A few days ago I had the opportunity to view a unique historic double fronted shop in a highly popular area of Adelaide. The building dates back to the glorious ‘Art Deco’ period and has a plethora of original features. Even though the property is pretty small (by Australian standards), it certainly has a lot of charm and would make a great gallery. I personally love the architecture from this era and previously owned a 1920’s semi-detached home in England. Recently I featured a timepiece from Richard Paige, that was inspired by New York’s iconic Chrysler Building on my website (Five Amazing Watches That Won’t Break the Bank). However, there are other beautiful ‘Art Deco’ influenced watches like the DR01 “Streamline” by David Rutten that are designed to make a bold statement. Read more
Category Archives: Product of the Week
Recently Schiffer Books kindly sent me copies of two books that had recently been published. The titles are Luxury Design for Living and Modern Masterpieces. Both feature some of the most exclusive residential homes in the world. From the outset Schiffer wanted to focus on luxurious properties with a strictly contemporary aesthetic. However, (as an exception) they did allow me to include a phenomenal German housing and office complex called Sonnenhof by J Mayer H Architects. Essentially this radical development is a perfect solution to modern day inner city living. Read more
One of the main reasons I established Total Design Reviews is because of my passion for fine craftsmanship and design in general. As well as being a writer I also hold a degree in Illustration and enjoy creating large artworks. My latest composition is a large Bristlecone Pine tree, which I am painting in muted colours. I favour oil paints and my technique involves multiple fine transparent layers to attain a luminous effect. This involves a certain level of patience because I am fanatical about detail. I would also describe myself as a perfectionist and always try to achieve the best possible results. Ultimately that is why I appreciate traditional skills like engraving, especially in the context of horology. Read more
In March 2015 I attended Baselword and I had the opportunity to speak with many of my watchmaking heroes. Many were using different carbon composites and achieving some very positive results. This material was becoming increasingly popular because of its texture and lightweight qualities. After the show had ended I visited a manufacturing company in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland to discuss a unique project. I had just created my own bespoke timepiece and had aspirations to develop a second. This company specialises in carbon watches and were experimenting with luminous technology. However, to produce a prototype was going they quoted around $15,000, which simply wasn’t viable. Fast forward a few years and I finally achieved my goal of creating the ‘Pure Carbon’. Read more
About a year ago I bought a second hand BMW i3 from an authorised dealership in Melbourne. Up until then, I had never considered purchasing an all-electric car because of the limitations. Sure, I am interested in the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. However, there are also many other practical issues to consider like charging times and accessibility to charging stations. Fortunately, one of my neighbours installs these stations and was able to fit a device in our garage. Certainly, I do not regret the acquisition but have to concede that I won’t be embarking on any road trips in the near future. Due to the scale and infrastructure in a country like Australia, it is unfeasible to contemplate travelling a large distance in an electric vehicle. Read more
One of the hardest aspects of being a watch writer is finding a sufficient amount of material to write about. It is true that there are many attractive timepieces available on the market but many are derivative of other brands. When I originally established Total Watch Reviews I wanted to show consumers that strong design is available at all price points. Ultimately this is why my hours of research has led me to feature many independent watchmakers. Due to the fact they don’t have the enormous marketing resources like Swatch, Richemont and LVMH they have to think outside the box (creatively speaking). Read more
Recently my fifth book entitled ‘Independent Watchmakers’ was published by ACC Art Books. They did an absolutely fantastic job and even helped organised an article (to publicise this book) in the New York Times. The journalist who interviewed me (Melanie Abrams) is a seasoned professional. Therefore, all her questions were meticulous in detail and she wanted me to explain the reason for my selections. Ultimately, I chose timepieces that displayed originality and exceptional design merit. However, it is fair to say that many of these amazing watches are beyond most people’s budgets. Read more
A great marketing campaign is integral to the success of any brand. To a certain extent, the cost of production and materials is irrelevant as long as the story is good. When I visited Baselworld a few years ago so many Public Relation managers were telling me what to write. Ironically these executives have subsequently moved from company to company in a musical chair like scenario. In fact, many of these people no longer work in the watch industry at all.
Luxury brands obviously wanted to be portrayed in a particular manner because perception is everything. Sure, I understand the importance of selling a dream and convincing clients that they can’t live without your products. However, I feed off original design, innovation and original thinking. That is why I am always excited to see what delights watch brands have created for ‘Only Watch’. This year celebrates the 8th edition of the biennial charity, which raises money for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In total (in the previous 7 editions) 40 million Swiss Francs has been raised with 99% of the proceed donated to this noble cause.
It goes without saying that all the of the brands participating in this charitable event should be applauded for their generosity. Every timepiece donated is exquisite in its own unique way. Taste is subjective and every writer will have his or her favourites. Here are ten of my personal highlights, which I feel display an enormous amount of design merit. Read more