What does a good watch show? The time and the date! The ochs und junior date watch shows both, and how! Ludwig Oechslin’s innovative date spiral sets a new standard in legibility.
An analogue display is always easier to read than a digital one. As children, we learned to instantly tell the time from the relative positions of the hour and minute hands.
When it comes to displaying the date, the conventional approach is to incorporate a large (sometimes magnified) display for enhanced legibility. The magnified solution is impossible to read at an angle, and the use of a big date display creates hierarchical issues: when glancing at the watch, the first thing to draw your attention is the date, not the time.
Ludwig Oechslin adopted an entirely different approach to the date display problem. His innovative and highly functional concept is an elegant solution devoid of any alphanumeric markings, which soon becomes second nature to read.
The 31 date perforations, arranged as a gentle spiral, are ingeniously aligned with the indices for easy readability. The date is recognized purely by position. Increasing subtly in length as the spiral progresses, the 10-minute indices mark the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th on the month. The 31st and 1st are in line with each other
Rotating beneath the perforations to indicate the date is what appears to be an orange dot; it is in fact a curved dash set at a precisely calculated angle. The lower portion of the dash is visible through the ’1st’ perforation – the upper portion through the ’31st’.
The date perforations are each exactly two minutes apart on the dial for added readability of the exact minute and second.
As with any novel form of display, interpretation requires a little getting used to, as well as an inquisitive and receptive mind. Provided the new owner engages with the novel display, reading the date soon becomes second nature – it’s arguably even quicker to read than a conventional date display.
Depending on the colors chosen, the date remains perfectly readable from further away, from almost any angle and even when light conditions aren’t ideal.
description by Ludwig Oechslin:
task / idea
A date indication integrated within the standard divisions of a 12-hour dial.
solution / implementation
The 12-hour dial is divided into 12 equal sections for the hours and 60 for the minutes per hour or seconds per minute. The date, on the other hand, requires 31 divisions. If, for date purposes, the dial were divided into 30 sections, the 31st of the month would fall on the 1st of the following month. Dividing the dial into 30 sections would allow mathematical synergies to be exploited with the 60 minute indices (one day marker every two minutes) and the 10-minute indices (which would act as 5-day markers for the date indication). In the case of months with 31 days, you would need the date indication to remain one extra day on the 31st / 1st – or you would need to get the watch to reverse by one day. To differentiate between the 31st and the 1st, you would need to double the display at the position they share. Given that we have a display consisting of a dot travelling under a circle of perforations, there would have to be an additional dot and an additional perforation above or below the 1st of the month to indicate the 31st. If you now incorporate this additional perforation (located above or below the 1st) into the existing circle of perforations, you end up with a spiral moving from the 1st to the 31st of the month. Imagine the date dot is in the 31st perforation, and imagine where the date dot would have to be at this moment for the following 1st perforation, you soon see that it would have to be above or below the 30th. If you now join together the date dot for the 1st with the date dot for the 31st, what you end up with under the perforated dial is a curved dash. This curved dash, printed on a disk rotating beneath, and visible through, the date perforations of the dial, replaces the conventional alphanumeric date indication. The date can now, like the time, be told intuitively, and the mechanics driving the function are far simpler than those driving a conventional alphanumeric display. My solution is visually far less intrusive than a conventional alphanumeric display: the date is subordinate to the time, but it remains perfectly readable.
An entire generation is growing up with a new interpretation of the pocket watch: the smartphone is replacing the wristwatch, and there is no doubting its usefulness. The only thing is, pocket watches were replaced by wristwatches back in the last century. A wristwatch makes a style statement, and having the time on the wrist also brings functional benefits that smartphones and pocket watches cannot match.
Try looking at the time using a pocket watch when you’re hurrying along a platform with hands full of suitcases and bags. Or surreptitiously sneaking a look at the time on your smartphone during a tedious meeting without appearing impolite.
In our view, the wristwatch plays an integral, functional role in our lives – and it should be designed accordingly.
Ludwig Oechslin does just that with his watches. The design of his timepieces emerges as a logical consequence of their functions, which makes it distinctive. Most of our timepieces make do without alphanumeric markings of any kind, and that includes any branding or logo.
You won’t find indications of the make and model on an ochs und junior dial, or of the watertightness, precision or country of origin. In fact, there is a logo, but it’s discreetly branded onto the back of the eco-tanned leather strap.
The design of ochs und junior watches is for people who live in the here and now.
Ludwig Oechslin’s guiding principle of functional reductionism is reflected in the mechanics as well as in the appearance of his timepieces. A prototype leaves his private workshop only when he has completed the first stage – incorporating his latest thinking into it.
By assembling the prototypes himself, he proves that they can be produced.
Small numbers of components ingeniously put together are easier to handle at a mechanical level, and thus a better solution in the long term, than one based on as many parts as possible.
Ludwig Oechslin creates and develops the mechanics and makes the initial prototypes.
He then lives with them for some time, carrying them either on his wrist or in a waistcoat pocket. These prototypes don’t have an easy life. They are stressed, handled roughly and subjected to the kind of treatment that our production watches never have to endure.
Talking of production, our approach is as distinctive as our designs and unlike that of any other watch company.
The technical drawings and a prototype are forwarded to Peter Cantieni. His main activity consists of machining ultra-precise titanium components for the Swiss Formula One racing team Sauber. Based in Hinwil, his experience allows him to manufacture most of the minuscule components we need for a pre-production batch of watches.
These components are then brought to master watchmaker Marion Müller. In her workshop in Kappel am Albis, she assembles the initial few watches and corrects various aspects to ensure optimal functionality and ease of assembly when the time comes for the definitive production run. The radical nature of Ludwig Oechslin’s innovative functions remains sacrosanct throughout this process. Marion Müller does not reinterpret them, nor does she attempt to make them more conventional.
After all, experience has shown that the fewer interfaces there are in a mechanical product and in its production process, the greater its reliability and the longer its service life.
Marion Müller’s feedback now helps Peter Cantieni machine the definitive components, including the two-part case, the buckle (carved out of a single block), the functional dial and the wheels. In other words, almost everything we need to create our watches, not counting the movement itself.
Marion Müller then painstakingly assembles the mese and regulates the movement, for which we use the self-winding mechanical ETA 2824-2.
We rely on this dependable and highly functional workhorse for most of our watch concepts.
When it comes to watches, what is important to you? Optimal readability with maximum contrast? Readability at night?
A black dial with white hands and indices and an orange ‘date dot’? This option would give you the highest contrast and best readability.
Or how about a dark bluish-grey dial, again with white hands and indices? This is currently the most popular ochs und junior option: still offering perfect contrast, it’s a little less ‘hard’ than the black dial. Or maybe a light-colored dial with black hands? … Almost anything is possible!
Our colors in-stock page shows the watches we have created for immediate delivery. They all meet different wearers’ preferences. These particular watches are available off-the-shelf from Lucerne.
Or would you prefer to choose the colors of the dial, hands and indices?
Your personalized watch, tailored to your requirements! That is what we at ochs und junior are uniquely able to offer. A watch to suit your tastes.
The ochs und junior watch visualization technology is where you can test your ideas and email them to us:
We would be delighted to discuss your preferences and ideas via email, telephone or Skype. Or come and see us in Lucerne for an espresso served from our vintage Gaggia. We’ll make sure you get the watch of your dreams.
The watch industry usually offers two years’ guarantee against manufacturing defects. That’s also the case here at ochs und junior.
The following timepieces also benefit from the ochs und junior long-term guarantee: moon phase, annual calendar, date, two time zones.
These watches come with a lifelong guarantee against manufacturing defects affecting the following parts made for ochs und junior by Peter Cantieni:
The watches are functionally extremely reliable thanks to Ludwig Oechslin’s reductionist approach to components. During the periodic service interventions (or during a repair intervention if needed) we can see how the internal works are doing in terms of service life. If our appraisals indicate possible issues, we can immediately revise the parts in question for new batches of watches and, if necessary, replace them in existing watches.
This guarantee also applies retrospectively to all watches in the above series that have already been bought.