Monkey business: Jaime Hayon’s magical horological universe
Spanish designer Jaime Hayon is adding his trademark wit to the world of watches. We catch up with him at his studio in Valencia…
What made you give watch design a go?
I really like classic watch designs but I had never found something that said: 'Yes, this is exactly that'. There was nothing with a sense of humour, so I started to think about a watch design. I collaborated with Ian Lowe and Angela Adams and we set up the watch brand Orolog in 2013.
And the technological challenge?
If you think about the functionality of something you will never design anything. The size – and the fact that you can draw it then print it like a paper watch you had as a kid, and put it on your wrist right away, makes the process simpler than furniture or sculpture design.
Where did the cheeky monkey on the dial of the Miko come from?
When you think about a specific character it presents the design solution. The three sub dials in the chrono movement of the ‘Miko’ – monkey – watch had a story – I saw the monkey image in them. The story makes decisions. You might not know the monkey is there at first. People tend not to see it straight away, but then when you catch a glimpse of it you get a surprise.
Tell us about the new addition to your horological menagerie?
The new Gaviota design, which will launch in autumn, features a seagull – the Spanish word is ‘gaviota’. It’s like a sculpture because I played with volume by multi-layering using just engraving, so the bird appears in relief on the dial.
What are the Hayon design codes in Orolog watches?
I wanted to create a watch out of all the things I like so that it looks like me and something I would do. I liked the idea of creating a history with texture and design and used French style guilloche décor, which worked well for the monkey hair, which is linear.
If Orolog created a digital watch what form would it take?
I don’t think the future is an app – it’s what we do with a watch itself. You can be innovative with analogue solutions, such as looking at it from a more historical perspective: the gentleman looking at his pocket watch is similar to someone taking his phone out of his pocket and checking the time, for instance. Techology is there to be used. How are we going to use it? We don’t know. Ultimately, it will always be about what we like to wear ourselves.
As originally featured in the May 2016 issue of Wallpaper* Time Supplement (W*206)