The Whimsical Watches of Itay Noy

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Having gone to Baselworld three years in a row now as a member of the worn&wound team, I can safely say that one of my favorite things about the fair is meeting with the people behind brands that are doing something off the beaten path. Though I’d be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy sampling the latest releases from the likes of Omega and Tudor, there’s something to be said about the passion and, to be perfectly frank, intimacy of our encounters with smaller independents. The rigid formality is stripped away. There are no talking points. No PR spiels. Just watches. And because of the market segment in which worn&wound generally operates, we often meet with brands that are doing exciting—and sometimes, even bespoke—things at jaw-dropping price points. One such brand this year was Itay Noy.

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The Part-Time, one of the watches I was really excited to see in the metal.

This was not Itay Noy’s first rodeo. The brand, named after its founder, has been in operation since 2000, and is based out of a small studio in Old Jaffa, Israel. Working with a couple of assistants, Mr. Noy—an award-winning designer with a family history of watchmaking—produces thought-provoking, hand-finished timepieces that are unlike most other watches on the market. Each piece is made to order, and prices range from about $2,400 to $5,800. I have been interested in the brand for many years, but for one reason or another the stars never aligned for me to get a closer look at his collection in the metal. We made sure to remedy that this year.

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All Itay Noy timepieces are built around ETA calibers, among them the ubiquitous 2824 and 6498. That said, the movements are modified in-house to take on the task of presenting Mr. Noy’s unique conception of time.

One of the watches that we looked at was actually a novelty from 2015 dubbed the Part-Time, and it remains my favorite piece from the brand. The dial is split down the middle into two parts, the left representing day and the right representing night. Marking the two halves of the day are an aperture on the left with a disc underneath representing the sun, and one on the right with the moon. During the day, only the left side of the dial is active, showing the time from 6am to 6pm with the sun advancing below the aperture. During the evening and early morning hours, the opposite is true.

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The day portion of the dial is active here.

The sub-dial near five is the hours indicator, the one at the center of the dial is the minutes register, and the one above seven represents the seconds. The two apertures above the sun and moon discs are the aforementioned 12-hour indicators, with the time shown in analog hours. It’s not a design that lends itself to immediate legibility, but as you’ll see with some of his other watches, that’s not necessarily the point.

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A more austere take on the Part-Time concept.

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For 2017, Itay Noy presented two collections: Time Tone and Celestial Time. Both operate under a similar concept and are powered by a modified Unitas caliber with a central seconds hand. Both feature dynamic dials: the former has a multi-toned disc that acts as the hours indicator, and the latter has the signs of the Zodiac (available in both Western and Chinese astrological configurations). The idea is that you get to decide what color or symbol will represent the hour, thereby personalizing the timekeeper to its wearer.

ITAY_NOY_4Concept aside, what you immediately notice with these watches is the intricacy of the design and execution. The hand-made approach really comes through here, and that’s something I really like (though I concede that it may be a point of detraction for some, though that can also be said about the general aesthetic of the brand). While I’m still partial to the Part-Time design, I can see the appeal of these for the right costumer.

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ITAY_NOY_5One of the most refreshing takeaways from our meeting with Itay Noy was his insistence on making watches regular people can afford without sacrificing the bespoke elements that have brought attention to his brand. In a bit of watch industry irony, he explained that he keeps costs down by doing as much as he can in-house. Dials, cases, and movement modifications are all done in his studio, bypassing costly suppliers. Others would undoubtedly charge a premium for such services and expertise.


For more information, visit Itay Noy.

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Ilya is worn&wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
ryvini
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  • Anthony Dimaano

    Holy Crap, how have I never heard of these guys?
    These are amazing and beautiful!
    Please feature more brands like this one!

  • How cool is this!

  • egznyc

    I’ve enjoyed your coverage of this brand. Definitely marches to the beat of its own drummer. Whimsical design and also nice looking movement decoration given the rather “pedestrian” movements he’s using. It really elevates these pieces into the realm of art.

  • DGS70

    Very, very cool. Really at the top end of what I would consider the consumer “ethic” of W&W, but the hands-on, customer-focused owner is right in line. Well done as always.

  • Paul Veilleux

    Thank you for sharing; this was very helpful as I just discovered Itay. I couldn’t tell if it was marketing hype or if he is the real deal; so this was truly helpful 😉

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