danish design - zen philosophy
FORGET ABOUT TIME - LET THE MOMENT RULE
obaku harmony Merging two things in an artful way means getting rid of everything not really needed. Paring something right down to the bare essentials of simplicity and then giving it life, shape and texture. Obaku Harmony is an exclusive collection of watches with a focus on simple, serene design. This collection is backed by a philosophy of blending the two different traditions of simplicity found in the European and Asian cultures.
simplicity is a lifestyle An oasis of calm, balance and harmony in the midst of a world in constant movement. Regardless of where on the planet we may be we all need our own personal paradise where we find pleasure in the small details. A soft curve, the spray from a wave or the sound of rustling leaves.
the philosophy of obaku harmony The idea that there should be a sense of calm and balance in the items we use to adorn ourselves is what gave birth to the Obaku Harmony collection. In Asia, Zen philosophies have given rise to a natural simplicity â€“ in both thought and act. Obaku Harmony takes its name from a branch of Zen philosophy and has created a universe characterised by a sense of calm â€“ free from all superfluous details. The Northern European countries have a long design tradition featuring functionality and simplicity of composition. Obaku Harmony has inherited the best from both these cultures, and has blended the simplicity found in both.
the unit y of simplicit y
ob ak u e motion s
infinity Obaku Harmony watches feature a design that is both classic and timeless. Infinity watches reflect a relaxed, unpretentious style via simple – yet confident – details. These are watches for people who recognise the importance of time, and who want classic watches with a new twist.
blossom Obaku Harmony design pays tribute to the delicate balance between untamed nature and man-made perfection. Blossom blends both of these, with a bold choice of colour and only partially tamed ruggedness. Together, these represent trendsetting design that exudes confidence. Blossom combines imagination, creativity and elegance in one simple design.
purity Purity and simplicity are the core of Obaku Harmony design. Purity is the light, white part of the collection, and reflects discretion in the delicate femininity of its details, with their origin in nature. Experience a flower discreetly patterned in the leather strap, the reflection of mother-of-pearl in the watch face or the sparkle of the crystal.
night Carefully considered design is one of the distinguishing features of Obaku Harmony . The design idiom in Night – from the dark part of the collection – radiates both simplicity and the mystique that only the night can bring. Night is for those who appreciate discretion, and who don’t need to demonstrate that time reflects power – it is a luxury we all deserve.
confidence The best way to achieve results is via determination and effort. Obaku Harmony creates C onfidence with a dynamic yet simple design to signal the idea of activity via performance. These watches are for the active person who wants to show an assured, physical style.
“This is an ultra-slim watch, which ensures that it is light and comfortable to wear . The design puts emphasis on simplicity , elegancy and functionality . With clearly indicated indexes and large centre-mounted hands, which are easy to tell apart, reading the time can be done by a quick glance at the dial. The watch comes in many variations; with a mesh band or a leather band, in a separate version for gents and ladies, and in a number of different colours including solid Titanium- and Stainless steel cases as well with titanium black- and brown coatings”
danish design by Christian Mikkelsen
V123 Gents size: Ø 38 mm titan glass
V 123 GTJMJ
“This is an ultra-slim watch, which ensures that it is light and comfortable to wear . The design puts emphasis on simplicity , elegancy and functionality . With clearly indicated indexes and large centre-mounted hands, which are easy to tell apart, reading the time can be done by a quick glance at the dial. The watch comes in many variations; with a mesh band or a leather band, in a separate version for gents and ladies, and in a number of different colours including solid Titanium- and Stainless steel cases as well with titanium black- and brown coatings” V123 LCIRN
V123 LCIRR danish design by Christian Mikkelsen
V123 Ladies size: Ø 28,5 mm titan glass
â€œUsing a classic case and pairing it with modernistic details and material, this watch has a youthful and fresh appeal. With its heavy mesh band and the asymmetrical place of the sub-dial, which indicates the date, this watch stands out as fashionable and unconventional in its design. The result of the multileveled main dial, sub-dial and index markers creates an impression of depth and dynamism as well as it improves legibilityâ€? danish design by Christian Mikkelsen
V124 Gents size: Ă˜ 41,5 mm titan glass. ecological movement
â€œWith a round case sitting on top of a rectangular stainless steel base, this watch artistically blends two contrasting geometrical forms in manner that gives it a masculine, fresh and robust appearance. Adding to this appearance is the chronographical features and the broad leather strap which is integrated into the case. Even though the case sits on a base, this watch is still relative thin and light, which both ensures that it keeps it elegancy and is comfortable to wearâ€? Danish design by Christian Mikkelsen
V125 Gents size: 35 mm
17 o b a k u h a r m o n y
“A chronograph watch with three sub-dials and a date indicator set into the main dial. The many details on the dial, and the technical features, give this watch a masculine expression. However , it is still kept in an elegant and stylish design, as evident from the thin contour lines on the dial, its architectural character , and its contrasting black and white colours. Matching the design of the case, the push-buttons, at 2 and 4 o’clock, make it easy to operate the chronograph”
Danish design by Lau Liengård Ruge
V126 Gents size: w 37 x 43,5 mm titan glass
We wanted to merge the design idioms from two dif ferent cultures. To create a collection of beautiful, ex clusive watches based on the idea of simplicity , with features from both the Asian and the Nordic design traditions. It might seem impossible to blend traditions that originate thousands of kilometres apart. Geographical distance means less and less due to globalisation. We now live in a world where similarities and a sense of community continually occur between people spread far and wide. With this as our starting point, Obaku Harmony went on working towards making our dream come true. Our quest for a point where the Nordic and Asian design idioms finally meet led us to a concept that seemed to crop up over and over again. Simplicity. For although these two traditions have been very dif ferent throughout history, simplicity is a fundamental element in both of them. In Asia, different life philosophies – such as Zen philosophy – have moulded a set of basic values that pay tribute to simplicity and the search for the essence in life, and of truth and calm. A path of seeking inward for something with deeper meaning. Simplicity is also a feature of the Nordic tradition. By contrast, this stems from practical necessity , not a spiritual philosophy . The focus is on functionality rather than shape, in order to get the most out of the materials used. This is how Obaku Harmony uncovered a set of basic values and a path that blends both traditions. Because merging two things in an artful way means getting rid of everything not really needed.
Paring something right down to the bare essentials of simplicity, and then giving it life, shape and texture. Obaku is the name of a branch of Zen philosophy – begun in China with numerous subsequent adherents in Japan. The basic belief in Obaku is the search for truth and deeper meaning by delving into the human mind. However, this blending of influences from both Asia and the Nordic countries also reflects the Western interest in the search for meaning in a hectic world, via the ancient philosophies of Asia. We live in an era in which the pace of life is intense, and we are always expected to do our best. Time works both for us and against us. Once in a while, however , we need to seek repose somewhere tranquil – where our senses are free of the constant bombardment of information and impres sions. Using both a unique design and a keen sense of detail, Obaku Harmony reflects the aim of finding peace in a straightforward artistic idiom that in no way intrudes, carefully avoiding superfluous decoration and sensory impressions that distract our attention from what is really important. Instead, we find pleasure in an attractive curve, a solitary stone or in the sheer beauty of the material. Obaku Harmony has inherited the best from two cul tures.
“This watch has a simple, clean and minimalistic design. By using the same width for both the strap and the case, the unbroken vertical lines give continuity and harmony. The design idea is completed by repeating the vertical in the brushing of the case and dial. The overall feeling is elegant composure.” danish design by Lau Liengård Ruge
V 127 LBBMB
V 127 LNIMN
V 127 LGGMG
V 127 LCIMC
V 127 LGGRR
V 127 LGIRB
V 127 LGIRW
V 127 LBIRW
V127 Ladies size: w 21 x h 35,8 mm titan glass
“Paring all superfluous details and focusing on the beauty of simplicity and purity, the design of this watch is a manifestation of the philosophy that lies behind the design-traditions at Obaku Harmony. With its little round case, its two legs that merge with the slender strap, in addition to its simple and pure design, this watch unmistakably appears as a feminine watch” danish design by Lau Liengård Ruge
V129 Ladies size: Ø 26 mm titan glass
“With the long wing-formed legs emanating from its round case structure, this watch appears as a real item of jewellery. The elegant and feminine face of the watch is not only beautiful to the eye, but in fact also functional. The combination of the three-dimensional effects and the grooved index markers on the dial both gives this watch an exciting appearance as well as it makes it easy to read the time.
Danish design by Lau Liengård Ruge
V130 Ladies size: Ø 24 mm titan glass
the obaku designers
Lau Lieng책rd Ruge (1976)
Christian Mikkelsen (1960)
good design is worth keeping
a watch tells a story
Lau Liengård Ruge is well versed in the art of immersing himself in the design process, in considering an idea for a long time, being willing to think on a grand scale and focusing on finally achieving the perfect result. Working with Christian Mikkelsen, Lau Ruge has now created the Obaku Harmony collection of watches, motivated by the desire to combine form and function in a sublime design idiom.
One of the driving forces behind the Obaku Harmony collection of watches is Christian Mikkelsen. Known as one of the best in this business, he trained as an industrial designer and has subsequently worked with designing watches for a wide range of different manufacturers. He currently lives in Hong Ko ng, where he enjoys the full range of contrasts, the sense of dyna mism and the boundless energy that the metropolis provides.
”For me, the important thing is to produce a design that stands the test of time. I’m no fan of quick-fire, flavourof-the month solutions. I want to really get to grips with a design, and focus my energy on bringing it to frui tion,” he says, at the same time admitting that he is an incorrigible perfectionist. Lau Liengård Ruge trained as an industrial designer at the Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark, and has been interested in the creative aspects of life ever since childhood. He has played music for many years, and has always been engaged with designing and drawing. ”Both my parents are creative people, and it’s only natural that their interests in music and art rubbed off on me,” he explains. Lau Liengård Ruge is full of praise for the classic Dan ish designers, who are renowned for the simplicity and functionality of their work. Nevertheless, he also fully appreciates the fantastic inspiration to be found in high-tech contemporary design idioms. ”Basically, it’s also a question of maintaining a sense of pride in what I do, and remembering what the product will ultimately be used for,” he points out. ”Being involved in creating the Obaku Harmony range has been a process that’s been both exciting and inter esting. As a designer , I was given free rein to put my personal fingerprint on the different types of watches in this collection. I have been very aware of work ing with the effects created by the different materials, according to the kind of treatment they are given or the way they are juxtaposed,” he says. “The objective with my designs is to create products that people consider worth keeping.”
”Form and function both have a colossal influence on the final result, and it’s impossible to separate the two,” he says, adding ”watches are now one of the products that is generally accepted as having consid erable value as a signal to the surrounding world. In fact, designing a watch verges on creating a personal machine for the user.” Christian Mikkelsen’s work builds on inspiration from a wide selection of different sources. He gets ideas from observing the delicate details found in good craftsmanship as well as the broad swathes to be found in classic designs. His extensive experience means that he’s in a position to have faith in his own ideas. ”I really trust my own intuition about a product, and always keep the person for whom the watch is designed in mind,” he says. Christian Mikkelsen grew up in a small, historic town in Denmark – a town in which craftsmanship was a way of life for many of the inhabitants. His family tree fea tures many craftsmen, and in his younger days he was familiar with boat builders, joiners and others who had a tradition of taking pride in their work. This was where he learned the basic tenets of true craftsmanship, and he has always been fascinated by detail and a keen ad mirer of true quality. And a watch also tells a story – ”Your watch says something about who you are as a person. It also depicts the passing of time, and announces that you are engaged in the process of living your life.”
V 131 GBISC
“A simple design; yet with many sophisticated details. Amongst other things, there are no legs on the case, as on traditional watches, which gives an impression of harmony in the design. The three-dimensional dial has clean, detailed graphics and the shape of the hands is well balanced with the rest of the design. The combination of the significant but toned down dial and the hard and precise meeting between the bowl-shaped watch-case and the hard-edged strap is what makes this watch stand out.”
danish design by Lau Liengård Ruge
V131 Gents size: Ø 41 mm titan glass
o b a ku refugees
your time counts Obaku has designed a special edition Refugees United watch. Obaku donates 20 US dollars to the Refugee United organisation for each sold item.
refugees united Refugees United provides refugees with an anonymous forum to reconnect with missing family.
finding lost family The mission of Refugees United is to help refugees in their search for lost loved ones. “Our aim is to provide a global, anonymous and dedicated refugee network, to end the torture of not knowing where relatives are in this world”. Every day families are torn apart in their escape from war, persecution or natural disasters - they end up in different parts of the world, afraid, alienated and alone. Refugee United is a non-profit organisation and searching and registering on refunite.org is free of charge. “With the Refugees United search engine we have cut away all the barricades between the seeker and the sought, to allow refugees direct access to each other through an immensely powerful and simple system. In this way there are no difficult forms to fill in, no language barriers and no technical obstacles”.
the obaku-refugee watch - Eco-friendly quartz movement - with no lead or mercury content - Solid stainless steel case - Extremely durable Kevlar strap - Case diameters of 39 or 29 mm - Large version with date - 4mm thin caseedge - Crash resistant Titan glass
OBAKU-REFUGEES size: Ø 29/39 mm titan glass. ecological movement
sp ec i f i c at i o ns hand polished stainless steel cases, buckles and bands All cases, buckles and bands are made in the best solid stainless steel material for watch manufacturing. The fine 316L steel is made in Japan – and all cases are finally, carefully hand polished by the best craftsmanship standards.
titan glass Selected models of the Obaku Harmony watch collection are assembled with the newest invention in glass tech nology - Titan Glass. Probably the strongest glass ever used for watches. Titan Glass is at least 10 times more crack resistant than any other typical watch glass such as mineral glass and sapphire crystal glass. Titan Glass is registered and used exclusively in Obaku Harmony watches.
mineral glass Watches which are not marked with Titan Glass are as sembled with the highest quality of mineral glass with a high degree of scratch resistance.
kevlar straps Selected models are using the most durable materials including Kevlar, which is a light fibre generally said to be 5 times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis.
movements All watches are assembled with original high quality movements made in Japan with the highest precision.
ecological movements Selected models are equipped with special environmental friendly movements, which are using the new SPRON Battery a new mercury/lead-free silver Oxide Battery . By applying a high precision anode, using a surface process technology and new material for the cathode, silver and lead be removed totally from the battery. (The movement can also use ordinary batteries as well).
water resistance All watches are at least 3ATM water resistant. Each watch is vacuum tested up to 3 ATM pressure. The watches are not suitable for diving or swimming.
All watches in gold or black are coated with a titanium coating which is the newest and most advanced tech nique for long lasting coatings. The gold coating is a mixture of titanium and gold which are merged with the stainless steel base material in a fusion process in a vacuum chamber.
The gift box for the Obaku Harmony watches is a small sculpture in itself. It supports the entire concept of the Obaku philosophy of harmony and minimalistic design. The box is designed by Lau Liengård Ruge.
the “photos” are not photos straps All straps are made in genuine leather – and several versions are assembled in multiple layers which are giving the straps a rich structure and identity.
The “photos” of all the watches in this catalogue were made long before the actual watches were produced. The “photos” are actually not photos, but computerized visualizations which are the original drawings made by the designers Lau Liengård Ruge and Christian Mikkelsen. There might be small variations between the computerized drawings and the actual watches.
Published on Nov 6, 2009