For those of you just joining in, we had a chance to sit down with Ted Brown of Â Berkbinder & BrownÂ to talk about his Tool Watch. Â Yesterday, we covered the beginning of the Tool Watch, Mr. Brown’s “watch cred”, and choice of movement. Â In today’s installment, we’ll dig into the case design a bit more.
Stainless steel is a common material for watch cases, though we are starting to see more bronze options in the market.Â How/why did you settle on bronze as a material?
Probably the biggest reason is that itâ€™s different. Â Generally, if you want a yellow color, youâ€™ll get gold â€“ but at the price point the Tool Watch is at, you end up with gold plating. Â So, with bronze you have a more affordable yellow-colored material that develops a patina, and it fits the idea of the brand being â€œrugged, functional beautyâ€. Â It alsoÂ gives the watch case more of a heritage feel,Â and helped the watch to be different enough for it to stand out and grab some attention
Speaking of the patina – how long does it take to develop the patina?
Thatâ€™s a really interesting question. Â I base the answer on my experiences wearing it – and it took quite a while. Â On my watch, Iâ€™ve got these buffing rags that I use.Â It allows the patina to develop, but it still gives it a nice luster.Â Of course, other people have different skin chemistry, and can cause the patina to develop more quickly. (Author note: Â on the review sample we were loaned, I saw a patina developing in the first week – but that could just be me) (and yes, there will be a full review!)
I tried several different alloys, as I donâ€™t want to turn someoneâ€™s hand green. Â I also had to consider things like how fast will the patina develop, and how dark will that patina be. Â Finally, I arrived at the 954 alloy. Â There is another alloy, the 510 â€“ it looks beautiful (more coppery), I just havenâ€™t had a chance to wear it yet. Â With that one, it has such a high copper content, though, Iâ€™m afraid it will turn your hand green.
While weâ€™re discussing the case, there are not many watches on the market that have a lugless design.Â How did you arrive at that choice?
Part of it was the fact that Iâ€™m making it myself. Â I also thought aboutÂ what sort of machines were used at the turn of the century. Â Answer: Â It was mostly lathes, not mills. Â So, thinking about the tools that were available, what resources I had, and what looked Â eye-catching, we had that design element.
Also, if you had lugs on a 46mm case, it would make for a watch that would wear quite large, whereas this one wears smaller, but allows for things like the larger, easy-to-read dial.
Do you plan to offer a smaller sized watch, something more adapted to a womanâ€™s wrist?Â Any other ideas?
I am toying with some ideas.Â Perhaps not specifically a womanâ€™s watch, but something thatâ€™s maybe 38, 39mm in diameter, and a few millimeters thinner. Â This is primarily due to the fact that thereâ€™s a segment of people that really like the watch, but just feel itâ€™s too large to fit under a shirt cuff.Â Interestingly, though, Iâ€™ve got three daughters (two sons as well) â€“ and all three of them have been bugging me for watches.Â They wear theirs on stingray straps, and they pull it off well.
Iâ€™ve also had feedback that thereâ€™s demand for a chronograph.Â But if you look at something like a Valjoux 7750, that movement is something like $800.Â So, that will be another part of my Basel trip, to see what chronograph movement options there are at a reasonable pricepoint.
We just touched base on the straps, and I saw on your website that you have quite a few options.Â Are those something youâ€™re making yourself?
No.Â Originally, I had a padded calfskin strap in mind, but Iâ€™m always looking for new straps. Â So I found some straps made by Rhein Fils in Switzerland.Â Theyâ€™re nice, heavy straps, and have outstanding workmanship. Â For the Kickstarter order, they could opt for the padded calfskin (in black or brown), or they can go with one of the Rhein Fils straps. Â On mine, I actually have a deployant clasp, which is anÂ availableÂ option. Â (Note: Â all the available strap options can be seen here.)
And that will wrap things up for today’s installment. Â Tomorrow, we’ll cover some “miscellaneous” items in our interview with Mr. Brown.