How Motorola's Stunning New Smartwatch Was Designed

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Motorola wowed us earlier this week with its sleek and incredibly watch-like take on the smartwatch. Now, Moto's design chief Jim Wicks has explained the creative process that led to the new device.

Speaking to The Verge, Wicks has described the design story behind the new watch. Here are some choice cuts before you read the whole thing.


On Why They Binned the Idea of a Square Watch Face

"Every time you do one, no matter how awesome you might think it is, if it's square, everyone's just kind of like 'ehhh...' And you sit there and you think about making it a little bit thinner, or a little bit bigger, a little bit heavier — you work for all those things and you still get that kind of feeling. And then finally we realised we're not going to break through that ceiling, even with our peers, if we can't get out of the 'eh' zone."


On Keeping Things Simple

"It goes into a familiar space and it does it in a way that allows you to replace something you have now or something you gave up before with this new device, which is both emotionally and culturally familiar. This device is made to function as a watch on your wrist the way a watch would. To not just look that way, but to work that way for people. Our goal, I'll tell you, is that when I'm sitting here and I lift up my watch to look at it, I'll see the time... Unless there's something else that's more important for me to see."


On the Look of the Device

"We really focused on the watch face: let's make that dial, so to speak, the hero. And we tried to reduce everything else to its purest form, so it's the most iconic that it can be, but not to the point where it turns into a brown, Dieter Rams-like super-simplified kind of thing. It makes it very iconic in nature, but also has kind of an approachability and a softness with the body."


On the Fact That Moto Didn't Know About Android Wear

"It was perfect timing. The cool thing was the area we were looking at and the approach we were taking actually resonated really well with what Android Wear was doing. So we were really quite surprised, when the time came that they started to communicate with all the potential vendors, that there was an opportunity there."

Which was... lucky. Wicks finishes up by explaining that "there's going to be a lot more that you see — we haven't laid out everything that we're doing yet," which is rather tantalising. Read the full interview over on Verge. [Verge]