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June 30, 2004

I did it for the Nooka

Put all the digital watches in the world in a lineup and you’d be hardpressed to find one that really differentiates itself.

Enter the Nooka – A watch that tells time like you would read it naturally, not the way the local madarasa taught you.

Instead of the traditional display, the minutes are in the large box, the seconds follow and a bar on top shows the hour and how much of the day is left.

So all it takes is a quick glance.

We adored the watch so much, we sent our men to “borrow” Matthew Waldman, the designer.

And this is what he had to say after the truth serum kicked in:

Wrist: So tell us, what was the inspiration for the watch?

Matthew: My inspiration was a memory. I was sitting in a hotel in London waiting for a client when i noticed a large clock on the wall. It somehow reminded me of the clock on the wall in first grade. This brought back the memory of being taught ‘how to tell time’.

I then remembered being taught ‘how to tell time’ again in the fifth grade when digital clocks became popular.

I thought if one has to be taught how to tell time, how intuitive is it really? surely there are other models, once learned, that can be as intuitive as what we are taught.

That was my brainstorm. From that thought sprang forth a series of designs I now have patents for, of one which Seiko manufactured.

Wrist: You said you were going to be relaunching the watch with the original design.

Matthew: Seiko took some liberties with my original design, which is sleeker and actually easier to read. I have 5 design patents for timepieces, each one different, that i plan on prototyping and eventually producing.

Wrist: I would love to see your other designs. How did you first come to collaborate with Seiko?

Matthew: Tom Dixon of Habitat in London suggested I contact Seiko as they had approached him to do watches. Tom liked my design and said he would carry the watches in Europe as an incentive, but ultimately, Seiko Europe never marketed the pieces.

Wrist: What happened?

Seiko never marketed the watches, not one AD (advertisement -ed), not one event. Also, they used a steel that couldn’t be exported to Europe [shocking, as we discussed this as their largest potential market for the design].

Therefore, not many units sold and they deemed it an unsuccessful design.

Wrist: But I take it, it did very well at MoMa (NYC)?

Matthew: The contract I had specified that I could not market/sell the watches myself. After 2 years of inactivity, I got them in the MoMa shops as I was frustrated with their marketing department. MoMa was thrilled with them, sold all the stock I could get to them,then Seiko decided not to restock anyone.

The watch is no longer available at MoMa because Seiko quit production and active marketing over a year ago.

Wrist: So when should we expect the new proper Nooka launch?

Matthew: I am awaiting final paperwork from Seiko severing the license agreement, then i will feel comfortable sending you images of the relaunch which i will do on my own and a manufacturing partner in China. I hope to get them in stores by December this year, but that may be difficult. If not then, Q1 2005!

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Filed under: Adnan @ 10:44 am , Comments (28)



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