BONHOFF is an independent brand offering high-value watches with unconventional time display. Bonhoff’s watches had their public debut at SalonQP in 2014. The watches are based on two of Hannes Bonhoff’s inventions: a time on demand display system and an integrated leather strap construction. Hannes Bonhoff is an engineer by trade and has worked in research on engineering acoustics where he received an MSc and PhD degree.
I am Hannes Bonhoff, an engineer from Berlin, and I have just launched my watch brand conveniently named BONHOFF based on a series of patents of mine. BONHOFF offers unconventional watches made in Germany and Switzerland in the four-figure price range. The first watch is the BONHOFF IP3.0 with two patented inventions: a time on demand display system and a fully integrated leather strap.
WP: Whats in your personal collection and how did your passion for watches start?
I own the watch I saw as a teenager and which somehow planted the seed that would much later lead me to start delving into watches, the Ventura v-matic auto designed by Hannes Wettstein. Although the Ventura v-matic certainly opened my eyes for mechanical watches, it was my first invention of a time display that drew me into the watch world for good. I am a great fan of watches with unconventional displays such as made by Frederic Jouvenot and Ressence not to mention the Opus series by Harry Winston. These watches are positioned in the five-figure price range and above, however, I can’t afford them. With BONHOFF I therefore set out to offer watches with an unconventional display in a lower price range while retaining the build quality and origin of production.
WP: How did you get the idea to start your own watch brand?
I was keen on finding out if I could come up with something other than the conventional hands which virtually every watch brand was using to show the time. About ten years ago a flash of inspiration lead to a display system vastly different from anything on the market that has captivated me ever since. I was granted a patent for the invention, however even today I doubt it would be possible to realize it with a mechanical movement. A few years later I finished developing a simplified version with a mechanical solution, but I soon had to find out that the watch was beyond my financial framework. The third display system I invented finally was both mechanically and financially feasible and became my first watch.
WP: What is the inspiration behind your unique design?
I wanted to involve the wearer of the watch into the display of the time – not just looking but touching and playing! With the interactivity of the display, the time can be revealed and hidden at any time. In addition to the unconventional functionality, I wanted the watch to be visually different even for someone who doesn’t know much about watches. Removing the symmetry point at the center of the dial as well as the hour and minute indices where they are not needed creates a pleasant asymmetry governed by the large and elemental forms of the circles and crescents. While the form of the display elements facilitates the time on demand function, the strap is a case of form follows function. By folding the strap around the case, the usually edgy lugs become obsolete leaving smooth curvatures that please the fingers when turning the bezel to read the time.
WP: What movement are you using?
I chose the industry standard workhorse ETA 2824-2 in the highest finishing grade as it is one of the most reliable Swiss automatic movements ever built. It is a particularly strong movement which comes in handy to drive the large sapphire discs of the display. The beautiful finishing is visible through the exhibition case back and the large customized rotor.
WP: Where is the watch designed and assembled?
I developed and designed the watch in my beloved roof-top apartment in Berlin which I later sold to finance the brand – literally swapping my home for the watch. The various parts are produced by renown manufacturers in Switzerland and Germany. The assembly and final inspection are carried out in Switzerland.
WP: Where can we buy your watch and what is the price range?
The watches can be ordered on www.bonhoff.watch With two patents and two years development, six sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coatings, titanium case and the handmade strap the retail price is 4300 Euro. I am offering a two week return policy, where the watch can be tried on exactly as it would be possible at a retail store and returned with full refund in case one changes ones mind.