It was a great weekend for watch lovers in the Greater NYC area. Wind-Up NYC took the city by storm. Sponsored by Autodromo, Crown & Buckle, Horage, MKII, Mühle Glashütte and Analog/Shift, the event featured 19 brands from across the industry.
First off let me say that any gathering of watch enthusiasts get me excited but specifically a gathering featuring brands on the more affordable end of the spectrum makes me feel right at home. As some of you know, Worn&Wound is a prominent publication in the entry-level market that really specializes in independent brands. It comes as no surprise that they were able to assemble some of the most innovative and affordable brands in the business for a spectacular event.
Wind-Up NYC started on Friday and ended earlier this evening. I was able to catch a piece of the action on Saturday morning when I stopped by to see a few of my favorite brands-- Stowa, Dietrich, Christopher Ward and Martnero. While I certainly came to see some of the brands I am most familiar with, I also had a chance to meet some rising stars in the watch world. The atmosphere was relaxed and informative to say the least. I had the opportunity to chat with the founders of Halios, Martnero and Autodromo. I also had the privilege of meeting a legend in the world of watches and design--Jörg Schauer. I can’t properly convey my excitement that morning, you had to be there to experience it yourself. Enough about my emotions and more about the watches. As I said before, 19 watch brands were on display ranging from new entrants in the industry such as Sablier to strap brand Crown & Buckle. After perusing the room, I spent time the majority of my time looking at watches that haven’t been on my wrist. The blue dial Autodromo Prototipo, the Martenero Ascent and Marquis collections, the Sablier Grand Cru, the Halios Tropik and a number of releases from Stowa. Let’s take a closer look.
After spotting Bradley Price I made my first stop at the Autodromo booth. Price was extremely approachable and happy to talk about the one watch I was interested in, the blue dial Prototipo. In person the blue dial Prototipo is a stunner. I have seen this watch before but I haven’t spent time on this wrist with the blue dial variant. Something about the depth of the blue makes this watch harmonize perfectly with a pair of jeans. As trite as that may sound, the flexibility and casual/coolness of this dial makes the blue variant the best suited member of the Prototipo family for everyday wear. It goes without saying that the quality of Autodromo watches is second to none at this price point. If you haven’t already checked this watch out please do, you won’t be disappointed.
The next stop I made was to the Martnero booth to check out the new Ascent and Marquis collection. Both the Ascent and Marquis collections are handsome additions to the Martnero family following in the footsteps of the more collegial Ace and Founder models. If I had to decide between the two, I was naturally drawn to the Ascent model a little more than the Marquis. Regardless of my personal preference of dial layout, I think as watch enthusiasts we can really appreciate what Martnero is doing here with their watches. While most brands simply offer a model in one size despite customer feedback, all of Martnero’s watches are available in both 38mm and 42mm. By most standards this is a very minor point but to see an independent brand offer this kind of value, that deserves our attention. To give you some context, it is pretty rare when a brand large or small responds to customer feedback, Rolex has been dodging the case size issue for years. Moving away from Martenero, I had the chance to also check out Stowa and Sablier. Stowa is one of my favorite brands without a doubt, the Antea KS was one of my first reviews and still one of the easiest watches to wear. I love the Bauhaus design aesthetic and appreciate how Stowa executes the little details. I had the privilege of meeting the man behind some of Stowa’s most iconic designs- Jörg Schauer. Schauer has devoted decades of his life to designing and perfecting watches. It was truly humbling to meet him and talk watches for a bit, I spotted the T02 on his wrist! I was up to date with Stowa’s latest offerings so I was really focused on meeting Mr. Schauer and hearing his story rather than looking at watches I was already familiar with.
I made two more stops to make before I left the event-- Sablier and Halios. I will start with Halios because they may be more familiar to some of you. The independent brand based out of Toronto is a one-man shop that has produced some really exciting dive watches most famously the Tropik. The brand boasts a number of diving inspired watches some of them share DNA with vintage Seiko divers of the 70’s and 80’s. I appreciate vintage design and equally as important I appreciate how innovative this brand is for being a one-man shop top to bottom. Dive watches aren’t for everyone but these watches are truly impressive on a number of different levels from design to production and materials used.
My last stop was the Sablier which was not on my radar at all. Sablier which is based in Princeton, NJ is a new brand on the watch scene that has done something no other brand has attempted in a production watch, design a concave crystal. The Grand Cru collection features a very minimalist design that has subtle nods to other passions of the designer most noticeable the corkscrew inspired second hand. Coming in at a solid 44mm, I found the Grand Cru to be a little big for my taste but overall a very handsome watch that is pushing the boundaries of design with a concave crystal. When you think of a watch crystal you think anti-reflective glare and hardness not changing the design entirely but why not? I look forward to learning a bit more about this brand in the weeks and months ahead.
I hope I covered what I thought were highlights of the Wind-Up NYC. With 19 brands on display it is impossible to give everyone their due. I know I left out a few brands like Dietrich, Oak & Oscar as well as Christopher Ward and Mühle Glashütte but fear not. I will cover those brands in detail soon enough. If you couldn’t tell by now, the Wind-Up was a great event that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t get the chance to talk watches everyday and when I do I relish the opportunity. As a final thought, I have heard that other cities want to host similar events in the future but nothing has been confirmed. Check out the full list of brands that participated right here-
Wind-Up NYC Participants
*Pictures may or may not be coming soon if my phone wants to cooperate