Some people know how to stand out in a crowd–as do some watches. The Brew Metric is one of those.
Jonathon Ferrer launched the Brew Watch Co. in 2015, specializing in funky, retro-styled timepieces that draw upon vintage watch design language and…well…coffee. Yeah. That’s right. Coffee. Aesthetically, Brew watches draw inspiration from the mechanics of coffee–espresso machines, their brushed and polishes surfaces, their colours, curves, and contours. Philosophically, too, the brand embodies that moment of pause and reflection we call the coffee break. According to Ferrer, “the break is less about the consumption of coffee and more about savoring – savoring that very moment in time.”
In that respect, the Brew Metric might be the brand’s most representative timepiece yet.
I was arrested the moment I first saw an image of the Metric on Instagram. My reaction? That’s different. And then…that’s cool. Visually, the Metric speaks of the 1970s–an era of experimentation in watch design. Think Omega TV dial, for example. The case is stainless steel, measuring a svelte 36mm in diameter, and a comfortable 41.5mm lug to lug. In fact, for a chronograph, it also surprisingly thin, at only 10.75mm. This is due, in part, to the Seiko VK68 meca-quartz movement operating behind the scenes. For those unfamiliar with the calibre, it is a hybrid offering quartz accuracy, overlaid with a mechanical chronograph mechanism. You still get that satisfying click on the pushers, as well as a sweeping seconds hand and a flyback reset.
The contrasting circular dial against the box-shape of the case is immediately striking, but so are the asymmetrical sub-dials. The dial at six is a running seconds, the one at ten is a sixty-minute register. The watch pays homage to a very particular kind of chronograph, know as a “telephone timer.” The originals had three-minute markings on the dial which would remind the wearer it was time to feed the payphone another dime. The Metric, instead, gives a bit of wink to its coffee-culture heritage, and instead helps you measure off the perfect espresso pull (from 25-35 seconds, if you’re interested). The sub-dial placement leaves plenty of real estate on the left side of the watch. Brew has chosen–wisely, I think–to leave it largely uncluttered, opting for a subdued, no-text logo instead. There is a date window at 4:30, rounding out the dial. The indices are applied, and, like the baton-style hands, treated with BGW9.
The case of the Metric is a lovely mix of vertical and horizontal brushing with clean, polished edges. The Steel Dial reference shown here has a definite utilitarian, yet dressy, appeal–almost monochrome but for the sky-blue running seconds and the two chronograph hands. Its sibling–the Retro Dial–has a completely different vibe with its candy, Milguass-like colouring.
Both models share the same bracelet, which is stainless-steel with a significant snake-like taper. There is a connective channel which runs the length of it, holding the bracelet together. It is mostly unseen when on wrist. The bracelet is primarily brushed planes with polished, chamfered edges that match the case. The clasp is a simple fold-over with four micro-adjustments, and is signed with the brand’s coffee bean logo.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
41.5mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Etched, Solid Caseback
50 Metres Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire Glass|
2 Recessed Subdials
|Movement||Seiko VK68 Meca-quartz|
|Strap||Stainless Steel Bracelet |
/w Signed Folding Clasp and Micro-adjust
The original “telephone timers” are most definitely rare birds. The earliest of these watches appear to have been made in the 30s and 40s by companies like Zenith, Lanco, and Rewel. The register markings varied, but they were marketed to businessmen of the era, who might have frequent need to make international or long-distance calls. Considering the cost of an automatic chronograph, they would have made for expensive novelties back then. The retro-styled Metric takes it one step further with its tongue-in-cheek timing of espresso shots. But it is also indicative of the changing nature of watches. The affordable hybrid Metric allows it to be a playful, primarily aesthetic object that does not need be all things to all people.
The asymmetrical dials will be a polarizing element for some. Others will question the use of meca-quartz over an inexpensive Seagull movement. But the date window at 4:30 might be a deal breaker. I can side with some aspects of the movement discussion, but for me, the layout is integral to the essence of this watch. Maybe the ultra-affordable calibre is, too. In any case, the date window wouldn’t keep me from an El Primero. And it wouldn’t keep me from the Metric.
The Brew Metric is riding the crest of what I believe will be a wave of funky seventies’ designs. Over the last few years, the sixties have been mined by brands both big and small. Reissues abound. And they have been hugely successful. We are only now beginning to see the treasure trove of brand catalogues as they turn the page on a decade. Tissot kicked things off with its 1973 Navigator reboot, and then followed hard upon that with the PRX Powermatic. Smaller brands like Batavi have the Architect. This situates Brew perfectly. The Metric takes its cues from the era, but remains entirely modern. It is a copy of nothing. Its sizing is in line with a general trend toward smaller cases, and it packs a visual punch, as well. At $395USD, the enthusiast crowd is likely to gobble this up like the confection that it is.
The 70s called. They want their watch back.
Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch (or strap…) in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.