The face of the future

Clean, clear and elegant, the first watch from Volvo Cars’ design department is an example of classic Scandinavian design.

September 2017

Like a car, a watch is as much a piece of engineering as a design. “You cannot just design it,” says Petter Hillinge, the Volvo Cars’ designer responsible for creating Volvo Cars’ first watch. “Rather, a watch is constructed first and then designed. You have to build it up in layers, depending on what movement you have inside and how the strap should be attached to the watch. It’s these things that really define how it’s made and how it looks.”

This is where Volvo Cars’ design team started from when they began work. In contrast with a recent trend for very large faces, Volvo Cars’ Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath – who is an avid watch collector – wanted a small dial in order to create a sophisticated timepiece. “Watches are getting smaller, not bigger,” says Petter. “They’ve grown a lot but now the trend is reversing, so we wanted to create something lighter and more elegant.” Ingenlath also wanted fine detailing, but for it not to be overly complicated, and for the watch to be unisex.

The result is a watch that’s clearly Swedish – minimal without being cold, with elegant details that don’t overwhelm the design. Bold contrast between the case, face and hands provides interest without creating conflict. The details are confident so they can be kept to a minimum – another essential element of Scandinavian design – in order to create a clean look. There’s even a direct link to the new generation of Volvo Cars in the diamond pattern on the watch’s crown, which reflects the patterns that decorate the switchgear in the 90 cars.

“Watches are getting smaller, not bigger. We wanted to create something lighter and more elegant”


Volvo Cars Designer