Case Study


Build moments of pause into every day

A timepiece like no other; Sabbatical is a symbol of wellbeing. A watch that helps you not only tell the time but become more purposeful in what you are doing with it. Minimal design doesn’t contribute to the distraction, rather it acts as a stylish reminder to practice self-care.

Watchmaker and timepiece pioneer Armitron engaged Motto to name, brand, and launch a new DTC watch brand. The result is a comprehensive brand language that is analog, subtle, simple, and minimal design that doesn’t contribute to the distraction.

What We Did:

–  Brand Workshops
–  Brand Naming
–  Culture Analysis
–  Brand Strategy
–  Messaging
–  Voice & Verbal ID
–  Visual Identity
–  Art Direction
–  Packaging


Watchmaker and timepiece pioneer Armitron has a rich heritage of quality, design, and value

Motto’s challenge was helping such an established brand stay true to its roots while appealing directly to the consumer with an innovative new product. Wellness was a bold angle for an analog watch in a world of smartwatches. But to truly stand out in a crowded timepiece category, Motto knew this new product would need to have a strong identity.

Strategic Framework

Discovering the art of living in the moment

For a brand with such a rich history, it felt right to dive deeper into Armitron’s newest brand story to create something equally as compelling. Three bespoke workshops on Purpose, Audience, and Archetype helped Motto define a new narrative for the brand.

Our first workshop engaged the top minds at Armitron to answer the biggest question for any brand, “What is our war-cry?” We landed on a clear purpose statement: to remind people to use their time better so they are more focused, balanced, and happy. We then identified an audience of time-poor, overworked people subject to the endless interruptions of modern life. Then we carved out Sabbatical’s role in enhancing these lives: to free up time for creativity with a simple focus on self-care. Finally, we landed on an Archetype.

When you have more time for yourself, you can do more of the things that fill your soul with joy and live a life that’s more reflective of who you really are. We unanimously landed on the Creator because this archetype invents new things that make a huge impact. The Creator is inspired, innovative, and confident. Naturally curious, they’re fueled by the free flow of creativity and delight in time well spent.

Idea Worth Rallying Around™

Make time matter

Sabbatical’s motto and the Big Idea Worth Rallying Around®. We create a motto for every brand we work with – a memorable word or a turn of phrase that underpins every story we tell. Make time matter means hitting the reset button on our current relationship with time. Rather than wishing for more of it or wondering where it’s gone, Sabbatical invites you to enjoy what you have and make it count.

Naming the Brand

A sabbatical is a myth for many

In common parlance, it’s a longed-for rest that’s rare to achieve. Professionally, they’re reserved for a select few. Financially, most of us can’t afford to take the time out. But the etymology of the word goes deeper than that. Inspired by the Hebrew Shabbat, a word derived from shmita which means “release.” Shmita was a Biblical practice in which fields were left fallow for one year out of every seven. In the fallow years, farmers were met with replenished fields and abundant harvests. Something wonderful happens when we take time out.

The name Sabbatical is a brave choice for Armitron considering the legacy of their master brand. But our founder and CEO helped get all senior heads nodding with her trademark personal approach. A crystal-clear brand strategy and a powerful big idea are no good unless everyone is in. When our founder and Chief of Strategy landed on Sabbatical during the naming process her gut told her this story had power. Choosing Sabbatical was more than a word plucked out of obscurity – it meant something.

Writing the Voice & Verbal ID

Sabbatical’s voice is instantly recognizable

Sabbatical’s voice is built around a refusal to interrupt our already cluttered lives means communications are clean and clear. Sabbatical champions tranquillity and minimalism and refuses to be part of the problem. They’re here to show us that if we choose to, we can spend our time differently.

The Visual Identity

The Sabbatical brand is minimal by design

Uncluttered and simple, the art direction for Sabbatical emerged as a set of consistent creative characteristics. A thoughtful symbol that represents the concept of a Sabbatical, the branded ‘S’ represents a clock face, split to show a break in time. This break then forms the ‘S’, turned at a 45% angle to reference the clockwise movement of a timepiece. Our hand-drawn scribble adds a personal touch, implying that time is in our hands. We use the scribble to add emphasis in advertising, social campaigns, editorial pieces and digital applications.

Website Direction

The digital experience

The website direction for Sabbatical is intentionally calming. We wanted to bring the brand’s voice and personality through to art direction, photography, and product.

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