Imagine the classic shot of an old world map, with a DC-3 propeller plane and a dashed line trailing behind it showing the journey. If I were making a promotional video of this watch, I would totally use that shot with the line going from Singapore to Switzerland, with a fade to the Jubileon Superellipse watch on the wrist of a gentleman holding a glass of scotch while traveling first-class.
It’s time again to talk about Kickstarter watches! This week, we have something interesting in the spectrum of crowdfunded watches. But first, settle in, and wire up for an EKG, because the words you’re about to read may increase your heart rate. Stainless Steel. Sapphire. Cushion case. Powered by the beating of a genuine Swiss ETA 2824-2 calibre.
There’s a lot going on here, both in terms of the watch, and in terms of who’s behind the project. Let’s start with the watch. As said before, it’s a premium Swiss Made watch powered by the ETA 2824-2 movement. It’s awfully hard to go wrong with the venerable 2824-2. It’s a solid movement that’s well-understood, and well-regarded for it’s reliability. The case design combines the cushion shape with a screwed-on bezel. The watch has a somewhat industrial feel, with it’s mostly brushed finish, using polished sides of the bezel for accent. The screwed-on bezel reminds me most of a Hublot or Audemars-Piguet, although there are only four screwheads shown here. You can tell that they’re functional screws because the heads aren’t indexed in any particular position – they don’t line up, but rest where they land when tightened down. The dial has applied silver baton hour markers and a matching frame for the date window. The name of the watch is inspired by the superellipse curve, which is the mathematical representation of the cushion shape.
Now, to talk about the people behind the watch for a moment. You may notice that the pictures of the dial are marked with three pieces of text:
- Jubileon (the name of the micro-brand)
- SINGAPORE (the place where Jubileon is founded)
- Swiss Made
How, you handsome reader, and person of discerning taste, ask, is a Swiss Made watch signed Singapore? First of all, Back up a step. Rewind. Reverse that. This is a prototype dial. I asked the very same questions of Jubileon’s representative, who said, “Regarding the word Singapore, it is initially placed on the dial as the watch is designed in Singapore, which is something we are personally proud of. However, we showed the watch around and the response is indeed not very positive. Therefore, for the final product, we will be removing the word Singapore from the dial.” To be very clear, if you back this watch, you won’t have to be concerned that it says Singapore on the dial.
But, how then, is it Swiss Made? They have partners in Switzerland, and they’re complying with the regulations concerning the Swiss Made label. Wikipedia to the rescue! The movements are absolutely Swiss, and “(a) watch is considered Swiss whose movement is Swiss, whose movement is encased in Switzerland and whose final control by the manufacturer takes place in Switzerland.” This shouldn’t alarm you or be a cause for concern. The Swiss watch industry has been making watch cases outside of Switzerland for a long time. The only difference here is that some fine residents of Singapore, equipped with good taste and an appreciation for mechanical watches, are behind this effort rather than gentlemen or women from Switzerland.
It’s worth noting that many kickstarter projects use stock components to produce a watch. They’re like shoppers with a catalogue, ‘these hands, this case, that crown…’ place an order for a minimum order quantity, and they end up with a watch. Here, many of the components are custom-made just for this watch. This is a unique watch.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to this one, and hope they succeed. If we want a future that’s just a bit off the beaten path of diver’s and dress watches; If we want to encourage automatic watches, by watchmakers working hard to comply with the Swiss Made requirements, and on top of that, doing something unique, not just another minimalist dress watch, this is how we get there.
The cushion case is normally a large watch at 45mm. I don’t normally wear a 45mm watch, instead preferring a slightly smaller size. The 39mm Jubileon have chosen is right up my alley. At 9.4mm thin, it’s going to tuck under my shirtsleeve cuffs easily. Granted, I don’t always wear tailored shirts, but when I do, this should do the trick. For me, it feels like a timeless choice, that should be at home in the office, with jeans, or with the Hawaiian shirt eating pineapple shaved ice. Some things are just modern classics. Jubileon Superellipse on Kickstarter
- Brand & Model: Jubileon
- Price: Earlybird pricing starts at $600 AUD ($450 USD)
- Who we think it might be for: You like the classics in life, and want something that’s a little different than a Tissot or Hamilton might offer.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes. It looks comfortable, classic, and well proportioned.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Increase the water-resistance rating. It’s rated for 50M, so suitable for handwashing. I wouldn’t swim on the leather strap, but I’d like a little more reassurance.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The classic design cues in a modern, but not absurd, size.
Tech Specs from Jubileon
- Case size: 39mm (50mm lug-to-lug), 9.4mm thickness
- Case material: 316L stainless steel (brushed, with polished accents)
- Crystal: Sapphire crystals both front and back
- Strap: alligator, pin buckle clasp
- Movement: Swiss-made ETA 2824-2
- Hands: Leaf-shaped minute and hour hands with Super-Luminova C1.
- First 500 pieces individually numbered.