Behind the Build #009 - Square Pilot / Cockpit Style Watches
Many people think of clocks and watches as being round. From the time we are kids, we probably see more round clocks than any other shape. Some estimates say that 80% of wearable and wall timepieces in the market are round!
We may also be biased to a round shape because the hands move in a circle making the round watch a natural, even logical choice. The early wristwatches were all round, small pocket timepieces with a strap attached.
Today, we are going to look at some amazing square watches. Here at namokiMODS, we love watches – and keep adding to the watches we offer our clients.
Square vs. Round Watches
Same, same, but different. Source: A Blog to Watch
Square watches are comfortable to wear and have a design that many people love. Wristwatches were predominantly designed for women back when they were just getting started, and some examples are the Cartier Tank or Longines watches that were extremely popular a century ago.
Also, with square shapes watchmakers take advantage of the surfaces' bigger area to include additional functional features, therefore square shapes are very suitable for field watches – although the shape is rarely used today for tool watches.
The release of smartwatches really heated up the debate between round and square watch form factors. Source: Wareable
With the recent proliferation of digital smartwatches, three of the main players in the industry (Motorola, LG and Samsung) intend to deliver wearable devices that are conceptually a watch first, with online capabilities as a secondary feature.
Taking a different approach, the consumer electronics industry icon Apple chose to produce square shaped smartwatches to both attract the female audience while also reinforcing the design-led distinction of Apple products.
They support the idea that square is design and high-tech oriented, and round is more familiar. Apple products are the absolute winners when it comes to desirable consumer electronics. It's all about what the chosen design accomplishes for us on an emotional level – and the square shape fits the bill.
Here are some other square watches that are widely popular – and may act as an inspiration for a Seiko mod using namokiMODS parts!
Bell & Ross: Most Known Brand of Cockpit Style Watches
The names of two close friends, Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo, inspired the watch brand Bell & Ross, born in 1992 as a university project.
The company began with a group of professional watch designers matched with experts in aeronautical gear. These engineers worked towards delivering high-quality professional watches that would perform in almost any circumstances.
The namesake duo of the Bell & Ross brand. Source: Guam Watches
Belamich was responsible for the design, and Rosello in charge of operating the firm. Their first models were manufactured by German watchmaker Sinn and were very popular with people who wanted simple watches.
By 2005 the founders had shifted their business model by launching the in-house manufactured BR-01 model which became famous for its round dial within a square case.
Bell & Ross infused its timepieces with the history of civil aviation (airplane cockpit-inspired timepieces) as well as the military experience that goes along with it.
Bell & Ross watches have a vintage aura to them. Source: The Rake
Noticeably, B&R is not as well-known as other luxury watch brands, maybe due to lack of marketing. But the brand has long been famous among watch enthusiasts and continues to grow in popularity due to its constant improvements and innovation.
Currently, all B&R watches are designed and manufactured at the manufacturer’s facility at La Chaux-de-Fonds, a Swiss city in the canton of Neuchâtel (a few kilometers south of the French border).
One of the Most Popular Bell & Ross Watches: The BR03-92 Diver
Even from a distance, a Bell & Ross watch is simple to recognize: its iconic square B&R Case has become a defining design aspect of its most popular watches.
A hybrid pilot/diver watch. Source: GPHG
The design engineers at Bell & Ross took notice of the two growing trends in the watchmakers industry: the ‘all blacks’ (or mostly black) and the ‘matte black’ case and dials, which certainly allowed Bell & Ross to deliver an incredible watch design: the BR03-92 Diver Ceramic.
This matte-black, scratch-resistant ceramic watch couples with great accent colors on their dials.
Would you rather take this diving or flying a craft? Source: Monochrome Watches
This diver watch is part of a larger collection of BR03-92 professional watches. It has hour and minute markers of white stainless steel and the hour hand and the water resistance indicator have a slight orange tone.
The BR03-92-Diver comes with a black rubber strap that accommodates the width of the square case to ensure comfortable wear. This watch can also be used with a black NATO strap.
A diving bezel spins unidirectionally and is made of matte black ceramic with white markers and a thick triangle at the start position.
It is one of many iterations of Bell & Ross's iconic square case design, and is widely loved in the watch community.
Starting the Trend: Seiko SilverWave Cockpit Watch
Years before Bell & Ross launched its aviation-inspired timepiece, Seiko delivered their Cockpit 2628-0040 to the market.
In 1981, the Seiko Silverwave 2628-0040 also won Seiko the Good Design award issued by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Seiko's first Cockpit Style watch releases, the PEQ011 and PEQ012. Source: The Spring Bar
This timepiece was conceived by Seiko within their Silverwave collection (a Seikomatic and Sportsmatic sub-brand), but it didn’t become as popular as Bell & Ross’ BR-01 model.
The Seiko Silverstone Cockpit watch was manufactured from 1981 to 1983, and then was cut from the product line. The timepiece has a modest 2-jewel Cal. 2628A hacking quartz movement, and looks that seem wonderful in retrospect.
The dial was available in either a blue sunburst finish or in green, and a tiny seconds subdial at 6 o'clock rounds out the aviation-inspired style.
A tool watch with unusual but good looks. Source: Reddit
Extremely legible Arabic numeral typefaces with single heavy ticks at the hour markers and an easily visible double tick at the 12 o'clock mark contrast with this. The sword-style hour and minute hands go well with the fonts.
The watch face includes four “mounting” screws and a black rubberized surface, similar to how cockpit instruments are treated to reduce reflection. The original Silverwave sported a tsunami logo on the case back, however it was just marked as water-resistant.
The thick straps match the chunky body of the SilverWave well. Source: Watchuseek
The original thick rubber strap on the Silverwave Cockpit was inspired by aircraft design as well.
As you’d expect, the Seiko wasn’t nearly as expensive as a latter-day Bell & Ross. A Silverwave Cockpit 2628 would have set a buyer back 25,000 yen ($670 in today’s money) for either the dark navy blue or the dark green version.
The Silverwave Cockpit looks great. They're a lot smaller (34mm) than B&R's current pieces (42mm), which makes the Seiko more appealing to design-conscious collectors who value historically significant timepieces.
Newly-Launched Square Watch from Namoki
If you want to create your own square watch – we are happy to help you with the project. We have created a Seiko mod case that allows you to use SKX007 mod parts with a high-quality square case, and build up a watch that is totally unique.
We call it our NMK921 B&R case, taking design cues from the BR03-92 diver mentioned earlier. It is a Diver-Pilot hybrid case made of surgical-grade stainless steel, which can dive down to 200m. If you don’t want to take it underwater though, you can style it with a pilot dial and bezel for a more faithful-to-the-inspiration look.
We designed our square case to accept any skx007 mod parts (save for the bracelet), so that you can use industry standard Seiko mod parts to create any kind of look you want. We are offering our case in brushed steel, black PVD, gold PVD, as well as rose gold PVD. The case bundle also already includes a square caseback and matching crown.
With namokiMODS, Seiko mods are easy, and you can get the right parts for just about any look you can imagine. Our new square case can be used to create a field watch, or a pilot watch, and you can choose from our extensive catalog of dials, bezels, and bezels inserts.
At namokiMODS you can find some of the best aftermarket Seiko mod parts to customize your watch, or you can build from the ground up with our Seiko mod parts.
You will find a wide variety of Seiko mod parts for your Seiko SKX 007 wristwatch, as well as a host of other parts for popular Seiko models.
Please take a look at our online catalog, and browse some of the highest quality aftermarket Seiko mod parts available today. With namokiMODS, quality comes first. Our clients know they are getting an incredible value for their money, and solid gear that will last a long time.
Thanks for this article. Touching on the history of square/aviation-inspired watch cases is interesting, however, curiosity forces me to wonder why no one touches on the fact that the B&R BR01 is essentially copied from the Trintec 9060W that was already being produced.