The watch industry is undergoing a transformation. Multiple young microbrands have popped up on the scene, relying on crowdfunding to launch their (interesting or not) projects. New on the scene is a brand named Riskers, a French venture with models inspired by trench military watches, modernized for the occasion. But what’s special about Riskers, apart from the watches, is the people behind the project – and that says a lot about the current state of the industry. Let’s have a look at the Riskers Prolog I and Chapter I.
Behind this new French brand are people with quite some background. In fact, it is the result of former Richemont Group (owner of Cartier, JLC, IWC, Lange and many more) executives teaming up to launch a watch brand… on Kickstarter! Clearly unconventional. Going by the name of Riskers, the company was co-founded by Pierre Guerrier, who worked as part of Richemont’s marketing services for Piaget, and serial entrepreneur, Thomas Noël. Several other ex-Richemont employees have also been involved, at different stages of the project.
Riskers wants to offer accessible watches and presents itself as a people-focused brand. Each watch is associated with an ambassador. Not a high-profile personality, but a risker – an ordinary person doing extraordinary things to protect or help others. Each of these ‘riskers’ is associated with a dedicated cause to which part of the proceeds from the sales of the corresponding watch is donated.
For instance, the risker linked to the Prolog I model is a fictional character, Albert Roche, an anonymous World War One trench soldier who had to face terrible danger. The watch, in turn, supports L’Oeuvre Nationale du Bleuet de France, an association that assists veterans, war widows, wards of the State, soldiers wounded in peacekeeping operations and victims of terrorism. The other model, Chapter I, is released in association with Guillaume d’Aboville, General Manager of Enfants du Mékong (Children of Mekong), a charity that works to improve access and quality of education in Southeast Asia. But let’s now look at these new Riskers watches.
THE WATCHES – PROLOG I AND CHAPTER I
For its inaugural collection, Riskers launches four watches, all based on the same concept. And because you’re reading MONOCHROME, we are taking a look at the two automatic watches named Prolog I and Chapter I; the two other watches, Chapter II and Chapter III, are powered by a quartz movement.
The main concept of Riskers was designed by Malo Le Bot, who worked for several Richemont brands and who was trained at the Group’s Creative Academy. The idea behind Prolog I and Chapter I was to revisit World War One trench watches, proposing a modern interpretation of these pieces, rather than a nostalgic commemoration or reproduction. Just like the first wristwatches of yesteryear, the case features gentle curves and a pebble shape – as if it was a converted pocket watch. The slightly domed sapphire crystal further accentuates the watch’s modern-retro styling. The distinctive crown shield and the lugs are inspired by a pocket watch bow. The 43mm diameter x 12.35mm height case of the Riskers Prolog I and Chapter I is made of brushed stainless steel, with polished accents on the bezel and the side of the case. The caseback is closed.
The large, domed sector dial, another tribute to antique military watches, features Arabic even numerals with an oversized 12. It comes in taupe (Prolog I) or grey with a light sunburst finish in both models. The hands are blued and open-worked. The tip of the second hands is slightly bent to match the dial, which is a nice touch.
The Riskers Prolog I and Chapter I are powered by a Swiss automatic movement, the STP1-11. Manufactured by Swiss Technology Production, this clone of the ETA-2824 (just like the Sellita SW-200) should prove to be a robust, reliable ally. Running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, it stores 44 hours of power reserve when fully wound. It displays the hours, minutes, seconds and the date – as always, the presence of the date is debatable.
The watch is worn on a brown or black calf leather strap with contrasting beige or mustard stitching and secured by a steel pin buckle.
Price and availability
Riskers launches now on Kickstarter. The price of the automatic Prolog I and Chapter I watches is set at EUR 1,190 excl. taxes. There are also quartz variants available at EUR 490 excl. taxes. For more information, please visit the brand website www.riskers-watches.com or their Kickstarter page.