The idea of micro brands is one that can often spark strong feelings. Some watch fans love the idea of a small operation, getting a unique and more affordable watch and enjoying a somewhat personal relationship with the brand owner. On the other hand, there is sometimes an anxiety brought about by the fear of rolling the dice on a new brand that may or may not stand the test of time.
This past BaselWorld, we had the great privilege to catch up with three brands that we have been tracking for a while here at About Time, and we feel pretty confident that they will be here for some time to come!
We had a chance to meet the dynamic duo behind Gorilla Watches at last year’s private Wine & Time event during BaselWorld. Lukas Gopp and Octavio Garcia have a very impressive combined resume in watch design. A native of Austria, Mr. Gopp worked with the Sector Group, IWC, Ralph Lauren Watches & Jewelry and Audemars Piguet. Mr. Garcia hails from Chicago and started his watch career with Omega, moving to Audemars Piguet, and rising to the position of Chief artistic officer.
Gorilla boasts bold, strong design, informed by muscle cars and crafted with the most advanced materials available to the watch industry. Ceramic, titanium, anodized aluminum, and steel. The movement is Miyota’s 8215. Their flagship model, the Fastback is available in three different versions – RS White, Acid Green, and Phantom Black. Gorilla is currently available in the US from their authorized retail partner Watch Gauge (https://watchgauge.com).
And competitively priced at $880.
A new arrival at BaselWorld was Sartory Billard. Sartory Billard was founded with the idea that a good watch shouldn’t break the bank. But the founders (Ludovic Sartory & Armand Billard) also realized that real watch lovers want to have more than one watch. So they came up with the clever idea of a bezel that could be easily removed with a special tool (included with the watch) and replaced by a different bezel to create a completely new look. The strap utilizes a quick release spring bar system allowing you to change the strap without the use of a tool or pocket knife.
The SBO2 is the second series presented by this French brand.
The case is stainless steel, and measures 39 mm in diameter. The movement is the Miyota 8215. Sartory Billard believes firmly in the importance of transparency. The constituent parts of the watch are sourced from outside of Europe and brought to France, where they are assembled in the Franche-Comté, the home of traditional French watch making.
But perhaps the best thing about the Sartory Billard SB02 is the price – 542 Euros for the watch, with replacement bezels and straps available from 25 Euros. Sartory Billard will begin distribution in North America and hopes to be available in early July. You can, however, also order directly from theme – https://sartory-billard.com/en.
What’s in a Name? Lundis Bleus translates to Blue Mondays. Blue Mondays were a sort of self-awarded holiday that tended to have a habit of recurring on a weekly basis with watch makers would simply give work a miss on Monday, sometimes Tuesday, even the odd Wednesday every now and again.
Lundis Bleus produced their first watches in 2016. Founded by Johan Storni and Bastien Vuillomenet, friends since they met as students at watch making school in La Chaux-des-Fonds back in 1994. Lundis Bleus is an overnight success story over 20 years in the making.
Look at any Lundis Bleus and what will catch your eye immediately is the dial. While several variations are available, perhaps the most striking offerings are the kiln-fired enamel dials of the “Contemporaines” series. But the Lundis Bleus time machines are not mere show ponies. They are solid, reliable mechanical watches. Under the hood you will find either a Miyota 9015, or the ETA 2892 TOP. The logic is simple, the movements are highly reliable, and easily serviceable. Because what is the point of owning a stunning looking watch if it just sits in your desk drawer because you can’t get it serviced?
As of this press deadline, there is no formal distribution in North America for Lundis Bleus, but you can order direct from the brand.