Ok guys, you need to slow down. It is getting mighty difficult for The Time Bum to keep up, but I will certainly try. Without further ado, here are three crowd funded watch projects that you need to check out and one that you really, really don't.
4th Dimension Watch
"All those watches look the same." I hear this from watch nerds and non-watch nerds alike. Clearly, they haven't seen the 4th Dimension. The watch is a collaboration by 22 Design Studio of Taipei, and Los Angeles distributor MollaSpace. This bold concept piece features a dial unlike any other I have seen. It is a 1mm thick panel of high-density concrete molded to form 12 spiral steps on a lacquered copper back. Three brass stick hands bent at right angles sprout from its center and float above. I often talk about dials with depth, dimension, and texture, but this watch puts it in a whole new perspective.
The lugless case is 42mm wide and 14.5mm thick, with a conical, brushed stainless steel bezel and a sapphire crystal. It houses a Miyota 2034 quartz. The brass crown is a hollow dodecagon. That's 12 sides and don't feel bad, I had to look it up too. Wrist shots show that it is every bit as tall as you might imagine, but this is a statement piece after all. Three models are offered: Original (grey with a natural strap), Urban (dark grey with black strap), and Midnight (black dial with a black case on a black strap). Early bird rewards are already sold out, but you can still get one for $290. Expected retail is $480.
For those who want something more traditional, newcomer William L. 1985 has just the thing. Guillaume Laidet fell in love with his grandfather's 1950's Swiss chronograph and set out to recreate that vintage charm in a modern watch. He has succeeded admirably. The watch is 40mm wide with a double domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal. A telemetre scale surrounds applied Arabic numerals and classic dauphine hands treated with SuperLuminova. Two variants are offered: white and rose gold, and black with stainless steel. Both feature the tasteful accent of a red index.
Pledges start at €99 ($111) and top out at just €129 ($145) per watch. Of course, you cannot expect a mechanical movement at this price, but a Miyota 6S21 quartz does the trick. The William L. does not break new ground, but it flawlessly executes a time-honored classic.
Don Kylne & Co.
You can't order from Don Kylne & Co. but keep an eye out as their debut watch is due to launch this month. It has a polished stainless steel, square cushion case in a very reasonable 40.5mm size. Before you dismiss this as too small, remember that this is a dress watch, and a square will wear one size larger than a round case of the same size. It is just over 13mm thick from the display case back to the domed sapphire crystal. Water resistance is 50m.
Italicized Arabic numbers are arranged in a radial pattern and the Miyota 8245 automatic movement places the small seconds dial at 4:30. The polished hands have a round base that flows into an undulating shaft and a pointed tip. A crocodile grain strap and signed butterfly deployant clasp finish it off. The effect is classy and quirky in a 1920's kind of way. Retail price is expected to be $450, pre-orders will start at $299, and buyers who want something really special can order one with a lovely floral engraving. Stay tuned.
Umbrella X-Frame Vulcan
Umbrella (Resident Evil, anyone?) wanted to rid their watch of predictable curves and create a faceted design. To this extent, the X-Frame Vulcan succeeded. The large (45x55mm) hexagonal case displays sharp angles and imposing planes that flow into a segmented polyurethane strap. It sets the stage for a clean, sinister timepiece but then it goes right off the rails. A ten sided bezel with decorative "vents" makes perfect sense on this case, but the exposed fasteners are fussy and overdone. The same goes for the bolts through the massive crown guards and the bizarre left side "bumper" that inflates the already huge case to nearly 50mm wide.
The dial is a disaster. A multi-layer honeycomb, undersized skeleton hands, ungainly text, and an incongruous open heart window fight for your attention. The movement is a Chinese PTS Resources dual time, but I suspect you will rely on the smaller secondary dial as your primary means of telling time, rather than trying to squint through the mess below.
You can buy an X-Frame for $208 USD, but I can't imagine why you would.