Becoming a father at the ripe old age of 42 totally transformed my life. The bond I have with my (now 10-year old) son is absolutely priceless. Genuinely, he has been the catalyst for all my editorial and creative accomplishments. That is why I named my horological design website (Paolo Mathai Horology) after him. On the back of some of my timepieces, I have an inscription in Malayalam (the dialect of Kerala, which is his mother tongue) of his initials. That is why it always resonates with me when a watchmaker pays tribute to a family member. A great case I point is Roland Stamfli who named his brands in honour of his father Arthur.
One of the great quotes I often recite is “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” Certainly in the luxury goods domain this applicable because a great marketing narrative sells products. However, in certain instances the passion behind the brand is sincere and this is definitely the case with AOS Watches. To honour the legacy of Arthur Oskar Stampfli, Roland made it his mission to create a beautiful range of timepieces. When we recently spoke he told me Roland told me how much his late father had inspired him to achieve a great thing. Values like patience, dedication and meticulous attention to detail were instilled into him at an early age. Another fact I didn’t know is that his father was also a former Swiss boxing champion, which a desire to succeed.
Over the years I have written several reviews featuring watches by AOS but up until recently had never seen one in the metal. Very kindly Roland Stamfli sent me over a very special model called the ‘Black Wind Rose’ so I could appreciate the quality first hand. To outline the concept Roland sent the following words “We dreamed of the moment when the stars met the sand of the desert. Time is not a matter of minutes but a moment of dream and emotion” The text is beautiful and fortunately the quality of the watch is equal to these sentiments.
Approximately four years ago I came up with an idea for a book about limited edition watches, that was subsequently published by Schiffer Books. A lot of brands use the slogan ‘Limited Edition’ as a marketing strategy. Therefore, the criteria for the brands included were models limited to 100 or less. In fact, in many instances, the timepieces featured were restricted to less than 10 pieces or unique 1/1 editions. The ‘Black Wind Rose’ model I am tested is the real deal and is numbered 4. In fact, Roland only made 3 pieces (1, 2, 4) which makes it highly exclusive.
As a writer, I have joined many watch forums (to repost my reviews) including the highly popular one called ‘Premium Mechanical Microbrands’. Generally, the contributors are very positive and normally their comments are constructive. Recently I have noticed a particular gentleman who seems to ask the same question repeatedly. Effectively he wants to know if the watches featured are Swiss or Chinese made. Obviously, this is a contentious issue because of the ‘Swiss Made’ classification, which states 60% of manufacturing costs are domestic. However, all AOS watches including ‘Black Wind Rose’ models are manufactured in Switzerland. Arthur Oskar Stampfli was a huge advocate of locally made products so this is very important to his son Roland.
Aesthetically the ‘Black Wind Rose’ is a beautifully designed watch that will appeal to connoisseurs. The sculptural 46.5mm case is constructed from aluminium with a highly durable Eloxée GL two-tone (black/red) coating. This makes the watch exceptionally lightweight and exceedingly comfortable to wear. I love the bezel containing 11 torque screws, which donate the hour markers. Other exciting features include a sleek carbon fibre dial, (inspired by desert dunes) bold white markers, dome sapphire crystal and architectural open-worked lugs. Overall the composition is very refined and the quality superlative.
Powering the watch is a refined Swiss-made self-winding movement. The Calibre 2892-2 comprises 21-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28’800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). This mechanism is manufactured by ETA (Swatch Group) and has a diameter measuring 25,60 mm (11½ lignes). Functionally the ‘Black Wind Rose’ features hours, minutes, central seconds and date indication (located at 3 o’clock). The watch also is water-resistant to a depth of 30-metres and has a power reserve of 50-hours.
As a perfect finishing touch the ‘Black Wind Rose’ is presented on a durable black rubber strap with carbon fibre weave pattern and a matching folding clasp. For more information about AOS Watches follow this link