watch and challenge the user to build their own understanding via color rather than a traditional analog face.
Alberstein says of the timepiece:
The type of watch one wears can tell a great deal about someone. In order to build a personal relationship with this watch I decided to represent the passage of time through color. If used regularly, the user will develop associations between time and color patterns. Eventually, the user could tell the time based on what colors are shown.
Don't get me wrong; the color wheel clock is a poetic idea. In use, you realize analog clocks might be slipping into object nostalgia territory, replaced by ever-present digital displays. If 20-somethings do use analog displays- they tend to be by way of screens. While the IPhone seems a pretty good stand in for watch, timer, alarm... the list goes on, it's good to see someone tackle the wrist watch - one of designer's greatest fetish items. We've seen a few variations on color watch faces (The Ziiiro Gravity and Proton lines come to mind), and Alberstein's Color Wheel Timepiece is a nicely resolved challenge to the archetype.
Even if the analog clock is a nod to both older technology and Art 101 class, we think Alberstein's ID-style sketches and animated 360° exploded-view .gif deserve some appreciation. We would love to see the Color Wheel timepiece in action to better understand whether the introduction of color truly builds a relationship of understanding or frustration.