Robb Design Portfolio: Out of This World

Like Magellan, who had trouble enlisting a patron for his 16th-century quest to find a new route to Asia, Everhard Vissers could not find a Swiss partner to produce his groundbreaking watch concept. “The industry is so entrenched, they have problems thinking beyond what has been done in the past,” says Vissers. “It is very difficult to do something new.” But eventually he found a watchmaker to build his Magellan 1521, which is named for the explorer and the year his expedition became the first to circumnavigate the globe.

Appropriately, Vissers came up with the idea on a sailboat. While gazing at a gyrocompass, he envisioned a watch with a floating mechanism inside. That was the genesis of the Magellan 1521, which depicts the Northern Hemisphere with a half-spherical dial. Curved hands follow the shape of the globe, and a “sun” hand (actually, the 24-hour hand) indicates the longitudinal position of the sun over the earth. The greatest challenge was finding a company that could produce the luminous and scratch-resistant sapphire glass dome.

The Magellan cannot help but attract attention, says Vissers. “Wearing it is like walking through a park with a Labrador puppy.”

Magellan Swiss Watches, 203.531.3276, www.magellan-watch.com

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