With 2020 finally in our rearview mirror, we wanted to take a quick look back at some of the limited edition collaborations we launched this year. Without the ability to host our Windup Watch Fair due to the pandemic, these collaborations served as trail markers that led us through. Many of these watches started being planned in 2019, or even 2018 in a few cases, so to see them finally reach fruition, even if in 2020, was still very exciting.
We kicked off the year with a very limited release of Raven Solitudes. An edition of just 30, this black and gilt take on Raven’s excellent 300m diver sold out quickly, setting a good tone (in terms of releases) for the year. This was quickly followed up by perhaps our most notable launch, that of the salmon-dialed Baltic Bicompax and HMS models. In addition to gorgeous copper-tone dials, these were the first Baltics to feature their new sector design, making them all the more special. Gone in under two hours, they’ve already achieved a bit of a cult status, with the Bicompax in particular fetching an impressive resale price.
While we weren’t sure if we could top the Baltic, in April we launched the Lorier Gemini LE. A single-register chrono in bright blue with white and a touch of yellow. Our most exotic looking LE to date, this one set the speed record, with all 88 units gone in under a minute. Yes, we wish we had made more too, but as they say, hindsight is 2020… This led to a few quiet months while we prepped for our biggest launch of the year, the Christopher Ward C65 Sandstorm Chronometers. An edition of 300 in two styles, these 38mm, 200m adventure watches are basically the everyday sport watches we’ve always wanted. Executed to perfection by the Christopher Ward team, these are our most luxurious collaboration to date.
Last but not least, we launched a run of 100 Boldr Ventures as a Windup Watch Shop edition. At $299, the titanium, 200m, NH35-powered Boldr Venture is hard to beat, so we knew we wanted to put our twist on it, which according to our friends at the WatchClicker, is their “favorite iteration of the Venture platform.” And with that, 2020’s collabs come to a close. As for 2021, well let’s just say it’s going to be a very exciting year for limited editions, so stay tuned.
Turning our attention outside the walls of Worn & Wound, we find a lot to love. Below find a few of our favorites, some of which even made their way into our personal collections.
My favorite collaboration this year is a somewhat easy choice, and a watch I haven’t stopped thinking about since it dropped over Thanksgiving weekend. The new Vianney Halter designed Louis Erard Regulator takes Louis Erard’s signature regulator style layout and filters it through the eye of one of the most important of all contemporary independent watchmakers. The result is a dynamic take on a sector dial with depth, texture, and a mix of classic and modern design influences that Vianney Halter is known for, along with some very specific signatures that have become his hallmarks (the crenellated crown is my favorite Halter flourish). It sold out quickly, or at least a little faster than it took me to convince myself to pull the trigger, to my great regret. But the fact that a somewhat oddball watch from a brand like Louis Erard disappeared in a flash was somewhat refreshing, even if I did miss my own chance to own one.
As a watch, this one is absolutely gorgeous, extremely wearable, and a design success in every way. But thinking beyond that, and about this watch as a collaborative effort, I think I love the idea behind it even more than the watch itself. Independent watchmakers lending their design expertise to smaller brands making affordable watches is a win for all involved. It allows Halter’s work to be enjoyed by enthusiasts who play at a more modest price point than his typical clients, who pay well into the five figures for a Vianney Halter branded piece, and it generates interest in Halter’s primary brand, potentially exposing those same enthusiasts to watchmakers and creators they hadn’t considered prior. High-end watchmakers collaborating with smaller brands at accessible price points is a trend within a trend, and one that I hope continues into 2021 and beyond.
I am a sucker for sector dials. This should be pretty clear in the designs of our own collaborations. So when I see a good sector pop-up, I’m immediately intrigued. This year, Revolution teamed up with the esteemed Laurent Ferrier to produce what one could consider to be a bit of grail to someone like me. Inspired by vintage scientific dials, it’s rendered in two-tone silver with beige, with a sub-seconds at six and Laurent Ferrier’s signature hands in blue steel (and shipped with additional lumed hands). This is not to mention the remarkable engine powering it with a frosted gold, nor the 40mm titanium Galet case with its smooth flowing lines. Supremely elegant, understated, and classic, I could imagine a world where it, or something similar, was my only watch. Alas, at $31,600, and limited to only 12 pieces which are long gone, I’ll have to keep waiting for my perfect sector dial.
It might be a little stretch to select a collaboration between a watch brand and a film franchise, but that’s exactly what I’m doing just because it’s so beautiful. The first film in the Kingsman film franchise featured a Bremont, and although the third chapter is now slated for a March 2021 release we already know which watch will be featured.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife watch takes its inspiration, and part of its name, from the ‘Coteau’ pocket watch from 1907 (the French word for knife is Coteau). At only 4.25mm thick thanks to the caliber 849 hand-wound movement, the ‘Knife’ watch appears razor sharp in profile and looks stunning from the front too. The angular bow of the 1907 pocket watch is kept as part of the design and acts as a reminder of the transition and conversion from pocket watches to wrist watches which was starting to happen in the 1900s when the film is set.
Even leaving the history and Hollywood tie-in aside, the blued hands and pink gold case add great warmth to a really clean and crisp design.
2020 was an amazing year for watches born of a collaborative effort. Among the many standouts to me, was the recently released Unimatic X Massena LAB Marine U1 MLM. This is a simple collab that builds on the Unimatic Modello Uno platform with small but effective details that elevate the watch as a whole. The blue dial and bezel are subtle and shift with the light, requiring an in-person viewing to fully appreciate. Additionally, the hand applied lume and dial coloration add a unique element of personality to each example.
The Modello Uno proved an effective vessel for this collaboration, providing a hefty angular frame that lifts the design inspiration into modern territory while retaining the throwback vibes. It’s not as all-in as this pair’s first collab, but it comes across as more everyday wearable as a result. The watch is packaged with a pair of nylon strap options, though I’ve grown to wearing mine in a blonde colored Matte Supreme from Crown & Buckle. Other favs include the Merci X Hodinkee collab and the Oris X Momotaro Divers 65.