-- design
-- fabrication
-- dMBA



KEY INSIGHT: Harley riders love to customize their bikes to express their personal style; why not let them customize their watches?

STRATEGY: Design a family of watches based on a modular platform that allows components to be interchanged.

DESCRIPTION: This was the job that got me into product design. I planned on being an architect, but didn't much like the idea of spending years doing someone else's work. I fell into this job by accident.

My first task was to submit concept designs in order to win a design and manufacturing contract for Harley-Davidson, licensed by Bulova. Every design would be approved (or rejected) by designers at H-D USA. As the token US designer in a Hong Kong firm, I realized I'd better demonstrate a solid understanding of the brand.

OUTCOME:Four styles from this collection went into production. Five other styles I designed during my tenure at Studio 268 also found their way to the shelves of Harley-Davidson stores globally, including a special 100th Anniversary series. My designs for the H-D account produced over 1M USD per year in net revenue for Studio 268.

The brief I submitted with the "Custom Series" follows:

The “Custom Series” of watches draws upon some of the raw elements that make Harley so distinctive. In every showroom, thousands of items adorn the walls, which riders can purchase to customize their already unique machines.

Today, Harley-Davidson represents a long and colorful history that took off in 1942. Nearly 90,000 of these legendarily “tough” bikes served the allied forces during World War II. Harley still draws inspiration from that experience and continues to build big, bad machines that are technologically advanced and superbly crafted.

The “Bar and Shield” and all it represents about Harley-Davidson has gone through many cultural revolutions over the years. Today’s Harley still has the image of the Hell’s Angels on its coattails, but new generations of riders are twisting the throttle all around the world. One thing remains the same, an appreciation of the workmanship and the heritage that comes standard on every Harley.

Building upon this essential part of the Harley experience, each case is built to the same dimensions so that a variety of straps can be freely and easily interchanged. In this sense, each case has the ability to take on a new personality that better suits the personal taste of the wearer. Common Harley parts inspire the details for the cases. This makes the forms specifically familiar, yet the analogy is abstract enough so that the shapes retain their own visual identity without simply being a styling trick.

Material and form have been carefully considered. A Harley-Davidson is comprised of a variety of seemingly disparate materials, textures, and shapes, arriving at a visually and technologically sound solution. The interplay of machined steel, chrome, leather, rubber, organic and geometric shapes, and wild to tame colors are artfully twisted together into a thing of beauty.

Both the straps and cases of the custom series are intended to comment on this relationship which juxtaposes hard and soft, sharp and smooth, light and dark, and the balance of them. The form also considers the wearer as an integral part of the design, just as the rider is on a motorcycle.

Copyright © 2010 by Jason Hui