DIY Pelican Watchcase PT 2: Custom Foam Inserts

Articles | 03.15.2013

Almost a year ago to the day, Blake posted an article on a DIY watchcase made out of the super-sturdy American made Pelican 1470 Laptop case. The post was a hit and still serves as a regular point of conversation. It’s simply a great watchcase that is easy to put together, and will survive being in a crowded home. Well, one of our readers took it upon himself to improve on the project, by creating his own foam inserts. 

rough around the edges

The 1470 DIY project functions because of the Pick N Pluck™ foam that comes with the case. It’s a medium-density foam that can be easily cut with an x-acto due to its perforated construction, to create the layout of your choosing. However, it’s not the cleanest looking stuff on earth. The edges are kind of rough, and when a watch is put into the case, it squishes the foam, making a less gridded appearance.

before and after

Martin Lim, a seasoned graphic designer with some product design experience, wanted to improve the look of the foam, to be cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing. So, he initially set out to find a professionally cut piece of foam that would satisfy this desire. What he found were costs that seemed high and very unnecessary given his expertise (check out his post on WUS). So, he went the extra step and got a manufacturer to die-cut the foam to his specs. Martin’s insert has 18 slots, each slot has been used to cut out a rounded-edge pillow for the watches that lets them sit more cleanly in the case.

nice and tidy

The upside? Martin’s foam insert looks great and achieves its goal of tidying up the foam, to make for a great presentation of one’s watches. The downside? Martin had to buy many many sets to get his insert made. So, he’s been selling them on the forums for $57 (just the foam) including shipping, or a new case including his custom insert for $260 without shipping. Due to his success thus far, he’s working on new designs for other case types, including the smaller 1170, mid sized 1200 and a giant 30-watch insert for the xtra-large 1495.

update: Martin’s been busy working on the 30-watch insert for the 1495. If you have a lot of watches (and we know some of you do) then this is a great solution for keeping your watches safe.

Custom Pelican 1495 by Martin Lim

So, if the Pelican watchcase is calling to you as an in-home watch storing solution (and let it be known, both Blake and Zach use 1470’s to store their collections), but you’d prefer the insert to be professionally done, Martin’s are your best bet. Right now, you can buy these by contacting him at and soon he will have his own site, (still under construction).

Custom Pelican 1470 by Martin Lim