Varon Chiri is a new South Korea based watch brand that is hoping to put their country on the horological map with an enthusiast focused everyday watch they’ve dubbed the Blazer. The brand has put a considerable amount of thought into what type of watch their potential customer is after, and has taken the somewhat unusual step of publishing their own market research that they’ve used to design their debut watch. No surprise, it turns out that what we’d normally classify as a midsize watch was the clear preference of respondents, and the brand has acted accordingly with a case measuring 38.5mm in diameter and just 9.7mm tall. In addition to being sized in what many would agree is something of a sweet spot, the Blazer appears to have some additional design flourishes that make it a compelling option for a watch priced at just under $600 (and even less via an Indiegogo pre-order).
Varon Chiri Hopes to Put a Spotlight on Korean Watchmaking with the New Blazer
Varon Chiri’s survey, which they’ve published via their Instagram feed, received responses from about 750 watch enthusiasts, and took stock of preferred dial colors, case diameter, lug to lug measurements, and even preferences for flat or domed sapphire crystals. They also took note of the wrist size of respondents, and used that data to define the ideal relationship between wrist size and case size. Based on Varon Chiri’s data, for a wrist that’s between 7.3 and 7.5 inches, a ratio of case diameter to lug to lug measurement that’s about 1:1.19 is ideal. That puts the Blazer, with a 38.5mm diameter and lug to lug span of 45mm even right in the wheelhouse of their average survey respondent.
Of course, some might argue that you hardly need a survey to know that watch collectors love a case measuring just under 40mm. That’s been true, well, basically forever. But Varon Chiri deserves some credit not just for reaching out to the community, but for showing their work by making the survey public. The dial color component of the survey was similarly unsurprising, revealing a strong preference for traditional dial colors like black, blue, and white. In what might amount to a small upset, green dials were shown to be a strong favorite over salmon (have we really passed peak salmon?) with brown bringing up the rear.
Back to the watch itself, the Blazer’s dial features sunray finishing emanating from the center and a dauphine handset. Five dial colors will be made available: black, white, navy, green, and mint. Green and mint are only available through the pre-order campaign, while black, white and navy dials are expected to be permanent. The collection is split up into two lines, the Standard Edition and the Korea Edition. The differentiating factor in the Korea Edition is the execution of a traditional Korean pattern at the dial’s outer perimeter. It’s frankly tough to imagine choosing a watch in the Standard collection, as the small aesthetic touch that this pattern brings to the dial is what makes the Blazer distinct, and ties it back to Korean culture.
You might notice that the dial indicates that the Blazer is “Korea Made.” According to Varon Chiri, final assembly, QC, and case finishing is all done in Korea, which equates to over 50% of the manufacturing costs and thus qualifies the watch to be labeled as Korea Made. The case, bracelet, dials and movement (a Miyota 9039) are all made overseas, but the team at Varon Chiri is hopeful that if the Blazer is a success it will set a path forward to being able to produce more components in Korea.
Varon Chiri’s Indiegogo campaign launches today right here. The initial pre-order price is just $420, with the eventual final retail price targeted at $590. Varon Chiri