You know the deal with Kickstarter campaigns: “investing” in advance in a project and raising funds to create an item (watches or others…). This crowdfunding process seems to be the new way to deal with, for watches especially. Many brands have seen birth like this (many also failed). In our regular “watching-the-web” task, we just find out a new project, based on an interesting display, with (rare thing) a movement that is neither quartz or a cheap Japanese automatic but which comes from our beloved Swiss mountains. Here is the Art Mecanique Watches with discs display and Swiss Automatic movement.
What is the idea behind this project? Two guys, Adriano and Fred, with quite some experience in the Swiss watch industry – they combine 35 years of experience as designer/marketer and engineer/micro-technician – were somehow frustrated that most of the timepieces they worked on were sold at prohibitive prices. Because of that, they decided to launch their own product, a watch that would combine what they look for in such a product: an original design, a display that is just different enough, the use of traditional horology decors and codes, quality materials, a swiss automatic movement and last but not least, an affordable price point – well, at least a price that reflects the content of the watch. And with prices starting around 400 Swiss Francs, let’s say that it’s rather a fair price that we have here.
What are we talking about with the Art Mecanique Watches? Well, basically, it is a round watch, with 316L stainless steel case (so to say, very good steel quality), measuring 42mm for 9.4mm thick (good proportions, not too large, not too thick). As you can see, the case is classical in shape but the dial isn’t, as the lower half is plain – and decorated with what the two founders call the “traditional horology decors” – it can be faux-Geneva-stripes, circular graining or a pattern mimicking the “cloud de Paris”. The case can be in polished stainless steel or coated in black with DLC (yes, DLC in a 400 euros automatic watch…). The dial is cut mainly because of the display. One thing you probably know us to love is different displays of the time. The Art Mecanique Watches aren’t renewing the world of horology but they use discs instead of hands to display the time – and that is already enjoyable for such a watch.
The trick is simple and doesn’t require much efforts. The 3 hands are replaced by 3 discs, displaying the hours, the minutes and the seconds, all driven by the central axis of the movement. The change is on the perception of time and the way to read it. You’ll have to imagine a line from the center of the watch to 12 and then, read the indications that are crossing this line. Simple and original enough. Originality in watchmaking is not just about design and shape of the case. With the simple replacement of hands by discs, the Art Mecanique Watches offer collectors with a low budget the opportunity to enjoy something different.
To power this display of the time, the Art Mecanique Watches rely on a Swiss movement, a Schild 280 automatic to be precise. Just like Sellita or Soprod, this movement is an ETA clone. It ticks at 4Hz, features 26 jewels and a Glucydur balance wheel, measures 25.6mm in diameter and boasts 40 hours of power reserve. Nothing spectacular but it will, like all the ETA-clones, be a workhorse, strong and reliable to power the watch for years and precise like a good Swiss movement should be.
The Art Mécanique Watches are offered in many combinations – which you can explore here – with steel or DLC case, with 4 finishes on the lower dial cover (including stones for ladies), with grey or black discs depending on the case color, and with several strap options (straps come with easy interchangeable device). You can choose for one of the 5 first models or you can even ask for a customized edition. Prices starts at 385 Swiss Francs (for the first limited editions, only very few left) and the regular edition starts at 405 Swiss Francs. So to say, a very fair price for a watch with this content. More details about the watch, the campaign and the different editions here, on the Kickstarter page.
Specifications of the Art Mecanique Watches
- Case: 42mm x 9.4mm – 316L stainless steel, with possible black DLC coating – sapphire crystal on front, engraved caseback
- Movement: Schild 280, ETA 2824 Clone – automatic – 40h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, seconds, via 3 rotating discs
- Strap: vast choice of leather straps