One of the benefits of being a watch reviewer is that we get to see a lot of watches, particularly when new ones come on to the market. Or are in the process of coming, which means that on some rarer occasions we do get to go hands-on with a prototype. This is what we have today with the R. Paige Crash of ’29, which is the result of a collaboration between Richard Paige and Mark Carson of Individual Design. Let’s take a closer look at what this collaboration has wrought, shall we?
Both of the men involved should be familiar to readers of our site, as we’ve covered their individual work previously (here and here). In the interest of full disclosure, Carson is also part of the team over at ABTW, so I do have a bit of a different relationship with the guys behind this watch. That out in the open, we need to talk about the name of the watch. Yes, the R. Paige Crash of ’29 is indeed referencing the stock market crash of 1929. This may seem an odd choice, but it was done more to evoke the era (and art deco styling) than to be any sort of commentary on banking practices. The video they have posted on their Kickstarter project page also goes into the reasoning behind the name.
Art deco is definitely the overall theme of the R. Paige Crash of ’29. This most prominently takes shape with the large (49.7mm x 57.5mm) steel case. As one of the guys at my office remarked, it very much gives the feel of something of a mantle clock sort of design. For me, it called to mind the art style used in the Batman animated series of the 1990s, which also was heavily influenced by art deco. It is worth noting that in the production watch, even the handset will hew closer to that design language, as the prototype we spent time with had different ones popped on to get a functional watch sent out.
The dial echoes the trapezoidal shape of the watch several times over within the enamel that further reinforces the case shape. It also gives a good bit of visual interest to the dial which, in being monochromatic, might be considered a bit plain otherwise. I liked the look of the dial, and found that it made reading out the time relatively simple. I also appreciated (especially on a watch of this size) that the running seconds was included, as it will quickly let you know if you forgot to wind the watch in the morning or not.
Yup, that’s right – the R. Paige Crash of ’29 features a manually wound movement. And not just any movement either, which should not be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with what Paige has produced. For this watch, it will house a Size 12 movement from either Waltham, Elgin, or Illinois (the final decision is still being made). Along with indicating that you will be walking around with a restored vintage American pocket watch movement, it also gives some understanding to why the case size is as large as it is. It also means that there will be some variability in the final finishes on the movement, making each of the 49 pieces being made a bit unique from each other.
In my time with the watch, I did find it surprisingly wearable, though no one will mistake the 104g watch for a lightweight. In fact, the biggest issue I had with the watch is something they are working to address. That issue came with using the crown to wind the movement. With how it’s shaped and positioned (and the presence of the strap), it is difficult to get hold of the crown to wind up the movement (setting the time was less of an issue, since there is less resistance when the crown is pulled out). The intent for the production version will be either a larger crown, or adjusting the angle and/or length of the lugs to make it easier to wind. With that sorted, I think it will be a much better watch, either for daily or occasional wear.
On the wrist, I really did not have any issues with the R. Paige Crash of ’29. Yes, it was a bit larger than I personally prefer to wear, but I did not have any issues with it weighing my wrist down or anything like that. The leather strap (which tapers from 22 to 20mm) worked well, though it did perhaps feel a touch thin in comparison to how thick the case itself is. Then again, this meant it formed to the wrist pretty quickly, and helped to get a snug fit. While I would not go so far as to say that the watch wears smaller than it’s dimensions might suggest, it was not as overbearing I had initially suspected.
While the R. Paige Crash of ’29 may not be for everyone, I think it will definitely find fans of Art Deco who are looking for a larger watch. I say this because we see that the project has hit its funding target (with plenty of time to go, as the project ends on August 27), which means the interest is there, and the watches will be produced. For those wanting to get some new old vintage on their wrist, you can pledge your support for the R. Paige Crash of ’29 at a starting price of $2,700(the lowest level of $2,400 has been snapped up). These two – Richard Paige and Mark Carson– have come up with some pretty clever collaborations, and we are definitely looking forward to what is coming next from the duo. project page
- Brand & Model: R. Paige Crash of ’29
- Price: $2,700
- Who’s it for?: Perfect for the guy who is a fan of Art Deco, and appreciates having a movement in the watch this is from a similar era
- Would I wear it?: While it was a fun one to play with, the watch is ultimately a bit too large for my tastes to consider for regular wear
- What I’d change: If the line iterates, I would not mind seeing them play with some more enamel colors on the dial
- The best thing about it: For me, how it calls to mind the art style of Batman: The Animated Series
Tech Specs from R. Paige
- Limited Edition of 49 pieces
- Width: 49.7 mm
- Height: 57.5 mm
- Thickness: 12.7 mm
- Case: 316L Stainless Steel
- Crystals: Sapphire – top and bottom
- Movement: Restored vintage or antique American pocket watch “12 size” movement (Waltham, Elgin, or Illinois)
- Strap: 22 mm leather – tapers to 20 mm at the buckle
- Water Resistance: 50 meters
- Warranty: 12 months
- Price: $3,500 retail – from $2,400 on Kickstarter (for early supporters)