As a watch geek I get very excited about the inner workings of a watch, so when information on the Projects Watches Compass originally came across my desk, honestly I wasn’t all that excited – basic quartz movement, basic round case, basic leather strap, nothing to see here. Then I started doing a bit of research on the brand (which I’d not heard of previously) and checking out some of their other offerings. Cue a bit of excitement. Then, I checked out the animations of the Compass in action and the excitement level grew considerably. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking about what was inside the watch, but simply how it made me feel. This is exactly the reaction that Project Watches wants to invoke with their designs. It works!
The overall design of the Compass is very basic (there’s that word again) so as not to distract the wearer from the real focus of the watch, the dial. The case is stainless steel, coated in black using the ion plating process (a variant of the PVD process), and measuring 37mm across. Those with bigger wrists may find this one hard to pull off, especially given the lugless design since the absence of lugs makes a watch wear quite a bit smaller than its specs would suggest. As I haven’t had a chance to actually handle and try the piece on it’s difficult to say, but I suspect if your wrist size is 7″ or smaller, you’ll probably be just fine.
Where things really start getting interesting is on the dial itself. Smack dab in the center is a turquoise circle with a black pyramid shape stretching across its diameter. This is the hour “hand”, the tip of the pyramid pointing to the current hour. There’s a significant distance between the tip of the pyramid and the edge of the blank, Movado-esque black dial, so it can take a few seconds to determine what hour it’s pointing to under certain circumstances. Running tangentially to the inner circle is a long turquoise obelisque-shaped hand, with the pointed end stopping just shy of dial edge. This is the minute hand. Again, without index markers it’s kind of a take-your-best-guess kind of thing, which I think is perfectly fine for what is clearly an art watch.
Looking at static pictures is one thing, but where the watch really comes alive is in the animations, which you can check out here. As the watch operates, the point where the minute hand intersects with the inner hour disc is perpetually chasing and then passing the tip of the hour pyramid, at which point it begins its chase all over again. The effect is really quite cool.
All of this is not to say that the Compass doesn’t have what it takes on the inside as well. With a dependable Miyota quartz movement doing its thing under the dial, the Compass will provide for years and years of dependable, accurate, reliable service, needing only simple battery changes from time to time. As I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into the world of watches, I’ve learned to appreciate all different types of time pieces, including those that offer a more laid back way of passing the hours and minutes in our lives. The Projects Watches Compass is just such a watch, and I can appreciate it for what it is, a really cool piece of art on your wrist. Available May 5th from projectswatches.com
- Brand & Model: Projects Watches Compass
- Price: $135
- Who we think it might be for: If you enjoy a bit of a show on your wrist and a more relaxed way of telling time, this is the watch for you.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? If it were 39mm I’d consider it, but I think it’s just a bit too small for my wrist. My wife the art major and watch lover digs it.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The inventive way of displaying the time.
Technical Specifications From Projects Watches
- Material: Stainless Steel, Black IP-Coated
- Size: 37mm
- Crystal: Domed Sapphire, Internal AR Coating
- Case Back: Solid Stainless Steel, Screwed
- Water Resistance: 3 atm
- Inter-lug Width: 18mm
- Material: Leather
- Clasp: Pin Buckle