could have been designed by Dieter Rams, since his loud speaker from the seventies is exactly the same concept as the iMac and when we look at the beautiful leather strap on Apple’s new watch, it is clear that Apple’s designer Jonathan Ive must have loved that BRAUN digital watch from 1978. Since the new Apple watch does not just have a single leather strap, no it is very differently stitched and equal looking as the Braun watch, an idea that could, as far as now, not be found on any another watch!
During talks and speeches about watches, at meetings, events or presentations, everyone usually means mechanical watches. I hardly know anyone who has a selection of quartz watches in his collection, maybe an Oyster Quartz. An exception however is the Casio G-Shock line. These series of amazing ugly plastic timepieces still warm up a certain group of collectors but I never understood the love for these Japanese watches. Now you might think that I am too snobby to look at cheaper battery powered watches.
Well the contrary is true.
More than forty years ago, in 1973 Seiko-Epson launched the 06LC watch as the first LCD watch to reach the market. The watch was in all steel with matching bracelet. Shortly after that, in 1978 to be exact, BRAUN, the company that made fame with their electric razors and cylinder shaped coffee machines, followed and introduced a really cool looking digital watch, on a smartly designed leather strap. It was a very attractive watch, that I used to have and wore for a couple of years, before I lost it, during a holiday. The watch had an attractive metal case, a lighted, digital LCD display and a very different and good-looking leather strap and buckle. It was designed by top designer Dieter Rams, who is responsible for most of the good designs, that were released by BRAUN. Just 3000 pieces of these watches were made.
The work of Dieter Rams has always been very popular among people interested in design and especially among graphic- and industrial designers. Not only Rams electric razors, clocks and coffee machines were great pieces of design, also his audio products were very popular and often seen around 1975, in homes and apartments where furniture by Le Corbusier, Eero Saarinen or Eileen Grey ran the show.
His style is even today still the inspiration for companies like Apple and even Bang & Olufsen. But Dieter Rams never got a credit from anyone who copied shamelessly his ideas and designs. The look of the BRAUN calculator, with the typical round keys could be found in the first Apple iPhone. The calculator, when activated, looked on screen exactly like the real one of the Seventies, designed by Dieter Rams. It was so exactly copied, that Apple was forced to change it. The famous iMac, where I am writing this article on, (left Braun, right the Apple iMac)
But not only Apple looked at the work of Dieter Rams, also designer Cecile Mans of B&O, the company that’s famous for their good design, studied carefully what BRAUN had in their collections in the past and while most of these great Braun products are not available anymore, it is good to know that the cute leather strap on her award winning B&O BeoPlay A2
(left Braun, right the new B&O Beoplay)
was originally also an idea of Dieter Rams. The BRAUN BN0076 watch is more than just another digital watch, it’s a time piece with a design history of almost 40 years and a watch with a great wrist presence.
The watch was re-released some time ago and although it is not that easy to find, you should be able to grab it at your Braun dealer or on the internet, for around Euro 240.-
It does of course not have the sturdiness or waterproofing of the G-Shock, but the BRAUN BN0076 looks a lot better and a less childish, no matter what you’re wearing.