About this project
COURG for every mission. Every day.
This watch is for all those of you out there with adventure in your blood, and missions to tackle.
Nope, that's not a typo.
COURG is a way point, which is a navigational tool used by pilots to chart their flight across the globe. Way points are composed of 5-letters and made to be spoken as a word so pilots can quickly transmit their location via radio. This particular way point stands just outside Washington, DC and as you probably guessed -- is pronounced COURAGE.
We chose COURG because courage is a character trait we could all use more of -- choosing to make the right and often difficult decisions even when we know the going will get tough.
Be strong and very courageous, friends.
THE LIGHTEST WATCH IN ITS CLASS.
Say goodbye to generic, and say hello to an original. In a sea of trendy me-too off the shelf cases, dials, hands, and cheap movements -- we're going against the flow.
COURG aims to be the first titanium automatic watch funded on Kickstarter, and is the first hybrid cockpit instrument fused with diver tools in a reasonable size for any wrist, gentlemen or ladies. And COURG is a litmus test for a BIG IDEA. Keep reading for more on this.
NAVIGATION: FLIGHT PLAN
Table of Contents
0. Add-ons Chart
1. Why: Mission control, we have a problem
2. What: The solution
3. Pre-launch praise and press
4. For You: Rewards
5. Design: How we solved 5 design challenges
6. Specifications: Premium military grade components
7. Timeline: Where we've been and what's next
8. Add-ons / Stretch goals (12 KS Backer Accomplishments!) 9. Who are we?
10. Back & Share. Thank you!
11. Partners / Enablers
0. ADD-ONS SUMMARY.
Some of you asked for a summary of the available add-ons, here you go:
1. MISSION CONTROL, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
The Redux & Co. COURG watch project started when I looked to add a vintage pilot or dive watch to my humble stable of wrist machines. But I ran into a number of problems in the hunt for a minimal, dependable, reasonably sized, distinctive, and affordable option.
Simply put: It didn't exist, and so I set out to make it.
With a very specific design in mind and sketches in hand, I researched different material choices, built and tested prototypes -- even had 3D printed models of the case made in the process.
I evaluated many potential manufacturers, and consulted fellow watch designers that had helped pave the way and made industry friends along the way.
Now, I’m pleased to say I have all the elements lined-up for a successful run and would like to invite you to join the adventure and you'll score a sweet watch along the way. And if all goes as planned, you'll have one strapped to your wrist or a loved one's wrist by Christmas!
2. COURG TL;DR
- Robust & Dependable -- built like a tank, with a workhorse movement rated to run twenty years before needing service, and yet 20% lighter than comparable stainless steel watches.
- Automatic -- powered by your movement, not the pain and waste of batteries
- Minimal, Iconic, Functional -- inspired by mission critical pilot and diver instruments
- Date -- unobtrusive integrated design
- Sweet Value -- We cut out the middleman to be kind on your wallet and yet crafted the COURG from premium materials: With ultra hard anti-reflective sapphire crystal, super bright luminous paint, to ballistic nylon, and titanium.
- Designed in the Seaport District, New York City
3. PRESS & PRAISE
Love from #Watchnerds
Featured by Gear & Design Influencers
- "I've been searching for a watch like this for years. Pledging as soon as it's live!" Z. Petit, PRINT magazine editor
- "Very purposeful watch. Looks like a tool waiting to be used." D. Huebert
- "I like the project and would enthusiastically recommend it. I know at least one other guy that I think would jump on it in a hot second." M. Himmelstein, Wrist Watch Review
- "The titanium case looks great and I love that you have opted for the 39mm size. You have a well designed product with its own unique elements." The Time Bum
- "These are some awesome tactical watches!" Founder, AZWS
- "Congratulations on getting the watch at such a great stage. It looks brilliant, and the specs are spot on," Watch it All About
- "The dial and hands are excellent. The COURG blends a number of different elements into one attractive package." J. Enloe, Worn & Wound
+ COURG Watch & Ballistic Nylon Strap
Starts at $199 for our backers, Retail: $400. The ultimate time machine. Paired with military grade ballistic nylon strap blacked-out hardware. Why mil-strap style? This enables quick change straps from outdoor adventure to dressed up in 5 seconds flat. Also, unlike other style straps, if somehow a strap pin gets pulled out the watch won't plummet to the ground and stall your mission.
+ Premium Italian Leather Mil-Strap with Stealth Hardware (Add-on: $39)
Supple leather, matte hardware, thick gorgeous contrast hand-stitching. We'll be adding a laser-etched logo to the buckle, and perhaps a burned on logo to the leather. (Add this price to your pledge amount and we'll send backer surveys at the end of the campaign to capture your preferences.)
Worn & Wound x Redux & Co. (Add-on: $57)
Exclusive Horween leather strap design in collaboration with Worn & Wound!
I'm very pleased to announce that we've begun to work out some of the details, and we're collaborating with the good folks over at Worn & Wound to offer an exclusive Horween leather strap design hand made in NYC specifically for your COURG!
Both Color 8 and Natural are distinctive and really set off the blue-gray of the COURG titanium.
The discussion with Worn & Wound led us to collaborate on a design hybrid of the mil-strap-type we're offering in our rewards (at $39) and a two-piece conventional strap. So this single slice of Horween leather integrates the benefits of the security from the mil-strap with less bulk of a two piece. This will inherit two of the matte/brushed metal rings. [NOTE: It's still a single piece strap, but without the double layer under the case.]
Dimensions will be roughly: 20mm wide and 11.5 x .08in / 292 x 2mm
(Add this price to your pledge amount and we'll send backer surveys at the end to capture your preferences.)
+ STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED. Waxed Canvas Watch Roll x Travel Wallet & Documents Folio
Waxed canvas watch roll for your travels. (Add this price to your pledge amount and we'll backer surveys at the end to get your preferences.)
We designed our waxed canvas watch roll to pull second duty as a travel wallet and documents folio if you don't travel with multiple timepieces. The top grain leather strap that secures the roll also serves double duty as a wrist strap.
5. Building on a Proven Iconic Design
5 Redux COURG Design Requirements
1. Robust & Dependable. From my experience with vintage time pieces I own, I knew that they often need servicing. And by definition, a pilot watch ought to be reliable and pretty much bombproof. Vintage timepieces are often more delicate after decades of neglect. Gaskets wear out, cases loosen, crowns fall off.
I could never swim with a vintage watch or go backpacking. Vintage watches often used plastic crystals that scratch easily and prone to crack.
- Titanium-Grade 2 (Grade 5 Add-on!). This is the stuff they make jet engines, aircraft skin, airframes, and other aerospace components out of. It's anti-corrosive, 50% lighter than steel, hypoallergenic and anti-magnetic. And then there's the sweet stealthy matte blue-gray anti-bling.
- Sapphire crystal. Super hard and scratch resistant with anti-reflective layer. 8-9 on the Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds are 10. Mineral glass? That's the stuff on most watches, 5-6, picks up scratches too easily.
- Water resistance 15 ATM (All backers upgraded to 20 ATM!), suitable for swimming, diving.
2. Automatic. I don’t want to deal with finding my watch dead and have to deal with the hassle of replacing batteries. I also want the second hand to sweep smoothly, rather than the tick-tick of the much cheaper battery-quartz movements. There’s also something special about knowing that your movements power the watch through precise mechanical engineering. A fine-tuned machine.
- I chose the SII caliber NH-35A movement, which is known among watch circles as a workhorse and made by Seiko.
- This robust machine is rated to run for a couple decades before needing a service.
Why not Swiss? First, while Swiss movements have set the standard, Japanese engineering has closed the gap enough to where the difference is not worth the much higher considerable cost.
Second, even most watch nerds concede that a lot of the premium pricing in comparable level Swiss movements comes down to decorative elements like etching, marketing, and some artificial scarcity. Third, maintenance costs on the NH-35A will be much much lower than a Swiss competitor.
Here’s NH-35A specs:
- Jewels: 24 synthetic rubies, used to reduce friction and increase the lifespan of the movement
- Vibrations Per Hour: 21,600 bph, means smooth like silk mechanical sweep
- Power Reserve: 41 hours, will keep running this long even if you completely stop moving.
- Winding Direction: Bi-directional, all the better to translate your movement into power.
- Hacking? Yes, this means it’s easy to set the exact time because you can stop time, at least on the watch. Synchronize.
3. Minimal, Iconic, Functional. There's this trend in recent years where watches have become larger and larger -- to the point of looking downright supersized clownish. Those watches push 47mm, some even 50mm, making them heavy and awkward for most people with non-Paul Bunyan wrists.
In the case of the original pilot watches, they were designed large because pilots strapped them over their flight suits, and needed massive crowns to adjust the watches with gloves. The majority of us won’t have this problem. And now those crowns that were once functional have become merely decorative pieces of metal that dig into wrists.
The majority of watch companies plaster their logos on the dial -- often ugly and distracting. Name brands also crowd watch dials with extraneous text such as WR 100, Automatic, and unnecessary numerals. That helps with all the marketing hype and other needless fluff. You, friends, are your own brand.
- You've never seen this case and bezel design anywhere else. The design is proprietary and exclusively ours. Don't be fooled by trendy brands peddling Alibaba-sourced off-the-shelf generic cases, hands, cheap movements, glass, and dials.
- The case is considered a mid-size, and at 39mm it’s plenty big and at the same time a good fit for both gentleman and ladies.
- This white on matte black dial is designed to be totally uncluttered -- function + form, inspired by the avionics that help pilots make fast decisions at a glance. No silly logos, unnecessary symbols, words, acronyms, etc. This won't go out of style or make you ever suffer some trendy taste disappointment.
- Case back is solid metal. This watch is designed for people in motion -- not those who want to stare at the back of their watch.
- Gear-shaped crown design makes it finger friendly, and meanwhile the crown guard protects the watch stem from bumps. The position at 4PM also means it won't dig into your wrist. This means the watch has the presence of a 40mm because of the gear teeth for grip.
- I spec'd Superluminova BGW9 (white that glows blue), not many manufacturers use this paint, but ours does!
- Uni-directional counterclockwise rotating bezel. Used by deep sea divers to help them time their air supply for safe descents and ascents. Counterclockwise so if it gets knocked divers gain safety buffer rather than accidentally run out of air. Other useful pursuits include timing steaks on the grill, parking meters, lunch time escapades, any mission where you need a timer.
Triple Function Bezel
4. Date. I found that I rely on this quite often, and it’s rarely implemented well. Usually, it's placed in the parts of the dial that clutter the face.
Solution: I designed the date window to replace the 4 o'clock position and present a seamless integration into the overall aesthetic. Also, I needed to find a manufacturer who would be able to source white number on black background for the date. Many potential manufacturers were rejected because they couldn't make it happen.
5. Sweet Value (kind on your wallet) In one word: Affordable. My goal was to come in under $400. I originally had planned to build the watches from 316L steel, which is what you'll find in most watches on the market, but I've always wanted a titanium watch. Not many manufacturers work with titanium because it requires special processes due to the hardness of the material. This means extra work changing the tooling more often and more attention in the build quality.
Solution: By working with high quality manufacturers to figure out the right amount of volume vs. reasonable cost, I was pleasantly surprised to find I soundly beat this target.
6. Military Grade Components
Get in on the Variant, Case Back Design Process, and Final Refinements
As a backer you'll join in the adventure of adding your fingerprint to the project.
Variant 1: Type A The German aircraft ministry developed designs for their WWII pilots, called B-Uhren -- short for Beobachtungs-uhren ("Observation Watch"). and is often referred to as a Type A or flieger. The Luftwaffe owned these watches, and the pilots were forced to return them after each mission. These were 55mm!
Variant 2: A-11 An homage to the WWII watches American fighter pilots strapped to their wrists and helped lead to the Allies' victory. The U.S. military contracted multiple American watch companies to build these watches and called this specification A-11.
Variant 3: Zero-hour Refined to the core 3-6-9 hour elements, this dial is driven by diver watch functionality where distractions are stripped away to only essential elements that optimize legibility in murky conditions and aid instant instrument readouts. Zero-hour is the military term for the scheduled time of a mission. Some early fans have suggested we go with larger hands for this variant -- and we agree!
Variant 4: Minimalist Draws its design DNA from the Bauhaus (literally "house of construction" or "school of building") modernist movement begun in the 1920s. We honored that purposeful intention and implemented a linear accent that also preserved the quick read priority.
New Recruit, Variant 5: Type B The brother to the Type-A, this was designed specifically by the Luftwaffe in WW2 for their bomber pilots, who used the emphasis on the minutes for accuracy in bombing runs. This variant will have no date option, it's just too full to have room for that.
Yes, this is titanium too. We've made prototype casebacks. However, let's put the FUN in crowdfunding. We want to make this a Kickstarter exclusive backer experience by working together to design a stellar caseback with limited edition markings such as serial numbers!
We have an extraordinary community of backers. Three uber talented designers piloted our caseback design committee, with one proposal coming in at 21 pages! Remarkable -- this is what crowdfunding is all about! #COURGcrew!
MEET YOUR CASEBACK
In the end I really appreciated that this design distilled the aircraft heritage and melded it with the tool watch nature of the COURG. I offer a big hearty THANK YOU from all of us backers to R.Halford for the exquisite design, and to J.Boehm and E.Tsai for strong contenders in the mix!
The copy here is not final, since the manufacturer will need to transfer to the actual dimensions. The titanium line will be TITANIUM G.2 or G.5. The serial number will be K.XXXX/YYYY where x is production number (not linked to order of backer) and y is total production run. I plan to run the serial in one full lot since I feel like we were all in it together -- all ~2,000 of us.
After chatting with backers, we'll be going with drilled lugs. These type of strap holders are much stronger than the standard spring-loaded strap bars, which are not only much weaker and prone to failure, but also happen to be a total pain to use.
7. Timeline: Where We've Been
And Now, With Your Help ...
Bumps Cleared So Far ...
Along the way, we've worked out some bloopers and learned some lessons. For example, I found that very few watchmakers willing to or possess the capability to machine titanium -- affordably. I queried over a dozen companies to identify the best fit for the COURG project. I narrowed this pool down to 3, and worked them to finalize CAD drawings and design details. Only then did I order samples.
8. Refinements / Add-On's / Stretch Goals
We had a few ideas in mind, and so did you -- and now we're better together (Bolded is all systems go!):
- Bezel, Dial and Hand design refinements voted on for all 5 variants
- Backer designed and selected caseback
- Titanium grade 5 (Add-on)
- 20 ATM (UPGRADED!)
- Bezel marker refined (Triangle for precision)
- Waxed canvas watch roll / travel wallet & document folio for all backers (ACHIEVED!)
- No-date window option (YES.)
- Round date window (CHECK.)
- Drilled Lugs (Decided.)
- B-Uhren Type-B dial, no date (Boom! Welcome to the COURG fleet.)
- Exclusive Horween leather strap, made in NYC (Add-on)
- Serial numbers with special Kickstarter backer nomenclature: K.XXXX/YYYY, where XXXX is the watch number and YYYY is total production number -- these will NOT be tied to backer order number to prevent a logistical nightmare and delay production.
So, please back the COURG project now! With your continued support we can pull up the landing gear for departure and push full throttle!
Our exclusive crate design:
Let's make an amazing machine together and maybe set off on an even larger adventure ...
THE BIG IDEA
The big idea is to build a workshop with headquarters in the Bronx, and bring to NYC what Shinola seeded in Detroit, and Zappos in Las Vegas. Transform communities. Lofty, yes. Every great mission starts somewhere. COURG is our first step.
9. WHO WE ARE
I have Kickstarter experience as co-founder of Redeem the City, a successful journalism project about New York City.
We're a husband and wife and tyke team based in the Seaport District of New York City.
I'm a believer, maker, adventurer, entrepreneur. I'm a journalist and problem solver at MedPage Today, the purveyor of the world's finest medical journalism. I've also written for Popular Science magazine (lots of aviation and #avgeek goodness!), The New York Times, Popular Photography, and Fast Company.
10. Let's Achieve Escape Velocity -- We Need Your Support to build COURG!
We're ready for production, I have samples in hand, the technical drawings, I have the suppliers ready to start production. The only thing missing is the initial order fee. I need to order a minimum of 300 watches, and that's where you come in.
By becoming a backer for this project, you help us fund the first production run, and not to mention you score an awesome watch at a steep discount!
Now, let's raise a ruckus!
My reach only reaches my immediate network. Liking Redux & Co. on Facebook or inviting friends and family via email will make a huge difference and help our project gain the momentum we need.
Thank you so much for joining us on this adventure!
11. Special thanks to our talented friends, co-conspirators, and enablers
Redux & Co. COURG -- Component Specifications:
- Case material: Titanium grade 2 / grade 5
- Case back: Titanium, deep corrosion case screw back.
- Bezel: Uni-directional Titanium, luminous triangle
- Flat Sapphire crystal, 2mm, inner anti-reflective coating
- Movement: Seiko SII NH35A
- Date: Window, 4PM
- Case: Width (w/o crown) / 39mm
- Height / 13.7 mm
- Lug-to-lug 46.6 mm
- Lug-to-lug (strap) 20 mm
- Lug width 3.4 mm
- Print dial.
- Super luminova BGW9
- Hands: Super luminova BGW9 x C3
- Water resistant: 15 ATM / 150M (UPGRADED to 20 ATM)
- Crown position: 4PM
- Stem protection: Screw down crown tube + crown guard
- Crown logo: Etched
- Drilled lugs
- Weight: 1.8 oz. (51 grams, ~20% lighter than steel equivalent) Brass movement retainer
- Strap: Black Ballistic nylon mil-strap, PVD hardware
- 1 year guarantee against defects
Risks and challenges
Manufacturing any item takes a lot of work, and things sometimes go wrong, with unexpected hiccups along the way. I've shared a few potholes above, but that is why I have been preparing for over a year and a half.
It means a lot to me to meet the December deadline, and I'll do everything in my power to do so.
This is my second Kickstarter campaign so I bring that successful experience to the table as well. I have spent the last year and a half making sure our supply chain is in place. I have a well-established relationship working with a reliable watch manufacturer. I have agreements in place with trusted partners for with fulfillment of goods with end-to-end solutions and a proven track record. Should any of these fail, I have identified and am in touch with reputable alternate providers who can step in.
I will keep my backers informed during the production process. I'll do this with regular updates and sharing pictures as often as possible.
If somewhere along the way I find that there is a setback in production, or that I cannot make the timeline, I will be as transparent as possible to keep all of my backers informed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Once the campaign touches down successfully, we'll send out a survey to all our backers and you'll get to make final choices.
Add the individual price of the canvas roll (stretch goal achieved!) or leather strap ($39) to whichever pledge level you are at. For multiples if you're at Wingman or above, you'll need to account multiple straps, if you want more than one.
The multiple watch levels were set for backers interested in rocking multiple variants, with a steep discount off retail to show our appreciation for their generous support. That said, backers at Wingman and above can choose any mix of one each of the variants they like.
I priced the levels of multiple variants for individuals who wanted to own different variants, not as a way for people to make group buys. However, I understand that some of you got together to grab yourself an extra deal.
Though it’s not what I intended, I can dig that you guys banded as friends and can share COURG and courage together for wherever your missions lead your crew. I’m all for it. Multiple watch variant backers: Order any combination of variants you like.
This is a goal of ours, but in order to keep costs at a minimum and make COURG within reach for as many people that have wanted a watch like this as I have for the first run. Kickstarter backers prove there's demand for COURG and pave the way for us to explore what's next. The reality and dirty secret of the watch industry today is that many so-called Swiss and German "made" watches are actually assembled of Asian manufactured components. What people are often paying up for is the slick marketing and veneer of prestige. We're working with a Hong Kong based company, which has manufacturing facilities across the strait in Shenzen, China.
So, I've been accused of playing favorites with the Type-A. And in fact it's true. The Type-A was the first design that I wanted to hunt down and was therefore also the first prototype I had made. It wasn't until the second round of prototypes that I extended to the three additional variants.
Still, each variant is near and dear to me since I spent so many hours bringing them into the 39mm size and yet maintain some sense of negative space.
That said, I have a special spot for the Minimalist because it took a lot of design sweat to figure out the weights and typography implementation that would create a harmonious expression that was still faithful to Bauhaus without it being some ugly step-child mashup, which it could have easily become.
(pssst ... looks like there may be a 5th recruit joining the squadron!)
The 39mm is DEFINITELY getting made. There's no question about that!
I'm thrilled that you guys with bigger wrists have come along on the ride and believe in the my vision for COURG as is. The COURG has a wrist presence all it's own and quite unlike what you might expect because of the bezel that give it the feel of a 40mm plus muscular lugs.
That said, we've decided to focus on making the 39mm the very best machine that we can make it together. Once we have that underway, we'll see about revisiting the 42mm.
We've added this to the flight plan for stretch goal $700,000.
Many of you have waited patiently as we've maneuvered to find the optimal trajectory for case material choice. It's clear we will not reach altitude for our last stretch goal of orienting the entire flight to titanium grade 5. So I'm diverting those plans so that we all have more clarity going into the last few days here.
You can upgrade to titanium grade 5 as an add-on with the understanding that there will be an additional buffer time of 15 days or so. Ti5 will have slightly less of the blue-grey of pure titanium, but in exchange offers more scratch resistance. (Ti2 scratches can be buffed out with a pen eraser, as some backers have pointed out, if you're so inclined.)
Both Ti2 and Ti5 will have a bead-blast finish.
To upgrade your pledge to Ti5, add $25 for EACH COURG you've reserved.
We've added the 20 ATM to the $700k stretch goal, however, the ISO 6425 certification does not fit within our mission timeline currently. That said, we will be working on refining the designs to line-up with the standard for the variants most likely to be used by scuba divers.
Please remember that the number in the top right corner looks large, but must cover the following: 10% goes straight to Kickstarter and payment processing. Then add: costs of taxes, freight and shipping, packaging, Backerkit, failed transactions, 1 year of TLC, multiple rounds of prototypes, various tools, services, and software. Not to mention what WE'RE ALL HERE FOR: top grade watch components and materials at an peerless value.
We're committed to giving back to our community. Kickstarter does not allow discussion of charity on the campaign.
When we set out to build the COURG, our goal was to max-out the quality components at our price point. We didn't start out with mediocre materials. If it helps, here's a handy guide to the stretch goals unlocked before we even rolled out onto the tarmac:
1. Mineral glass -> Sapphire crystal
2. Plain crystal -> Internal anti-reflective coating
3. Quartz movement -> Automatic movement
4. One dial design (or multiple colors) -> 4 Unique design variants with matching hands
5. Stainless steel -> Titanium
And here's more goodies we've added since takeoff:
6. Serial numbers in format K.####
7. B-Uhr Type-B (no date) variant
8. No-date options for all variants
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- (30 days)