2014 is here and so are a new crop of watch brands trying to make their way into the world via kickstarter. Though it’s hard to say how long these brands will be around, and what their watches will be like in person, we can’t help but find it exciting to see people try. Money is clearly the biggest limiting factor in starting a watch brand, but with crowd-sourcing anyone with a decent (or not) idea can give it a shot. One new project that caught our eye, given it’s focus on affordability, is Mouve.
A quick glance at the Mouve M01 will reveal its inspirations; Panerai, U-Boat, Tsovet, Bell&Ross etc… Large tool watches with military design roots and bulky cases. Measuring 44 x 53mm these things are massive, with uncompromising geometry that looks weaponized. The bordering on absurd crown, measuring 10mm in diameter, makes it look bomb proof. Surprisingly, the watch is quite thin at 8.9mm, which might make it wearable on less than giant wrists.
The dial has a clean, bold design that speaks directly to Panerai. It’s an attractive and super legible look, made more appealing by chunky block hands and un-obtrusive branding. Currently there are 3 color ways planned, all to be expected. Perhaps most interesting, though least practical, is the phantom version with a blind embossed dial. All are fitted with thick leather straps.
The looks of the watch are both a strength and a weakness. These designs are inherently attractive, appealing to a desire for a watch that exudes masculinity. On the other hand, they are a bit too familiar and unoriginal. We’ve seen the dial layout before, and the case seems familiar as well, though perhaps the details are unique. While the M01 looks good (I particularly like the block hands and subtle branding) I do wish that a new brand would start off with a more original aesthetic.
That said, what does separate these watches from those that are similarly styled and priced (looking at Tsovet mostly) is the use of automatic movements. Mouve went for Seagull ST2130 movements, which are similar in specs to ETA 2824-2s. By doing this, and manufacturing in Asia, they are able to sell these on Kickstarter for $260, including a domed sapphire, which is a very tempting price.
If these scratch an itch, head over to their Kickstarter, and help them out. They are looking to raise $190,000, which is a sizable goal. Pledges range from $1 for a virtual hi-five (my words, not theirs) to $1000 for a customized model. Pledges in the $260 – $300 range will get you a watch, which is probably the most logical pledge. If they get there, we hope to see some more unique designs from this brand moving forward.