While the big watch brands have been busy with Baselworld the past week the smaller, crowd-funded ball keeps rolling on Kickstarter. Another new brand is launching on the platform hoping to catch some of your hard earned dollars. The brand this time is Ventus Watches who is after a piece of the affordable watch market. The first set of offerings featured in this Kickstarter campaign is their tribute to the pilots watches of WWII, the Ventus Caspian.
The Ventus Caspian has two base versions with two styles of each available, both drawing design elements from the WWII Observer’s watch style. The first version is a 3-hand time only model with the traditional observer’s watch dial: the double dotted triangle at 12 with numeric markers for the remainder of the hours. The dial is also a sandwich dial which gives it some additional interest and depth with the luminescence coming from the lower of the pieces. The hands are in the style normally associated with the Observer’s watch as one would expect. The time-only model runs the Seiko NH35 automatic movement which is a 24 jewel movement that hacks and can be hand wound, beating at 21,600bph.
The second model of the Caspian is still in the same style, only as a chronograph. The chronograph keeps the same style of dial and hands and adds a 6 (running seconds), 9 (hours), 12 (minutes) chronograph sub-dial layout. The movement for this model is a Seiko Meca-Quartz which we have seen in other watches (such as the Techné Sparrowhawk II, Autodromo Prototipo and the Helgray Silverstone). As we have covered before the Meca-Quartz gives the chronograph the feel of being a mechanical movement with the accuracy and power benefits of the quartz module. It’s a slick movement that we are seeing used more and more and it looks really nice in this Caspian design.
The areas both models have in common include the case. For the Caspian, Ventus chose to use brass as the case material, offering it in a brushed or sandblasted PVD finish for each model. The case dimensions are trimmed down from the 55mm of the original WWII watches to a wearable 42mm diameter. The case length comes in at 50mm with lugs at 22mm; a nice modern sized case that should fit a large variety of wrists. Also common across watches is the domed sapphire crystal and 100M water resistance. The watches will show off the logo via the caseback and engraved crown and will come with a 1 year international warranty.
While the Ventus Watches brand is new, the people behind the scenes are not. Co-founder Elshan has been involved with prior Kickstarter funded brand Zelos, and as a result already has reliable manufacturing in place and experience with the whole process. Having just launched the project is already over its funding goal, which closes on April 25, 2015. Pledge prices start at $259 AUD (about $202 USD) with limited quantities at that price. The next level is $299 AUD ( about $233 USD) and a dual watch set is available for $478 AUD ($373 USD). Overall it looks like a great, affordable entry into the Observer watch market, and with the goal already met a sure thing to get on your wrist later this summer. Visit their Kickstarter page for more info and to pick one up during the funding campaign.