In 1971 Braun launched their first 'digital' clock, the Phase 1, designed by the DW20/DW30 designers Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs: a battery operated electric alarm clock which used rotating discs with printed numbers to create a digital display. It was the space-age and changing digits were considered more modern than two hands on a clock face.
In the early 1970s digital quartz technology was still evolving and the LED (light emitting diodes) watches being launched at the time used tiny light diodes in 'strokes' which combined to form the digits. To read the time a button was pressed: a constant display was not possible due to the amount of battery power required. So when the LCD (liquid crystal display) watch was introduced it was seen as a big improvement. The display was constantly visible, it used very little power and was easier to read for the greater part of the day. In the dark the display could be lit by a tiny lamp. By the late 1970s LED watch production had ceased as all digital watch manufacturers changed to LCD.
30 years on LCD displays are now part of everyday life but it is interesting to note that all the Braun watches that followed the DW30 have been analogue.
In 1998 I bought a copy of "WATCH - History of the modern wrist watch" a really excellent book by Pieter Doensen covering the development of battery driven watches.
By the time I got to the illustrations of the Braun DW20 and DW30 on page 68 I was hooked and I knew another collection was about to begin. But in 1998 the Internet was still in its infancy. Google drew a blank and even today there is still very little information available. I placed a wanted advert in Loot (a UK daily paper containing For Sale and Wanted small ads) and soon had my first DW20. This was to prove a very lucky and isolated break as I never found another watch from this source.
My next step was to advertise in a German design magazine through which I made some good contacts and found a few more watches. Finally I started, what was to become, an annual visit to Hamburg to attend a Braun collector's fair. Eventually after many years of searching my Braun digital watch collection was complete.
These classic Braun designs are from an age when the words 'modernism' and 'minimalist' meant very little to most people. Yet 30 years on the DW20 and DW30 designs have proved to be 'timeless' and I'm sure will still look just as fresh 30 years from now.
As there is still so little information available on the Internet the creation of this website is my opportunity to share the discoveries I made with other like-minded enthusiasts.