photo credit: Taken at Decentraland 42,97
Discussing the Timeless 001 with WaltAdler
Issue 1 VIRTEWEL 3/7/2022
Are you creating wearables, let us interview you! Are you a writer or developer? We’re looking for contributors.
Welcome to Virtewel. We are starting a resource to discuss and promote virtual jewelry and wearables for metaverses and augmented reality. This is our first post. We are sitting down with our co-founder, Walt, to talk about his first virtual watch. It’s a story about overcoming the technical limitations of early technology to create mesmerizing artwork. And, the watch is aptly named.
Tell us about the Timeless 001?
It’s a virtual watch that you can wear in the Decentraland metaverse. The metaverse looks like a video game and each person has an avatar that they dress however they like. You start by selecting a body type, male or female, and then you choose your clothing and accessories. There are not as many categories yet as I would like. For example, there’s not a watch category. But you can make a shirt that comes with a watch. That’s what I did for the Timeless 001. I made two versions, one shirt for men and one for women so the watch is available for any avatar.
How do you purchase the Timeless 001?
Is this part of the NFT craze?
NFT is the technology part that makes virtual wearables something you can own and sell. For me as a designer, this technology means collectors of my artwork become an instant community. When I sell a tangible product, I lose touch with that customer the second they leave the store. Now, I know everyone who owns and has owned a piece and they all are connected to each other. NFTs enable community.
How are you embracing that community?
I’m brand new to this. The Timeless is my second wearable. My first was the my “BlockChain” Necklace. We are planning to open a store in Decentraland and each wearable that I make is like a ticket that gets you perks and entrance to events. We are also designing pieces now that will only be available as free airdrops to community members who own items in our collection.
62 Sparkling Diamonds
Ergonomically fit to avatar's wrist
Engraved Logo on the clasp
How did you get into designing virtual wearables?
It’s the combination of everything I’ve ever done. I studied Engineering, Psychology, and Studio Art. That let me into the software world, where I designed interfaces and learned how to sell digital assets. It was the dotcom days, and everyone was selling things that didn’t exist. We’re in a similar place now. Then I pivoted overnight and became a jewelry designer and moved to NYC to design for David Yurman. There, I became fluent in CAD software and manufacturing. I also learned about branding and creating product collections. Creating wearables uses all these skills, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.
Why is your watch called the Timeless 001?
The Timeless “Double-oh, one” It’s a watch that doesn’t tell time. But, I’d say that watches are no longer about telling time, we have our phones for that. Watches are a design statement. I designed a 100% black watch while at Yurman that you couldn’t read. Black dial, black hands, black case. It was a statement about design. It sold out before hitting the market. The Timeless 001 has the same design integrity as any tangible watch I’ve worked on.
How is designing virtual jewelry like designing tangible jewelry?
It’s the same process for me as a designer. I’ve been designing jewelry in CAD and 3D printing it for over 20 years. This is the first time where people can expereinece my designs the same digital way that I create them. In designing the Timeless 001, I laid out the pave diamonds the same way I would for manufacturing, stone by stone. Designing for each reality has limitations and advantages. For example, in the tangible world, jewelry design is limited by gravity – earrings heavier than 5 grams are difficult to wear. In virtual reality, we’re limited to surfaces and textures, and file size. Items too big will slow down your expereinece.
How did you approach the limitations of file size for the Timeless 001?
Limitations are the fun part. They present the design challenge to overcome. I chose to release the 001 as an upper body wearable, which means when your avatar wears the watch you will also have the WaltAdler T-shirt. There is not a watch category yet, we are still in the early days of the metaverse. Decentraland limits upper body wearables to 1500 triangles, with 2 textures and materials. That’s very tough. Each triangle is a surface that is like a piece of cardboard that is not bent. If you want to make objects that are not flat, you need a lot of pieces of cardboard. This was the first hurdle. Next was figuring out how to make the diamonds sparkle. There is not an animation feature available yet in the software, so I took advantage of a glitch in the rendering engine.
Calling it a 001 implies a 002, What’s next?
I am already working on my next watch. I making things that I want to collect. It so fun bringing these to virtual life.