Read the Time Bum's review of the Spectre prototypes, and see more reviews and customer comments on our website.
The story so far...
Lew & Huey was started in November 2012 with the goal of creating affordable and reliable watches with fun, sporty designs, and creating a brand with a "seize life" attitude.
A year later we were delivering our first watch to customers and backers of our Kickstarter project, an automatic mechanical chronograph called the Riccardo, recently named the Watchuseek.com members' choice for Affordable Watch of 2013.
Just two months later we followed up the Riccardo with a another successful Kickstarter project for our second model, a dressy-diving watch called the Acionna, which we're now delivering to customers and project backers in February 2014.
Next up is our third model, the Spectre, a modern update of the classic WWII flieger-style pilot watch, named for the Lockheed Martin AC-130 Spectre flying gunship. The Spectre's design takes elements of the classic pilot watch and mixes in the retro/modern styling cues of racing watches from the 70's and today.
Production of the Spectre is planned to begin in late February 2014, with delivery in late April or early May (April 8 EDIT - Delivery will almost certainly be in late May rather than late April). Pictures seen were taken of the pre-production prototypes. Please see notes at bottom for details regarding how production models will differ from the prototypes seen here.
The Spectre will come in two colors, Fireball Orange and Midnight Black, each with a 26mm padded leather strap with signed buckle. The strap is notched to fit the Spectre's 22mm lugs, and comes in either Tobacco Brown (orange dial) or Diablo Black.
ONLY 50 Black-dialed Spectres will be produced as part of our initial production.
DIAL: Like traditional pilot watches, the Spectre has a very large dial, measuring 36mm in diameter, for maximum legibility. It also has the traditional Flieger-B layout, with minutes around the outside, and an inner ring of hour markers, but instead of painted-on markers, the Spectre's markers are applied structural pieces topped with luminous paint, and use the bold, double-digit style of modern racing chronographs.
The Spectre's hour and minute hands are broad and bold, also with luminous paint applied. If you look closely at the seconds hand, you'll notice a T-shaped flourish on the short end, which is a silhouette of the AC-130's tail section, as seen from above.
The dial is finished with a radial sunburst pattern, making it shimmer in the light. Both dials have the sunburst pattern, although the black is difficult to capture in pictures - it is "Midnight Black", after all.
CASE: That sunburst pattern in the dial is continued in the radial brushing on the top surface of the Spectre's case, which has a barrel shape and short lugs, a nod to the cushion-case designs of the 1970's.
Along with the 4 o'clock crown, the barrel shape and short lugs help the 44mm diameter case wear comfortably, even on smaller wrists. The rest of the case is finished with a mix of polished and brushed surfaces.
The solid steel caseback is etched with an image of the company's mascot, Sparky.
COMPONENTS: We chose the highest quality components for the Spectre, including surgical-grade 316L stainless steel, and a slightly domed anti-reflective sapphire display crystal. The automatic movement is the Seiko calibre NH35, a hacking and hand-winding 24-jewel self-winding movement, beating 21,600 times per hour, with a quick-set date display, 41 hour power reserve and 99.96% accuracy. The Spectre has a screw down crown and is water resistant to 200 meters.
CASE: Surgical-grade 316L Stainless Steel with solid steel etched caseback.
DISPLAY CRYSTAL: Shallow-Domed, Anti-Reflective Sapphire, shatter-resistant and nearly scratch-proof.
DIMENSIONS: 44mm diameter X 48mm lug-to-lug X15mm thick with 22mm lug width.
STRAP: 26mm padded leather strap with signed buckle, notched to fit 22mm lugs.
MOVEMENT: Seiko calibre NH35 (4r36) automatic (self-winding) movement, 21,600 BPH, 24 Jewels, 41+ hour power reserve, daily accuracy of -25~+35 seconds.
Where we are with the Spectre:
We plan to begin production of the Spectre in mid- to late February 2014, with delivery planned for sometime in late April to early May.
We are 100% committed to producing the Spectre as our next model. Production will be financed using revenues from the sale of our first two models, personal funds, pre-orders through our website, and of course, this Kickstarter.com project.
The pictures seen here were taken of the production prototypes, which will differ from the full production model in a few small ways:
1. Hour markers (inner ring) will be brushed, in order to make them less shiny, and painted with luminous paint, so they glow in the dark and match the minute markers (outer ring).
2. Leather straps will be higher quality - thicker at the lugs and buckle, more padding in the center section, and all the edges finished.
3. Crowns will be flat on top, and marked with the Lew & Huey logo.
4. Production date on caseback will be updated.
5. There will be a fingernail notch cut into the bottom of the case by the crown, in order to make it easier to pull out.
6. Despite how it appears in pictures, in person the orange dial is a little more copper-colored than the reddish-orange it appears to be. For production we plan to specify a color that is less brown/pink and more red/yellow, so that it looks just like it does in the pictures you see here.
There were some other, very minor faults in the prototypes which cannot be seen in the pictures, but will be fixed in production. Prototypes are one-offs, which generally do not have the same level of fit and finish as full production models.
About Lew & Huey
Lew & Huey designs are 100% original, created by company founder and owner Chris Vail (the Acionna was a collaboration with the winner of a design contest we held). They are not copies or homages of any other designs, or developed by third parties.
Aside from design, all other day-to-day operations, including marketing, customer service and fulfillment are all handled in-house by Lew & Huey staff. We do however outsource assembly and repairs, for which we use contract manufacturing in China.
This is a family business, run by Chris, with help from his wife, two sons, and a dog.
We're also cheered on, challenged, and sometimes mercilessly teased by a large extended network of online watch enthusiasts and friends from around the globe, many of whom have become fans of the brand, our designs, and what the brand stands for.
We honestly could not have done any of this without all of them, and each Lew & Huey model has a little bit of those people in its DNA.
If you'd like to know more about the brand and its history, check out "About the Brand" and read the "Message from the Owner". Also check out the long list of amazingly awesome people who've helped us out by backing our other projects, and read the Wristporn.net interview.
Other reviews and interviews can be found using the links on the reviews pages of our website, and on the comments pages of our previous Kickstarter.com projects.
Risks and challenges
Production delays are always a risk when outsourcing assembly. We had significant delays with our first model, the Riccardo, mostly attributed to difficulty sourcing its movements. We also had some manufacturing defects, unfortunately.
We learned from that experience, and have been focusing on the more accessible and reliable movements from Japanese manufacturers Seiko and Miyota (Citizen), as well as making sure every defective watch gets repaired or replaced, or the customer gets a refund.
We had no delays at all with production of our second model, the Acionna, and made delivery to our customers and backers right on schedule, with a defect rate much closer to zero.
Financing production is a challenge for almost any startup, but we were able to both start and finish production on the Riccardo by combining owner's equity, pre-orders and Kickstarter project financing. Beginning with the Acionna, and continuing with the Spectre, we're also leveraging some limited bank financing and some outside investment. We do not foresee future difficulties with financing production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)