Like many car geeks, Jonathan Ward — the man behind the bonkers (and beautiful) Icon resto-mods — has a thing for watches. In fact, it’s a passion that goes back to his childhood when he found an old wristwatch in Grandfather’s attic as a kid. Look at his Instagram and you’ll see a healthy smattering of wrist shots amongst the snapshots of his current automotive projects. It was only a matter of time, then — ten years after he started building cars under the Icon moniker — that he made his own watch.
The result is the Icon Duesey: an art deco, jump hour watch inspired by the magnificent Duesenberg SJ. It’s a surprising source of inspiration, given Icon is known for its off-road projects, something Ward acknowledges. “I think it could be a big surprise or disappointment for people who like the brand solely for that [off-road] aspect,” he says. “But I did it because my automotive passions run much wider and deeper than what my core product is.”
Ward’s watch is powered by an ETA 2892 automatic movement with a jumping hour module from Dubois-Depraz added on, allowing the time to be displayed on rotating discs in two windows, a callback to the Duesenberg SJ’s “drum style” tachymeter. That’s housed in a case made from sandblasted, grade two titanium, itself encompassed by a polished grade five titanium bezel and a domed sapphire crystal. The dial is made from a polished piece of Onyx stone, a choice Ward says he made because he was looking for “the deepest, sexiest black I could find.”
Ward explains that he was originally designing the watch so he could have just one example for himself, but when he realized the price involved in manufacturing a single watch it would make more sense to create a series to sell. As for whether or not there will be more watches from Icon in the future: “If I don’t lose my ass on this and I can sell off all these, then hell yes, there will be more watches,” he says. “I’ve got a whole lineup of designs I’m already chomping at the bit to get to.” According to Ward, those designs are inspired by cars, boats and the year 1937. Yes, you read that correctly.
But for now, the Duesey is an incredible first effort from a man who has made such an impact on vintage off-roader restoration. Much like Ward’s trucks, these won’t come cheap — the Deusey will sell for $11,500 — and only 50 will be made.