After the first part of the talks with exhibitors at Aurochronos, we went to a restaurant located on the lower floor of the Expo Łódź . Fortunately, the date of Aurochronos coincided with another event that took place at Expo Łódź one floor below – an underwear exhibition. So Tomek and I went to dinner on the way, passing beautiful ladies in lingerie walking here and there, which allowed us to clear our minds with watch affairs and regenerate before the next conversations. Yes, we have pictures … no, we won’t show … you had to come 😊
While writing the artikel, I realized that ultimately not all watch brands we were able to talk. Fortunately, we did it with the vast majority, and certainly with all the producers who were present at Aurochronos. I invite you to read the next part of the report in which you will meet the next heroes of this unique festival.
I thought about this position on my way to Łódź. Victorinox is a brand that you can watch in boutiques, but in the place where me and Tomek live, you can see only a few models live, and even a visit to the boutique doesn’t allow you to touch and take pictures as brazenly as you can afford directly from the official Polish distributor on Aurochronos. And I must admit that it was very interesting. At first, the guys showed us the latest model, i.e. I.N.O.X. Professional Diver – a watch of considerable size (case width 45mm), which nevertheless proved to be very comfortable to lie on my hand thanks to the paracord strap. Unlike earlier models, from half the length it goes into a nylon strap (the whole paracord strap had a problem with adjusting the length to different wrists). The watch face is made as a whole (indiceses are not imposed, they are only part of the dial), thanks to which the indices will not fall off even after watch falling from a great height. In addition to what was most interesting to me, the watch comes with a special protective cover made of silicone, in which there is a magnifying glass. And if you want to dive with your watch, we set the time on the bezel, put the cap on it and there is no chance to twist the bezel while swimming, and in addition, we can easily see the hour even from a large distance thanks to the zoom. You can also take a magnifying glass out of the protective cover when you want to go to the forest with your watch and not scratch it (it can really be useful, because the watch case has a very difficult to reproduce the finish – sandblasting). Simple and brilliant, and most importantly, if the cover scratches and hinders visibility, we can order a new one for less than PLN 100 (if I remember correctly it’s PLN 70).
We asked to show us I.N.O.X. model with the automatic movement and by the way it was my first contact with the wooden strap. This strap perfectly matches the texture on the I.N.O.X.a dial, the wood is in the form of tiny, interwoven squares, thanks to which the strap remains flexible and comfortable. Considering the interesting patents and innovation introduced to the watch market by Victorinox, it seems to me that this is still an underestimated by many Swiss watch brand.
Opposite Victorinox stand was the Formex stand and despite its inconspicuity, it was this brand that turned out to be the festival’s biggest surprise for both of us. Formex is a brand founded 20 years ago, and 4 years ago acquired by its current owner – Raphael Granito. Most watches have a size that goes beyond what I could wear on my wrist, but one watch particularly caught our attention and we asked to show it to us – it was the Essence model.
Essence has a dial with a pattern of horizontal panels, and the latest version has also a brown gradient. It looks great, but this is not the most interesting thing about this watch … after a short presentation, it turned out that the case has a special amortization system like in a car and when, for example, we bend the wrist down, it rises a few millimeters up and thus does not hurt the wrist. I tested … it improves the comfort of wearing a watch on a bracelet, which naturally does not stretch in any way. In addition, the bracelet has a special option to extend it easily by half a centimeter, which can be useful in summer, when the wrist swells and the watch becomes too tight. As if that was not enough, the bracelet has a special fastening method and can be removed without using any tool in a second and put on the strap, which also has the option of quick putting on and taking off. As if that wasn’t enough, Formex straps have carbon fasteners and, unprecedented, also have the option of micro-regulation. The watch has a predisposition to be the most comfortable EDC watch in the world and if it wasn’t for the size (case width 43mm) I would probably buy it on the spot. Tomek, for whom this watch is perfect, has already started to organize funds 😉 The watch has a Swiss automatic movement with a COSC certificate, and its prices range from 1100-1250 euros depending on the strap.
Formex has a phone application, thanks to which by printing and putting on a special bracelet we can virtually try on the watch on the wrist.
The brand was created in 2015, starting from the SB02 model. This watch with a case with a specific shape from the top has a bezel screwed with 4 screws. Initially, bezels were available in several colors, but because the owner of the brand – Armand Billard got many inquiries about the possibility of creating bezels in specific colors – he began to create these watches to order. Currently, you can buy separate bezels in several colors for the watch or order a bezel that will be painted especially for you in the way you choose.
The latest model SB04 gives even more possibilities, in the case of this watch we can choose indices, hands, dial … we send our vision of the watch to the manufacturer, and this watch prepares a design and quote based on which the watch will be made within 2 months.
All these elements are made by hand, the only ready components are the case, glass and of course the movement. Armand also showed us several one-off projects that were made especially for clients. The price of such watches, depending on the design, varies between 2500 and 3500 euros.
All watches are equipped with Swiss movements, and the components are made in Switzerland. Personally, I was very interested in the SB02 model, which has not only the specific shape of the case, but also glass, which is bent according to the shape of the case and thus resembles a chips 😊 Unfortunately, we don’t have a picture of this tall gentleman from France, so you have to believe us that Mr. Armand is a very nice and positive person, from whom passion and commitment to what he does can be seen for a kilometer.
At the time we were looking at the watches, the brand owner was busy with customer service. The care of us took 2 gentlemans from the Everest stand, which was table by table with Monta. Everest is a company that produces high quality watch straps such as Rolex and Tudor.
Monta brand started in 2016, the company comes from USA and produces its watches in Switzerland. To this date, 4 watch models have been released on the market – Triumph, Sky Quest, Ocean King, Atlas. The watches are equipped with Swiss Sellita movements and their prices range from USD 1,400 – USD 1,900.
The founder of the brand – Michael Happe from Belgium has always liked watches and wanted to make his own, and thanks to his cousin, who worked for Longines and showed him how this business works, he finally managed to fulfill his dream. Michael loves to fly and is a pilot himself, which is why the company logo has wings, and the first watch he designed and produced was a watch for pilots. His grandfather was a pilot in Flying Tigers and it was for this formation that the first watch was created.
Currently, the company sells 9 models in a total of 45 variants. The movements that watches have are 50/50 automatic and quartz movement. Watches are very popular, Michael has already sold his watches to the army, large companies, diplomacy and people such as Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel or Barrack Obama.
He works with the air forces of several countries, including Belgium, the USA, Spain and Romania. Michael showed us a case with watches created only for the air forces of different countries and I must admit – it’s impressive.
Techne / Siduna
Francis Jacquerye M.A. , it was this gentleman who had previously worked in Logines and is a cousin of Michael Happe, who taught him everything. Francis founded the Techne brand in 2009, his idea was to create watches for people who love adventure, travel and the natural environment. The watches are very readable and the offer includes both quartz models and those with an automatic movements. The brand is very popular in the United States and Japan, Francis has sold over 13,000 Techne watches since its inception.
Siduna is a reactivation of the brand, which was founded in 1929 and at the beginning dealt with the production of pocket watches, and later also wristwatches. Currently, Siduna under francis wings has one chronograph model with an automatic movements.
I will not write about the Laco brand because it is a company with a very rich history, about which one could easily write a separate article. At Aurochronos we met Polish representatives of the Laco brand. Two very nice men allowed us to change our watches at will, and because we don’t need to talk twice, then chronographs, full lume pilots that previously could only be seen in the manufacturer’s photos, and even a re-edition of the original B-UHR watch in size 1 : 1 with the original … to make it more realistic, then for this watch the person presenting it on his hand specially put on a jacket 😊