Wannabe watchmaker

Gratian Permien
From Hamburg

Hi Gratian! Tell us, why do you love watches so much?

A hard one right at the beginning… I guess it’s because of the metaphysics of time measurement. For me, a fascination for the time and the instruments needed to measure its passing automatically lead to asking the important questions: it makes me think about the way we lead our lives, fear of death, human evolution, the transformation of the universe. It helps me to live light-footedly and to feel independent. Okay, enough silly-spirited words, it’s also that I simply like the aesthetics of minimalist or retro watch design (Nomos Glashütte! Junghans! LIP!) and I’ve always had a watch on my wrist and I feel naked not wearing one.

Do you think people still need watches when they have phones?

Let’s be honest: nobody needs a watch anymore. Every device you carry tells the time. Still, watches have not become redundant, and for a reason: in the 70s, mechanical watches almost stopped existing because quartz watches were so much cheaper, needed no maintenance and told the time more accurately than a mechanical device ever could. Nonetheless, 40 years later, the market for mechanical watches is growing. That’s because people buy watches mainly to express themselves, as they would with a precious piece of jewelry. Plus, wearing a watch involves a pinch of melancholy, an appreciation of everything past. While this may not be for everyone, this strikes a chord in some people. Myself included.

What’s your plan: what kind of watches will you create? How can we help?

I’m totally into minimalist product design and typography. Which is why I created Karl Jakob, the name being derived from Carl Jacob Jucker, a focal figure at the Bauhaus during the 1920s. Under this pseudonym, I’ve drawn and engineered the VELDT, the first watch model. The term „veldt“ refers to a plain and wide rural landscape in Southern Africa – and it’s also a word often used in pangrams, standard sentences to test typography. All of my passions coming together in the choice of name, the final prototype (after 6 test runs), even though not 100% finished, combines everything I like to see in a watch: it has an airy, delicate and timeless design; it’s lightweight and adaptable, is affordable and is reminiscent of vintage watch construction – see the wire lugs for instance. 


Where can you find the coolest/nicest watches in the city?

Check Uhrmacher Lüdeking in Karoviertel, if you’re into vintage watches from the 60s and 70s.  Plus, as a musician, Jörg (the owner) doesn’t take himself too seriously.

What’s do you do in Hamburg on a Friday night?

Ha, today is Friday and I’m thinking about cruising through the city by night on my motorbike. Perhaps I’ll do a refueling stop in Central Congress. Since sadly, Tankstelle Brandshof (one of my favorite places next to Entenwerder) closes super early.

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