A big plus for visitors of the festival Aurochronos was the opportunity to see live watches that can not be seen in any stationary store not only in Poland but also in the world. What’s more, exhibitors often offered attractive discounts for people who would decide to buy a watch on the spot, which together with the atmosphere of the place meant that many people left the festival with a new watch.
The first day of Aurochronos was slowly coming to an end and we still had a lot of watch companies in perspective with which we still need to talk. So, without wasting time, we started further conversations, filled with positive emotions, to finally, after the first day, tired and hungry go to the hotel to rest.
Squale is a company that was founded in 1960 and initially dealt with the production of cases for the largest Swiss watch manufacturers. At Aurochronos it was represented by its owner – Lennart Buiks. Currently, Squale produces diving watches, which design refers to models from the second half of the last century. What caught our attention is the new model from the 1521 collection – the dial in this watch is red and on the edges it turns black in such a way that it looks like it was dirty … as you can see in the pictures the effect is great!
Squale enjoys the opinion of very well made watches and I can confirm that what we saw at the exhibition undoubtedly confirms this thesis.
We also asked to show the yellow model from the 2002 collection and when we started to rave about it, Lennart told us a curiosity about yellow watches .. everybody raves about them and says “Wow make yellow, yellow will be great”, but when it comes to buy the watch, this color of the dial finds very few takers. This model has an unusual way of setting the bezel – it moves in both directions, but to turn it, you have to press the bezel to the case. Squale are not the only brand that uses such bezels. The patent dates from 1990, but it is the first watch I have ever dealt with in which the bezel is positioned in this way.
The German brand was founded in 2007 and was one of the first microbrands on the market. The owner of VDB – Stefan Obst, created the first watch for himself when he showed it to others and saw that it arouses interest, he decided to start producing watches for sale. Later on, VDB became famous when Stefan created a watch with a WR at 12,000 m, and this result was confirmed by the German Faunhofer Society of 66 research institutes and independent research units.
We have also seen the P1000 model, which has an case with a special coating that is practically impossible to scratch and damage, such an case is supposedly rubbed on the pavement and no scratch will remain on it. We watched a movie in which someone hit a metal rod on the case, and this one remained uscratched … I must admit that I was very interested and I wanted to ask that the person we were talking to did something with this watch, but I stopped myself because nowhere was at hand there was no concrete or anything hard around us.
All VDB models are of considerable size, some of them have 28mm wide straps, which are specially made to order. Out of curiosity I tried on such a watch and I have to say that the rubber strap was extremely soft and despite its size I was wearing this watch very comfortably, at least for the short moment when I had it in my hand,
Watches are handmade in Erfurt, and each model is very limited. The company sells only about 120 watches a year, and their prices are around 2,500 Euro.
As the manufacturer himself boasts, VDB watches are worn by, among others, Johny Depp, Rammstein, Steffan Effenberg, the Kiss band, Tyson Fury and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Soma – Ocean Crawler, Aevig, Maison D’Longueville
One of the exhibitors at Aurochronos was Soma’s representative – Maarten Hanskens. SOMA is an online platform that will support microbrand and help them break out of the watch market. SOMA is currently under construction, but currently has 150 partner companies. Maarten in his position had watches of 3 companies that wanted but couldn’t come to Aurochronos:
Ocean Crawler with Core Diver and Dream Diver models
Aevig – at one time I really liked the Huldra model, which I could finally see live and even try on.
Maison D’Longueville – a very interesting brand, whose owner deals in sewing clothes , and the watches have dials with the structure of various textile materials, such as satin, cashmere, etc.
Kneijnsberg & van Eijk
The brand was founded 5 years ago, its owner Brendan Horneman previously worked as a Breitling serviceman and decided to create his watches. The first model he produced was called the Tree of Life and it’s a very unusual watch … Brendan converted the Swiss movement ETA 2892A2 and added an additional disk on it that shows … the seasons! The disk performs one full turn in a year, and the season of the year is indicated by the color of the leaves on the openwork tree, which is located on the upper half of the disc. I have to admit that the mother of pearl dial with a visible tree indicating the season has something magical about it, during the conversation with Brendan we had to pause for a moment because someone came to the stand interested in this model, and a moment later she was buying a watch (yes, we have a photo of this watch on her wrist). Tomek also liked the watch and offered a replacement for his Breitling, but Brendan refused to laugh at our idea 😉 The Tree of Life model is available in several case colors and costs about 2 500 Euro.
The second model we saw at Brendan’s stand is the Artio women’s watch, which is as unique as Tree of Life. The inspiration for creating the watch was the Celtic Goddess of Change – Artio. The goddess of change was depicted as a bear, which is why the watch dial resembles a smiling bear, but this is not surprising in this watch. Brendan modified the movement again so that the bear on the dial flashes her tongue every 2 hours, and 15 minutes later blinks with one eye … as he said, the dial is flirting with us. After 2h and 15 minutes, the next cycle begins in the movement.
It’s impressive right?
Since 2015, Steve Chan Kwun Chung has been selling good quality rubber straps under the Crafter Blue brand with the shape dedicated to Seiko and Tudor watches. From 2017, Steve also began to produce watches, and at the moment 2 models are available for sale, one of which is on the Kickstarter online crowdfunding platform. After organoleptic inspection, Tomek and I found out that the watches are very good quality and maybe we can get along with Steve to let us share some of the models to write a review.
Note, what you are about to read will be crazy.
Holke Dijkman has been working in the watch industry for over 20 years, when he lost his job a few years ago, having some Unitas movements at home, he decided to create his own watch, but came up with the idea that the watch should be unusual – the dial is to be on the other side of the movement. The biggest problem for him was how to transfer energy to the other side of the mechanism without losses, he began to make gears and bearings himself, the goal he set for himself – that the watch had 45h of power reserve despite the transfer of energy to the other side was a challenge. There were a lot of problems and at the time of solving one immediately appeared another, such as a stem coming from the crown into the movements, which Holke had to do specially for himself so that the movements could be adjusted. After many attempts, he finally managed to create a watch with a dial on the other side of the movement and in addition it has 50h of power reserve. The effect of Holke’s work is staggering … in this watch the movement is part of the dial, and the hands are literally part of the movement, in addition the hour can also be read from the case back side (which in other watches is a dial).
The latest model Dijkman Watches is a ladies watch with the same inverted movement. The female model has a movable part of the dial made of mother-of-pearl that rotates along with the hour hand …
Holke also showed us a pattern that would allow him to make cases himself.
It’s hard to describe in words … after the whole story and presentation, together with Tomek we had to collect the jaws from the ground. Amazing that there are still enthusiasts in the world who can create such things by themselves.
The price of the male model is 5,750 Euro
Lithuanian microbrand founded by 2 brothers and their friend in 2016. The guys had a watch store, but they couldn’t find a watch that would meet their appearance requirements, so they created their own variation on a pilot watch – a watch they would like to wear. The model under the name Eagle hit the Kickstarter platform and sold with great success, which allowed them to develop sales through the website. Watches, as it is witch pilots, are very readable, but most importantly, good quality at an affordable price … for a watch with a Seiko automatic movement you have to pay about 220 Euro, and with a quartz movement 180 Euro. To this date, SGS has sold over 1,000 Eagle copies and are planning to release another watch model for sale next year.
For more information about this company, please click here -> https://2gwatchblog.com/about-polish-brands-meeting-with-xicorr/
At Aurochronos, Xicorr showed his latest model – Syrena in an case with a black PVD coating. The history of the creation of this watch is quite unusual, some time ago Xicorr launched a new model called Czarna Kaśka, preparing the production by accident, they sent a sanding and blackening case from the Syrena model. This case was then lying in their office for almost a year, until finally Adam Tomaszewski said that a quite interesting watch came out of it and decided that it would be available for sale in a very limited number of copies on request.
We also had the opportunity to see how the Garfish design is developing, the watch now has a special metal pad in several colors (according to the color of the hands), on which the watch is screwed when going to dive with it. The metal pad, in contrast to the utility version, has a special crown cover, which 100% protects it against tearing, which is easy when diving with all diving equipment. For me, Garfish is one of the most interesting Polish projects and I strongly support that Adam finally manages to finish it.