Linde Werdelin likes to call themselves a watch lab. The notion suggests an image of scientists sitting around in a white room dreaming up the next cool timepiece. Is this sexy sounding concept true? Yes actually, but Linde Werdelin is not alone in their experimentation. Most small brands have lab style product development processes which eventually lead to final products. How does it work and why is it a good idea?
I appreciate that Linde Werdelin has decided it makes sense to explicitly state what many brands don't discuss - that they take peer review into strict consideration when finalizing their watches. It has been more or less promised to myself and other watch writers that whatever we view at watch shows such as Baselworld are unfinished prototypes. Brands like Linde Werdelin produce close to reality experimental designs that they share with reviewers and retailers before pieces are produced for sale. Suggestions and feedback go into the final products - which is exactly what happened with their Oktopus II Double Date Dive watch.
This peer review production process is actually harder than simply conceiving a watch and then having it made. Watch production for small boutique brands is a laborious and highly time consuming process. Brands like Linde Werdelin rely on a range of suppliers that produce the many small parts which go into their watches. Working with suppliers takes a long time to get deliveries, and the process can be frustrating for brands. Going back and forth to get pieces 'just right' is an appreciated ordeal that they go through.
Watch design experimentation is also complicated because it can be difficult to know what advice to use and which to discard. You can't please everyone, and it takes a clever team to properly sort out the most useful advice. The Oktopus II for example ended up being more legible and having a more beautiful face. The collection also gets this sexy blue accented titanium model. You can see my original post on the Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Double Date watch here to examine some of the small changes. The updated final design is tweaked with an emphasis on boldness and detail polishing. I still very much like the black ceramic bezel on the 44mm wide titanium case (that is water resistant to 300 meters). This blue accented model will sit next to the yellow accented model very nicely.
What are some of the precise differences from the prototype to this final version? Here are some words from them on the matter:
"The titanium case body has undergone a rougher polish to achieve a more masculine finish. The ceramic bezel has been widened around the fixing screws allowing a stronger hint of colour display from the eight coloured tension disks. The bezel has been given a satin finish with a polished facet on the outer side creating a more luxurious and interesting contrast under the light. The 3 o’clock unit has been opened up with a curve on top to add elegance yet enable easy access to the crown.
The Double Date complication has been visually amplified by opening further the construction of the two independent date wheels. The upper dial has been finalised with a circular satin finish to create an extra visual dimension with subtle gleams under the light."
Linde Werdelin Oktopus II watches should be available soon via their retailers. The entire process from start to finish is fascinating for me to view and I appreciate how the brand makes a concerted effort to share it all with their fans. As well as their octopus wrangling. Prices for the Oktopus II Double Date Dive watch will range from 8,800 - 18,500 Swiss Francs.
Tech specs from Linde Werdelin:
Name: Oktopus II — Double Date
Models: Oktopus II — Double Date in titanium and ceramic with blue accents in the dial — 88 pieces
Oktopus II — Double Date in titanium, titanium DLC and ceramic with yellow accents in the dial — 88 pieces
Oktopus II — Double Date rose gold and titanium with rose gold accents in the dial — 88 pieces
Case: 5 part case-construction / 2.5 mm sapphire crystal antireflective on one side / Screw in back case with engraved octopus drawing / Screw in crown with engraved octopus symbol
Dimensions: 44mm (w) by 46mm (l) by 15,25mm (h)
Dial: 2 layer dial / upper layer laser-cut in stencil technique / lower dial circular Côtes de Genève / date dial at 12 o’clock / date wheel laser-cut layer / hands in stainless steel with satin finish / LW cool grey 1U bespoke superluminova
Movement: Linde Werdelin modified Dubois Depraz caliber 14580 / automatic / double date at 12 o’clock / 40 to 44 hour power reserve / 26 jewels / 28,800 bph (4 Hz)
Water Water Resistance: 300m
Strap: Bespoke high-end rubber strap, interchangeable within Linde Werdelin’s proprietary strap system.