stephen mansfield and daniel blunschi with some of the first SNGLRTY watches ever made
A Challenge For Two Friends.  The Struggle to Achieve and the Creation of SNGLRTY. Let's All See Time Differently!
When Time Converges
It was a simple meeting of friends, at a bar to commiserate over some tough breaks in business that led Stephen Mansfield and Daniel Blunschi on the path to realising their dream – a new life, a new business and perhaps a little legacy. But the story really started a few years before this transformational moment.
Steve had been toiling for months trying to establish a business for his struggling watch brand. Looking back it was always going to be a Sisyphean task. This was a brand without a watch to sell – only accessories. Daniel had been helping Steve to source a number of items, but the real challenge was to create something unique, something that would differentiate this brand from the rest.
Developing a watch was a topic Steve and Daniel spoke about regularly. Daniel had over 25 years of experience in the industry having been the head of product development for a number of well-known Swiss watch companies. He had developed well over 1,000 watches during his years in the industry. He was happy to make anything – ‘Just give me the design’ he would say. Steve though wanted the design to be special, there was no point in creating just another wristwatch – just a different shape, a different color or just a different price point for an existing concept - it had to be something innovative they both could be proud of.
Everything it seemed had been done before. Every idea Daniel and Steve came up with, after a few hours of research, had already been done. This research took them to many corners of the internet and uncovered many incredible books which, despite being almost 200 years old, remained as relevant today as the day they were published. 
Through all this time both Daniel and Steve were running their own businesses’, getting on with their day to day lives but also sneaking away to try and verify the next idea. Both were spending an inordinate amount of time on what seemed an impossible task. There was absolutely no reason to think they could create a truly new, unique and meaningful watch. It seemed like no progress was being made and Steve felt like all the attention on chasing the dream was taking a toll on his other business and began questioning the effort. Daniel, on the other hand, was still determined. He had recently become a student of mindfulness and self-motivation and nothing was going to stop him.
Then things took a turn for the worse for the duo. There was a horrible mess with suppliers during the Christmas period and nothing was to arrive on time for their clients who were struggling in a tough market.

The Bar Where SNGLRTY Was First Imagined 

That's when Steve and Daniel decided that there was only one thing to do; a drink was in order and some mutual commiseration. Red wine was consumed and as usual the subject turned to watches. Daniel was educating Steve on the intricate workings of movements when Steve harkened back to his engineering degree and broke the concepts down to a power source; an engine and a gear box. 
"What if we put a reverse gear into the watch like in a car?" Next thing a beer mat was being pressed into service as a doodle pad.
In that simple somewhat random and tangential thought lay the solution for the challenge. If the minutes moved backwards and the hours move forwards then time would always be converging on a single point. “Yeeasss?” was Daniel’s initial reaction - trying to follow Steve’s scrawls on the beer mat. “It is a bit like a digital display on an analogue timepiece – but rotating in its location.” Before either were really aware the design was sketched out and the fundamental solution to their quest was available – or was it?

The Original Design Drawing

The next morning, with a bit of a hangover, it was time to get down to business. Everything had seemed so simple and clear the previous evening but now it was time to confirm the initial reaction, that they had created a truly unique yet simple watch concept.
After a few more weeks of research Daniel and Steve could not find anything like their idea. Daniel then reached out to some of his contacts, Swiss watch specialists, developers, and researchers. The first reaction was always “Nice but that must exist” but then, after a little while of pulling out books and head scratching the response was “Actually no, nobody ever made it”. The pair started to believe they had finally found a watch concept they could be proud of. At this stage it was christened OHI - One Hand Indication.
With a new found confidence it was time to work out how to make their invention a reality. 
The solution needed simplicity. Simplifying time to a single hour hand with the minutes rotating counter-clockwise so that it converged at a single point meant that the pair had invented the only single handed watch that could display the time accurately to the minute. 
As each of the duo researched more and compared notes the value of their invention became evident. The plan was to divide and conquer, Steve set about protecting the invention by engaging a patent attorney and Daniel set off to work out how this innovative time display could be implemented.

The Circle of Innovation, from beer mat to patent application, case drawings and first prototype

Daniel's Commute Through the Jura Mountains

Daniel knew how challenging this task would be and the only way to meet this challenge was to move back to his homeland, Switzerland, and reach out to his friends and former colleagues for assistance. Collaborating with a designer & watchmaker he reviewed a large number of watch engineering companies located throughout the Swiss Jura Mountains. Finally an engineer was selected and the detailed function of the movement and the watch design started. Once complete, 20 prototype pieces were created to verify all of the hard work.
But there was still a problem...
The prototypes were all made and they were all keeping time perfectly, work was continuing on to refine the design when a reply to the patent application from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was received. There were apparently 4 different conflicting patents against the design and, what was worse; there was also a conflicting patent in Switzerland. To be able to produce the watch in Switzerland, the duo would have to agree a license agreement from the patent owner.
The pair knew life has its ups and downs and as they were faced with the challenges they saw how their presentation of time was a little metaphor of life, the minutes were going backwards and the hours were going forwards yet time is always converging at a single point – just as life goes up and down, forwards and backwards, but it is always happening now, in this instant and that is what requires the attention.
There was a lot of frustration. Was all this work going to be for nothing? Any one of the conflicting claims could be sufficient to end Steve & Daniel’s dream of a unique watch and all of their work on design and prototypes would have been for naught. There was only one thing to do – just deal with the issue. Steve worked with the patent attorney to craft a defense against the arguments the USPTO had leveled against their invention and Daniel delved into his contact list to start a discussion with the owner of the Swiss patent and seek a license agreement. After several tense months the USPTO wrote back and granted the Patent and a few weeks later an agreement was reached for a Swiss license agreement.
With this success it was time to officially name our invention “SNGLRTY”. A small footnote on the history of wristwatches, or, hopefully, maybe an even more significant comment on time.
Stephen Mansfield & Daniel Blunschi
After struggling for years to come up with their new take on "time" Daniel & Steve worked tirelessly to bring it all to fruition, and after 3 years of research, prototypes lawyers and a number of set backs SNGLRTY was launched.  With a new look to time, we need a new way to buy it - you will never buy a watch like this again  
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