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Barrelhand Project 1

Over the last few day the news has been dominated by the US election. It’s been a bit of spectacle with a record amount of people coming out to the polls. However, after a hard-fought battle the incumbent president Donald Trump has lost the race (but isn’t conceding) and the US has elected 77-year old Joe Biden. This seems to have stimulated the country’s economy with stocks and shares rising. This could be very good news for American brand Barrelhand who has just launched their debut model called the Project 1.

Barrelhand is the brainchild of mechanical engineer Karel Banchand who was inspired by Urwerk’s magnificent UR-202. In fact he meticulously 3D printed a replica, which took over years to create. Subsequently, this was the catalyst for his debut model called the Project 1. To create this ambitious timepiece involved an enormous amount of effort and time. The majority of the components were manufactured in the United States rather than Switzerland to minimise costs. However, it is important to mention the $30,000 price tag is still beyond the budgets of most buyers.

Over recent years I have featured many US watchmakers in my ‘Limited Edition Watchmakers’ and ‘Limited Edition Watches’ books. Microbrands like RPaige, RGM, Tockr and Vortic have made an impact on the market. At the higher level, Scott Devon (Devon) targeted wealthy clients with his innovative belt-driven watches. This seems to be the demographic Karel Banchand is trying to entice with his Project 1. Certainly, this timepiece has attracted a lot of media attention and in my opinion a beautifully designed watch.

Dimensionally the timepiece measures 44mm x 15mm and is constructed from titanium. Personally, I would have preferred larger proportions normally found with Urwerk models. The overall aesthetic is very architectural and in line with other Avant-Garde Swiss brands. I love the linear minute display and revolving hour disc, which are treated with different colour Super-Luminova. This means the watch is easily legible in the dark. Powering the watch is a modified manual winding movement from Swiss company Eterna. The Calibre 3901M comprises 35-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

As a perfect finale the Project 1 is presented on a Bison leather strap with complimentary pin buckle.

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