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Creating the design brief - Culem Watches Collection 1

In today’s post, I am writing about the design brief for my upcoming watch collection. I had never written a brief like this before and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed creating it. You know when do something for the first time and it feels so right?This was one of those moments. So, I hope you enjoy reading about my first creative journey.

Watch Design Concept

The watch design concept is based on the idea that there is no experience more amazing than travel and no object more beautiful than a watch.

My initial idea was to create two identical GMT watches, with one showcasing a beautiful image of the world and the other dial without the world.

I wanted the watches to display the correct time in both GMT and BST either on the dial or on the caseback.

I wanted an elegant design with a contemporary edge.

Also, I wanted the design to embody the concept that a Culem watch is the perfect coexistence between travel and time.

Design Brief – Concept of Seen/Unseen

My design ideas were an evolving process and above all others I liked the concept of seen/unseen.

My idea was that ‘seen’ would be a GMT watch displaying a bold, beautiful image of the world surrounded by the clouds.

Whereas, ‘unseen’ would be a GMT watch dial displaying the world in a more subtle way. I wanted to make it invisible and yet visible at the same time (if you knew what to look for in the dial).

Pangaea – The Super Continent

Inspired by  Pangaea millions of years ago, when the world consisted of 94% oceans and seas, and only 6% land, I wanted the colour of the watches to be blue.

I played with the idea of using Pangaea on the dial, but I decided  to have a beautiful image of the world on there, as it is today.

To me, the world is a masterpiece and the finest artwork of them all.

When you wear your Culem watch, you are wearing a masterpiece. And when you see the world on your watch, it is reminder to you to make your world a masterpiece too.

Details, Details, Details

I had specific details that I wanted for every element of the watch including: the case, dial, crown, hands, date and caseback.

To give you a couple of examples, I wanted the hour, minute and second hands to be raised, symbolising the land rising out of the sea.

For the fourth 24 hour hand, I wanted to have the tip of the flying Welsh Dragon’s tail in red, to symbolise controlling the direction and stability in motion when travelling. For this idea, I was thinking about the tail wing on a plane and how it stabilises the aircraft and controls the direction as we travel from one destination to another.

On the caseback, I decided to have an engraving showing 24 destinations around the world showing the correct time in each location in both GMT and BST. Additionally, I wanted to be able to see some of the beautiful movement in an open (glass) case back.

Smooth Clean Lines

When I was thinking about the design, there are elements that I believe to be essential to the success of the design – symmetry and smooth clean lines .

I discovered this when I bought an Aston Martin over an Italian sports car. I loved and still love the Italian car to look at, but up close it seemed overstyled to me.  

The Aston Martin was perfectly styled. boasting smooth clean lines from every angle; it was beautiful to touch, both in the smoothness of the design and the form of the car.

When you see something beautiful and you touch it, I believe you connect with it. I wanted to create this connection in my watch designs. Furthermore, I wanted the watch design to act as a time capsule of the places you have been and the destinations you will go.


This was the overall design concept and brief for the first collection. I found the process of creating and designing the watches magical in itself, resulting in the masterpiece that we will be launching for you, in the next couple of months.

In my next post I will be going into more detail about the watch designs and prototypes, so stay tuned!

Enjoy the magic!

Ps. I am flying to Geneva for SIHH and I am enjoying the pleasure of my Culem watch. I cannot wait to show my watches to you and the world.

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Thank you for reading.  M.