Thursday, September 19, 2013

Interview with Ton Cobelens on the TW Steel Yamaha Factory Racing Collection

We're on a motorsport roll recently at the Tarts, from 4 wheels to 2 wheels. TW Steel recently launched the new Yamaha Factory Racing Collection following the announcement of the partnership with the team a couple of months ago. The range consists of 4 watches (well... 2 styles each in 2 different sizes). And one of the riders for the team, Valentino Rossi, I suppose will have to stick his Jaeger-LeCoultre watches in the safe for the next few years...

Following we have an interview with Ton Cobelens (Chief Design Officer) on the design of the Yamaha Factory Racing Collection

Q:  What was your starting point for the design of this collection?

Ton Cobelens (TC):  “Quite simply it was to create a recognizable Yamaha Factory Racing watch based on our existing Pilot and Tech editions.”

Q:  How much input did you seek from Yamaha Factory Racing in the early stages – did they give you a brief or were you given free reign in terms of the initial design concept?

TC:  “After Yamaha Factory Racing had declared that they would possibly be interested in a cooperation with TW Steel I made up some designs without any input from them just as a starting point.  I produced those designs to give some structure to the negotiations and a direction in terms of styling and so on.  From there I’m happy to say things progressed very quickly.”

Q:  You have infused elements of the current YZR-M1 bike into these designs.  Which elements stood out for you to incorporate and where were the challenges in these models?

TC:  “For me it was the incorporation of the display of the motor cockpit into the chrono eyes that stands out most.  The ultimate challenge though was the raised Yamaha Factory Racing logo on the silicon strap, achieved by double injection.  Although it’s essentially a logo placement, I think it adds something very special to the overall design.” 

Q:  Do you feel any additional pressure knowing you’re producing timepieces carrying not only the TW Steel brand name but a name as established and as global as Yamaha?

TC:  “Certainly there was additional pressure.  You have to blend into a watch two different brands competing in two totally different markets.”

Q:  TW Steel enjoys a rich history of motorsport-related timepieces.  Of all the watches you’ve designed, where do the Yamaha Factory Racing editions rank in your favorites?

TC:  “This is a difficult question!  Certainly I am very proud of the Yamaha Factory Racing models and I consider them to be the most successful designs I’ve created in recent years.”

Q:  As a designer, how much of a kick will you get out of seeing fans of both Yamaha Factory Racing and TW Steel sporting these watches around the world?

TC:  “I’m still very proud each time I spot someone wearing a TW Steel.  This feeling will be surpassed when I see someone wearing a TW Steel Yamaha Factory Racing model now!”

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