Attached to this update is the photo of the Vuelta 17. I am very pleased with it, especially the dramatic appearance of the very large TY3620 movement. It also has a nice solid feeling on the wrist, weighing in at 96 grams. (exactly 10 grams more than the 25).
I was however, pleasantly surprised to learn something new about the TY3620. In speaking about the Vuelta 17 during the Kickstarter campaign, I underrepresented the beat count. The movement inside the Vuelta 17 is actually a 21,600 beat-per-hour movement, and not an 18,000. I had it stuck in my head that all wide diameter pocket watch movements were slow tickers when this is not the case with this particular model. And it's a shame, since stating that this was in fact a faster ticker would have definitely enhanced the sales appeal of the 17. Bottom line is: The Vuelta 17 is even a better watch than I said it would be!
Now for some updates:
Boxes are being shipped
The Padron watch boxes are finished, and are currently on a cargo vessel making their way over to the gulf of Mexico all the way from the port of Fuzhou, China. They'll be processed by customs in Laredo, TX then delivered to Minneapolis. They're scheduled to be at my office around the 10th of October.
Default Band is finalized.
After running through many samples, the non-Chaparral band is actually going to be highly similar in appearance to the Chaparral, with exception that it will be black stitch by default. It will also be a genuine leather band, but not have the same level of unique water resistance protection that the Chaparral has.
Watches are being produced.
The Vuelta 25 and 17 are now being made. Manufacturing is a two-month process, which began in earnest last week following the long delay with the prototypes plus changes and approvals. The cases are being made in Hong Kong, and I actually took time to fly out there last week to meet with my casemaker to go over the case prototype and production schedule with a side visit to the HKTDC Watch fair, where I also had the opportunity to shake hands with the awesome team making the boxes now under shipment.
One key development that came out of my HK visit was that I was able to get the black date wheel back into the Vuelta 25 design, which is huge. For a while, the date wheel was to be white (and I had updated my previous renderings to show this) Upon discussing it further with my supplier, we found a way to get the manufacturer to send the movement with the black date wheel already included. Usually this is a separate step which can be time consuming and introduce needless risk. So getting it preassembled with the movement was a definite win.
Needless to say I came back from Hong Kong with better ties to my suppliers and my head swimming with ideas on how to take what has already shaped up to be a great watch and make the next generation even better.
The lateness of the prototypes really did push everything up, but we're now off in the running. September and October is factored as the time it will take to complete and test the components, with some possible bleed into November. Late October / early November is when I would have things air-freighted (versus sea freight) to the US, which will be appreciably faster and safer. Customs is always a wildcard. Customs may simply greenlight my shipment, or give me considerable grief as a first time manufacturer, but I have done everything possible with my logistics partners to ensure compliance for an issue-free importation.
As of today, I am forecasting receipt of the goods with testing, packaging and distribution to you happening throughout November to early December. I will do all in my power to ensure we stick to this timeframe.
We have a product. It's real, a bunch of them are being made right now, and it's the most satisfying feeling to be at this point, considering that you helped me get this off the ground just this April.
And it's a beautiful, amazing and dependable watch. I've worn both the Vuelta 17 and 25 on my wrist for weeks now. I took both prototypes with me on my trip to Hong Kong and wore the heavier 17 while wandering around much of the city. On the hottest days (and it's humid as heck in HK) the watch never once felt burdensome, and I attribute that to the excellent breathability of the Chaparral band, and the design of the lugs, which by standing just slightly above the wrist allow for additional air flow.
I will close this update with a photo of me at Victoria Peak high above Hong Kong bay posing with the Vuelta 17. I don't think I've shared a wrist shot in my last update, but here you can get an idea of the size and look of it here. I've mocked up the thing countless times, but until you wear it on the wrist, you never quite know what you have. I'm happy to say that it's everything I would want as a watchmaker and an enthusiast, and I cannot wait for you to have your own and share in my enthusiasm.