It seems an endless wave of new watch brands are cropping up on Kickstarter every day, with many sharing the same or similar ‘minimalist’ design aesthetic. The majority seem to be generic, albeit more affordable, derivatives of existing products from more established brands. A rare few, however, like newcomer Humism, who we are featuring here today, are willing to take risks in their quest to create something that is genuinely unique. Sure, the watches won’t appeal to all tastes but at least they’re making a concerted effort to challenge the status quo.
At first glance, it’s pretty obvious that the watches from Humism aren’t your average three-hander with a vintage-inspired dial and familiar backstory. For a start, there aren’t any hands. Instead, the hours and minutes are indicated by two separate dots, which rotate around the periphery of the dial. Arguably not the clearest way to display the time but it does the job well enough, plus, practical functionality is not the primary focus here. Kinetic art is.
That’s right, these watches are all about displaying the kinetic energy generated by the mechanical movement of the watch in interesting and unusual ways. Taking inspiration from the Kinetic Art movement, popular back in the early 20th century, the first collection from Humism, Philosophies, features three distinctive designs, whittled down from over a thousand drafts. As you can see from the pictures and videos on the Kickstarter page, the end result is quite mesmerising.
The attention to detail extends beyond just the artistic display on the dial, however. The angular and symmetrical 39mm x 11.4mm cases have been crafted from 316L surgical steel and feature a brushed, almost industrial finish. Lug-to-lug the watches measure 20mm and they are rated water resistant to 50m. There are sapphire crystals on both sides, with the front one receiving an anti-reflective coating.
The rear sapphire crystal reveals the automatic Seiko NH35A movement inside. A robust and reliable timekeeper, it offers hand-winding and hacking capabilities. Completing the look are vegetable-tanned, full-grain Italian leather straps with quick release pins for easy removal. There is also an optional steel Milanese bracelet you can order as part of the Kickstarter campaign.
All watches will be assembled by hand and undergo strict quality control tests before they are sent off to their new owners. Perhaps best of all, 5% of sales will be donated to The Red Pencil, a non-profit that uses art therapy to help those suffering from emotional trauma, reflecting the founder’s passion for the arts.
At the time of writing, the Humism Kickstarter campaign had already smashed through its initial funding goal, suggesting this novel approach to watch design has definitely found some fans. There are still early bird models available for EUR 214, which is about EUR 45 off the future retail price. Estimated delivery is July 2018.