Just about a year ago, we brought you word of a new British brand, W.T. Author, and their inaugural watch, the 1909. At this point, of course, you might think they are overdue to introduce a new model, and that is exactly what they have done. At this time, you can pre-order your own W.T. Author 1914.
Today, we are going to mix things up a little bit for you. Obviously, Kickstarter watches are not anything new. What is new (or at least different, as of late), is that it will not be Matt covering it. As it turns out, Visitor Watch Co. is a short train ride from Chicago, so its owner, Phil Rodenbeck, hopped on over to give me a hands-on look at the debut models in the Calligraph collection: the Visitor Watch Co. Duneshore.
I see a lot of crowd funded projects, and many of them state that the creator couldn’t find the watch they wanted, so they went off and created one. Some times the watch is fairly unique in an aspect or two, but other times I could easily find similar watches with minimal searching. But still, there is a desire to design something and make it your own. Which is what is intriguing about the H2O Watch business model, and the H2O Kalmar 2 which is available for pre-order. There is a full menu of options for the watch that lets you customize it the way you want, and still get a high performing dive watch.
It is no secret that I am a fan of the watches Magrette creates (my first automatic was a Magrette), and I have also been curiously attracted to using bronze as a case material. Magrette did have an earlier bronze piece, and now they are back with another – the Magrette Vantage.
Last year, watch retailer Watchismo decided to get into the watch building business, with a Kickstarter campaign for the Xeric Xeriscope. They had a little bit of success, with pledges totaling over 10x the funding goal of $40,000. Today, they are back with their second watch, the Xeric Xeriscope Squared, a definite close relative to the original watch.
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.
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.
While the overall watch case design movement may be staying with the mid-40mm case, I have seen quite a few designs of late that are less than 40mm across, designed for me (or at least unisex) and are round. The Melbourne Watch Company Parkville automatic is just the most recent of these. Skipping the crowdfunded phase that started the brand’s previous efforts, the Parkville is being offered as a pre-order on their website, an encouraging sign that this young watchmaking firm has a strong enough following to sell direct.