Packed with visitors and tables spread with independent watch brands’ latest products, the annual WindUp Watch Fair in Chelsea Market is a buzzing hive of watch enthusiasm. New York-based watch enthusiast website Worn & Wound identified and filled an important niche in the watch industry by launching the show in 2015, and it’s grown substantially year-to-year. Unlike industry trade shows such as Baselworld and SIHH, WindUp is focused on affordable timepieces from boutique brands — the type of watches that have become one of the hottest topics and most important trends in the watch industry.
WindUp serves an important function aside from offering these brands a show of their own: it allows consumers to see the watches in person before buying them. The direct-to-consumer model is part of what makes these companies competitive and able to offer the compelling values they do, but it means there is usually no brick-and-mortar presence. Further, WindUp is a chance not only to see or actually buy the watches, but to actually meet the interesting creators behind the brands. The show is open to the public, and this year, elbowing past the watch- hungry crowds, we found the following horological gems…
Brew Watches continues to put out affordable quartz watches with great design and a casual, fun attitude — the brand, unusually, takes its inspiration from coffee culture. The new Mastergraph is consistent with Brew’s clean, retro-styled approach to watchmaking, which somehow always ends up looking fresh. Available in three different styles, this chronograph wears well at 38mm wide, and the price provides little barrier to pulling the trigger for those drawn to it.
Lorier Gemini Chronograph
Aiming for the entry-level mechanical watch market, Lorier‘s new Gemini offers a chronograph watch with handsome, retro aesthetics. Measuring 39mm wide, it’s powered by a hand-wound ST19 mechanical movement made by Sea-Gull and comes on a steel bracelet. This is a mechanical chronograph watch that works well for a range of situations, and at just $500, it’s one that you won’t need to baby.
Christopher Ward C65 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC Limited Edition
The C65 Trident Bronze Ombré from Christopher Ward wasn’t the only bronze watch at WindUp 2019, but it stands out for its dial. The name Ombré means “shaded” in French, and the dial’s slightly worn-looking finish fades to to a darker hue around the its periphery for a quite unique look. It’s also nicely proportioned for a dive watch at 41mm wide and 11.55mm thick, with a COSC chronometer-certified Swiss Sellita SW200 automatic movement.
Autodromo’s latest piece is attractive and moderately sized enough to be digestible even for those who aren’t automotive enthusiasts. Car lovers, however, are the brand’s core audience, and the new Intereuropa bases its design on the world of 1950s and ’60s Italian racing. With an upscale feel and distinct panache, it features a manually wound Swiss ETA 7001 movement and a thin 39mm case topped with sapphire crystal. It’s even more stylish on its handmade Italian Saffiano leather rally-style strap.
The new Yema Speedgraf was an intriguing release with its killer vintage looks and its uncommon automatic Seiko chronograph movement. Well, it looks even better in person and on the wrist than the press images suggest. The domed sapphire crystal and 39mm case help capture the vintage spirit that defines the modern French brand, and that panda dial tops it all off.
Farer World Timer
Having tried on a lot of watches at WindUp 2019, Farer’s new World Timer watch left the deepest impression. It offers the brand’s typically colorful design flare but is eminently wearable with a high-end feel and, of course, the super fun and practical world time complication. It’s available in three versions, each distinctive and vibrant, with a Swiss ETA movement inside and a case measuring 39mm wide by 11mm thick.
Anordain Model 2 Blue Fumé
It’s hard to argue with the value Scottish Anordain’s watches offer, with in-house-produced enamel dials at prices well below almost any watch with comparable features. The newest “Model 2” collection from the brand has some absolutely stunning dial executions with strong legibility like the Blue Fumé version shown here. Sapphire crystal and Swiss Sellita manually wound movements drive the value proposition home. Needless to say, Anordain is doing some of our favorite work in the independent watch space.