Have you ever wondered what the production of watches in Poland looks like (yes, despite appearances, there is such a thing)? We did …
Thanks to cooperation with KMZiZ, we met with Adam Tomaszewski – the owner and creator of the Xicorr brand. But not for coffee in a café … in the company’s headquarter to see for yourself how looks the place where watches in a style reminiscent of the icons of Polish motorization are made. And although at first glance, it did not look promising – just an ordinary old building intended for offices, and the Xicorr’s headquarters are actually 2 small rooms with a total area of less than 30m. But after a few moments of being in this place feels that it’s filled with a huge amount of interesting stories and above all passion for creating watches.
Adam, like a wizard from a hat, was pulling out more models and prototypes of watches, dials and lids from various drawers and cabinets. Each of them has its own history of creation.
(prototype of the Garfish case back, which was originally supposed to be called Anglerfish )
It all started in 2011 when Adam tired of working in a corporation decided to change something. First, he tried his hand at computer science and then a bit inspired by G. Gerlach came up with the idea of creating his own watch. In general, without any knowlege he began to study and design, to finally create a model of the first watch – Circle. The first element was a screw in which the rest was formed, the specific shape of the ears in this case was the result of the lack of ability to design others (created by means of a combination rolls, cones and wheels J ) . After all, it was difficult to make a decision to put money on the components of the watch. From this decision to the moment when the watches went on sale, 7 months passed – the first complete watch was made in April 2012. I must admit that this watch has an interesting design, not similar to anything that was previously on the market.
Because he had 500 ready-made cases he had to follow the blow . This i show another project was created – FSO Xicorr M20. But it was not a simple replacement of the dial and hands … the cases had to be processed under the requirements of the new model. The modification of the cases took place in Poland, in one of the Mazovian companies dealing in metal processing and was one of the biggest problems in the production of this model. In the meantime, at TVN Turbo at the end of 2012, a television program was broadcasted in which Adam inadvertently said that the watches will be ready for Christmas … After the broadcast of the program, people began to call the editorial office and ask about this model.
The team from Xicorr realized that they would not make up for Christmas with the number of orders, which of course had to be explained by telephone to all interested people. Around 20 watches came out for the Christmas , and the rest were put on the waiting list. In total, Xicorr sold 2 000 pieces of this watch which is really an impressive number when it comes to watches microbrands . The FSO M20 model was awarded the musthave mark in 2013 ! at the Łódź Design Festival. From that moment, the production of watches is Adam’s only work, and from time to time more models appeared.
( Xicorr Circle Garda)
( Xicorr 200)
( Xicorr Operator)
(Back of Operator)
( Xicorr Syrena Sport)
( Xicorr F125 Akropolis LE)
( Akropolis back )
In mid-October, the 200 bicolor model will be sold on a regular basis, which refers to Warsaw 200, the first major modification of the M20 model. We borrowed this watch for testing and reviewing. You will find out more on the next week because then Tomek’s review will be released 🙂
We had the opportunity to put on wrist a model that will appear in 2019 – Garfish . The watch makes a big impression its size and weight … distance lu g to lug this watch is 58mm, weight – unless of 10kg 😉 Tomek laughed, that the watch can be used for personal defense but seriously grabbing it in hand you immediately know that it’s the equipment for professionals who wears watch on the diving suit and if it have 40mm it would have been simply invisible. The blue version of the shield refers to the color of the fish bone from which the watch took its name ( Garfish – in Polish Belona). Bezel has special noses so that it can be set with one finger, even in the glove. There’s no wonder that it is so practical – it has been designed in consultation with the known Polish technican diver- Dariusz Wilamowskim. Garfish looks a bit like the Circle model on steroids, and that was the idea when Adam was creating this watch 😉
Adam also talked about interesting solutions that he plans to introduce in this model if he manages to properly redesign the case. You can take off the bezel attached by the hexagon screws (it will be a separate element not connected with the water resistant of the watch) and together with the rotating bezel, replace it with a different one, eg in a different color. I admit that I was very interested in this because the possibility of such a modification of the watch is a great solution that was not used in any other model in the world. The crown will also have a cover in the final production because it is susceptible to damage due to its size.
Okay, but how the job of a small watch company looks like?
At office they work in 3 – one person deals with projects, the second one sells and the third one manually folds watches from components. Xicorr also cooperates with the watchmaker – Marcin Czyżewski.
Cases, dials and hands are made to order in China – Adam doesn’t hide it … it’s good, because there is basically nothing to hide. In Poland there is no company that would be able to produce such components (Adam tried to establish cooperation with Polish companies and it ended with high prices and poor quality) and ordering the cases abroad in practice means to produce them in China anyway. Don’t kid yourself, for a long time „made in China” does not have to involve mediocrity and trash. The Chinese have the right technological facilities and the possibilities to produce good quality components and because of the lowest prices , it’s there that the vast majority components of the watches that we wear are produced.
Cases they polish themselves on the polishing machine of their own design. The case back engraver performs a friend company located in the same area . They themselves modify the date of mechanisms in models that require it. The fact of manual processing is important because it allows you to modify some parts of the watch under special orders for interested people .. that’s a big plus.
Straps and boxes are produced by Polish external companies.
Movements – of course from the producer – Seiko, Miyota and Seagull . Automatic movements have signed rotors with Xicorr logo . Every movement has also an internal Xicorra number .
(Rotors of Seagull ST21 movements)
(Rotors of the Seiko NH35)
(modified date stamps)
They also put on the luma and make tests of water resistant and accuracy of the watches.
The first thought that came to mind upon entering the room where they composed watches is “what a mess,” but when Adam began to explain to me what is where, I understood that everything has its place and fitter can easily find needed part to an appropriate model. Next to the fitter ‘s station there is a dust collector and a compressor for the gun, which the fitter cleanses parts of pollen. At the same time, it is a simple desk on which the necessary watchmaking equipment is located. Behind the back has a table with components of watches grouped by types.
It was a very nice meeting. Adam is a nice, open man and I am glad that it was Xicorr that we visit first in our series about Polish producers (yes, there will be a cycle) 🙂
(This article also appeared on our partner’s website – KMZiZ)