Tag Archives: wristwatches

The Toc 19 Watch – Elegant Bauhaus Design

It seems to us that a lot of watches these days are overdesigned.  People get in a tizzy over features, complications, gadgets, gemstones and who knows what else.  In the process, they sometimes forget how to make a simple, attractive watch.

Toc 19 watchThat’s what’s most appealing about the Toc 19 watch, which is currently completely funded through a Kickstarter campaign.  The founders of the company wanted to get back to basics and come up with a basic but attractive watch with a design inspired by the Bauhaus school of design from roughly 100 years ago.

The result is amazing.  The Toc 19 has a simplicity about it, yet it’s attractive and elegant at the same time.  Not only that, but it’s quite affordable, with prices starting at about $220.  (It’s priced in Euros, so the price will fluctuate a bit for U.S. buyers.)

While the company eventually plans to introduce other models, the Toc 19 is the only one that’s ready to go at present.  Options include one of six different face colors and several different colors of Italian leather strap.

Toc 19 watch case backSo, what do you get for your €189 or so?  The Toc 19 offers the following features:

  • 44mm case made from 316L surgical steel.
  • Sapphire crystal over the watch face and the case back
  • Manually wound Seagull ST3621 movement
  • 30 meters of water resistance
  • Six different colors

The face has a clean look, with a small inset dial to indicate seconds.  That’s it.  There are no chronograph features.  No date.  No chimes.  Nothing else to complicate the design, which was inspired by a long-gone German company that made watches prior to World War II.

As the watch is a relatively simple design, so are the funding options for the Kickstarter campaign.  You can get one watch for a set price, two watches for double the money, and for roughly six times the money, you can get all six different versions.

A lot of people seem to have found this appealing, as the company has already nearly doubled their funding goal.

It’s rare to see mechanical watches offered by new companies anymore.  It’s also almost unheard of to see sapphire crystal on a watch at this price point.  The see through case back is also a nice touch, but then again, if you’re going to include a mechanical movement, why not show it off?

The Toc 19 is considered to be a unisex watch, suitable for both men and women.  The company expects to ship this coming November.

It’s also worth noting that this watch is a limited edition.  The company says that they will not produce more than 1919 pieces.   The number was chosen to reflect the date of the origins of the Bauhaus movement that inspired the watch design.

We’re seeing a lot of new watch companies use Kickstarter to fund their products these days, and not just startups.  The nice thing about Kickstarter’s model is that you have an opportunity to gauge demand before you spend a lot of money manufacturing something that people many not actually want.  By going through Kickstarter, you’ll know if people are interested before you spend the money for production.  If they want it, you have the money and you build it.

It’s a great idea for watchmaking companies.

You can learn more about the Toc 19 at the Kickstarter page.


In Watches, Provenance is Everything

There are many factors that can determine the price that something will sell for at auction, but few things can affect the price quite so much as previous ownership by someone famous.

Things can be collectible on their own, but if they’ve been owned by a famous person, the price can go through the roof.  A good example is the recent announcement that Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona is going to be sold.

jackie kennedy's watchThis watch sells for a lot of money, as it was a rare model even when new and has become closely associated with the famous actor.  The model is even known as a Rolex Daytona Paul Newman among collectors, even though it wasn’t sold by that name.  The watch is expected to sell for 3-5 times the amount that a common example that was not owned by an Oscar-winning actor might bring at auction.

That’s not the case with the Cartier Tank Ordinaire that will be sold this week.  This watch, while a bit unusual, has most of its value in the fact that it was once owned by the then-First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy.

The watch was a gift to Jackie Kennedy by her brother in law, Prince “Stas” Radziwill, who was married to Jackie’s sister.  The back of the watch is inscribed, “Stas to Jackie,” and includes the date of a 50 mile hike that Radziwill took as a challenge from Jackie.  He gave the watch to her as a thank you present.

While Cartier watches have their fans, they’re mostly viewed as jewelry and aren’t sought out by watch collectors, who tend to favor larger models with more elaborate features.  It’s also worth noting that women’s watches tend to sell for a lot less on the market than men’s models do.

As such, the going rate for even a vintage Cartier Tank is about $3000 or so.  This particular model, the Ordinaire, was one of only three made that year in 18 karat yellow gold.  Despite its relative rarity, the timepiece likely wouldn’t attract much attention were it not for its provenance.

Because Jackie Kennedy (later Jackie Onassis) was such a beloved and much-watched public figure during her life, the watch has an estimated price of $60,000-$120,000, though it could go much higher than that.  It only takes two people to drive prices into the stratosphere, and watch collectors and Kennedy aficionados tend to be both stubborn and wealthy.

An undisclosed portion of the proceeds from the auction will be given to the national endowment for the arts.