Freedom to Exist

This week I received an interesting mail from Nicholas Bowman-Scargill of Fears watches.

Nicholas thought I might be interested in speaking to another British watch brand “Freedom to Exist” . On receiving the e-mail I was pretty happy at the idea that a brand was coming to me. I then did a quick search for some information about the brand and my initial thoughts where “another minimalist watch brand”.

 

FTE40:02

Their Story

Kirsty and Paul have more than 25 years worth of experience between them of bringing ideas and sketches to life. They met while creating products for Habitat before both joining Made.com  That knowledge and experience, combined with a love of classic detailing that make vintage watches truly timeless, inspired them to create FTE.  They have started their journey with watches, available in two sizes, that simply tell the time.

They wanted a little space away from the overwhelming noise of branding and technology. They believe freedom is the freedom to choose, to fall in love, to wear what you want, how you want to. It is the Freedom To Exist. That is what inspired Kirsty and Paul in 2015 to create their own minimalist watch brand – because we wanted to create products free from fast fashion, gender rules and passing trend.

No logo. No tracking. No beeping or monitoring.

The Watches

The basic design of the watch remains the same for the two sizes 40mm and 30mm with both using the  Swiss Made Ronda 763 Quartz Movement. The cases are made of 316L stainless steel in a steel finish or with a gunmetal, gold or rose gold PVD coating. Priced between £155 to £175. Bravely the watches are sold with a lifetime guarantee.

However

Now this all sounds very admirable but in practice I thought they faced considerable marketing challenges moving forward. I was interested to see how they hope to sustain/build an unbranded brand. As Nicholas put me on to Paul and Kirsty I thought it worthwhile to pursue these questions with them. After a few days Paul came back with some answers that demonstrated they had seen these issues coming.

He told me:

  • Our honest pricing, and selecting the best of every component but still keeping it affordable. Swiss quartz; Italian leather, domed glass etc.
  • We are the customers. We’re not a faceless brand that is mass produced and churned out. Kirsty and I have touched every element of the brand. From the what face, to photography to the website. FTE’s brand values are also out life values which gives authenticity, that like mined people want to buy into. Joining our community.
  • The brand free design actually helps appeal to a certain target audience. It’s all about the design and appreciating the design and then being ‘in the know’.

Summing up – they will endeavour to remain, Affordable, with minimal & timeless design. Executed in a honest way; and how we would like to be treated as a customer.

Their future I guess depends on if they can find enough of these people “in the know”. Their ethos though is admirable and as always it is great to see people following their own dreams.

Good luck

https://www.freedomtoexist.com/

Hamtun Neon

Following on from the success of their first watch the H1 diver Southampton based Hamtun watches have announced the arrival of their second watch – the Neon.

Hamtun Neon

Interestingly for this watch Hamtun have chosen a Swiss movement. The Neon Automatic will feature the Swiss made STP 1-11 movement, which is basically an ETA 2824-2 clone. When compared to the NH35A it wins in all areas. It ships from the factory better regulated, it’s far prettier, it has an extra 2 hours of reserve power, it’s slightly thinner so Hamtun can make the watch thinner, it has a better advertised accuracy and it beats at 28,800 vph so will give a super smooth sweep of the seconds hand.

The other details are:

  • Available in 2 finishes – brushed 316L stainless steel and matte black PVD finished 316L stainless steel
  • Matte black ceramic bezel
  • Available in 5 dial colour combinations. The yellow shown here, blue, green, orange and white
  • Double domed sapphire crystal on the front with 3 layers of anti-reflective coating on the inside and outside
  • Sapphire crystal case back with internal and external anti-reflective coating
  • Custom decorated rotor finished in matte black PVD and featuring the “Neon” branding
  • Grade-A Swiss Super-LumiNova.
  • 316L stainless steel H-link bracelet with solid end links and a spectacular high-quality clasp
  • Silicone straps available in 6 colours – black, blue, yellow, green, orange, and  white

I am looking forward to seeing this watch in the steel and hopefully the original H1 in the titanium.

Schofield Bronze Beater 2

If you don’t receive Schofields news letter you might have missed their latest announcement – The Bronze Beater 2 !

The Bronze Beater 2

The Bronze Beater B2 now in two finishes, raw and force-patinated. That is the raw at the bottom and the darker one above has been chemically treated to oxidise the case. The B2 will be available in less than two weeks!

The dials are double blue with a gold rim and centre. Luminescent numerals and hour markers with the other print in metallic bronze except the pink B. Hands are brushed bronze with little thorns as counterpoise.

Inside they will use an ETA 2824-2 Swiss auto.

Here are some more of Schofield’s excellent images showing more detail.

The Bronze Beater dial
Caseback

I am really looking forward to seeing these in the “bronze” at the Salon QP