Over the past year or so, we have seen a lot of “me too” sort of watch designs hitting Kickstarter, and it has started to get old. I mean, how many thin, minimalistic, two-handed watches can we really handle? Well, of those clone designs, I say no more. When it comes to something like what we’re seeing from Von Doren, though? That I definitely do not mind seeing.
For me, the Von Doren is all about that vintage style. That starts with a wide, wide dial with barely any sort of a case bezel, which we have here. And, considering the stainless steel case measures in at 42mm, that is indeed a wide expanse of dial. Next up, top it with a domed crystal (which, in this case, is sapphire) so you get that little bit of distortion at the edges, and you’re on to something.
Under the dial, you’ve got long, thin indices that mimic the hands, and a fairly simple bit of logo up at 12 o’clock. And that, friends, is all there is to the face of the watch. It’s clean, it’s simple, and it carries some of that vintage look and feel (particularly the dial that is a color the brand calls “midnight sun” – it has that old look to it).
The dial, the thin case (8mm), the sapphire crystal, there is a lot to like there. Sure, you are getting a quartz movement (but it is Swiss, Ronda) but that helps keep pricing down. Frankly, at sizes like this, some of the German brands can get mechanical movements in there, but pricing is a good deal higher.
If I had one thing to pick on with the Von Doren watches, it would be the handset. While the hands are serviceable, and fit with the overall look of the watch, they just feel a bit too plain for me. The blued ones do set off nicely, but I’m talking more the shape and finish on them. I’m not entirely certain what I’d do to them, but I think focusing on the hands for a future iteration could pay some nice dividends to the design.
Earlybird pricing for the Von Doren watches starts at about $248 (depending on currency conversion), and there are plenty still left at that tier. This is surprising, as the project is indeed fully-funded (to the tune of 165%), so folks are opting for the higher tiers, it would seem. Any which way, if you want to pick one up, you’ll want to move fast – the project closes out in just seven days, on January 12, 2017. kickstarter project page
- Brand & Model: Von Doren
- Price: $248 and up
- Who we think it might be for: You want minimal, and you want vintage
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: On the fence, personally
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Play around with that handset some
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I’m all about that style
Tech Specs from Von Doren
- Watch case: Stainless steel 316L. 6 mm + Screwback case 2 mm (8mm total)
- Glass: Domed sapphire crystal, anti-scratch surface and AR coating inside
- Water resistant: 5 ATM, 50 meters
- Luminous: Luminous hour and minute hand (glows when dark)
- Strap size: 20 mm, best fit for 14 – 23 cm wrist
- Watch diameter: 42 mm
- Movement: Swiss made, Ronda Powertech 5 series
- Straps: Italian handcrafted leather
- Warranty: 10 years limited warranty against manufacturing defects
- Strap colors: Brown sandalo, Dark brown, and Black