Event Recap: Windup Watch Fair
It’s November and that means we are all wondering where the heck this year has gone. It also means that we get another Windup Watch Fair here in NYC, put on by our friends over at Worn and Wound. Their event is part holiday pop-up shop and part microbrand watch show. As watch collectors, we love this kind of show, and the ability to get face to face with the heads of these often small operations. The show was anchored by Oris, a large Swiss independently owned watch brand. This is where we dive into the small and super cool world that Windup has to offer the general public.
Held once again at the pop-up space inside of Chelsea Market and open to the public, Windup is one of my personal favorite recurring watch events in NYC. There are often new releases launched at Windup for these brands, some of whom have other brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Kickstarter watches that haven’t launched yet were on display for potential backers to get hands-on with. The energy at the show is upbeat and fun. For even the most seasoned watch nerd like myself, or the guy or gal walking in off of the street, there is bound to be something they haven’t seen before. You would be hard pressed to not hear some exclamation of excitement when squeezing through the packed aisles.
Before I get into the weeds with the watches, I wanted to talk about an early event that Windup had this year. In partnership with StockX and their watch department, there was a panel discussion on the Tuesday night before the show opened, including our CEO Kathleen McGivney, Blake Malin from Worn and Wound, CEO North America for Oris V.J. Geronimo, and David Lee, GM of Watches at Stock-X. The panel was moderated by Blake Buettner, Director of Watches at StockX. Discussion proceeded about the current state of the industry, watch shows like Windup, and what they mean to collectors. Kathleen’s participation was notable not only because of her knowledge of the industry from RedBar’s unique perspective, but also because the team made an effort to have diversity on the panel. This is something the watch industry as a whole should take notice of. Diversity is important.
This year we saw some great watches. Here are a few that I was able to get my lens on:
Baltic has a new diver being launched soon at sub $700 USD with a beads of rice bracelet. The vintage styling is pretty spot on.
John at Martenero brought his latest watch that he just successfully Kickstarted. I like his watches for their smart attention to detail and great looks. He’s not afraid to use color and it really makes them pop.
Emmanuel Dietrich of Dietrich Watches was on hand to show his full line including the latest prototypes of his masterpiece the Perception. This thing has a 24hr starwheel with wandering seconds. It is bonkers and I just love it. It isn’t available yet and Emmanuel has been working on it for some time but it is more and more polished every time I see it.
Bradley at Autodromo was showing the latest version of his Group B vintage car racing inspired watches. He has a full bracelet available now and a new limited edition Night Stage II, shown here.
Monta watches is giving the people what they want. Which is to say, 39mm GMT watches with killer styling. They take aim directly into the heart of the watch collector with this one.
Scott Wilk of Wilk Watch Works has been making some great designs out of Canada for a while now. He has been experimenting with his line of Lydian tourbillons since 2014 and had some new variations at the fair. He uses a Chinese made movement and was one of the first bringing a tourbillon in an approximately $1,000 watch. Don’t be fooled by the hype on some other recent tourbillon Kickstarters, he’s been doing this for years.
Ian Schon of Schon Horology had my absolute favorite technical innovation. He has created a crystalline titanium finish on his cases and dials. Ian has been designing watches for a while now and make the cases, hands, and dials entirely himself. I am slightly biased as I now own one of these crystalline titanium watches, but they are really quite awesome.
Lastly, we have John Ferrer and his new Retrograph from Brew watches. If you need to time your espresso, or just wear a really attractive timepiece, look no further with his latest chronograph offering a Seiko Meca-quartz movement for an unbeatable price.
As a person who gets to see all of the watches from the large Swiss, German, and Japanese brands, it is refreshing to see so many passionate people creating watches that represent their own aesthetics and style. As a collector first and foremost, it’s important for me to know who I am buying from and to really like the story being told by the brand no matter how big or small. The camaraderie and mutual support and admiration of the brands at Windup make this event really and truly fun. Which is the point - if you aren’t having at least a tiny bit of fun with this watch collecting hobby, you are most certainly doing it wrong.