A few weeks back, I got to check out the Ulysses collection from Toc, a small, two-man brand based in Ireland. The Ulysses is the brand’s sophomore collection, and it shows. Now available for pre-order through Kickstarter, The Ulysses is a more refined product, boasting a design that should appeal to both vintage die-hards and collectors whose sensibilities skew a bit more contemporary.From the dial to the case, the cues aren’t unfamiliar—the ‘50s are alive and well in the Ulysses. There’s a domed dial, applied dot markers, a sub-dial at six, and an option for a 36mm fully-polished case. But it’s not all vintage-inspired. The color combinations recall some of Nomos’ more recent offerings, giving the watches a welcome playfulness that, unsurprisingly, makes them more versatile on the wrist. There’s also an option for a 40mm case should the 36 prove to be too small (chances are it isn’t, but I won’t begrudge you going bigger).
In addition to the two case sizes, there are nine different dial options on offer. Emerald Green, Graphite Grey, Deep Blue, Crimson Red, Saturn Black, and Burren Gold are made available in both case sizes. Copper Gold is limited to the 40mm case, and Rose Gold and Champagne Gold are only available in 36mm. My favorite of the bunch are the metals. They’re subtle in the best way possible, and they don’t hit you over the head the way some of the primary colors do.
Overall, the dials are well done. I love how the hour’s index (which is a mix of Arabic numerals at the cardinal positions and applied dots at all other spots) straddles the dome along the edge of the dial, leaving a lot of negative space in the middle. This is a detail you’ll see on a lot of mid-century watches, and I’m always happy to see it revived. Perfectly paired with the dial is a set of thin needle hands for the hours and minutes, and a tapering needle for the sub-seconds. Sitting on top of the case is a domed sapphire crystal, bringing the thickness to 9.5mm for the automatics and 8mm for the hand-wound and quartz variants.
Inside the watches are three movement options. All 40mm models are available with a Seagull 1700 hand wound movement or a Seagull 1701 automatic movement. In addition to those two calibers, all 36mm watches are also available with a Miyota 1L45 quartz movement. I’m personally more drawn to the two mechanical offerings, but I readily acknowledge the reticence many people have with Seagull movements. Quality control, especially at this level, can be spotty from the factory, so it’ll be up to Toc to ensure quality components. Should the watch have issues, Toc is offering a two-year warranty.
The watches come alive on the wrist. Though I have no issues pulling off the 40mm case, my preference falls toward the 36mm version. It has great presence and it wears a bit larger due to the all-dial design. Of all the models I tried on, however, the Copper Gold was a real standout. That said, I didn’t get a chance to look at the Burren Gold, but the texture on that model is really enticing.
Pricing is ~$185 for the quartz models, ~$247 for the hand-wound models, and ~$259 for the automatics right now on Kickstarter. The campaign is slated to end on April 10th, and Toc is well on its way to hitting its goal. Delivery is expected by mid-summer. Toc Kickstarter