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BEHIND THE DESIGN

A blog-style look at the MHD Design Process 

At MHD, we make automotive-designed watches with a unique engineered design aesthetic. All our watches are designed by automotive and watch designer Matthew Humphries, who draws on his car design background for influence.  

January 2023

SC Final production samples arrive and we open for Pre-orders It's a long process but it's very satisfying when all the hard work pays off and you can put the final watch design on your wrist that you have seen come to life from sketch to reality. 

Check out the SC here. 

August 2021

SC Final Cad development

This is the time to 'Sleep on it".  It sounds wrong but we find it also best to let a final design digest before doing a final review of all aspects of style, form and function. Then if all is correct we are ready to press the button to have the first set of samples produced. 

May 2021 

SC Dial design

The dial design really progresses when we start to develop it in 3d.  We love a sandwich dial as it means you get maximum SuperLuminova over the sub-dial and there is no chance of indexes coming off causing damage to the dial.  It also gives depth to the dial design. 

The graphic layout is also finessed in 3d to make sure it is super legible and still has a cool 1970s feel. Working the dial design in 3d also gives us a chance to try new colour-ways in different lighting scenes.  

April 2021 

SC CAD development 

The CAD design starts with the engineering basics. We place the movement, dial and strap in position and then in the side profile work up an outer chassis case that fits within these parameters.  It's very important to get the lug-to-lug size correct so that the fits a variety of size wrists.  With the SC we managed to achieve a 46mm lug-to-lug length by incorporating the strap into the case shape. 

The outer chassis case lines are drawn in, side and top profiles to start with and then these curves/ lines form the start of the case surfaces. When a basic case shape is blocked in we can then pull and push the curves on the model to develop the correct shapes and volumes. A lot of time is spent making sure these curves are correct in all views.  Just like designing a car body.  

One of the key design elements was to incorporate Gandin's signature shape rear wheel arch from the Lamborghini.  Getting this cut-out shape in the correct shape and in the correct position was a painstaking exercise but in the end gives a dramatic look to the final case shape and a cool nod to Gandini every time you see the watch. 

March 2021 

SC dial designs

The dial designs have to fit the 1970s brief whilst being legible and graphically working with the case shape.  Colour-ways are also very important to give the watch a 1970s caricature. You can see some of the deign influence and options that we tried above. 

February 2021 

SC Design process

1970’s supercars were synonymous with Italian Car Designer Marcello Gandini.  Bold form language and geometric graphics give the designs a unique 1970s feel. Gandini’s trademark rear wheel arch design was a unique styling flourish that became his personal stamp and would only appear on the most intriguing, unusual cars like the Strato’s HF ‘Zero and the production Lamborghini Countach. It is this signature styling feature and bold form language from 1970’s supercars that has influenced the shape of the MHD SC watch chassis case.

One of the main design challenges at this initial stage is to capture the essence of Gandini's 1970s "wedge"/ geometric form language for the case shape whilst still designing a watch that can sit comfortably on the wrist.

 

 

March 2021 

Streamliner Final production samples arrive.  It's a long process but it's very satisfying when all the hard work pays off and you can put the final watch design on your wrist that you have seen come to life from sketch to reality. 

Check out the full Streamliner range here. 

January 2021

Streamliner cad development. There are many parts that go into developing the final case design.  Every part of our watches ( apart from the trusty Miyota movement )are bespoke and have to fit and work together with minimum tolerance.  This means every millimetre counts.  You can see above just how meany parts have to work in harmony to achieve a design such as the streamliner.   

November 2020 ( Streamliner project update) 

Case finishes.  It very important to break up the case volume by case with different finishes. The light catches the different case finishes in different ways and can dramatically change the visible weight of the case.  We like to mix the finishes from chrome to radial and brushed finishes. 

Mhd Watches multi dial design  

October 14th 2020

Project 2021 dial design update. 

The latest design development has focused on the dial design and colour ways options and you guessed it we want your feedback to decide which options to go with. 
Please let us know what you think. All feedback will be put into the design pot so be brave and email us your thoughts at
matthew@mhdwatches.com

 

14th September 2020

In July we started our next watch design project. Project 2021. The idea was to expose our design process with you and get your feedback on the design, so you can help design our next watch.

We started with 3 design themes taking automotive influence from the 1930's 50's and 70's which can see below. 


After receiving a huge amount of feedback on the designs there was one clear winner.  The 1930's.  The design has now been developed into cad which are the images you see here today. After your feedback the decision was taken to incorporate a round dial whilst keeping the cushion case shape with streamliner fins. 

Please let us know what you think. All feedback will be put into the design pot so be brave and email us your thoughts.  

 

 

  

 

July 23rd 2020

Over the last three weeks we have launched a new design theme each week for our Project 2021. This is our third and final theme from the 1970's. A challenging period in automotive design that threw away the rule book to make wide and low angular concept cars, such as the Stratos, that even today look like they are from out of this world.  

So its your last time to vote and make comments.
The 1930's, 1950's or 1970's, which will be our next watch produced? Remember this is just the start of the design process that we will be sharing with you all the way to production here on our "behind the design blog".

July 16th 2020

Last week we released our first design theme from the 1930's. Over the next two weeks we will be releasing two more 'theme sketches' influenced from different periods in time.

Week two is the 1950's Disco Volante. Taking influence from British and Italian racers that were seeking the highest speeds possible with their smooth bodywork and organic forms.  At the end of the month one design theme will be picked and the design process exposed weekly here and through our social media. 

Please let us know what you think. All feedback will be put into the design pot so be brave and email us your thoughts.
matthew@mhdwatches.com


 

July 9th, 2020
Over the next 3 weeks, we will be releasing a design each week showing a 'theme sketch' influenced from a different period in time.

Week 1 is the 1930's, taking influence from pre-war streamliner design. A period that was all about speed, aerodynamics and looking to the future. 
 
At the end of the month one design theme will be picked and the design process will be exposed weekly through our 
behind the design blog and social media.  

Please let us know what you think. All feedback will be put into the design pot so be brave and email us your thoughts.
matthew@mhdwatches.com

 

1st July 2020

Can you help us design our next watch?

  The global pandemic has delayed and slowed down projects everywhere including our next watch release the Type 1,  coming soon!

This hasn't stopped us but it has given us some time to start our a new watch project. In fact it’s given us an idea. We are going to be transparent with our next design process and share it with you over the coming weeks and months here on our 'Behind the design' blog and social media channels. At the moment the brief is wide open. We want your ideas, comments and feedback. What are your watch preferences?

To kick things off, check out this time lapse concept sketch off a modern automotive designed watch with the MHD Design DNA.  We look forward to your feedback, via email and social media posts, contact me any time. matthew@mhdwatches.com


 

MHD Type 1 Bugatti sketch

The MHD Type 1 watch coming soon! Check out exclusive content by clicking here.

How it's done in 20 seconds 

 

We take watch designs from sketch to production, in the same way the Morgan Aero Super Sports design process did, as seen above.
The Aero Super Sports was designed by Matthew in May 2008 and was launched 12 months later at the Villa D'este Concourse in Italy. It takes about the same amount of time to design and develop a new MHD Watch today, as it did the Aero Super Sports back in 2008.
 Coming Soon. MHD Type 1, Check it out in more detail here!
Concept sketches and influence of the MHD Type 1, Coming Soon!  Check it out in more detail here!
The Morgan Eva GT concept car (shown above). These initial concept sketches above were next taken into a cad modelling stage that developed the forms/surfaces, as well as integrated the engineering structure.   This data was then used to build the Eva GT concept car that was later launched at the Pebble Beach Concourse in 2010.

 

In parallel, the same design process is used today for our MHD Watches (see below an early MHDSA2 sketch), where we start with hand drawn sketches, before we progress forward into to the cad modelling stage, where data is then used to build a watch.

Even though our MHD watches are smaller in scale to cars, we take just as much time and effort in our design process. It is the attention to detail that makes a product successful, no matter what the scale. 

  

MHD SA2 Steel dial –stainless steel - mens motorsports watch – Automatic mechanical 24 jewel miyota movement –Seat belt material nato strap - MHD watches
Be it a car or a watch, everything starts with a biro sketch. This sketch shows an early development of our skeltonised AGT case design.

 

 

Each MHD Watch design goes through a specification stage, where we pick just the right colours and finishes to compliment the design. There are hundreds of options tried before the final colour ways are selected. This spec page is from the SA2 launch edition design.

 

MHD SA2 Launch Edition–black - mens motorsports watch – Automatic mechanical 24 jewel miyota movement –Seat belt material nato strap - MHD watches 

Car Designers are taught to keep tension in every line so that all surfaces and form look fast.  
These quick sketch ideations for the SA2 design show this process when trying to get the idea down from head to paper.
  

 

We take design influence from all parts of the automotive world to create an engineered design aesthetic.  The SA2 design sketch above starts to explore how the three part case works together, and looks at different influences and finishes from some of our favourite vehicles.

 

MHD SA2 Launch Edition–black - mens motorsports watch – Automatic mechanical 24 jewel miyota movement –Seat belt material nato strap - MHD watches 

Rough sketch ideation is all about getting ideas on paper as fast as possible.
The sketches above, that show an idea for the SA2, are loose and rough but they show the idea of having a two piece case design with a floating outer chassis around the centre barrel.
 
MHD SA2 Launch Edition–black - mens motorsports watch – Automatic mechanical 24 jewel miyota movement –Seat belt material nato strap - MHD watches

   

After the sketch stage comes the sketch model development stage. This was an early sketch cad model for the SA2, where there can be a long process of changes to make the watch functional, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing.

 

MHD SA2 Launch Edition–black - mens motorsports watch – Automatic mechanical 24 jewel miyota movement –Seat belt material nato strap - MHD watches

As the sketch process develops, the sketch detail improves and because of this the form and volume development improves. These Sketches were a design concept for the SA2 case design.

 

 

This is a cad sketch model for the SA2. This design was rejected as it didn't keep to the original design intension of having a lightweight looking outer case shape. 

 

 

 

 

 

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