When you hear the word ''bold'' in the watch world, people usually roll there eyes and think: ''Ok, here comes a 50mm unrefined watch, probably gold plated so it can be loud and justify it's price..'' and to play the devils advocate they are probably right. The big watch trend really exploded with watches like the Luminor or the Royal Oak offshore in the mid nineties, watches that even by today's standards are considered quite a handful. The trend was everywhere, movie stars and socialites were on board and brands like Fossil and Invicta came into the market with mass produced big watches offered at a fraction of more established brands, with all this the big watch trend became undesirable, unexclusive and for an industry based on luxury and lifestyle this is as toxic as drinking a beer with ice. Of course this created the perfect storm for vintage watches, suddenly it was cool to have a 33mm piece, understated and with lots of history to tell, in my own words a justification for a person to buy it. It has taken quite a bit of time but I believe that the vintage game is becoming toxic as the beer we mentioned, everyone is doing re-issues, everyone is doing 'fauxtina' and even mimicking old random patterns on the dial (yes Longines I'm looking at you). But not all is lost, we got people like Bulgari and Nomos with modern pieces that can give you that wow factor making you feel proud of what we can create now without looking back.
One day browsing on the internet, I found Planar Watches by chance, I was so tired of seeing all the industry talking about Universal Geneve vs Rolex ( I have an Oyster perpetual 36mm so I am no better) that I wanted something different, something bold but with an old school movement, big but at the same time nostalgic, after a couple of searches, clicks and coffees there it was. I got amazed by the look of the piece, round but sharp, modern but vintage, everything I was looking for. Planar Watches is a boutique which hand builds al of their watches here in the UK, they can really customize your watch and create a beautiful experience out of it, the piece that I was drawn to was the M1, a bespoke watch with a hand wound mechanical soul, big but classy.
The M1 is a 43mm watch which really shines and I mean this literally, the watch that we got to test had a mirror polished dial, this gave an incredible effect that I've never seem before,the piece looked so clean and different that I couldn’t stop staring at it. The layout was very simple, 2 hands for the hour and minutes plus a small hand at 6 o'clock for the seconds, no sub dial just the hand, believe me when I tell you that it looked like it was floating all the time!
The case is round and polished which suits perfect whole glass theme and then, you have the crown. I am not sure how long it took to machine it but polish really shines when the sun hits it, I am sure it wasn’t easy. The crown is robust and big , very easy to operate and because of it's size you can really feel the manual movement on every turn. The watch has an exhibition case back where you can see the inhouse-modified Seagul ST3621 movement which is decorated as beautiul as the front, everytime I showed the inner workings of the M1 to a non-enthusiast ( and also to any enthusisast) they gave me that look saying: ''now I get why you love watches''.
The logo on the dial which is cut trough allowing you to see the movement in action, a great touch which really speaks about the attention to details that went into creating the M1.
On the wrist:
The M1 wears like it should wear, on my 6.25 tiny wrists the watch feel like home, that big crown was a delight to operate and it did not annoy even a bit, the watch comes in a hand made leather strap to continue the boutique experience of having something special, something tailored made, it was as comfortable as an over ear pair of headphones with noise cancelling.
When I describe the design of the watch you might be wondering how legible it is with that mirror dial? Allow me to tell you that the M1 doesn’t disappoint, it is as easy to read as any vintage or modern watch out there, the large tear hands almost touch the cut through markers which are as easy to spot as the logo and the floating seconds hand gives a good indication where 6 o'clock is, the watch design is very artistic but utilitarian at the same time.
Trough the years we have gone from pocket watches to wrist watches, to digital and then back to vintage, it was about time that all of these concepts can co -exist and I believe that the M1 is a great representation, a modern attitude watch looking to have a vintage feeling, not the look but the feeling. I believe in a world where everything can be bought with a simple click (or almost everything) the experience that a bespoke item can give to the owner is what we are really looking for,
I see many people trading watches after 1 or 2 months of ownership, this is something that wont happen to you with a Planar Watch, when you have something so well made and bespoke I am sure your hold on to it and no matter what trend is happening at that particular moment, to me that attitude in today's world is very bold.
For more information please visit www.planarwatches.com
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