CuleM Watches is a new microbrand based in Valencia, Spain, founded by Matthew Cule in 2018. “CuleM” is a combination of his last name and first initial. He launched his first watch collection via Kickstarter in May 2019 with a total of ten variants from three core models, all designed for world travellers covering 24 time zones. Let’s have a look at this accessible proposition in the GMT watch market, launched via Kickstarter.
The CuleM World GMT watch is the first in a series of nine collections planned for the brand. Matthew’s passion for watches started at a young age with a watch coveted by his father. At 18, his father volunteered months of his time painting a church in disrepair and received a gold-plated watch in return. The caseback was engraved in Latin, “Bene Merenti,” meaning “Well Deserved.” The pride he showed in the watch made a lasting impression, and coupled with Matthew’s passion for travel, helped inspire his watchmaking endeavour. His inaugural collection showcases a well-considered form and function allowing travellers to keep up with local time in style.
All 316L stainless steel cases are 40mm in diameter and 10.15mm in height, and the three models come in either three or four different colourways for a total of ten watches. Case colours include bare steel, black PVD or gold plating. The models are The Portal, The Frame, and The Lights, each with a dial featuring a world map. The Portal comes in four colourways (blue, black, grey and gold), while The Frame comes in three (blue, black and grey) as does The Lights (blue, black and gold).
The Portal’s map is three-dimensional with discernable depth, kind of resembling a topographic map. The Frame has a two-dimensional map with defined edges and angles in and around the continents, and a contrasting outer 24-hour ring and outermost seconds train. The Lights has the cleanest design with an outlined two-dimensional map surrounded by simple stick indices at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. It has a trick up its sleeve, however, with tiny luminescent dots that glow like a night view of Earth’s lights from space.
All CuleM World GMT watches have a date window at 6 o’clock and the hand colours vary according to the case/dial. The GMT hands have a red triangular tip resembling the Welsh dragon’s tail, symbolizing stability in motion and controlling the direction of travel. The dials are protected by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and the exhibition caseback has mineral glass. The outer steel portion of the back is engraved with 24 GMT and BST time zones via specific location, along with the six continents. The push crown has a knurled pattern inspired by waves and the cases are water-resistant to 50 metres.
The heart of the collection is a Top-Grade ETA 2893-2 automatic (adjusted in five positions, average rate of +/- 4 seconds per day – allowable variance of +/- 15 seconds per day). It has 21 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds, GMT and date.
Each watch comes with two 21mm Italian leather straps with quick release levers for easy replacement. All come with a two-year warranty and travel trunk watch box with internal drawer for straps/accessories. Kickstarter Super Early Bird prices start at EUR 1,249 (USD 1,399) for a blue, black or grey edition. Gold plated editions are EUR 1,779 (USD 1,993) with deliveries for all models starting in July. Following Kickstarter, the watches will be available at full retail at the CuleM website.