We reviewed the original version of this watch—the “Crash of ’29”— hands-on back in August 2015. The updated “Skyscraper” uses the same big art deco case, but changes almost everything else. These updates make a very unique watch a bit more accessible, bringing down the price from $3,500 to $925 or $1,200 (depending on the grade of the movement). There are some trade-offs here, but nothing to be depressed about.
This latest collaboration between Richard Paige and Mark Carson ditches perhaps the coolest—and priciest—feature of the original ’29: vintage American pocket watch movements. But the replacement movements are nothing to scoff at.
A beautiful Swiss ETA/Unitas 6497 takes the place of the vintage movement. Twenty examples will include “premium” decoration in the form of circular Geneva stripes and blued screws, plus swan neck regulation and a weighted balance. The remainder (130 watches) run the same movement in Elaboré grade, with straight Geneva stripes and blued screws. Both are nicely decorated, but the premium version certainly looks the part.
The dial, hands, and crown also get updates. There is still a small second hand at 6:00, but the new silvery sunburst dial is much more refined. The printing looks sharper and broad strips of C3 Super LumiNova extend tastefully from each hour numeral. All three hands hide a generous lume strip in plain sight, blended into the center of each hand in a way that tastefully integrates a bit of utility into the piece.
The crowns on both the ’29 and the Skyscraper sit atop the watches at 12:00, but the Skyscraper gets a much larger, aggressively knurled crown. The larger crown better fits the gap between the lugs and matches the proportions of the case. It’s probably the smartest design change between the two models.
The elephant in the room is the size of this thing. At 46.7 mm wide by 57.5 mm tall and 12.7 mm thick, this is going to scare a lot of slender wristed folks, but Patrick had no complaints with the ’29. Given the art deco influence, I would love to see a version in a more vintage size (say 36–38 mm?).
The Skyscraper is well past its funding goal, with only a few of the premium models left.