Designers are taught that “form follows function”, but in the timepiece sub-category of luxury goods, neither can be optimised without factoring in constraints and finishing.
The motto “form follows function” only represents one of the four synergies that are required to reach the best balance with watchmaking product. Form and Finishing are subordinate to Constraints, and Finishing is often tied to a Functional role.
In my page Finding the Right Creative, I give the example of a case that was designed according to the constraints of injection moulding of plastics, and ended costing 60% more because it was actually manufactured in steel.
Fancy details that with plastics would barely impact an already Complex Setup, but in a Long Mass Production process, they multiply the amount of labour-intensive operations.
Following my advise, the designer removed all expendable chamfers and multiple radii curves usually found on plastic parts, which brought the cost of the new case within the allocated budget.
Besides the complexity of a design, the chosen material and the level of finishing can also lead to huge cost differences: in Summer 2019 I have been working on an octogonal case that is a little bit complex. To have the same design manufactured by different workshops, the increase in skill to go from Tier 2 to Tier 3 raises cost by 20% in average, and going to Tier 4 raises cost by 150% in average.