Micro-Brand Digest: Inventive Divers, Anti-magnetic Field Watch, & One Charming Chronograph

Welcome to the Worn & Wound Micro-Brand Digest, a semi-monthly 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.

Gyavius Watch Company NAVI

The Sophomore release from a brand called Gyavius represents a serious jump forward, and dabbles in the rarely seen fixed lug bar space. The watch, which is called the NAVI, has just launched its batch 1 order window, and it represents a healthy step in an original direction when it comes to dive watches from micro-brands. 

The NAVI is a 45mm dive watch with a fixed lug bar allowing a pass through strap, and allowing for a rather organic looking case shape overall that might wear a bit better than the numbers might suggest. But those numbers are there for a reason, this is a 100ATM diver, tested to 1000M of pressure. Do any of us need that much depth resistance? Absolutely not, but hey, it’s a pretty cool watch and if you’re going to go big, you may as well go all the way. 

The matte dial gets a generous helping of pad printed lume with hand applied green lume overtop for a maximum visibility and a pretty cool look. Inside you’ll find a Sellita SW200 pulling duty, which seems a good fit for a true tool watch such as this. Pre-orders for batch 1 are currently live at a price of $2,760 directly from Gyavius right here.

Fleux Watches FLX002

Fleux is a new brand, launched by entrepreneur and longtime watch collector Edward Cho. The brand’s genesis is a familiar story: Edward was on the hunt for just the right vintage piece, and figured he’d take a stab at designing the hypothetical watch he was looking for. This, I think, is how a lot of small brands get their start, and like fingerprints or snowflakes, each watch that comes out of this process is just a little different from any other. 

In Fleux’s case, that means a skin diver with classic proportions and a dial with just a hint of funk to it. The FLX001 and FLX002 have a classic case pulled straight out of 1970s dive shops, and dials that offer something just a little bit different. The FLX001 features a countdown bezel instead of a traditional dive timing bezel, and asymmetrical hour markers, with larger markers in the top half and smaller markers in the lower half. Ed says this is meant to convey a “dynamic kineticism,” but we just think it’s a fun look that’s a little outside the norm. 

The FLX002 features a California dial, with Arabic numerals in the bottom half, and Romans up top. This diver features a sterile bezel, which gives the piece a slightly more minimalist look and acts as a nod to modern technical diving that requires a rebreather, and timing in the hours as opposed to minutes. Both of the new Fleux watches have vintage inspired proportions, coming in at 38mm in diameter and 14mm thick (with a lug to lug span of 47mm) and use Seiko made NH38A mechanical movements. A Kickstarter launch is expected soon. More information here.

Von Doren II Tempo Gigante

One of the pleasures of covering the microbrand space is that you come to understand just how international the watch hobby really is. Too often, we think of watches in terms of the countries that have industrialized their manufacture, but that’s a very limited perspective. The truth is, there are watch brands all over the world, in places you wouldn’t expect, and some offer little glimpses into the culture of a region or a country in a way that only a watch can. 

Take Von Doren, for example. Von Doren refers to itself as Norway’s largest watch brand. We’re not here to argue that point – it’s hard to think of another off hand. Their new watch, dubbed the II Tempo Gigante Automatisk Kronograf, is inspired by a car in a Norwegian stop motion animation film called “The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix.” See? We’ve just learned something about Norwegian car and film culture. It’s no surprise: Von Doren founder Øyvind Von Doren Asbjørnsen is a former filmmaker. 

The watch itself is a chronograph in a 41mm stainless steel case with alternating brushed and polished finishing, running on a La Joux-Perret L112 automatic movement with 60 hours of power reserve. The style is right out of the 70s, with a cushion case and a dial dominated by soft browns and yellows. There’s a light degradé effect on the main dial, and the balance of colors is quite unusual. You really feel that it must have been inspired by something very specific. A black dialed version is also available, but the brown is a whole lot more unique, and just feels special. 

The retail price of the II Tempo Gigante Automatisk Kronograf is €2,995, and it’s a limited edition of 577 pieces. More information here.

Horizon Pilgrim

The Horizon Pilgrim is a compression style diver that’s caught our eye for a few reasons, and it’s already heading to production after a successful run on Kickstarter. The Pilgrim finds the roots of its inspiration within a literary context, and some unique stylistic flourishes make their presence felt as a result. That lends to an overall personality that goes beyond ‘vintage inspired diver’. 

The Pilgrim gets a stepped 41mm case that measures 12.4mm in thickness (inclusive of a sapphire crystal) and 47mm from lug to lug. Inside sits a Sellita SW200 with a date complication at 3 o’clock that’s been integrated into the design of the hour marker, thus appearing to be a dateless watch. The cardinal hours get larger trapezoid shaped markers, and the same shape is found at 3 o’clock, but instead of a static number, it’s an aperture to the date disc below. 

This simple but inventive solution brings a ton of character and practicality to the watch without interfering with the design as a whole. Round hour markers and an internal bezel fill out the remainder of the dial, with a nifty bit of branding at the top and a scripted name at the bottom. All this paired to a variety of colors that can take the design into old school direction just as easily as they can into modern territory, which means the design works wall all around.

The Kickstarter has closed but there are points of sale across parts of southeast Asia, and keep an eye out for direct sales coming in the near future with pricing set just under $1,000. More from Horizon here.


Monbrey MB1

image credit: @talkingabouttime

We’ve finally got a first good look at the Monbrey MB1 watch which has just launched on Kickstarter. The 38.5mm steel watch features a mighty tempting King Seiko vibe design paired with a simple anti-magnetic old school execution that looks to nail the little details. This has resulted in the brand sailing past their pledge goal on Kickstarter in short order, opening the door to a selection of new dial colors. 

This Hong Kong based brand was started by a pair of industrial designers and it shows. While the watch references some design codes seen in the ‘70s, Monbrey has wielded them in surprisingly contemporary ways. Applied indexes and angular handset bring a decidedly modern flavor to the MB1, and the bevy of dial colors lends to that situation.

The MB1 makes use of a soft iron faraday cage to boast 4800 A/m of magnetic resistance, and it’s got the requisite dial markings at 6 o’clock to make that fact apparent. Within is a Miyota 9039 automatic movement, which keeps the dimensions in check, and the price at a tidy $499 for the Kickstarter. There’s plenty to love about this design in all of its flavors, which you can discover in full at their website, or the Kickstarter itself right here.

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