The inspiration behind Achille Castiglioni’s watch came from a rather unexpected source – a visit to his local swimming pool. Interested by how the locker keys were fastened to a simple band worn around the wrist, Castiglione (1918-2002) developed a similar system for the “Record”. Moving the two metal lugs that would be typically placed at the top and bottom of the face to the rear allowed the face to slide smoothly along an unbroken strap. This not only enabled the leather strap to be easily removed, but also cleared unnecessary visual clutter from the face, resulting in an easy-to-read, yet humorous, design.
Although launched just a couple of years prior to his death in 2002, the design for the face and dial was a development of a prototype wall clock that Castiglioni had originally designed for an exhibition in Florence in the late 1960s. The striking typography and dial artwork for this was designed by his good friend, the Swiss graphic designer Max Huber.
Castiglioni wanted the clock face to be as legible as it could possibly be. To help achieve this, he meticulously researched traditional watches, for both men and women, to better understand how large a dial can be before it begins to detract from the comfort and appearance of a design. He also went to great lengths to reduce the circular rim around the bezel, thus maximizing the area for the clock face.
In the Alessi “Record”, Castiglioni set out to achieve maximum clarity, creating a watch design in which case and typography work in perfect harmony.