John Robert Wristwatches comes to us by way of Melbourne, Australia, and their debut collection, the Archetype, is a watch that’s focused on the so-called “Dressy Tool Watch” segment. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Dressy Tool Watch, we devoted an entire podcast to the category back in the summer of 2018. Loosely defined, a DTW is a watch that’s versatile enough to pass in a dressier scenario, but is fundamentally built like a tool and carries with it the requisite specs that keep it ticking through any number of precarious scenarios. This of course covers a lot of ground, and that’s part of what makes considering this genre of watch so interesting – the possibilities are endless. John Robert has created a watch with a classic profile and a fancy dial, but it’s not the dressed up appearance with stealth robustness that has us interested – it’s the interesting movement option they’re offering. Let’s take a closer look.
Aesthetically, the Archetype resembles classic mid-century gents watches – the types of everyday watches you might receive as a college graduation gift or upon a big promotion. They’re watches that were simply meant to be worn day in and day out, whether you’re in a meeting, out to dinner, or mowing the lawn. Available in three dial variants (white, blue, and charcoal), each has a textured, linen-like finish and sharp applied hour markers. The case is 38mm in diameter with an attractive combination of brushed and polished elements, and it’s water resistant to 100 meters, which seems to be the unofficial standard in the dressy tool watch world. It’s an attractive enough watch, but it’s not revolutionary in its design – lots of brands are bringing watches with textured dials and higher than expected water resistance ratings to market.
The hook here is that the Archetype is available with the option of a Swiss made High Accuracy Quartz movement (the ETA E64.111), accurate to within 10 seconds per year. That is a genuinely useful addition to a dressy tool watch, and not something we see a whole lot of in this segment, as the current appetite among enthusiasts tends to veer sharply to the mechanical side of things. Unlike similar highly accurate quartz watches from larger brands like Grand Seiko and Breitling, the price of the Archetype is firmly within reach of any collector at just $489 (with a $100 discount if purchased through the brand’s forthcoming Kickstarter campaign). If you prefer an automatic movement, the Archetype is also available with a Sellita SW200, with a price tag of $979 before any Kickstarter promotions.
The John Robert Wristwatches Kickstarter campaign is set to launch on January 30. If the idea of a dressy, affordable, High Accuracy Quartz (or, automatic) tool watch with Australian roots is appealing to you, Be sure to check out the brand’s website for more information and to sign up for updates on their Kickstarter campaign.