The Design Journey

Designed and developed in-house

Sidereus watches were designed and developed in-house by our co-founder Bryan Leech, a product designer with almost forty years’ experience designing products for both indigenous and multinational companies in Ireland and overseas in the Far East, Africa, the Caribbean and Southern America.

The watch designs were originally conceived as a one-off showpieces for ‘Timelines’, a retrospective exhibition of designs by the Sidereus co-founders for ID2015, Year of Irish Design. Content with having designed, prototyped and assembled three working watches that, perhaps, should have been where this story ended. However, a passing comment from our friend Giles Ellis, watch designer and founder of the Schofield Watch Company, became the catalyst for progressing and refining the watch designs for production. The rest is history.

Design inspiration

Inspiration is such an important factor when designing timepieces and a talk entitled “Horology: A child of Astronomy”, delivered at Salon QP in 2014 was the ‘eureka moment’ that turned a personal interest in watches into a professional one. The presentation included an image of Newgrange, a Neolithic monument that has marked time for over 5,000 years. An inspirational seed had been sown and a design brief was drawn up to design a watch that would celebrate our ancestors’ contribution to the origins of horology.

Distinctive case profile

To maintain the integrity of the design concept through to production we designed a case with just two parts, a case bezel that clearly takes inspiration from the tumulus at Newgrange, and a monobloc caseback, complete with domed exhibition window and gently curved lugs that presents the ‘ground’ to support the watch bezel. Refined enough to wear as a dress watch and sufficiently robust to wear as an everyday watch.

Modified Swiss Made movement

At the heart of every Sidereus watch is a modified automatic movement produced by Sellita SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

During the design phase we collaborated extensively with Sellita to develop customised movements for service in our watches. Modifications include a unique moon phase disc featuring a scattering of rhodium-plated Sidereus stars and an automatic winding rotor with bespoke graphic elements and finishing such as a machined Sidereus star logo, etched Sidereus lettering and a colimaçon papier (spiral paper) finish applied to both the rotor plate and oscillating weight.

A crown that offers good affordance

Every element of our watches are bespoke and the screw-down crown received as much attention as the watch case during the design process. The crown is essentially a cylindrical form with an axial array of tapered grooves that drop downwards until they intersect the convex crown face. The grooves on the crown offer good affordance for adjusting the date, time and moon functions and for winding the main spring when you might first take the watch out of storage. Finally, the star logo, in a polished embossed style, sits proudly on the crown face.

Proprietary hand set

We designed and commissioned tooling for our own bespoke set of hands. Our proprietary hand set include tapered semi-skeletonised baton-style hour and minute hands with a polished nickel-plated finish and a distinctive orange centre second hand with cruciform detail on the counterpoise.

The second hand was designed to represent the light of the winter solstice traveling down the passage to the inner chamber of the tumulus. The plan of the inner chambers are represented on the counterpoise of the second hand.

Uncluttered interface

Our watches have an uncluttered dial with twelve luminous dot hour markers and printed minute markers that frame the outer ring of the dial. The inner dial introduces an embossed radial line pattern designed to accentuate the smooth motion of the second hand on mechanical watches.

A difference in height between the date/time and moon phase movements presented some additional design challenges. The solution was to design two separate dials, a stepped and slightly domed dial for the date/time model and a stepped flat dial for the moon phase model and this ensures that the distance between the second hand and the underside of the dial is consistent across both models.

An unbroken ‘firmament’

The top surface of the bezel and the crystal share the same radius affording a unified and unbroken ‘firmament’ across the front of the watch. A double-domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coatings was specified for the bezel opening to offer an unhindered view of the dial and hands just beneath the sapphire surface.

Sidereus star

We based the design of the five-armed star logo on rock inscriptions found at ancient sites in the Boyne Valley. These inscriptions are testament to a prehistoric peoples’ concept of the world: the flat earth, the firmament of the heavens overhead, the Sun, the Moon and the stars.

Dial text has been kept to a minimum with just the company logo and name below the twelve o’clock position and the word Ireland printed discreetly above the six o’clock position.

Custom designed pin buckle

We weren’t content with an off-the-shelf buckle, therefore, you won’t be surprised to find that there’s a custom designed Sidereus buckle to fasten your watch securely onto your wrist.

Finishing matches the four watch finishes, polished, combination brushed and polished, ion-plated grey and ion-plated black.