The last time we wrote about Dana Krieger's work was when he was with Teague, working on projects like the Pulse bike and a set of Bucky-Fuller-inspired headphones; now the industrial designer is at branding/product design/strategy firm Astro Studios in San Francisco, and his latest project is rethinking the watch. The name of Astro's new watch brand, MINUS 8, is a reference to the West Coast's time zone, officially known as Coordinated Universal Time Standard -8.
"Watches attract designers like moths to the flame, so we couldn't resist taking our own approach to this ages-old design problem," writes Krieger. "We invented the MINUS 8 brand, consisting of products which reference the unique time and place of West Coast culture."
The recently-completed project is so new that at press time it wasn't yet on Astro Studios' website. Hit the jump to see more drool-worthy shots and a project explanation from Krieger.
Both MINUS 8 watches exhibit the same design language and philosophy: Time is relative. We are only aware of its passing if change occurs. Essentially time is a gradient and we use timepieces to slice that gradient into meaningful increments.
A second inspiration came from an investigation into metal finishing and aluminum anodizing processes. We learned that all colors of anodized aluminum begin with a colorless chemical treatment that is then dyed to achieve the final color. Longer exposure to the colored bath creates a more intense color. We thought this visual representation of invested time could be beautifully manifested in the design of a time piece. In general, manufacturing is concerned with the elimination of time in the production process. In this case, we are flaunting it.
Further research showed that Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) was another industrial coating process with inherent time dependencies. A raw stainless piece is placed in a vacuum chamber where a hard coating accumulates over time. More time in the chamber produces a thicker coating and a more opaque color. The MINUS 8 watches reference our dependence on change through a series of subtle color shifts, each step only visible in the context of the others. Each layer of stainless in the body is subjected to a different duration of PVD and then etched to demarcate different units of time. This new icon is achieved without introducing foreign geometry to time keeping, where circular, closed forms have inherent function.
The family consists of two timepieces: an automatic chronograph and a mechanical Quartz movement. Our intention is that the two products would be purchased as one so that the brand can support all aspects of the west coast lifestyle, business or casual, active or formal.