Nice Time Guaranteed: Introducing the It's Nice That x Timex watch
There are multiple reasons why people may visit It’s Nice That. Maybe to catch up on the creative industries, to research into new illustrators, photographers or graphic designers, or maybe just to procrastinate while they’re at work. Whatever the reason, we hope our readers enjoy themselves and are guaranteed a nice, positive time. So when we were asked to design a watch in collaboration with Timex, encapsulating this feeling in a time-based way was our main concern.
The result of this collaboration, which saw the It’s Nice That team work closely with independent Leipzig-based type foundry Camelot, is a watch which poses our ten-year ethos and the history of Timex through typography, where the numbers surround a positive pledge: Nice Time Guaranteed. “We wanted to bring our tone, to put a smile on people’s faces when they looked at it,” explains It’s Nice That art director Ali Hanson, who has designed the watch. “To do it in a really nice It’s Nice That way, to be a little tongue-in-cheek.”
Nice Time Guaranteed is a pledge that answered the initial questions asked by the creative team when first working on the brief. “How could we represent the tone of It’s Nice That? How could we use words? How could we tell an interesting story? How could we champion creativity?” asks Ali. By using a promising pledge rather than a phrase or joke, it sums up our values and the longevity of Timex’s products too.
The watch our pledge sits upon is the MK-1 Resin, a choice made after looking through a number of watches by the brand, chosen as one of Timex’s newer products and for a love of its general design. “We felt it wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small, everyone could wear it,” says Ali. “It feels sleek, a really nice resin body, it’s just a really good product so we wanted to work with it.”
Historically, the MK-1 was a 1980s military watch initially designed to be disposable. This particular watch’s history is part of Timex’s long-standing and fascinating past. “Timex are super interesting in that they were the first watch company to invent the watch strap, everything was a pocket watch before Timex made a strap for the military.” By having such wide scoping historical value, as a brand Timex have also seen many typefaces grace its watches since it was founded in 1854.
Former Timex watch typefaces were the stepping stones of inspiration for Camelot, who looked at older model’s beautiful details, noticing how type was drawn before digitised fonts were available. “Brushstrokes would be a big part of how the typography was drawn, that was a really nice touch,” explains Ali. “You’d get imperfect angles on the C for instance, and parts of that are in the final typeface.” The small quirks that only hand-drawn type can render is additionally a part of It’s Nice That’s visual history, continuously working with illustrators and designers to add a cheerful voice to typography, whether it be for in-house branding or inside our magazine, Printed Pages.
Camelot and Ali have worked together to combine the prior design histories of both Timex and Its Nice That to get an ideal balance from both, adding details such as a roundel emulating sunshine and finessing the shape. “It’s all really come from a place of heritage,” Ali explains, “both ours and theirs visually”.
The watch has gone through several iterations to get to the final product. From playing with a positive pledge to promote, to refining the typeface before deciding on the second heaviest weight, then working on one of the smallest possible products, printing out mock-ups to make sure it’s readable and just right. “There’s just loads of things I hadn’t considered coming into it,” Ali reflects. “How the hands would overlay on letters, you’re never going to see the words as a full sentence so you have to make sure you can always read them. Or the difference that the glass on top of the watch makes – it changes the sense of space you thought you had around the edges.”
Now these particulars have been ironed out, It’s Nice That and Timex are excited to announce the watch is available to get your hands on – see details below. Later this week we’ll be delving into how Camelot folded the visual worlds of Timex and It’s Nice That together through typography.
The Timex x It’s Nice That watch is available at timex.co.uk and timex.com. The watch is also available at a range of selected retailers worldwide including; END. Clothing, Goodhood Store and BEAMS Japan.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.