How Helvetica Became the Darling of Designer Typefaces

Helvetica is arguably one of the most minimal, simplistic, and easy-to-read typefaces. Developed in 1957 by Swiss type designer Max Miedinger with input from Eduard Hoffmann, the sans-serif creation is still beloved today by architects, designers, artists, innovators, and influencers from around the world.

 

To explain why Helvetica has become so ubiquitous, we look to the reasons many people use the written word: 

To communicate

When communicating, the typeface shouldn’t distract or detract from the message itself. Helvetica was designed at a time when modernist architecture removed superfluous decoration to show a raw silhouette. Similarly, removing the serif makes the shapes so understated that they let the written words speak for themselves.

 

To provide clarity

Helvetica is as much about the negative space it creates as the structure of the letters. This balance creates an efficiency that promises clarity even when words are small, large, or in motion.

 

To entice

Because it has been used for logos (Nestlé, Lufthansa), public transportation signage (MTA, CTA) and more Helvetica is instantly recognizable, even to those who don’t know its rich history – their eye is drawn to the familiar.

 

 

So... why did Mondaine choose to create a watch line dedicated to the renowned Helvetica typeface?

 

Founded by Erwin Bernheim in 1951, we drew inspiration from the blueprint of the iconic, patented design of the Swiss railways clock and turned it into our SBB watch collection officially licensed by the Federal Swiss Railways.

 

Nearly 30 years after releasing this ‘railways watch,’ we sought after another Swiss icon, one which makes sense when embedding into the core of a watch design. Helvetica—the Latin word for "Swiss”—is one of Switzerland's most important and representative creations. It expresses many of the Alpine Republic's values and qualities: neutrality, discreetness, clarity, efficiency, and timeliness. These values align perfectly with the Mondaine brand, which offers a pure, unfettered approach to watch design.

 

And so the Mondaine Helvetica No. 1 collection of watches was born. Like the famous typeface, our timepieces represent the epitome of craftsmanship, punctuality, and precision.

 

From the classic Helvetica collection: 

    

 

 To the Spiekermann Edition:

  

And our latest seasonal styles: