Nick Gu ‘10
If there is anyone who can demonstrate how the education of an architect extends well beyond architecture, it’s Nick Gu, co-founder of Eone Timepieces. Gu graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Hong Kong in 2010 and went on to complete a master’s degree in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
It was during his studies that Gu began thinking about how to design a device that could help the blind tell time. When he began speaking to members of the blind community, though, they told him they didn’t want anything that drew special attention to their condition. That’s when he hit on the idea that led him to start his own company. Instead of designing a watch for the blind, he would design a fashionable timepiece that could be used by all – hence the company’s name, Eone, which stands for “everyone.”
Using design and technical skills he learned during his architectural studies, Gu created the Bradley, a sleek wristwatch made of solid titanium that runs of a Swiss quartz movement. Two ball bearings indicate time, rather than watch hands – one for minutes, another for hours. The ball bearings are connected by magnets to the watch movement beneath the face of the timepiece. If the ball bearings are knocked out of position when they are touched, the magnets pull them back into place.
To finance his vision, Gu launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of US$40,000. He ended up raising nearly $600,000 from 3,861 backers. Named after former US Navy lieutenant Brad Snyder, who was blinded by an explosion in Afghanistan and later became a gold-medal-winning Paralympic athlete, the Bradley Timepiece was launched in 2013. It was collected by the British Museum in 2014 and chosen for a Red Dot Design Award in 2015. Gu now runs Eone Timepieces from Hong Kong.