The mechanical watch market has always been ripe with creativity when it comes to product development, however, high barriers to entry have always made things difficult for new players. Crowdfunding is helping change that, however, allowing a new niche to emerge in a centuries-old industry: the micro-brand. One such recent example is DWISS, a Swiss company founded in 2011. After successfully funding its project on Kickstarter last year, the company is now seeking additional funding to expand the collection on new crowdfunding site, JoeyCrowd. Read on to learn more about the watches and how you can get your hands on one (or several) for a very tempting early bird price.
DWISS – Design Watch Independent Switzerland
DWISS (Design Watch Independent Switzerland) was founded by Rafael Simoes Miranda in 2011, following a successful career designing watches for other brands. Soon after, the company won its first International Design Award in 2012, with the world’s first Niobium watch, followed by a European Product Design Award in 2016.
The company’s focus is on innovating how time is displayed, exploring new, non-traditional designs that are eye-catching whilst still promoting legibility. All models are produced as limited-editions, featuring high quality materials and externally sourced Swiss made movements. The current collection seeking further funding, the R1, is a mix of quartz and mechanical timepieces, although we’ll be focusing our attention on the latter today, particularly the R1 Automatic.
DWISS R1 Automatic
Of the three mechanical models available in the R1 collection, the DWISS R1 Automatic is arguably has the broadest appeal, largely because it combines a visually interesting time display with high-quality construction at an accessible price point. The mechanical version is also very attractive but slightly more traditional, aesthetically speaking at least. That’s not a bad thing mind you, especially if you like the overall style of the DWISS watches but prefer something a little more understated.
Broadly speaking there are three different versions of the R1 Automatic to choose from: the RS1, the RC1 and the RS1-SL. Within those three categories, however, you have further choice in terms of colours and you can also opt to upgrade to a metal bracelet. All three are presented in a 45mm x 13.0mm 7-part multilayer case constructed from 316L stainless steel, with the RS1 offering the added bonus of a black PVD treatment.
The dials of the RS1 and RS1-SL feature DWISS’ award-winning signature time display. Unlike a conventional three-hand display, which uses rotating hands to point to the hours and minutes at a fixed point on the dial, the time is shown concentrically. A dual-colour disc tracks a path around the periphery of the dial throughout the course the day to indicate the hour, whilst a rather elaborate central hand displays the minutes and seconds and the date is shown via a small aperture at 3 o’clock. Although it looks a bit overwhelming at first, it’s actually quite intuitive and easy-to-read once you know what you’re looking at.
The RC1 meanwhile features a “mystery” time-display, with the current hour shown at 12 o’clock via a rotating disc. The style is a bit more traditional – large Roman numerals for the hours, and smaller Arabic numerals for the minutes – however, it is still quite distinctive in its own way. The date is now shown via an aperture at 6 o’clock. One display isn’t necessarily better than the other, it really just comes down to personal preference. Speaking for myself, I think I am more inclined to the RC1, but that’s because my tastes are slightly more conservative.
All models in the RS1 Automatic collection are powered by a Swiss made ETA 2824-2 Top Grade movement, which is visible through the sapphire display back. Oscillating at a steady frequency of 4hz, the automatic movement offers 42 hours of power in reserve when fully wound. Completing the package are Italian made fabric and leather straps, equipped with quick-release pins to ensure the straps are easily interchangeable.
Each model in the RS1 Automatic collection will be limited to 199 pieces per colour and retail for CHF 1,390 once the project is fully funded. If you’re quick, however, you can pick up your own RS1 Automatic for AUD 1,080 (approx. CHF 795) through the JoeyCrowd crowd-funding campaign (click here for all the details). There’s also a tourbillon-model, created in conjunction with Concepto, which is limited to 10 pieces per colour and is very attractively priced at just AUD 12,900 (approx. CHF 9,500). That’s roughly a 50% discount on the final RRP!
The campaign only has 1 day left to run, however, and it’s just about fully funded, so if you want one of these watches, you better act fast.