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'Historical implications' made Apple Watch more difficult to design than original iPhone, Jony Ive says

Speaking at a live event this week, Apple's chief designer Jony Ive said creating the forthcoming Apple Watch was a "humbling" experience that presented an even greater challenge than designing the iPhone, due to the legacy of traditional wrist watches.

In statements made at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Ive said that the societal expectations for a wristwatch made designing the Apple Watch a daunting task. Ive's comments were summarized on Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

"Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations," Ive said. "That's why it's been such a difficult and humbling program."

Ive was present at the museum to accept the 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award, a lifetime achievement award celebrating his "revolutionary" work at Apple. Ive is the 15th recipient of the award, which recognizes artists and creative leaders in the region who have redefined visual art.

In designing the Apple Watch, Ive focused not only on fashion, but also customization. Wearable devices are deeply personal, and both the hardware and software of the Apple Watch will feature levels of personalization not usually seen in Apple products, including different sizes, collections, straps and even watch faces.

In previous comments, Ive has said that the Apple Watch was three years in the making before it was unveiled in September. In that time, the company has brought on a number of fashion experts, including designer Marc Newson and former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, to help ring the product to market.

In addition to fashion, the Apple Watch will also focus on fitness and health tracking. The device will start at $350, and is set to go on sale in early 2015.