4N Creates Something Completely New
By Alliston Ackerman
The 4N watch grew from independent designer François Quentin’s desire to create a watch unlike any other on the market, with a simple digital display and a mechanical alternative to analog moving-hand timepieces. Quentin’s biggest challenge was to provide the level of innovation expected from a luxury watch.
“In general, watchmakers try to make their products unique by incorporating specific complications, like a perpetual calendar or a striking mechanism, such as the minute repeater,” explains Quentin. “I was looking more for something in the way time is displayed. I needed to do something that had never been done.”
Quentin added a level of complexity to his already ambitious challenge: create a watch that was robust, efficient and easy to read. He used Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA V6 to design the 4N watch model and to validate the moving mechanisms, consisting of more than 200 internal elements. This proved considerably more efficient than sketches and two-dimensional drawings.
“When I showed the model to potential manufacturers, the level of detail provided by CATIA conveyed exactly what I wanted to communicate and confirmed that my design was feasible,” says Quentin.
CATIA also proved essential for managing the way in which the different elements were assembled and the ease with which changes were made and propagated throughout the design.
“It considerably shortened design time,” he declares.
Quentin recently formed a partnership with Dassault Systèmes to address the specific needs of watch design and is currently the 3D Fashion Lab’s ambassador of the watchmaking industry.
“Together we took watch making to new heights. For example, we used SIMULIA to perform stress tests on the watch’s bracelet and DELMIA to show a manikin wearing the watch and displaying it in different positions. With 3DVIA, we illustrated a customer living the buying experience by virtually having him walk through a showroom where the 4N is presented. All these applications enabled me to deal with aspects of the 4N that I would not have seen before. My product took on a whole new dimension,” he says.