These days the watch community has grown accustomed to watch projects via crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But before there was ever a Kickstarter, watch lovers could commit their hard-earned money to fledgling projects found across enthusiast forums like Watchuseek. The forum watch project, as it has come to be known, was and still is a popular way to launch a new watch. One aspect that makes these projects especially exciting is that they’re often community driven, with forum members contributing to the design of the end product. The Chinese Mechanical Watches subforum on Watchuseek has been especially active with forum projects, one launching every year since 2011 (excluding 2015). Past watches have included time only models, a GMT, and even a tourbillon. This year, the forum is once again developing a watch project, and they want your input.
The 2016 watch is currently underway with the movement already selected and the case design locked. The movement—a Liaoning Peacock SL6601—is actually a driving factor in the design of the 2016 watch. As the name implies, the SL6601 is manufactured by the famed Liaoning Watch Factory, which has been manufacturing movements since 1958 and is one of China’s largest watch movement manufacturers with a catalogue that includes automatic chronographs and hand-wind tourbillons. The SL6601 is an automatic movement with a date at 6 o’clock and two sub-dials—running seconds at 9 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. The standout feature of the movement, and the primary reason why it was chosen for this project, is its impressive 70-hour power reserve. To accommodate the movement, the sandblasted steel case will measure 44mm with shorter and curved lugs to ensure wearability for a wider range of wrist sizes. Rounding out the package are a sapphire crystal and display back.
While the movement and the case are fixed features at this point, the dial designs and associated hands are still being hashed out. There are currently five designs in consideration:
The number of options and available units will be determined by the backers, with each dial requiring at least 50 committed buyers to go into production. The hands are currently not set in stone, but custom options will be available if there is enough interest among buyers.
The expected price range is between $300 and $350. Once the designs are finalized, backers have to commit with a 50% deposit, with the final balance due after production. Watches are expected to ship towards the end of 2016.
To get involved, register on Watchuseek and check out the dedicated project forum.