In as much as anyone has a beat at WWR, I have the crowd funded beat. My introduction to the site came via a Kiackstarter project, I nurtured my relationship with Patrick by feeding more and more Kickstarter reviews, and I have purchased a couple of Kickstarter watches. Project creators are reaching out to us in the hopes of highlighting their projects, and I want to encourage that. But the truth is, we can’t cover them all. So from time to time, I will put together a Crowd Funded Compilation post of watches that otherwise have not had stand alone reviews. Many of these watches are a fair bit away from their funding threshold, so a pledge may end up getting canceled if the watch does not make it.
I am not a huge fan of smartwatches, but of the ones you can actually buy today, the Moto 360 seems to be the one with the best looks, especially if you want a smart watch that looks like a watch. But the folks at Steel Connect have come up with an enhancement, the SteelConnect M, an adapter that will let you use any 22mm strap.
I see a lot of new watch projects on crowd funded sites, and most of them try to come up with a way to distinguish themselves from the pack. With so many watch designs out there, it is tough to do. Some do create a unique product, but many fall into the “same old thing” category. Birline is trying to avoid that trap by focusing not only on the watch, but also on the strap. The new Birline Super Slim uses a Harris Tweed strap in a multitude of colors to set themselves apart.
In an interesting (OK, maybe not that interesting) coincidence, I happened to be wearing my Zelos Helmsman when I received an update from company on the Zelos Chroma, their second watch project, which was going live that afternoon on Kickstarter. The Zelos Chroma is being billed as a minimalist automatic, which may actually sell the project a little short.
OK, we have already established that cars and watches go together hand in hand, but even more than cars, aviation pairs with watches in a big way. My favorite type of aviation watch is an instrument style, and I want to highlight a new company’s second crowdfunded cockpit instrument watch. The Rhynofit Rubicon is styled after the artificial horizon used to give an indication of level flight in the absence of other cues, say at night or in the fog. As a visual style, I think this inspiration works well as something that is instantly recognizable, but not distracting to the actual reading of the watch.
As the old saying goes “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” With watches there is more than one way to display the time. There is, of course, the circular display, with lots of variations, and then there are text displays, be they digital or printed, like the Devon Tread. Division Furtive Type 50 watch is not content with these options, and uses a linear display, two rows of LEDs for time, date, moon phase and chronograph functions.
The rise of crowdfunding has really opened up watchmaking to new entrepreneurs and enthusiasts wishing to make their mark on the industry, and put their product on your wrist. The first product out of the gate is interesting, but for me, the real test comes with the follow up watches. The Rossling & Company Automatic is the firm’s sophomore effort, back on Kickstarter, that builds on their first watch offering, keeping a similar aesthetic, but adding a mechanical movement.
Cobra de Calibre is a small brand out of Canada that is back with a second watch project on Kickstarter. I really like the style of the watch, though my timing in making other purchases always seems to put these projects at the wrong time for me. I covered their first watch when I was still just a friend of the site in February of this year, and they are selling a slightly refined version as their model 2 on their web site. This project, the Cobra de Calibre 3 Twin Crown carries forward a lot of the brand’s established identity, but takes it in a new direction with a bronze case, and a DLC coated bronze case.