Micro-Brand Digest: Sapphire Cases, Wandering Hours, and Divers

Welcome to the Worn & Wound Micro-Brand Digest, a semi-weekly roundup of all the new micro-brand news we’re following, from concepts that show promise, to kickstarter launches to restocks, and everything in between. Small independents, and affordable micro-brands spurred the creation of Worn & Wound over 10 years ago, and they still drive our enthusiasm in a big way. 

Here’s what’s caught our eye this month.

If you’ve come across a project you think qualifies, hit us up at [email protected] for inclusion.

Horon Watches Ocean Hunter 300M

As much as we all love a great dive watch, they can be a little one-note sometimes. A new collection of divers from Horon hopes to change things up with a variety of colors, textures, and materials that will look to bring a unique personality to a tried and true dive watch template. Coming to Kickstart soon, the Ocean Hunter family consists of a watches like the Kraken with a meteorite dial, and the Leviathan with a dual toned guilloche textured dial. These 42mm, 300M divers will be powered by the Sellita SW-200 and will launch in Q2 of this year. More from Horon.

Straum Presents Norwegian Watches For Adventurers

What is a watch built for adventure? Well, I’m not entirely sure but Norwegian based watch brand Straum claims to have the answer with their upcoming Rastarkalv and Opphav watches. These watches offer a beautifully textured dial rendered in a range of colors inspired by the elements. Indeed, the dial boasts an organic looking texture that is quite literally that. The Rastarkalv uses 3,300-year-old root extracted from the plains of Rastarkalv on the island of Frei, while the Opphav gets layers of paints and lacquers to mimic the frozen ripples of a lake or glacier. Both are beautiful in their own way and will make for a rather unique run of LEs in 4 different colors. Available for order now from Straum.

Makina Returns With Gabriel

Makina is a small brand based in the Philippines, and they recently began previewing their new Gabriel_I. The dial features multiple finishes, and is clearly inspired by the recent trend toward vintage influenced sector dial layouts. The octagonal case measures 40mm and is only 11mm thick, and the watch is powered by a Sellita SW260-1 movement. It’s an attractive and spare design, offering a dial format we’ve become increasingly accustomed to in a case with a bit of funk to it. Look closely, and you’ll notice that those are wire lugs at the top and bottom of the case connecting the strap. This one has a lot of angles and personality, with a design that pulls from 70s era sports watches as well as mid century dress watches. The pre-order price is $600, and delivery is expected to begin in April. Makina

Gravithin Reveals Tool Inspired Argomatic

Do you like busy, multi layered dials? Fun color combinations? A round, lugless case design? Check out the new Gravithin ArgoMatic series. The ArgoMatic is inspired in part by sextants, tools that are traditionally used for navigation at sea. The “double dial” is an elaborate take on sandwich construction, creatively using a series of dots and incisions to draw the eye to crisp numerals around the dial’s perimeter and within an inner sector. A dark blue and black dial are both on offer, each with lighter blue and red accents. 

The ArgoMatic really comes together in the design of the case, though. It’s 42mm in sandblasted stainless steel, with tapered sides inspired by the hull of a ship. Thanks in part to the use of a slim Miyota caliber, the case measures just 10.7mm tall. There’s a disco volante quality to the design here, but more contemporary and sporty. The ArgoMatic project is now live on Kickstarter, and while retail pricing is expected to be €399, early bird pricing will get you a significant discount. Gravithin.


Aventi Creates An Affordable Sapphire Watch

There aren’t many watches out there that look like an Aventi. Their entire lineup of distinctive watches come in a robust trapezoidal silhouette with a sapphire dial that fully displays a Tourbillon double barrel movement. Aventi currently has three watches available with the A10, A11 and A13. The A11 in particular caught our attention for its unique aesthetic with its pure sapphire case and sizable stature. The A10 on the other hand is encased in titanium and comes in various case colors and finishings. Both the A10 and A11 have a design that is reminiscent of a supercar, with its multifaceted case body, jagged lines and angular profile that sports a V12 engine in the form of a Tourbillon and has no shame in showing it off. 

Aventi makes all of this happen by using a global system to assist with production and distribution. Aventi claims that they have partnered up with the best watchmakers to source their own movements and experienced manufacturers around the world. If you’re in the market for something unique, non-traditional and supercar-esque on wrist, then we suggest you check out Aventi and their entire catalog. Aventi.

The Wandering Hours Phantasos Triclops

File this under a-little-too-late, as their Kickstarter already ended, but there’s a new entry into the affordable wandering hour category, the Phantasos Triclops. A few months ago I reviewed the Atowak Ettore Drift, and applauded its attempt at bringing a typically high-end complication to the mainstream, though I was less a fan of the overall aesthetic. Well, if you’ve been hoping for an affordable wandering hour with a more tasteful design, Phantasos has it.

The Triclops features a 42mm case with fairly classic lines, and a big, open dial space meant to put the three-headed wandering hour carriage on full display. Rather than discs, like the Atowak, the Triclops uses drums that rotate, for a little extra pizazz. Comparisons to Urwerk are easy to make, of course, but given the price and that there are only so many ways to crack a wandering-hour-egg, I think they get pass.

Powering the Triclops is the Miyota 90S5, a close relative of the 9015, and Phantasos claims with their wandering hour complication the -10/+30 sec per day chronometric standards was maintained. Good stuff. Even better if you got it at the KS discount of $648, though the MSRP  of $980 is still respectable. Overall, a fun little package, though I wish they had forgone the integrated lugs, but who’s asking? Phantasos.

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