There must be something in the air because micro brands are coming out of the woodwork. One of the latest to come to my attention is Tangramatic, a project by Francis del Mundo of Sydney, Australia. The company has three intriguing automatic watches launching on Kickstarter now.
The name is an portmenteau of tangram and automatic. Francis coined it while tinkering with his designs. "It's like playing with a tangram puzzle," he says, "moving around parts until I could make an interesting shape." The automatic part comes from the reliable Miyota 9015 movement inside. You know the specs: 24 jewels, 28.8k bph, 42 hour power reserve, and a silky smooth sweep.
The case is polished stainless steel and a relatively modest 39mm across and 45mm long, but its vertical sides and straight lugs make it appear larger. It is sometimes hard to remember that not so very long ago, this would have been a large watch. I am quite pleased that Francis chose a mid-size case. I have nothing against large watches, but "case inflation" has been getting a little out hand lately, and a mid-size is far more versatile. The watch has a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the underside, SuperLuminova, and 100 meters water resistance. The case back is decorated with a hummingbird to represent the oscillation of the movement, and a fish to represent water resistance. It is inscribed with the phrase "Hoc gestes salubriter" or "May you wear this in good health."
Three very different dial designs are available. Weary of minimalist offerings, Francis set out to create unique designs inspired by typography. "After all," he explains, "web design and print journalism can invoke an impression or mood by simply using certain type faces."
The Bauhaus has a modern, white dial and uses words for hour markers. They are arranged in a radial pattern and carefully balanced. I particularly like the way he incorporated "One Hundred Meters" and balanced the 6 o'clock date window with the "SE" in seven and "Automatic" above five.
The brown dial California combines two designs from the 1930's: the Roman/Arabic California dial, and the classic modernist dial popularized by Nomos, which uses condensed type faces in a radial layout. The numbers and hands are lumed. A gold railroad track index rings the dial. It looks so right, it makes me wonder why I have not seen it more often.
The Nautilus has a blue dial and gold numerals in vintage style serif italics. "When I made the brown and white dial, I realized that I didn't have a 'conventional' dial with plain Arabic numerals as hour markers," says Francis, "but I couldn't just use normal ones." True to its name, the numbers are different sizes arranged in a spiral pattern. The hands and markers are treated with green lume.
All three Tangramatics wear 20mm straps and four options will be offered: a nylon NATO, black or brown leather, blue or black Perlon, and a stainless steel mesh bracelet.
These designs are subject to change as the project moves forward, but the specs are good, the dials are distinctive, and the brown Cali is quite sharp. One cannot predict how a funding campaign might work out, but the watches appear to be a good value, with prices starting at $325 AUD (@$283 USD).
Photos courtesy of Tangramatic