I consider many things when purchasing a watch. One might say that I agonize over them—the aesthetics of case design; the colour of the dial or the shape of its hands; the font of its numerals or the form of its indices. I consider the conundrum of bracelet or strap…case diameter…lug to lug width… And of course, I fret over the quality of its movement and the reputation of the company for service. I make lists of pros and cons, collect reviews and opinions from a slew of sources, and then I ask questions, lots and lots of questions.
But increasingly, I look for something new: sustainability. It’s a word and a philosophy that has woven itself into the fabric of our society in the last twenty years. But one of the last bastions to escape the sustainability trend has been that of luxury goods.
Of late, many of the big watch makers have taken stabs at sustainability, which means that they must sense a demand for it among their buyers. So, I am not alone. The Blancpain Ocean Commitment, Chopard’s “ethical gold” movement, and Oris’ Clean Ocean, are but a few examples. But what about a completely carbon neutral company?
TFP (Time For Planet), founded as a B Certified Corporation, is an Italian microbrand moving in that direction.
The TFP Windrose was funded on Kickstarter earlier this year with delivery of the first batch occurring just last week.
In some respects, The Windrose defies categorization. It is not a dive watch, in the traditional sense, though it enjoys 200 meters water resistance with a screw-down crown. With its dearth of legible numerals, it certainly isn’t a field or pilot’s watch. Its bezel does not have a tachymeter, diving increments, or a 24-hour GMT function. In fact, it’s fixed. But in a weird way, that’s what is so attractive about this piece. It’s not like anything else.
So, what is it?
In the spirit of sustainability and adventure, TFP has dedicated this piece to the four winds. Symbolically, its bezel has been designed as a compass rose. So, I suppose it is a sports watch for the modern-day explorer. Practically, however, we’ll call it ‘rugged luxury.’
There are six iterations of the Windrose that vary in dial colour, bezel material, and strap choice. They range in price from $1270 to $1610USD. The model we’re looking at here is the more expensive Ceramic Dark.
The case of the Windrose is created through an ancient process known as lost wax casting, which has been in use for 6000 years. What this does is to allow numerous duplicates to be produced from the cast of a single original. In terms of sustainability, this reduces the steps required in case finishing and greatly limits the amount of material lost in machining. The results of this process create a unique case design in matted 316L steel (apparently using recycled materials) with a black oxide finish that is quite attractive. It has an almost industrial quality that is slightly textured to the touch. However, this manufactured look is offset by the highly polished look of the ceramic bezel and makes for a beautiful juxtaposition—thus the ‘rugged luxury.’
The case diameter is a slightly large 42.5mm; however, when you take into consideration the width of the bezel and the reduced dial size, it wears much closer to a watch of 40mm. This is further enhanced by the relatively short lug to lug measurement of 47mm. Nonetheless, at 13.8mm in thickness, it is not a small watch.
The Windrose also sports a scratch resistant double-domed sapphire crystal with very little distortion.
The dial of the Windrose, like the case beneath it, is slightly textured, and is essentially colour-matched on the Ceramic Dark. The orange indices are raised and match the hands. According to TFP the colours are achieved through oxidation and low-impact varnishes. No solvents are used.
Powering the Windrose is a Landeron 24. The Swiss-made Landeron 24 (made by Depa Swiss) is a 25-jewel, self-winding movement that beats at 28 800A/H with a 42-hour power reserve. It is decorated in a perlage technique, but you won’t see that unless you remove the etched caseback. It is smooth for both setting and winding.
Adding to the luxury end of things are the vegetable-tanned, Italian-made leather straps which come with each. The Ceramic Dark has a deep brown strap with orange stitching to match the dial and bezel indicators. It also came with a second strap in light-brown. Both have large stainless steel buckles, tastefully signed with a small TFP logo.
Both straps also feature an exclusive easy-change system that employs a small allen key provided with watch.
- 316L stainless steel with black oxide finish
- 42.5mm diameter/47mm lug to lug/13.8mm thick (including dome)
- 20mm lug width
- Screwed-down crown at 8 on the dial, with right option (200m water resistance)
- Screwed-down caseback with engraving
- Ceramic bezel with cardinal point indicators
- Double-domed sapphire crystal
- Black domed, textured dial
- Orange luminescent indicators
- Blunt hour and minute hands, with arrow seconds
- Day window at two
- Swiss Landeron 24 (25 jewels)
- Mechanical Automatic
- 28 800 A/H
- Three hands with day
- Tuscan, water-resistant, vegetable-tanned leather (brown/black)
- 20mm at the lugs
- Quick change mechanism, with security locking system
You might have noticed that the Windrose has a large crown at the 8 o’clock position. It is screw-down, smooth to use, and striking, but, it is also on the left edge of the watch. This makes changing the time/date or winding on the fly a bit awkward, if you wear your watch on the left (like most). A right crown option is available from the company for a surcharge, however. I will admit though, that the placement (not unlike the Citizen Promaster) makes for comfortable wearing, if not overly practical. My second issue is the lume. Let’s just say…well, it’s no Seiko, but it will do you on the bedside table. The substance used remains a mystery.
The purchase of each Windrose is accompanied by the planting of a tree to offset CO2 emissions. You can track your tree’s growth through Tree Nation, and if you wish, add to your ‘forest’ in the future.
Additionally, each iteration of the Windrose is limited to 888 pieces (in celebration of the 8 winds). You may select the number of your choice (assuming it is still available) at the time of purchase.
The Windrose also arrives in a simple, but classy, FSC-approved packaging, in line with brand’s sustainable goals.
The Windrose is a beautiful watch. The apposition of the rugged case against the polished ceramic bezel and classy Italian strap, really works. It’s an attention getter—from its wrist presence, to the dial’s odd ‘8’ and date window at two; from its unique bezel indicators to its tasteful use of colour, and of course, its bullish machined crown. The Swiss movement and Italian design combine for a watch the looks and runs well. I could easily see it becoming my ‘go to’ for work, and yet, it would be equally at home kayaking with me on the weekend.
At the time of publication, all six iterations are available at a launch discount price. Visit the site for more details and sign up for their newsletter. TFP have two interesting projects on the horizon: The Ocean Diver (which is a proper dive watch) and the Countdown (which is a twist on the GMT).
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