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From Idea to Functional Prototype

“It is simple: If I never try anything, I never learn anything”

Hugh Prather, Author of Notes to Myself

The Watch Ad Maiora did not come into existence overnight. It was over a year of development from idea creation, validation, and prototyping. The prototyping was connected with a LOT of failures and we have learned like a million ways how it can not work. Every step mattered, and now we want to share with you how the first functional prototype of Ad Maiora was developed.

The Idea of a Hybrid Smartwatch

To begin with, we are passionate lovers of mechanical watches, with no doubt. That is why we constantly see that there is something missing in the current market. The industry, in our eyes, has been stagnated for years now. At the same time, we acknowledge the value of smartwatches and their functionality. An occurring problem for us with smartwatches, however, was the often unappealing and childish design. The charm and fashionability of a mechanical watch can beat any wearable device easily.
It is apparent that many smartwatch producers actually are already trying to tackle this issue by, for example, faking an analog dial. Their results are, however, not enough for us. You can read more about this in our previous article Why do smartwatches fake an analog dial.
We want to combat this problem by combining the best of the two worlds. Hence, create a watch that has both: the practicality of a smartwatch and the soul and beauty of a mechanical watch. Born was our vision of Ad Maiora, the first mechanical watch with smart features.
The idea sketch from the beginning of 2019.
The idea sketch from the beginning of 2019.

The Creation of Protypes

After several validations, our designers and engineers started working to bring this idea to life. We invested all our passion and affection into it. Prototyping is hard, it is mostly failing. You have to change your mind to be grateful to fail. We have 3D printed all our design proposals and did a lot of tests on them. We have used The Iteration Cycle, it is a process that you can use to improve anything over time. It has six major steps:
  1. Watch: What works? What doesn’t?
  2. Ideate: What could you improve? What are your options?
  3. Guess: Based on experience, which idea do you think will make the biggest impact? Which?
  4. Decide which change to make.
  5. Act: Make the change.
  6. Measure: Was it positive or negative? Should you keep it or go back?

Iteration is a cycle. Once you do it, you repeat it. The more clearly we have defined what we’re after with each iteration, the better the feedback and the value we have received from each cycle. By this method, we were able to end up with a promising design of the watch.

Iteration of our prototypes: from the left - 1st and 2nd are feasibility studies, 3rd and 4th are design proposals, and the last is the test of 3D Metal Printing
Iteration of our prototypes: from the left - 1st and 2nd are feasibility studies, 3rd and 4th are design proposals, and the last is the test of 3D Metal Printing

The First Fully Fuctional Watch

Nevertheless, to create a real functional prototype we needed more. We started our cooperation with Miyota and received our first movements, looked for the highest-quality parts (such as sapphire glass) at global suppliers, and also began a partnership with a local watchmaker. The first 5 bodies were made on CNC with the highest precision and the surface was finished by the hands of one experienced jewelry maker.
It was an incredible feeling to hold our own watch in our hands for the first time. It was Our first little victory on our journey to deliver Ad Maiora to you. Please, stick around to find us on Kickstarter soon. Support us and make this vision come true.
Leitners Ad Maiora prototype in the hand of a watchmaker.
Leitners Ad Maiora prototype in the hand of a watchmaker.

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We're launching on Kickstarter this November!

  • Be the first to know when your watch is available
  • Enjoy an exclusive super early deal up to 50% off
  • Redefine the classic style of a smartwatch

We're launching on Kickstarter this November!

  • Be the first to know when your watch is available
  • Enjoy an exclusive super early deal up to 50% off
  • Redefine the classic style of a smartwatch