Customization has been a trend adopted by various industries. Suunto wanted to enable their clients to further customize their sport watches. We pitched to them and idea how to maximize the impact of customization for customer relevant offering. We painted the picture of the market situation, studying both direct and adjacent industries such as car brands, consumer electronics, sport apparel and sport equipment brands to analyze first the offering and the customer expectations. In general the analysis showed that brands need to look out for mass customization. Consumers of the future will expect the option of bespoke manufacturing for almost every item that they purchase.
‘As something becomes embedded in lifestyle and as it starts to become commoditized, people look toward more superficial design things to differentiate or at least reach more people. And colors are the classic. If you do it at the right time, it will create a significant increase in sales every time.’ Robert Brunner, founder of design consultancy Ammunition and a former Apple industrial design chief, Nike inc. and Dell inc.
We analyzed the original setting which was quite narrow for the user to really personalize to the level expected. We came up with the idea for Suunto to be the first brand to offer customization in the watch face in the steel bezel, and created a library of unique laser patterns. Because this was a novel concept, our material technology partner and CMF designer started collaboration in Suunto facilities at the laser tool. The work was ‘Colors derived by parameters’ – our material engineer studied recent publications and created parameter pathways to study at the laser. The challenge for the project was the matt black coated steel bezel – to our knowledge this has never been done.
The end result of the lasered bezels was amazing: from matt black to radiant metal shades. The lasered stainless steel bezel is extremely durable in tests. Even though the perception might be a print, but because the pattern is oxidized from the metal it is scratch proof. The Suunto Customizing tool is getting attention and provided Suunto pathways for new business revenues and possible new consumers.