Category Archives: Horology

Since initiating contact with Frank Heydrich about a few years ago I have become more and more interested in the unique qualities of Meteorite. I have also been amazed at how many other watchmakers share my views. In a previous article entitled ‘Meteorite Watches’ I featured five really well respected watchmakers. The editorial included Frank’s No.50 Hypershark, Louis Moinet’s Tourbillon Watch, Antoine Preziuso’s Tourbillon T 21 Munionalusta (with a case constructed from Meteorite), RJ Romain Jerome 1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite and BLU Open Planet-Meteorite. Other brands like Corum, Arnold & Son, Jaquet Droz and Rolex have also used this organic material to good effect. » Read more

Presently one the watch industries most prestigious events has just come to a successful conclusion. The show I am referring to is SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) which is dominated mostly by brands in the Richemont Group. This year watchmakers Hermès, Carré des Horlogers, Armin Strom, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, DeWitt, F.P.Journe and Romain Gauthier also attended for the first time. Certainly (as usual) there were many phenomenal timepieces to delight the discerning crowds. However, these novelties are what I would describe as aspirational and beyond the budgets of most people. That is why on Total Design Reviews I like to offer readers more affordable alternatives (as well as luxury) like SNGLRTY by Swiss Reimagined. » Read more

Over the last few years I have developed three unique timepieces that have been entirely custom made. Originally I created a prototype watch based on a clock by famous industrial designer George Nelson. The project was very complex and only materialized because of the kind assistance of Frank Heydrich. Initially my plan was to produce a limited run but as the climate of the watch industry dramatically altered (downwards spiral) I massively changed my views. Certainly a lot of energy, effort and talent is involved in establishing a successful watch brand. Fortunately, Sébastien Muller has these attributes in abundance. » Read more

The last 12 months has been an exceptionally busy and prolific time for me. I have now had three books published (‘Limited Edition Watches’, ‘Luxury Design for Living’, ‘Modern Masters’) and completed three more projects. One of these publications is specifically about independent watchmakers and features my ‘Pure Carbon’ timepiece. With a diameter of 67mm (excluding the crown) this creation is the world’s largest Swiss mechanical carbon fiber watch. It is also the first piece to feature 3D carbon hands. As a massive additional bonus I have also produced a third bespoke unique 1/1 timepiece (called the ‘Hemisphere’) which is also included in the book. » Read more

Recently I completed my 5th book for a renowned publisher about independent watchmakers. Most of the selections were exceptionally high end and in many cases bespoke 1/1 creations. However, I was able to include a few affordable options and even was fortunate enough to present my ‘Pure Carbon’. This timepiece took over two years to develop and I had to call in quite a few favours. In fact, without the assistance of Ben Birkett (watchmaker/restoration expert) there is no way this project would ever have materialized. This experience certainly is humbling because I can now appreciate how difficult it is to deliver a unique watch to the market. Sure there are many mass produced generic Chinese (Rolex inspired models) widely available. However, if you want something truly special at a realistic price then a designer like Mark Carson has the answer. » Read more

In the last few years I have been very privileged to work with some highly professional publishers and editors. They have given me enormous creative autonomy and allowed me to develop unique book concepts. Recently I have finished a book about independent watchmakers featuring 60 exclusive brands. The foreword is exceptionally detailed and includes my personal experience creating unique watches like the Polaris and Pure Carbon. I wanted to share these insights with readers to illustrate the many challenges involved. Certainly without the enormous generosity of craftsmen like Frank Heydrich, Ben Birkett, Thomas Mond and Ingomar Gaksch my project would never have materialized.

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Back in 2014 after writing about horology for a few years I decided to design my own watch. Even though many of the high end watchmakers are creating incredible concepts, entry level timepieces (at the time) seemed pretty bland by comparison. Effectively you can buy a generic stock watch from a Chinese manufacturer, customise the dial with your logo and establish a label. Certainly, there is a market for this type of timepiece but I wanted to adopt a more experimental and inventive approach. That is why I drew inspiration from a clock devised by famous industrial designer George Nelson. The result was a completely bespoke watch called the Polaris. Subsequently this piece featured in Esquire Magazine (Singapore/Malaysia) and a book I wrote for Schiffer Publishing called ‘Limited Edition Watches’.

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Since I visited Baselworld in March 2015 there has been a massive change in the world of horology. Many of the companies I spoke with are no longer trading and even the larger groups are finding it very tough to survive. In fact, many of the corporate managers who at the time would wax lyrical about the health of the industry are now working in completely unrelated sectors. Even though the Apple watch has had impact, consumers also realized that they could get much better value for money. This is why there has been a massive emergence of small micro brands like EQVIS on the market. » Read more