Archive | Crowd Funded


Brigade 7 Scope – Taking Aim at a Budget Automatic

Posted on 22 July 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Brigade 7 Scope 01 I like finding good values in a watch, without resorting to too many compromises.  There are values to be had at all different price points, but at the entry level point, I find that you have to sacrifice more of what you would want to get a good value.  Enter a Kickstarter campaign for the Brigade 7 Scope watch, an automatic with a lot of features for a very low introductory price. Continue Reading

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Orbital by element watch, A Family Affair

Posted on 17 July 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Orbital by element watch 02

There are a lot of kickstarter watch projects where the creator has a dream of designing a watch, and then connects with a manufacturer in China to produce the watch.  Well, element watches adds a twist to that formula, in that the watch manufacturer back in China is owned by the designer’s father.  The Orbital by element watch is the company’s second bite at the kickstarter apple, and in my opinion it is a more attractive watch than the (unsuccessful) first project. Continue Reading

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The Moment Smartwatch Does It All

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Moment 01

The other day I wrote about 2 new smart watches that are driven by a single purpose, one to give you the score for your favorite soccer team, and the other to help you track your fitness.  Today’s watch goes in the other direction, a connected device that has the goal of being a complete interface with your smart phone.  The Moment Smartwatch is more of a full screen smart bracelet that interacts with your phone, and also tells the time. Continue Reading

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Purpose Driven Watches With Smarts

Posted on 26 June 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

BeFunky_Withings Active 03.jpg

A lot of smart watches I see try to be everything.  Email, facebook posts, texts, weather, and so on and so on.  They are not watches in a traditional sense, but rather wearable computers that display the time.  Today, I wanted to highlight two purpose driven watches that are more “connected” watches than a “do everything” wearable.  The HotBlack by and the Withings Activé are connected devices designed to do a single task, with the former connecting you to your favorite football (soccer) team and the latter tracking your daily fitness goals.  Interestingly, both watches are coming out of the UK. Continue Reading

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The Padron Watch Co Hennepin, Going 3 for 3

Posted on 20 June 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Padron Watch Hennepin 01

Kickstarter has been good for the Padron Watch Company, so they are back for their third (apparently) successful campaign on the site.  The Hennepin watch is a chose-your-own movement project, with options for Swiss quartz, or Chinese, Japanese or Swiss automatic movements in the watch.   In 2012, the hand wound Vuelta was launched, followed by the automatic Tessera in 2013.  Both these watches far exceeded the funding goal, and with the Padron Watch Co Hennepin hitting funding goals early, so it looks like this will be 3 for 3.

Padron Watch Hennepin 04

The previous two watches utilized Chinese movements, so the current project is offering some nice options.  The lowest priced option is a Rhonda 713 quartz, running from $175 to $215, depending on when you pledge.  The next step up includes a Chinese clone of the ETA 2824-2, the same movement that was used in the previous watch project, for $349.

For an extra $30, you can upgrade to a Miyota 9015 automatic movement.  Ten backers also have the option of obtaining the watch with an actual ETA 2824-2, for $589.  There are also a number of options for two watches, an automatic and quartz (dad and grad?) or two quartz or two automatics, or…  well, there are a few buying options.  A final upgrade lets you add a deployment clasp for $12 to the leather strap (worth it in my book).

Padron Watch Hennepin 05

What is common through the line is the basic watch look.  The watch is a 45mm lugless design, sitting tall, made of stainless steel with a sapphire crystal, superlume hands, and a 100M water resistant rating.  You have a choice of the brushed stainless finish or PVD coating.  The crown is rotated down to 4:00, and the sides of the case are grooved.

The automatics come with an exhibition caseback, and the quartz has a caseback that pays homage to the brutal Minnesota winter of 2013/14.  The watch is carrying over one bit of design DNA from the previous two watches, circles for chapter marks at 12, 3, 6, and 9.  There is another ring with dots for each hour, and a final ring with dots for each minute.  No numbers, no date, just dots and circles.

I think it works really well in the PVD, where the hours are orange dots, matching the color of the second hand.  The lighter colored dot used on the stainless model is too muted for me.  The circles and the ordinance points and for the minute are recessed but not painted.

Padron Watch Hennepin 03

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Padron Watch Co. Hennepin
  • Price: $175 – $589, depending on the movement
  • Who we think it might be for: Minimalists.
  • Would I buy or recommend it just on the photos?:  Yes, especially the PVD.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I know it is in the DNA, but I don’t get the 4 circles.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch:  The black and orange color combo.

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Want Input into a Watch Design?

Posted on 19 June 2014 by Matt Himmelstein


Help create a watch design?  You know you want to!  The next question is, can you make it in person to an event in Montreal?  If you answered yes to both of those, and you can spare $1 CAD, or you can’t do the 1st two and want to get on the mailing list for a new watch, check out Division Furtive’s new kickstarter campaign.  Patrick took a look at their last kickstarter project, the Type 40 back in 2012.


For this campaign, Division Furtive is not offering a watch, but rather the chance to sit in on a design focus group to provide input into their next watch, the Type 50.  If you attend the event, you also get a keychain, and by supporting the event ether way, you will get updates on the project, which will be launched on a Canadian-based kickstarter platform.  The event is stated to take place in June, which I don’t think will happen since the campaign will end in July, but it will be this summer.  The event will be at ETOH Brasserie in Montreal (Yelp page), a nice looking spot with local beers, other drinks and nibbles.

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Finally a Clear Design Choice

Posted on 18 June 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Project O1 01

OK, maybe not finally, and I am sure that Project O1, a new watch that popped up on Indiegogo, is not the first watch in existence with a clear case (cue the Swatch fans), but it is still fairly unique.  And kind of cool.  It takes the concept of skeletonization of an automatic watch to the next level.

Project O1 03

I don’t follow Indiegogo like I follow Kickstarter, so this came to my attention via an email from the creators.  And with Indiegogo, there are looser rules on the stage of development prior to launching a project, so I am not sure if the images here are renderings or photos.  I do see that they have a pretty ambitious funding goal.  As for any crowd funded project (and I have backed several), please do a bit of research and understand the risks before you pledge.

Project O1 04

But if you do pledge to this project, and they are successful, then you are going to get an interesting and unique watch in return, something I usually don’t see with crowd funded projects.  There is no crystal per se, the whole watch is encased in Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), or for you non-chemical engineers out there, plastic.

The case, bezel and crystal are all one piece of PMMA, which is joined to a caseback of PMMA, sandwiching the Miyota 8N24-E21 skeleton automatic movement and a PMMA chapter ring, in either green, black or, you guessed it, clear.  The hour and minute hand are blued, but in the images, they look a little purple to me, lending to the idea that this is a rendering.

Project O1 02

The watch has a screw-down crown for 30 meters of water resistance, and the lug-less puck shaped case is mounted on black crocodile grained strap with a deployment clasp.  Overall, the watch is 44mm in diameter and just over 14mm tall.  Since the movement is 26mm in diameter, the bezel would be 4mm thick, 4mm of clear plastic thick.  If this interests you, check out the project.  project-o1-concept-watch

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Project O1 Concept Watch
  • Price: ~$280 USD with shipping
  • Who we think it might be for: Modern aviation fans.
  • Would I buy or recommend it just on the photos?:  I would want to see it in person.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I don’t care for the chapter ring.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch:  Two words – exposed movement.

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Trintec: Pioneers in Aviation (inspired watches, that is)

Posted on 11 June 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

Trintec 9060SE 02

Trintec Industries Inc. lays claim to being the first company to produce modern aviation instrument themed watches, dating back 30 years.  Now, I don’t want to wade into debate here, but they make a pretty decent argument.  And with that, they also make a pretty cool looking watch.  With their current Kickstarter campaign, they are also making two interesting 30th anniversary watches, the altimeter inspired 9060SE and the airspeed indicator inspired 9061SE. Continue Reading

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