The evolution of watchmaking will be interchangeable. That’s according to this Swedish watchmaker, which developed a modular watch design with both traditional mechanical and modern electronic movements.
Watchmakers are usually backwards looking. Not that they don’t innovate with the use of new materials and manufacturing techniques that make their timepieces more durable and precise. But more often than not, what’s praised is the history or heritage of the company, going back decades if not centuries.
Halda, however, is promoting a different narrative. The Swedish watchmaker is all about evolution and looking forward, both in time and in space.
Yes, the brand is still true to classical mechanical watchmaking, incorporating solid movements from Swiss manufactures in their timepieces. But that’s only half of the story. The other half is focused squarely on future technologies to measure performance with modern electronic movements.
The brand’s motto is that "the future is interchangeable" and the concept is simple. Halda watches offer a time platform based on different watch modules, which can be switched out with ease to ensure optimal performance, depending on the intended use.
The first manifestation of this modular concept tackled the final frontier: space. After testing and consultations with astronauts, the Halda Space Discovery was born. The watch design was so well received that it picked up a Red Dot design award, one of the most prestigious and most recognized design accolades.
A creation of designer Andreas Lundquist the limited edition timepiece features two interchangeable time modules. One is mechanical and can we worn on a evening out like any other luxury watch. The other is electronic, and it befits real life astronauts and even includes a "take off" count down.
As if conquering space wasn’t enough, the brand then conquered the race tracks with he Race Pilot – a racing instrument developed with race engineers and tested by Formula One drivers. Similar to it’s sister watch, it also features an in-house electronic movement that is meant for tracking performance on the track. It can also be swapped out for a a mechanical engine built by Zenith.
What Halda seems to show us with these two watches is that we can have our cake and eat it too. The watches are precisely at the intersection of fine mechanical watchmaking and future-looking instruments that are meant for maximizing performance. Depending on the circumstances, the wearer isn’t asked to sacrifice anything.
Unfortunately, however, most of us are not astronauts or racing drivers. That means that these timepieces have a very specific clientele: real life astronauts and racing pilots, or those with enough money to pretend they are.
So is Halda the future of watchmaking design? Well, their modular concept certainly has merit in the industry going forward, but at least for now, it will probably not be widely available for a general public.