Aspiring microbrands must have been hard at work this year because there is yet another bumper crop of affordable watches on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Let's have a look, shall we?
Pegasus Nettuno and Mercurio
Pegasus Watches Venezia (that's Venice, Italy to us Yanks) first popped on the scene with the Legionarius, a remarkably literal Rolex Sub homage powered by a humble quartz. Now, they are back with a mechanical version of the same, featuring a Miyota 9015 automatic. They are 42mm wide, rated for 200m, sporting domed sapphire crystals and 120-click bezels. Their hook is "aged in Italy," which is to say the watches have the creamy SuperLuminova and distressed leather straps that might appeal to someone with John Meyer's taste in watches, but not his budget. The Nettuno (solid color bezel) and Mercurio (two color bezel) start at just €300 (about $337 USD).
SaStek Time Speed Indicator
UK Aviation enthusiasts SasTek bring you the unique Time Speed Indicator. This 44mm disc watch offers a new approach to the traditional pilot's watch, drawing cues from air speed instruments and jet engine safety symbols. The result is clean, modern, and thoroughly unique. Specs include a sapphire crystal, SuperLuminova, and a Miyota 9015 automatic movement. I'd tell you more, but I'd rather save it for my full, hands-on review coming later this week. The watch starts at £265 (about $347 USD).
Elementa immediately grabbed by attention because it was created by fellow watch blogger, Jake Fogarty of ItsAllAboutWatches.com. When a watch critic creates a watch, expectations are high and your readers can be brutal (just ask the folks over at Worn & Wound). The Aedifex keeps things nice and simple with a classic reverse-panda chronograph design. The blue second hand and knurled bezel are tasty details. It is water-worthy to 100m and features a domed sapphire crystal and BWG9 SuperLuminova. Early bird pricing starts at $259.
This LMTLS watch is a minimalist quartz with a wood bezel and no vowels in the name, thereby hitting the Kickstarter cliché trifecta. It sells for only... YAWN. I'm bored already. How do these things keep getting funded?
The Freelancer caught my eye with its distinctive, trippy dial. It mixes Arabic and Roman numerals, wood and stainless steel, filled and skeleton hands, and an industrial looking power reserve with a delicate crescent hour track. The Miyota 9130 automatic is canted a few degrees counter-clockwise in its 42mm case, placing the crown at 2:00. It's whimsical, and whimsical is not for everyone, but I like the risks they've taken here. The Freelancer starts at $395.
Now here is something interesting: a big, blunt hexagon hewn from T5 Titanium and packed full of Swiss goodness. The Robusto's funky case. small dial, and integrated link bracelet give it a kind of 70's swagger, especially with those Royal Blue or Mocha Brown dials. It measures a whopping 45mm across the beam but is only 10mm thick. Water resistance is 200m Buyers may opt for an ETA 955.112 quartz (€399/$448 USD) or 2824-2 automatic (€489/$549 USD). I wish it were smaller, but you should have a look at this one. It intrigues me.
Wõitleja Watches Estonia 1918
Meanwhile, over at IndieGoGo, we have an offering from a country you may not associate with watchmaking. The Estonia 1918 pays homage to its country's 100th birthday with a 44x56mm CuSn8 bronze case fashioned after the instruments in WW1-era trains and heavy military equipment. I particularly like the way the hour markers incorporate "1918" and are a part of the case itself, floating above a glossy black enamel dial. Inside, beats a hand winding Unitas 6497-2, decorated with gold and visible through a sapphire display window. Only 100 Estonia 1918s will be made. You can get yours for €900 (about $1005 USD).
Photos courtesy of the watchmakers