Off the Cuff: Halios Fairwind

Lim and Hailos produce primarily water-resistant sports watches of the highest quality for prices within reach of the enthusiast community. And each release, in its own small way, is treated like the launch–if you’ll excuse the paradox–of a microbrand icon. The Fairwind is no exception.

Off the Cuff: Whitby Avro Pilot

The Avro Pilot is available in three colourways: Black, Navy, and Grey. Each iteration is limited to 105 pieces, in honour of the aircraft’s designation series. Like the Arrow, the Avro is a Flieger-styled pilot’s watch with a 43mm titanium case and oversized crown. It also employs AR-coated sapphire crystal, but rather than a solid etched caseback, the Avro has a sapphire exhibition glass.

Off the Cuff: DIY Watch Club

To begin, the DIY Watch Club Diver Series Kit strikes me as a good value proposition. If you price out the various components required for building a watch from scratch, add in the shipping and duty, and then consider all of the tools you will need to carry out the operation, $350USD begins to look pretty good. And I have also seen these kits go on sale recently for as much as 30% off. The added benefit for an inexperienced modder/builder is that nothing gets left out.

Off the Cuff: Vanbanner Parkingmaster

Legend has it that the idea behind the Parkingmaster came to LV after watching a YouTube video where a woman mentioned that she used her bezel to time parking meters. Of course, the majority of dive watches sold today never do anything more adventurous than “desk diving,” so why not repurpose the appendix? While the Parkingmaster bezel appears, and functions, more-or-less like a traditional dive bezel, it does have a “red zone” indicating that you should return to your car and feed the meter. I think that this cheeky addition would also function nicely as a wily wink among other watch enthusiasts.

Other Watchy Bits: ‘Eza’ on the Eyes

Trampe, unlike a lot of microbrand founders, is himself a watchmaker. He studied the craft for four years in Schoonhoven, Netherlands before seeking to launch his own company. In fact, he also studied commercial economics and undertook two important internships—one at a jewelry and watch business, the other behind the bench at a Rolex service centre. Simply put, Trampe had apprenticed himself to both sides of the watch industry: technical and commercial.

Other Watchy Bits: Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis, those beautiful polar lights visible here in Canada and at other high latitudes, are caused by the “excitation of atmospheric constituents.” That’s a little how I feel when the Borealis Watch Company launches a new timepiece. I bought the Borealis Olisipo around this same time last year. One of few personal highlightsContinue reading “Other Watchy Bits: Aurora Borealis”

Other Watchy Bits: Lorier’s Vintage Eye for the Modern Guy

That a microbrand might wish to democratize the watch purchasing process—that is avoid markups while producing a quality product—is nothing new. What does, however, differentiate Lorier from other brands is that they are not fixed on collectors. Lorier, instead, has constructed their brand around the principle of the “one watch collection.”

Off the Cuff: Aevum Advance Carbon

In 2019, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Aevum released its second automotive-inspired watch, the Advance. The Carbon Limited is the latest in this new series and maintains all of the automotive references of the original Advance. Its name refers to ignition timing, or the moment a spark plug fires during its compression stroke to provide more power.

5 Watchmakers Changing the Face of Microbrands

From their initial role as disruptors, microbrands have created their own paradigm shift. And now, certain of these early enterprises are poised to enter the next level of watchmaking (if they haven’t already), establishing themselves simply as “contemporary brands.”

Off the Cuff: The Ambassador GMT by Whitby Watch Co.

The Ambassador takes it lead from the Flieger tradition which put the Whitby Watch Co. on the map, but then banks hard right with more contemporary design cues. The lovely sweep of its traditional stainless-steel pilot-style case offers a choice of modern updates: a brash brushed silver or a deep black PVD.