Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Birth of Kollokium, a new Indie Platform Driven by Design and Freedom

An industrial die-cast steel case with a 3D dial composed of cylindrical pegs marks the debut of Kollokium, the world’s first anti-brand.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |

What happens when you put a reputable watch designer, a veteran industry mover and shaker and a renowned collector in the same room? The answer is Kollokium, a new project-based platform that is going to stir things up on the watch scene. Boldly stating that Kollokium is “not a brand”, the platform founded by Manuel Emch, Barth Nussbaumer and Amr Sindi claims to have “no defined artistic direction, no rehashed history, no constraints”. Freedom is the operative word here, and Kollokium responds to architectural, artistic and design impulses that inspire the founders. As they say, Kollokium is not so much a stylistic exercise but a mood and the debut Projekt 01 watch fuses raw, industrial case finishings with a unique 3D dial composed of cylindrical pegs.

Kollokium’s founders: Amr Sindi, Barth Nussbaumer and Manuel Emch.

The Triad

Surprisingly, not one of the three founders is a watchmaker. Manuel Emch has a knack for turning watch brands around. From Jaquet Droz to Romain Jerome and from Raketa to Louis Erard, Emch steers clear of traditional roadmaps and embraces creativity, design and art to inject life into flailing brands. Amr Sindi, aka “The Horophile”, is also a well-known face on the indie watch scene involved in countless collaborations and for possessing an eclectic, colourful watch collection. Barth Nussbaumer is a reputed watch designer with projects like a Grande Seconde for Jaquet Droz, the Dandy for Chaumet, a Gulf edition for TAG Heuer, the Koppel watch for Georg Jensen, a dial for Petermann Bedat, etc.

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The Projekt 1 Watch

Industrial, brutalist design tenets are behind the 40mm stainless steel case that has not been milled or machined in the traditional way. Instead, it is made using the technique of die casting, a far cry from the conventional polished and satin-brushed finishings we are accustomed to in watchmaking. The die-casting process, which is used across marine and automotive industries, feeds molten alloys into casts under high pressure and speed to create moulded products. The result is an industrial heavy-duty steel case with rounded-off edges and a slightly matte, granular texture that is surprisingly soft to the touch.

The two-part case construction is composed of a barrel-shaped caseback element paired with lugs inspired by cruciform screwdrivers and a case middle with a steel container for the movement. Completing the industrial mood, the crown is valve-shaped and the name of the watch appears in relief on the left caseband. Designed with ergonomics in mind, the Projekt-01 has a height of 11mm, including the sapphire box crystal, and the short lugs integrated with the caseback mean the watch sits close to the wrist. The elasticised black textile strap has a hook-fastening system in die-cast steel and stitched loops to adjust the size; it allows the skin to breathe and is quick to dry.

First impressions of the dial might suggest the Pin Art Screens of the 1980s, an ‘executive toy’ composed of thousands of pins that slide in and out to create a 3D relief. It is, in fact, a 3D reconstruction of a pixellated image rendered by Adobe Illustrator representing 12 maxi-size hour markers. Set against a black textured base, the 468 cylindrical hour markers, produced in six different diameters and heights, are applied by hand. Each cylinder is sandblasted and filled with Super-LumiNova that emits an orange glow in the dark. The black oblong-shaped hour and minute hands with Super-LumiNova outlines seem to float over the cylindrical pegs, and the lacquered orange seconds hand has an open triangle counterweight that looks a bit like a shepherd’s crook.

La Joux-Perret Inside

It’s not often that watch brands produce entertaining press releases, but Kollokium’s pitch is spot-on and honest. Kollokium, it states, “may be a lot of things, but a watchmaker isn’t one of them”. Powering Projekt 01 is a La Joux-Perret G101 automatic movement. A powerful alternative to ETA’s 2824, this solid, pragmatic movement delivers a 68-hour power reserve. And since the movement is hidden beneath the caseback, the non-brand assures us the movement is duly unbranded and unadorned.

Availability & Price

The Kollokium Projekt 01 was produced in a closed series of 99 pieces and offered to friends and family of the three founders. The first ‘official’ models will be released in the first quarter of 2024, retailing for CHF 2,666.66. Stay tuned for updates.

5 responses

  1. Kudos to the trio! However, considering the quality of the movement and the higher price range, having a sapphire crystal back would have been a positive and desirable feature for the product.

  2. I love the design and signed up to their email list straight away. Let’s hope they bump up the water pressure resistance for the public release. 3 ATM isn’t even safe for wearing the watch when washing your hands. ‘A watch that can get wet’ – as it boasts – should have at least 5 ATM water pressure resistance minimum, better 10 ATM.

  3. A tongue-in-cheek anti-brand with name branding, a very particular aesthetic that they describe in detail, and a web presence with a future point-of-sale system. And for CHF 2666.66, you can be anti-brand, too! Cool design, the rest is eye-rolling. There are no “outsiders” in the watch world.

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