There are a handful of options available for those who have the desire to own something of their own; a customized, one of a kind timepiece has a certain allure that draws many a buyer. Such a task can be accomplished by modding an existing watch with dial and hands of your choice, or using an online service to create something more personalized. While there are companies that will do this presently, a newcomer, Oblako Watch, is looking to put an affordable spin on the concept.
The founders of Oblako Watch are hoping to fund their first customized watch, the Stratus, via Kickstarter. Via their campaign page you can pledge funds that will get you at a minimum a Oblako Stratus with a stainless steel bracelet and spring bar tool. The upper tier provides two watches, two bracelets and two customized dials. The dial is really the driving piece behind the Stratus watch. The company is using re-purposed aerospace titanium as the base for the customized dials.
The titanium is cleaned and polished to bring it to a like-new state before the chosen color is applied. A wide spectrum of color choices is available which can really make the watch specific to the owners likes. From there, the design is applied to the dial via laser, which appears in black once the printing is done and the dial face sealed. The customization of the dial face is really the driving factor of the Stratus watch. Right now the purchaser can either select a pre-made design or, using Oblako’s demo videos and suggested software, design their own dial. Aside from designing the watch dial users can select their choice of strap to accompany their watch, and Oblako is including a spring bar tool with each pledge tier so that the strap can easily be changed.
For some the design process might be a bit overwhelming; to overcome this part of the plans for the Kickstarter funds are a web based vector editor that users could use to design their watch right in the Oblako website. This would be a huge plus and make the process of design much more accessible to the casual user. One aspect of customizing a watch that is missing from the Stratus are the hands; the watch uses the same set of stick hands on all their watches. Hopefully that is something the team will consider for the future.
The watch itself is a fairly basic piece no doubt used to keep costs to the wearer as low as possible. The stainless steel case is 40mm with 22mm lugs and has a Japanese Hattori quartz movement inside. The watch is rated at 50M for casual wear, but the crystal is sapphire, a plus. The base watch itself may not appeal to some more “hard core” watch enthusiasts, but it seems clear that those collecting Rolex or Panerai are not exactly the target audience for the Stratus to begin with. Current prices for the Stratus on Kickstarter begin at $78 CAD (~ $73 USD) and go up to $168 CAD (~ $157 USD).
In addition to their Kickstarter offering, the company is running a dial design contest that promises free watches and cash prizes. If you like the idea of the Oblako Stratus you can head over to their Kickstarter page for more information, or to make your pledge. The campaign ends December 31, 2013.
by James Enloe