On the weekend of October 5-6, 2019, the 3rd International Festival of Independent Watch Manufacturers Aurochronos 2019 took place in Łódź. Together with Tomek we planned to stay in Łódź for these two days, we ordered a hotel, tickets for entry and already on the way to Łódź (we have 300km) reached us doubts … “What will we do there for 2 days” – well, because there are a lot of exhibitors and watches etc. but on the other hand how much can you talk about watches? Well, we were on our way and we had everything booked, so there was no way out, and as it turned out, we worried wrongly. Because we decided to talk and photograph the watches of all manufacturers who appeared at the festival, after visiting several stands it came to light that we will not make up in one day, and even at this moment we are so tired of the crowds, standing and the enormity of positive emotions that we must go rest for a while.
Because some people didn’t have the opportunity or desire to go to Aurochronos, and the event is definitely worth getting to as many people as possible to learn about it and find out what it’s about, we decided to write down the information we collected and our thoughts in a several-part article with a large number of photos ( the article would be too voluminous to publish as a whole, I doubt anyone will persist in reading it to the end). We also want to point out immediately that the worse than always quality of photos is due to the type of lighting that was white and very intense at the exhibitions. Tomek, however, did his best to squeeze out of these conditions as much as possible, and the effects of it you will see yourself,
This is the first watch brand we came across immediately after entering the fair. Sebastian – the owner of the brand, greets us with a broad smile, not yet knowing how intensely in a moment we will touch his watches and ask for all the details … nice, however, He remains to the end. You can see that he likes what he does and likes to talk about it. Brellum is a microbrand from Switzerland, which primarily focuses on the quality of its products. The sale takes place only directly on their website without any intermediaries who could generate additional costs and increase the price of watches. Due to fees (VAT at the border), he brought 4 watches – 3 chronographs and one automatic watach with a small second to the festival. It was the chronographs that I really wanted to see live when I was browsing the brand’s offer on the Internet site before – I was not disappointed, the watches are incredibly made even for their price limit (2500 Euro). Something that I have not seen before in any other watch – the sapphire glass on the case back is as dommed as the front one, which, together with the beautifully decorated movement and extremely deep embossed inscriptions on the case back, gives an amazing effect. I was really impressed and the involuntary “WOW” came out of my mouth when I took the watch. The designer of the watches is Sebastian’s wife … women, however, know how to do beauty best 😊
This is one of those watches that I want to have at home one day, for now the budget does not allow, but maybe in the future (hope close one).
Allemano is an Italian company that has been manufacturing measuring instruments for cars, aircraft, industrial machines and divers since 1856 to the present day. In February 2019, the first watch model came on sale, the design of which is based on the appearance of a pressure gauge from Allemano installed 100 years ago in Fiat 501 Torpedo. The model is available in several variants – with a power reserve indicator, with an additional GMT pointer and with a classic date display in the form of a window in the dial. The watches are driven by Swiss movements, each watch is numbered and has the certificate as pressure gauges manufactured 100 years ago. The packaging in which we get the watch also refers to the boxes in which the pressure gauges were sent to the factories producing cars. Allemano is completely not my style when it comes to the look of watches, but the designs made a very positive impression on me because of its original look and idea for the brand.
Norwegian Microbrand, who at Aurochronos was represented by 3 very nice gentlemen, including the founder of the Brand – Øyvind VonDoren Asbjørnsen. The brand was founded in 2016 and offers 4 collections of elegant models for men and women. The latest model – Runde, refers to the treasure found on the Norwegian coast. The watch case back has the same design as it was stamped on the coins that were part of the treasure. This suit watch looks great live, the colors on the dial (blue or brown) are extremely vivid and juicy, which can be seen from even a greater distance.
Interesting fact – the Grandmaster Caissa automatic model was produced in 25 pieces, of which 10 were distributed to the 10 largest chess champions in the world during Norway Chess.
A nice lady Samira invites us to this position, who distributed Swiss chocolates to visitors (Tomek took 4). Ms. Samira is also an English-speaking person responsible for contact with clients 😊 A pleasant atmosphere persists throughout the conversation, during which it turns out that the brand owner, Mr. Yvan Monnet has worked for Patek Philippe for 10 years. The company has been operating since 2016 and was founded with Mr. Yvan’s own funds, who had contacts with component manufacturers in Geneva. All watch components come from Switzerland, and assembly and finishing are done manually by Mr. Yvan. At the moment, there are 3 models of watches on sale with an interesting case and a pentagon-shaped dial – 2 women’s and one male, with prices starting from 2 700 Euro (for women) to 4,000 Euro (men).
At Aurochronos, in addition to watch brands and microbrands, there are also independent artists who can be said to represent true watchmaking with a clear conscience. One of them is just Cedric Johner, who founded the company in 1997 and initially employed 12 people, and at one point did a refund and decided to work alone creating only unique works in the amount of about 5 watches per year. Cedric buys and modifies Swiss movements, often old but unused, even almost 100 years old like Cortebert (mechanisms used, among others, in watches from companies such as Rolex and Panerai). It is the Cedric Johner watch that appears on the Aurochronos 2019 poster, this watch is equipped with a minute repetition, an perpetual calendar and was completely made by hand without the use of machines.
Another interesting watch of Mr. Cedric is the model, which instead of the chapter ring has a miniature model of the panorama of Geneva. All these miniature buildings were made entirely by hand. Such watches need to be seen live to be able to understand how much work and precision requires doing such a thing. I would also like to add that Mr. Cedric had no resistance to let someone touch his watches or even try on his hand – after all, it is a utility.
Prices? It all depends on the design and how complicated it will be, for example, a bronze watch that can be seen in the pictures costs about PLN 300,000, and we would have to wait 2 years to make it.
I probably don’t need to introduce this company to anyone. Our neighbors from the Czech Republic came to Aurochronos bringing a dozen models of watches with them, but we were most interested in the latest model – Spartak, which is limited to 70 pieces (for the 70th anniversary of the company) and is the reissue of the first Czech (then Czechoslovakian) watch. Spartak already has a new Prim pictogram on the crown, which will appear on all new models. The pictogram shows a characteristic gate in the New Town town. The watch is equipped with a beautifully decorated inhaus manual movement – inch. 103. The price for this model is 2 700 Euro.
This was not the next position we went to visit, but I want to mention this company in the first part, because it’s a brand that next week will launch the presale of its first watch, which will be a diver style very strongly referring to the legendary, first Seiko diving watch – 62 MAS. At Aurochronos you could already see this model live and I must admit that the watch looks very attractive, both in terms of quality of workmanship and parameters, at a reasonable price.
On site, we also saw prototypes of models that will go on sale only next year. Casual style watches in several interesting colors to choose from and a reasonable size of 38mm.
Brand owner – Chester WL Yuen previously ran a watch store in Hong Kong, but because he loves watches, he decided to create his own designs, in which he was helped by a colleague, also on aurochronos – Steve Chan Kwun Chung, who owns a brand known for good quality rubber straps (and recently also watches) – Crafter Blue.
End of Part 1