Joshua Munchow highlights five pieces from some of our favorite independent brands that have just been released at Watches & Wonders 2021. From sapphire crystal-encased tourbillons and constant force fusée-and-chain-powered movements to stunning art pieces, these watches span genres and the spectrum of collector dreams.
Konstantin Chaykin’s Moscow Comptus Easter Clock masterpiece isn’t designed for the wrist but for the mantel. And it presents further evidence that the man Joshua Munchow dubs the “Wonderboy Russian Watchmaker” is one of the greatest watch- and clockmakers in the game today.
The aurora borealis (aka northern lights) is a natural phenomenon unlike any other, and replicating them in a watch seems impossible. But Swedish brand GoS has done just that with the new Norrsken, and not just once but in two very different versions, each as spectacular as the northern lights themselves.
Joshua Munchow appreciates brands that work hard to build their heritage and carve a niche for themselves with solid daily-wear watches while having fun with the occasional haute horlogerie piece, especially if that brand is an independent. And if it’s an American brand that makes its watches out of a small shop in Pennsylvania, all the better. Here Joshua reviews the new RGM Model 600 Chronograph, a robust and affordable chronograph suitable as a daily wearer.
To maximize his chances of being invited to exhibit with the AHCI at Baselworld 2019, independent Czech watchmaker Ludek Seryn felt he had to come up with something really outstanding: a watch that would bring him attention from both his fellow independent watchmakers and watch aficionados. With his creative Karel Rotation, it looks like he did just that.
Star Wars peeps, this watch is for you! Aside from being a $150,000 watch featuring a central tourbillon in a limited edition of just ten pieces, the Kross Studio Death Star Collector Set comes in an incredible container with one more thing making it irresistible to true Star Wars fans: each watch comes in a set with an authentic kyber crystal film prop from 2016’s ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.’
John McGonigle has launched the H-B1, the first watch under his solo brand Oileán. It’s a beautifully hand finished triple-calendar column wheel chronograph powered by a highly modified new-old stock Valjoux 88 movement. While not cheap, Ian Skellern thinks it’s the best value-for-money, exquisitely hand-finished, complicated watch he has ever seen.
The new S4, the fourth iteration of Garrick’s S line of models, also represents a solid effort to add as much value as possible to the brand’s watches while making them more accessible to collectors at large. And don’t miss the artistic prowess visible through the case back!
Working with creative makers like De Bethune, MB&F, Stepan Sarpaneva, Bamford, Linde Werdelin and more, Gothenburg-based James Thompson – aka Black Badger – has become industry famous as the driving force of a new school of applications of luminous materials. Anders Modig takes us through Black Badger’s history, along the way highlighting many of his colorful watch collaborations.
The Habring2 Jumping Second combines myriad details to make a very elegant watch with a utilitarian touch that is both practical and minimalistic. And as Martin Green notes here, a new strap can make a big difference.