Guide: Windup Watch Fair NYC Debuts – Part I

Windup Watch Fair NYC has come and gone, and lots of watch nerds got to see a lot of watches over the course of the three-day event at Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. While it’s well known that brands will often bring their entire collections to the fair to exhibit and sell, over the last few Windups we’ve been seeing more and more brand owners use the event as an opportunity to launch entirely new products. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it: name another time when the attention of the enthusiast watch community is more laser-focused on your collection.

I had the chance to walk around the fair and ask brands “what’s new?” and was thrilled to see so many had decided to bring entirely new watches to the fair to be seen by the public for the first time. What follows are just some of the highlights. Expect plenty of additional coverage of these new watches and a lot more coming out of this exciting weekend in the coming days and weeks. 

Anordain Model 2 Unique Pieces

It was just about five months ago at May’s Windup San Francisco that Anordain debuted their Model 2, a creative take on the classic field watch with their spectacular enamel dials. Judging by the traffic at their table in NYC this weekend, the Model 2 has become a hit with collectors and enthusiasts, and the Anordain folks brought a selection of their newest watches with a fumè treatment for fans to take a look at.

The brand’s use of color is really remarkable in these watches, and having the chance to see the new fumè dials up close is an opportunity not to be missed. As opposed to the standard enamel dials on their other watches, which have a deep, flat quality, the fumè dials are almost iridescent in character, with the dial edges having a smoked appearance that is unlike anything else on the market right now. Good enamel work is something that’s hard to capture in photographs, and really benefits from being handled in person to gauge how the dials play with light, and having a chance to see these very special dials in person was one of real treats of this year’s Windup NYC. Anordain

Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition 

Oris debuted their latest in a continuing series of watches inspired by great jazz musicians at an event in NYC a few days before Windup, but the fair was the first time the public would have a chance to see the new Art Blakey Limited Edition in the metal. Limited to just 1000 pieces, the Art Blakey Limited Edition is a conservative and classic dress watch with a clean design and a few subtle tributes to the legendary drummer. 

In a jazz ensemble, the drummer keeps time for the rest of the band, so it makes a lot of sense that a watch would be designed to pay tribute to Art Blakey. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the eight applied hour markers on the spare silvered dial are meant to resemble the claws from a bass drum, and flipping the watch over reveals a case-back with an embossing that evokes a hi-hat cymbal. So there’s jazz content here, but it’s very much under the radar, and the watch can be enjoyed as a simple, retro dress piece regardless of your musical taste. Oris

Brew Watch Co. Mastergraph 

New York City’s own Brew Watch Co. was in attendance at Windup once again, and they took the opportunity to let enthusiasts and fans of the brand experience their latest chronograph, the Mastergraph, for the first time. 

The Mastergraph is a slightly sportier and more robust take on the Retrograph, Brew’s previous chrono. The Mastergraph has a three register layout, making use of the VK68 Meca-Quartz movement (meaning that timekeeping is regulated by a quartz crystal, but the chronograph is operated mechanically). A rotating bezel has also been added, and the case has the familiar rectangular shape that has become a bit of a Brew calling card, but with slightly more “cushion” in the cushion case this time around. Available in three colorways, including a unique and stylish copper panda variant, the Mastergraph is available for pre-order now on the Brew website, with delivery expected in December. Brew

Zodiac Andy Mann Super Sea Wolf 

We just covered this one last week when it was officially announced, and having the chance to see it in the metal did not disappoint. In an edition of just 182, this watch feels really special, and with Andy Mann inspired details throughout, it feels really personal, too. 

There’s no need to retread our coverage of the watch’s announcement here, except to say that the dial lives up to the hype, and is unlike anything else currently available on the market. Although the watch is large by any definition, its shape fits well on the wrist. It’s imposing, but in a good way. This isn’t a watch that’s meant to disappear. Zodiac

Lorier Gemini 

Lorier’s new and much-anticipated chronograph, the Gemini, won’t be available until January 2020, but they brought some early samples for the Windup crowds to try on and take in before they become widely available. Lorier has a knack for really embracing vintage-inspired details, and getting the little touches just right, and it doesn’t look like they’ve missed a beat with the Gemini. 

This is a classic vintage-inspired chronograph to its very core. It’s a simple two-register layout, using a hand-wound Seagull ST19 movement. This is a fantastic, budget-friendly column-wheel chrono movement out of China that is perfect for a watch like this. The Gemini will be available in three dial variants: the traditional panda and reverse panda, as well as a deep blue dial with white sub-registers. The Gemini will be available on the same vintage style bracelet with fully articulating links that Lorier has used in the past, but they also showed the watch on a variety of straps at Windup (including a bund, which looked great) making it clear that this is going to be an incredibly versatile piece. Lorier

Sō Labs Layer One

It’s been said a lot, and it was certainly said a great deal over the course of Windup weekend, but one of the great things about enthusiast watch culture at the moment is the way those involved in the community aren’t afraid to have a little fun in what is traditionally a hyper-conservative, even stuffy, business. Walking around the fair, you see a lot of great color, interesting and new designs, and brand owners with a desire to collaborate and create fun products for their small but dedicated customer base. Sō Labs, a new brand making their public debut at the fair this year, has these qualities in spades. 

Sō Labs debuted the Layer One, a small collection of quartz watches in attractive pastel shades at the fair this year, and showed off a prototype of an upcoming automatic version of their watch as well. The watches use a unique time telling arrangement that features a rotating disc with a pointer for the hours, and a central minutes hand. The watches are playful, and the colorways have fun names like “Abalone Steel” and “Salmon Fandango.” They also presented unique packaging for their watches modeled after a Petri dish, that invites the owner to install the included strap with quick release spring bars on their own. Their whole vibe was just a lot of fun, and seemed to really capture the spirit of the event, and I haven’t mentioned their awesome desk clock, in a similar colorful style. Sō Labs

Christopher Ward C60 Abyss 

Christopher Ward very quietly announced a new member of their C60 collection at Windup. The Abyss is a blacked out take on their top of the range modern professional diver, and was a definite favorite at the fair. The concept of the Abyss is Christopher Ward’s take on “silent running,” which in submarine operations terms means that all non-essential systems and sounds are eliminated to avoid potential radar detection. For the Abyss, that means a fully DLC coated case, a black dial, and black hour markers.

In person the watch is sleek and ultra-modern looking, which is to be expected for Christopher Ward’s deepest diving line of dive instruments (the Abyss is rated to a depth of 600 meters). In spite of the blacked-out dial, the watch remains legible thanks to some strategic polishing effects on the hands and hour markers – it has a way of reflecting just enough light when you need it. The red accents are a great touch that add to the modern presentation of the watch. The C60 Abyss will ship in November, and is available for pre-order now on the Christopher Ward website with a retail price of $850. Christopher Ward

There were so many great debuts at Windup, we couldn’t fit them into one post. Look for part 2 soon, with new watches from Farer, Autodromo, and a bunch more.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.