Soon: Timepiece Phenomena review | Watch what happens next

Soon: Timepiece Phenomena review | Watch what happens next


Inspiration can come from anywhere. As Designers, we look at everything around us to spur creativity, often sifting through hay stacks for the tiniest of needles. Certain objects always seem to give us vision: shoes, sculpture, watches.

But what if we did the reverse? What if we took other avenues of Industrial Design and turned them back onto the original inspiration factories in a sort of ouroboros of stimulation? In his latest book, Designer Olivier Gamiette took that very approach. He took cars, space ships, steampunk and created timepieces out of them.

And the results are pretty stunning.

Soon: Timepiece Phenomena is a sort of hybrid between a personal sketchbook and a series of product development stories. With this book, Gamiette takes his love of watches and applies his automotive design skillset to create conceptual products that bend the notion of how to tell time on one’s wrist. He has no training as a watchmaker, no experience designing or building watches. But, perhaps that’s why his visions are so unique and thought-provoking.


The book centers on three distinct watch collections: Invaders, based on space craft, Mutants, which bend the “genetics” of how to tell time, and Ultimates, a sort of premium level of timepieces that focus on the beautiful mechanisms behind the motions. Each of these sets provides a rainbow of designs, from the near(er) term to the very futuristic, each intriguing in its own way.

The collections are presented with high-quality renderings and the pen sketches that led up to them, showing the thought process behind the development. On the semi-gloss paper and black backgrounds the high contrast images pop off the page, delivering depth that seems to magnify a wafer thin watch body into deep space. The image quality is so good, that I feel they’re worthy of being reprinted poster sized and hung on a wall.


Gamiette often posts notes as to why he went a specific direction, drawing on early airplane engines or graphical hypnotism. A quick glance is all it takes to see these influences, adding to the inventiveness of the ideas.

It’s worth noting that though these are all concept watches and couldn’t truthfully be built in their current forms, but Gamiette has spent a lot of development to make sure that motions and mechanisms are at least feasible.

Beyond the watches themselves, Olivier has included an entire section of tutorials for how he accomplished many of his images and designs. This, I find, is incredibly helpful for not only seeing the step-by-step process of how to create similar images but also how to let software like Photoshop and Illustrator actually guide imagination.


Whether it intends to or not, the book accomplishes in delivering an underlying message: regardless of level of training on a subject matter, if we have the drive and passion and love for something we can be just as creative — if not more — than those that are, and have the ability to see things from completely new and fresh perspectives. For Gamiette that perspective is realized in his watches. For the rest of us, this book and project can serve as a good example of how to let our own creativity reveal itself, fueled by a devotion to our obsessions.

Soon: Timepiece Phenomena is available now at all major booksellers. This review is based on a hard cover edition of the book sent by the publisher, Design Studio Press, to SideQuesting (and our sister site CarDesignFetish).