Ever since childhood I have been fascinated with design and that has massively influenced my career choices. After obtaining a diploma and degree in art I became a freelance illustrator/agent. This commercial faction of the industry taught me several valuable lessons. For example, adhering to exceptionally tight deadlines and not being too precious about my work in general. In the commercial art world, clients expect many compromises. Ultimately this means adopting other (more famous) artist’s techniques at a fraction of the price. Interestingly designers in other fields also encounter this rigid form of direction including horology.

Originally when I began writing about horology brands like Urwerk, Cabestan, MB & F, and De Bethune fascinated me. Some of their creations are absolutely extraordinary and contain many bespoke elements. Essentially this was the catalyst for writing my first book (Schiffer Publishing) entitled ‘Limited Edition Watches’. Even though many of the timepieces are spectacular (and incredibly rare) the price point is only obtainable to a select few exclusive clients. This is why consumers are looking for stylish alternatives that are affordable. With this in mind veteran watch designer, Christian Vogel saw a niche in the market and established his own company called VON VOGEL Custom Timepieces.

In a recent telephone conversation with Christian Vogel, he outlined his background and the philosophy behind the company. For him, the greatest honor was receiving compliments for a watches he devised. Certainly, from a personal experience, these sentiments resonate with me too as I have created several bespoke timepieces (http://paolomathaihorology.com). Prior to founding Von Vogel Christian designed watches for fashion brands like Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Gant, Skagen etc. Candidly he explained that bold concepts would often be diluted because of factors like price and manufacturing constraints. Certainly he still his list of achievements is notable and the experience crucial in his new venture.

Overall the concept of VON VOGEL is pretty simple but highly effective. By visiting there is a range of different dial, case, bezel and strap alternatives, which can easily be actioned online in 3 easy steps. I opted for a sporty 44mm x 12mm 316L case (with elongated lugs) with a brushed grey dial (including circular date movement) and high-quality brown leather strap. In total, the price worked out at $257 AUD (approximately $191) which is very competitive for a stylish watch of this caliber. Even better once the order has been placed the company will ship worldwide (free of charge) within 3 business days.

Normally I write about mechanical watches at all different price points and am intrigued by skeleton movements. However, a lot of my friends are more interested in the overall aesthetic rather than the origin or engineering. In fact, their primary motivation is how the timepiece will look with a favourite blazer or suit. I feel Christian Vogel has created a very clever business model which will appeal to a broad demographic. Effectively customers can design their own watch and further customise in the future if required.

For more information about VON VOGEL and how to craft your own custom-made timepiece, follow this link