As a doting father I am very proud of my son Paolo and really glad he takes an interest in my work. Even though there is a significant age gap we have truly bonded in many different areas. Paolo loves drawing, watches, architecture, automobiles and even fashion to a certain extent. When we discuss what occupation he would like to pursue in adulthood he normally (depending on his mood) says engineering. However, to realize his dreams I explain that he has to work very hard at school. One example of hard work and dedication I have shared with him recently is the growing success of American watch label Vortic. This innovative micro brand is based in Fort Collins, Colorado and was established by two college friends.
I first became aware of Vortic a couple of years ago and have been liaising with co-founder R.T. Custer ever since. In a very similar fashion to Richard Paige (RPaige Watch) they lovingly restore vintage American movements to power their watches. However, in contrast to Richard who favours ‘Art Deco’ inspired cases Vortic 3D print all theirs from titanium. This gives their timepieces a more modern aesthetic.
When I produced my Polaris watch I used a laser sintering company in the United States to produce the case. The end result was very textured so co-designer Frank Heydrich had to hand polish (which apparently was very laborious) the case. Interestingly Vortic decided from the outset to leave their cases raw and unfinished. Originally, I was undecided on this strategy and how people would react to the appearance. However, I recently received a custom made review sample called the Chicago 034 and am now totally sold on the concept.
The brilliant thing about buying a bespoke timepiece from Vortic is that the customer is involved in the whole process. I was able to select the exact dial (sliver engraved Elgin) case finish (raw titanium) and crown (solid copper) that I desired. From this information R.T. Custer designed and manufactured the exquisite Chicago 034. I have got to say that for a watch of this size (49.5mm diameter) it feels exceptionally comfortable on the wrist. It also would be practical to wear this piece casually on a daily basis and even to formal occasions.
Beneath the striking façade is a hand winding pocket watch movement (from Elgin) dating back to 1909. This historical caliber comprises 17-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. The mechanism is perfectly showcased through the Gorilla glass exhibition case back. Functionally the Chicago 034 features hours, minutes, small seconds and is water resistant to 1ATM.
The Chicago 034 has a beautifully crafted tan cow hide strap from Hadley Roma and a forged bronze buckle (made in Detroit). Priced very competitively at: $1,495.
For more information about Vortic Watches Co. visit the company’s website: https://vorticwatches.com