Interview with Gilberto Salas, CEO of EXTático watches

 

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How did you come to a world dominated by Swiss Made?

It was a joint idea of my brother and me. We believe that one of the things Spaniards enjoy the most is the idea of time-out or leisure time. In current crisis, that kind of approach makes our existence even more bearable.

How can a watch differentiate from competitors?

Especially, innovation in design. Watch manufacturers believe that everything has been done. I disagree. The problem is that watches are designed taking in account a lot of global parameters, even normalized ones. Designers rely on perceptual forms, but not in topological and contextual structures. This means ideas come from overused and frivolous shapes. On the contrary, we must look for ideas in a deeply and intense way.

How would you describe your watches?

Conceptual watches. Our watches are born from a concept, which is usually defined in terms of its meaning, not its shape. And the shape arises from the relationship between the meaning of the concept and its expression as a topological space.

Where do your watches come from? And how do you make them?

I design and develop them here, in Alcoy. Once sketches are ready, I make the watch cases and each metalic components like crown and handles in our workshop in Alcoy. As well rubber strap with polyurethane cast. Other parts, as crystal or dial, are manufactured in other countries of Europe. Anyway, I hope we achieve making all watch parts in Alcoy soon, even the movement.

Tell us about the design: where do you get inspired?

We were inspired by industrial forms of common objects, so that explains our relationship with conceptual art. We study shape and meaning and, after many sketches are discarded, we slowly outline the object till the shape comes out.

Are you introducing a new line soon?

We keep three ongoing projects, one of which is quite advanced: its name is Regulador. It is a diving-inspired watch based on regulators. Regulators are valves used to allow oxygen flow in scuba tanks. Furthermore, we are working on Tensor: a watch based on bicycle’s parts. Finally, we are developing our own movement. Although prototype based on bridges is just made, we are still far from accomplishing dreams. Anyway, we have been developing a lot of project you can watched in our site projects.

How do humans relate with watches?

Most people regard watches in a functional way, but increasingly watch is taking part of our mode being. Some people -seeking aesthetic emotions-, tend to identify themselves with new designs. Other people prefer mechanical aspects and complicated machinery. What is certain is that time -either aesthetic, emotional or mechanical- is linked to watches through its physical body.

Sometimes you refer to Spanish time. Can you describe it?

Of course. We’re talking of a concept: Spanish time. That includes our flexibility with schedules, our love with family, our leisure time. It’s linked to well-being. Really time doen’t exist, it’s just a feeling

Gilberto Salas is MMBS, Stomatology Specialist, PhD in Philosophy and watch designer.

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