When it comes to cool, affordable watches from small, passionate companies, American watch lovers are completely spoiled for choice.
The rise of the “microbrand” — a watch brand helmed by one or a small handful of people — has largely democratized watchmaking in the sub-$2,000 price point. Though there are still plenty of options available in this range from larger companies such as Seiko, Casio and Hamilton, microbrands are different: You can mingle with the owners and designers at trade shows such as Worn & Wound’s WindUp Watch Fair, and you can rest assured that your purchase is making a real difference to somebody’s livelihood and business.
One such brand, Brew, was founded in 2015 in the NYC area. Helmed by talented industrial designer (and all-around nice friggin’ guy) Jonathan Ferrer, Brew makes sub-$1,000 watches inspired by coffee culture, vintage chronographs, and more. Most of his wares come in at less than $500 and feature bright pops of color, comfortable bracelets or leather straps, and superb proportions. Previously an adjunct professor of watch design in addition to being an actual watch designer, this is a guy with qualifications up the wazoo, and plenty of excellent watches to show for it.
Ferrer teamed up with our friends over at Worn & Wound — makers of some of the best, affordable collaboration watches in horology — on an exciting new take on his Metric watch. With its integrated bracelet, the Metric takes some inspiration from 1970s “luxury sports watches” such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, but that’s where the similarities end: This is a colorful chronograph powered by a Meca-Quartz movement, which combines mechanical feel with battery-powered operation. The result is an awesome everyday watch that looks like a million bucks, but clocks in under $500.
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In designing the new Metric Chrono Regulator, the two brands didn’t opt for the easy road, however: Rather than simply offer new colorways, they completely redesigned the Metric’s dial in the form of a regulator, separating out different hands in the manner of old clocks from the 18th century. As the Seiko Instruments Caliber VK68 Meca-Quartz movement includes a 24-hour indicator — which Brew generally eschews in favor of a cleaner design — Ferrer and Worn & Wound brought this back, and also did away with the watch’s central hour hand. Thus, one reads the hours in the 24-hour indicator at 2 o’clock, the minutes via the central minutes hand, and the seconds via the small-seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The chronograph seconds hand is located centrally, while the chronograph minutes count up to 60 via a subdial at 10 o’clock.
The result — especially with the 24-hour counter’s “lollipop” hand — is striking and unusual, and makes use of pops of contrasting color across the three offered models to provide better legibility. An outer minute track along the rehaut and a 1/5th seconds track along the dial edge allow for precise timekeeping, while applied indices and a mesmerizing, concentric ring texture emanating from the 24-hour subdial provide further visual interest. Measuring 36mm in diameter, the Metric Chrono Regulator is available in three colorways: dark grey dial with moss green and tangerine highlights; a sky blue dial with teal, white, and magenta highlights; and a ruby red dial with orange, teal, and mustard yellow highlights. In another thoughtful touch, each also has chronograph pushers in contrasting colors.
Powered by the aforementioned VK-68 Meca-Quartz movement — which, though it uses a battery, provides smooth chronograph seconds hand movement — the Metric Chrono Regulator is made of polished and brushed stainless steel, has 50m of water resistance, and is limited 200 pieces of each color at a price of $549. If you’re the type of person who welcomes a bit of color and eccentricity in your daily uniform, it’s the perfect piece of wrist candy.
Metric Chrono Regulator
- Diameter: 36mm
- Movement: Seiko VK-68 Meca-Quartz
- Water Resistance: 50m
- Special Features: Regulator-style layout; 24-hour dial; chronograph
- Price: $549
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