When it comes to Kickstarter projects for watches, more often than not they are coming from brands that you’ve never heard of before. Or, if you have heard of them, it was from a prior project. Well, that’s about to change, as we found a project that’s from the same team that’s behind a site most (if not all of you) are familiar with – Watchismo.
That’s right – Watchismo is making the transition from being a retailer of unique watches, to actually creating their own timepiece. The Xeriscope has some interesting design details to it, and with a judicious use of dial colors and case finishes, they’ve got five different models on tap.
The first thing I noticed with this watch was the crazy big opening on the dial – much larger than you’d need to just expose the balance wheel (which is what most open heart watches do). Well, they’ve got that large opening because of how they’re handling the hour hand. Basically, you’ve got that large arrow head acting as the hour hand for the piece, with the indices on the outer edge of the opening.
They’re billing this as telling the time via the movement, and while in some ways that’s true, it’s also a bit of a misnomer. Yes, it does look like you’ve got a part of the movement used to indicate the time. In all actuality, I believe it’s driven the same way a “normal” hour hand would be (check out this video). Nomenclature quibbles aside, it’s an interesting way to get that part of the time displayed. Relevant to the movement, we tried to dig up more information, but the manufacturer is not being shared, though we can tell you its a 24-jewel skeleton automatic.
So, where’s the minutes hand? Right up at 12 o’clock, actually – and it’s double sided. You’ll notice that there’s also a semi-circle track, with the scale printed in two colors, red and black. These correspond to each side of the minute hand, and you just read the color-matched scale for whichever side of the hand is over there. This is a clever way to get around the packaging, given the large opening in the dial, though it does seem confusing, initially.
To the left of that minute scale you have a power-reserve indicator; over to the right, you’ve got a small dial indicating the hours of a second time zone, which can be set independently of the main time. This is all set in an dial that has a combination of textures – both sunburst and cross-hatched. I like that they did put this in, as the wide expanses, if left flat, could feel too empty otherwise.
This is all housed in a 45mm stainless steel case (13mm thick) that has 22mm lugs; the watch as a whole carries a 50m WR rating. As to differentiating the models, that’s where finishing and dial colors come. For the five options, you have:
- Matte silver case with black dial; silver hands, plain bezel
- Polished silver case with white dial; blue/silver hands, coin-edge bezel
- Polished two tone case (silver/gold) with silver dial; black/gold hands, coin-edge bezel
- Polished rose gold case with black dial; rosegold/silver hands, coin-edge bezel
- Matte black case with black dial; silver/gold hands, plain bezel
Regardless of the finishing options you’d go with, two things remain the same. There are only 100 pieces of each variant (so, 500 total), and the pricing is identical. If you’re one of the first 25 backers (of each color), the watch will cost you $349, and if you’re one of the 74 after that, the price is $399. Yes, that leaves one “left over”, but I can only assume those stay with the creators.
UPDATE: Between the time I found this project and writing up this post, it has absolutely exploded. The project is over funded by a significant amount, and most of the initial batch is sold out. As such, they’ve opened up a non-limited edition offering of most of the designs, at a price of $399. This non-LE edition also upgrades the crystal to sapphire (the limited-edition models feature mineral crystals).
While I’m a little torn on the overall design (I like the cutout / time display and cabochon crown, but I’m concerned a little about readability), I think it’s a great first outing from this “new” brand. Frankly, it’s a good bit different than many of the other Kickstarter projects we’ve featured, as it’s more or less creating it’s own sort of genre, rather than a twist on more well-known style (say, a diver). Which isn’t a knock at the other projects – it’s more of an acknowledgment that the Greenblatt brothers have taken a risk here, and brought us something a little more uncommon – just like they’ve done for years over at Watchismo. kickstarter.com
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