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Vol.6 A distinctive design inspired by the science of the human body. Seiko Airpro Vol.6 A distinctive design inspired by the science of the human body. Seiko Airpro

HomeDesign MuseumVol.6 A distinctive design inspired by the science of the human body. Seiko Airpro

The Airpro, which made its
epoch-making debut in 1997.

It was in 1997 that this sports watch with revolutionary functions, designed by in-house designer Shigeo Sakai, was released to the world. The watch case is equipped with an air pump to deliver air and an air valve to adjust airflow. The band contains an air chamber to accommodate the air and use it as a cushion, fastening the main body of the watch firmly to a human wrist and mitigating external shock. This product was created based on new concepts intended to closely integrate functions and design.

The air pump set below the main body of the watch. Pushing this part sends air to the air chamber, firmly fixing the watch to the wrist.
In addition to its high operability as a device, under the assumption that the air chamber comes in contact with sweaty skin, the best suited material was selected for the air chamber after conducting much research with material manufacturers.

Foreseeing a new youth culture and
observing the structure of
the human body.

The development process began in 1995. One of the background factors was the trend in which skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and mountain biking were transitioning to the new concept in youth culture called action sports. In addition to gaining an understanding of this trend, the development team analyzed the structure of the human body and human motion scientifically. They considered a human arm (wrist) as a living organism and carried out the product development with the concept of supporting that organism.

Cross sections of the wrist, showing the differences between when the hand is open and when it is closed. As such research into the structure of the human body was accumulated, the design underwent repeated changes through trial and error.
The band is designed to be longer than that of a normal watch so that it can be worn over action sportswear. The air chamber is then inflated to fix the watch in place.
The side view of the air chamber inflated to the maximum. It is springy, wraps around the wrist tightly, and absorbs shocks.

The possibilities of
flexible structure and design.

In terms of in-house momentum back then, there was an initiative to develop products from a design perspective, not based on a market-in concept, and the development of this product was part of this initiative. In that process, designers sought to break away from a conventional rigid structure and pursue the possibilities of products made with a flexible structure. With the designer’s inspiration incorporated into these efforts, the one-of-a-kind sports watch Airpro was sent out to the world in November 1997.

The in-house designers actively engaged in the design of other materials besides the product, including brochures and logos. They considered the next-gen idea of giving the logo a presence on display media and set aside the concept of engraving or writing the logo on print media.
One of the design sketches drawn in the process of developing Airpro. It is an analog watch design with black as its base color, creating a masculine impression.
Another design sketch drawn in the development process. This one is slimmer than the actual Airpro and looks more stylish.

The color variation and functions
that evolve to the next generation.

The Airpro is widely known for the vivid coloring of yellow and black as shown at the top of this page; however, there are actually many more variations. In addition to a wide range of color variations with fashion in mind, the shape evolved to keep up with the changing times, meet user demands, and further improve durability.

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