Hubris is an interesting thing in the watch industry. You have to have it, or else you are never going to put out a watch. It takes an ego to try and sell a product that (hopefully) lots of people will wear on a daily basis, especially in an already crowded market. But too much hubris and you come off looking silly. By the response that Elliot Havok Timepieces is having with their Kickstarter launch, they seem to have struck the right chord.The watch project launched today and stormed out of the gate, and it will likely hit 100% of the $15,000 funding level within the first 24 hours, leaving 59 more days to get on the bandwagon. And jumping on is not expensive; the intent of the brand is to bring about transparent pricing and low cost to watch making, so they show that $36.85 out of the $69 asking price (for the Classic model) goes to production and shipping, leaving $32.15 to the company for profit.
Of course, to get this low a cost, you need to use a quartz movement and a mineral crystal. The company also chose to go with a carbon steel case (with stainless caseback). The case is coated to prevent rust, but I have not seen carbon steel used in watches, so I do wonder about the material.
There are a white and black dial versions of the “Classic” and two premium options, black and pearl, both with star-burst patterned dials. The dial design cues seem to be taken from a compass, which would be interesting for a rugged field watch, but you only have 30 meters of water resistance and a carbon steel case. The black looks attractive, but the black handset shown looks nearly unreadable against the dial, at least in the images. The creaters subsequently reached out to me and said that the watch handset color will be changed, so that may take care of that concern. I do like the look of the fabric backed straps on the premium versions.
Overall, it is an intriguing project, and it looks to be the first watch project to hit Kickstarter in the new year. There is certainly a market for the watch, judging by the strong initial response, but I am going to sit this one out. If any of our readers have a different take, please weigh in below. elliothavok.com
- Brand & Model: Elliot Havok Timepieces Classic and Premium
- Price: $69 – $79
- Who we think it might be for: You want a smaller dial on a casual/dress watch
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Unlikely. I do like the looks of the black, but from the images the watch looks too hard to read (though that should be changed in production).
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Use a contrasting colored handset for the black dial watches (which it looks like will be done).
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The cloth backed straps.
Tech Specs from Havok
- Movement : Seiko Hattori VX32 Quartz
- Functions : Three hand with date
- Case : Carbon steel (coated to prevent rust)
- Glass : Mineral Glass
- Water resistance : 30 meters
- Lug width : 20mm
- Straps : Black or brown leather on the Classic, cloth backed leather on the Premium
- Diameter : 39mm
- Case height : 7 mm
- Weight of watch head : Not specified
(Note: After this review was initially published, the creators reached out to me and mentioned that the carbon steel case was coated to prevent rust and that the handset for the black dialed watches would be changed during production. This review was modified to reflect that new information. If you are a backer, or a potential backer, please communicate any concerns with the creators through the project page. In my experience, most creators are very good about communicating with backers and responding to questions and suggestions.)