Oct 11, 2021

From horlogerie to perfume

From sketch to shelf – how the art of clock making inspired a perfume bottle.
Elisabeth Skoda

Precision, creativity, craftsmanship, heritage and innovation - the art of horlogerie and perfume have much in common. Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller decided to explore this special relationship with the creation of five exquisite Franck Muller eau de parfums in cooperation with beauty packaging manufacturer Quadpack. We spoke to Quadpack’s designer Oliver Drew to find out more about the design challenges and solutions.

-How did the idea of creating a perfume bottle inspired by a clock watch face come about?

Franck Muller is a master watchmaker dedicated to 'haute horlogerie'. Like many other prestige brands, it wanted to diversify into perfumery, with a fragrance range of its own, inspired by its watchmaking origins. The launch coincided with its 25th anniversary.

-How did you translate the features of a clock into the bottle?

First of all, the shape was significant. Franck Muller's watches are easily identifiable thanks to their Cintrée Curvex shape that is commonly recognised as the brand’s most significant silhouette. This shape is carried through in the bottle. Its timepieces are great examples of clean and sober designs that have timeless elegance and this is evident in the fragrance design. The watch’s crown is mirrored in the cap, while the distinctive clock-face designs are reflected in the decoration. A mixture of metallisation laser etching and screen printing makes the numbers appear to dance when viewed head-on.

-How would you describe the benefits of 3D print to the design process?

3D prototypes allowed Franck Muller's design team to see exactly what the end product would look like in terms of shape, heft and functionality. The precision in watchmaking needed to be evident in the dimensions of the bottle. 3D printing enabled the final product to be refined before industrialisation, with the ensuing benefits of accuracy, efficiency and speed.

-What were the challenges in realising the design?

The main challenge was translating the distinctive characteristics of Franck Muller's watches to the pack, thereby maintaining brand consistency. According to the brand: "Each scent is individual and holds the philosophy of the watch carrying its name, whilst capturing the distinctive details of the watches enriched in the packaging." It was also important to ensure the ergonomic and anthropometric data were optimised to fit the hand comfortably. This is where 3D prototypes deliver real value. You can touch, feel and interact with the pack during the design stage, making refinements where necessary. You no longer have to rely on 'gut feel'. And, of course, like Franck Muller's stunning timepieces, the cap, collar and bottle had to be aesthetically pleasing. A challenge I'm happy to say was unequivocally achieved!

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!
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