Sometimes you come across an organization so immersed in the quest for optimal quality and utility that you start to question all the historically unchallenged old ways of doing things. Botta-Design is absorbed with defying the norm and finding enhanced ways of performing tasks with simplicity and elegance. There is a silky sophistication to all of Botta-Design’s products and founder Klaus Botta does not mince words when talking about imitators who simply lack innovative ideas/spirit and some competitors who just tend to focus on fads. Botta-Design’s one hand watch was undoubtedly instrumental in putting the company on the map many decades ago but since then, the brand has augmented its appeal by staying true to a classic design ethos that defies time (pun intended). We are truly honored to have been able to interview the legendary Klaus Botta to get a small sampling of his remarkable mind. We would also like to say a special thankyou to Anke Botta for her tireless synchronization. See the interview below.
“Our creations appeal to people looking for logical and original/innovative products. Our customers are normally aged …”
Please give us some background on Botta-Design – the formation of the company, the philosophy and what aspirations the company has?
Exactly 30 years ago, I founded the company Botta-Design. From the beginning, the idea was to not only make products that look better, but also work better with a high focus on the ease of use. To reach this ambitious goal, we started developing products from the ground up. Besides the functional supremacy of our products, we also pay much attention to creative (optical) and technical persistence. The really environmentally friendly products are normally also the ones with the longest life cycle, which also distinguishes them because they have a certain immortality.
Research shows that Botta-Design designs items for other brands (such as Siemens) – what role do timepieces play in your overall business model compared to contracted design for other companies?
The more complex a product is, the more we can do in order to make it more user friendly. We love defying the norm and put all our heart into supporting our customers as if they were our own projects. With our great experience and education (that goes back decades in the art of design) we are able to support our customers even with the most complex projects.
In comparison to others on the market, the products we make are reasonably low in complexity but they are easy to use and innovative. You will know what I mean if you take a look at our watch models for example. The idea behind our products is represented perfectly by our wristwatches.
There still seems to be some debate about who created the first one-handed watch – can you clear it up once and for all that you (Klaus Botta) were in fact the creator of the first one handed watch?
I invented the concept of the UNO exactly 30 years ago. I noticed that wristwatches were getting more and more complex and people started having trouble simply telling the time.
The success of Botta-Design (and the UNO itself) then quickly attracted a lot of imitators, who more or less copied the concept of the UNO. Though I believe that no copy achieved the clarity and stringency of the UNO.
Botta-Design watches have a Zen-like calming aura about them – is tranquility and peacefulness along with utility an objective that is purposely sought?
I am sure of that. After 30 years of engineering, the UNO is more contemporary than ever before. In our time of continuous over stimulation (by media and such), one handed watches are like an „oasis of serenity“. Besides the original UNO, we now carry multiple one hand watches that kept the same principle of the UNO.
Take the NOVA for example – the one hand watch for the advanced customer. By default it ignores the division of hours themselves and reduces the timescale into time periods instead of points in time.
Then there (also) is the UNO-24-Series, which displays the day as an analog graphic. And by that I mean a repeated sequence of 24 hours. One revolution of the hand resembles exactly one rotation of the earth.
Who is the quintessential Botta-Design timepiece buyer?
It is especially for people who look for the extraordinary, but still pay close attention to detail and quality. Our creations appeal to people looking for logical and original/innovative products. Our customers are normally aged between 30 and 60 and have a high level of education. Creativity and quality are more important to our customers than gimmicks.
Would you consider Botta-Design a timepiece maker for the “minimalist traveler”?
Our one hand watches are the perfect travel companions. They ease the handling of time. Especially the reduction of the dial to only coarse measurements and the abstinence of minutes or seconds help the user to be more relaxed – in particular on vacations. That given, you still get a good specification of time if you do not want to be dependent on public watches.
People have stated that due to the intricacy, thoughtfulness and utility put into Botta-Design timepieces, they feel your prices are quite reasonable in comparison to other brands similarly dedicated to excellence – how do you come up with your price points?
That is right. Compared to other brands with similar quality standards, Botta-Design watches are of really good value.
Large brands like to spend huge amounts of money for their campaigns. We do not want to compete with that. We try to convince our customers by showing them all our qualities e.g. attention to detail, innovation, highest quality in products and very good customer service. This fits our main ideals and keeps the prices in a very attractive range.
Botta-Design has been around for a very long time – what is your bestselling timepiece since inception?
This is not an easy question to answer. In the last few decades we had quite a few successful watches. The “Titan-1”, the UNO obviously, but also the UNO-24 are models with an enormous fan base around the world – for many years. This is one of the good aspects of producing long lasting design classics instead of fashion watches that can only be worn with certain outfits or in a particular season.
Is Botta-Design open to collaborations with other brands on its timepieces?
As long as their philosophy fits with ours – yes.
What is the strangest comment, reaction or question you have heard about the Botta-Design one-handed timepieces?
“Why do some watches have so many hands – this is too way complicated”. This is often the reaction of preschool children, learning to read the time and realize that one hand watches are a lot more intuitive than watches with multiple hands.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. does Botta-Design think defines a man?
In my point of view accessories like shoes, belt, smartphone and obviously the wristwatch (indeed) have something to do with the essence of a human being. The selection of these items sometimes defines the being of the person wearing them.
How can people get updates on Botta-Design or purchase Botta-Design products?
You can frequently have a look at our new website. About every 3-6 months all our news are displayed there in detail. In addition, our newsletter updates subscribers about essential novelties every 2 months. It also informs subscribers about new developments before others and exclusively gives them the opportunity of reserving new products at a special pre-sale price.
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