"With too many contemporary watches you
can't tell what time it is" - Tom Dixon


Interview: in this exclusive interview designer Tom Dixon tells us why he decided to design his first watch - and how he wanted to make it easy to read the time (+ movie).

Block Watch by Tom Dixon

"We've spent a lot of time doing lighting over the last ten years, and also more recently furniture, and now we've decided it's time to also do accessories," says Dixon, speaking in the Tom Dixon showroom at The Dock in north-west London.

Block Watch by Tom Dixon

"I'm trying to produce something with an expressive neutrality," he says. "I tend to try and work out what I can strip out without losing character."

Block Watch by Tom Dixon

The result is Block Watch, which features a square case stamped out of stainless steel or brass. The watch face is circular, with etched numerals and markers. The watch's hour, minute and second hands are powered by a high-quality Swiss movement.

Block Watch by Tom Dixon

"I tend to try and work out what I can strip out without losing character," says Dixon, explaining his design philosophy. "A watch has really got to be round if it's analogue, because the hands sweep round. I wanted to make sure you could tell the time - because with all too many contemporary watches you can't tell what time it is. And I wanted to set it in a square because the strap has to go to a square anyway."

Block Watch by Tom Dixon

The watch is available in either stainless steel or rose gold (plated) with matching mesh straps, or in brass with a chunky brown leather strap.

The mesh strap is inspired by vintage TV detective Kojak, Dixon says. "It's got this chain link bracelet, which I guess is a reference to when I was growing up - Kojak, maybe."

He adds: "It's just the minimal elements you need to make a watch all reduced to their bare essentials and, I hope, still expressive enough to be something you want to buy."

Block Watch by Tom Dixon is available to preorder now on Dezeen Watch Store with free worldwide shipping. Prices start at £166.67 excluding VAT.


  • napoleon

    I find the size and proportions of the square case, relative to the dial itself, quite awkward. Same goes for the finishing, the number, notches, letters… Not really a watch or an object to die for. I can also imagine it catching on my sleeves, shirt or other people’s clothes every so often.

    Perhaps would have been just elegant enough without the square, but I guess Tom wanted to make something not often seen before. Perhaps it’s so for practical reasons, such as some of the above.

  • Jose

    too sharp… that would have looked better with a circled case. Maybe more ordinary, yes, but nicer.

  • Not sure why Tom wanted to include numbers and graduations on the face that are cut or etched into the material, so they don’t stand out. These would be difficult at best to see in various light conditions.

    If trying to work out what to strip out without losing character, these could go as they are not going to provide much benefit.

  • Isaac

    Dear me, some basics not dealt with here! Ergonomics of the square face looks poor and this also delivers this product as form over function? On a purely aesthetical level you need to find another finish other than the copper/brass scenario Mr Dixon. Must do better.

  • Xit

    The time on this watch is 10 past TOM DIXON.

  • AWW

    Not being able to tell the time so easily might mean that you’ll enjoy the time that passes rather than constantly thinking about the time you have left.

    • Guest

      Ah yes, that is why I buy watches. Because I want to not think about time. (Just gentle joking, but seriously, I buy watches so I know what time it is!)

      • AWW

        Food for thought!

  • orp

    “With too many contemporary watches you can’t tell what time it is.” If you want to make a watch easy and quick to read, make it digital.

  • Grant

    I don’t really buy the description of his design process. While I agree that current watches aren’t good at their only function, it seems to me there was more of a pre-conceived image that he designed too rather than letting the process create the product.

    Stripping a watch down to its necessary parts seems like a worthwhile endeavour, but if that’s the strategy why would it not be simpler, more elegant, and perhaps more functional? When I think of reduced, I don’t think gold and squares. It may be just me, but “making a band square” because the watch happens to be seems like a missed design opportunity.

  • JayCee

    If people are stupid enough to buy a watch that doesn’t tell the time… isn’t that just a bracelet?

  • Joe

    The headline image of Tom Dixon holding the watch with that earnest face, combined with the typical Dezeen editorial is pretty hilarious.

  • Justsaying

    Dixon. The Zara of design.

  • Craves

    Wow, that’s an ugly, ugly watch… and it still looks impossible to read the time too!

    And don’t get me started on the imbecilic description of his design process. If that’s really the level of his design thought, then he really is a lucky guy to be where he is!

  • juliana

    Fortunately everyone has his own taste! I personally like the watch by Issey Miyake, because it’s plain and timeless.

  • James Tarry

    Personally I didn’t like the metal straps on these watches, however the leather one is nice; it fits well, doesn’t get caught on items (as some thought it would) and the etching is readable (as some people doubted). The photos don’t do them justice.

  • qman

    Extraordinary. The sharpness of case may be smoothed via a large engulfing strap. I would like to see the back as well.