SYE (Start Your Engine) is a French watch brand born of the founder’s interest in classic cars, and of course, watches. Not a new story, but their approach to watch design is. SYE has specifically honed in on the idea of leather hood straps for inspiration, appreciating how they incorporate a natural material in with otherwise metal creations. The result is the Mot1on (motion) series of watches, which utilize a novel, complicated, and stylish strap system to fuse metal and leather.
[Video] Hands-On: SYE Mot1on Bullitt Limited Edition Chronograph
As you’ll see in the video below, the SYE Mot1on chronograph comes in pieces in a box, requiring you to interact with the product upon arrival. Assembly is simple enough, and forces you to appreciate the quality of the product. The watch head has some unique details that give it personality, but the strap itself is what really impressed me. It’s a complex and high-end construction that could cost as much as the whole watch itself if a luxury brand made it. As someone with some experience in making leather straps, it really impressed me.
The watch shown in the video is the Bullitt Limited Edition, which is the only SYE to feature a titanium case at this time. Measuring 40.5mm in diameter, it’s essentially a lugless watch and has no flat regions on the case side, making it wear closer to 39.5mm. Matched with a green panda dial (the only nod to Bullitt), it mixed vintage cues with a very modern case design for something that I found very appealing on the wrist. Powered by the Seiko VK64 movement, it is priced at around $650 depending on strap choice.
As I discuss in the video, the price is a bit of a paradox to me. It’s on the high side for a VK64-powered watch but feels low for the quality of the components and clever system at play. Had the watch had a more expensive movement, such as a Swiss-made mechanical chronograph, I think they easily could have charged $2k with the existing components. I’d love to see them move in that direction so as to not undersell what they’ve made, which clearly took a lot of time and effort. Of course, the flip side is that in the meantime, they are a fantastic value. SYE