The Porthole watch
Bronze timepiece with smooth haptic feel. Lots of details to enjoy. Swiss parts meet German craftsmanship for a great quality watch.
This project is about sharing my first watch design with you. My drive is to create beautiful quality watches with a twist. Watches that are unlike the usual suspects. Because that is what I want to offer you, a watch that will attract attention and admiration just by itself. A watch that will make you feel standing out from the crowd.
And here it is: The Porthole by Pheidippides Watches.
Now it is time for you to take me up on my presumption that I made that beautiful quality watch with a twist. I have given my best to create nice design details for you to see and feel, details you will not find often. The result is a bold watch for those who want to make a difference.
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So I wanted to create a watch looking a bit different, right?
Well, somehow inspiration got the better hand of me and I envisioned a watch with a nautical theme. I wanted to use a less likely material for the case and wound up using bronze. It is a softer metal which suffers more from daily use than hardened steel, but it has a lively color and develops a beautiful patina over the years. In due time no watch will look the same.
The case is spherical in more than one way. It has a round footprint and a semi-circular side that flows seamlessly into the curve of the glass giving it a smooth haptic feel. The watch slides easily under the cuff of your shirt.
The case is linked to the strap by movable lugs. The lugs are made of polished stainless steel giving a nice contrast to the bronze case and matching the polished steel hands.
To allow a glance at the watch’s interior, I wanted a see-through back. There was no reason not to include a sapphire window to show the Swiss made movement with a custom rotor. It has 26 jewels and a power reserve of 44 hours. The rotor is finished with beautiful waves.
To make the watch face resemble the sea, the dial is glossy blue lacquered. The hour markers resemble buoys floating on the sea surface, with dots of Superluminova lighting in the dark.
The wide polished steel hands make a bold stand. They have Superluminova on the back making the hands visible at night in their own shadow. The seconds hand looks like a droplet of water. Its only task is to show your watch is still running. Time is essential but should not rule us to the second, right?
The hands and hour markers have matching dimensions, so when the minute hand moves over a marker it will cover it precisely and the Superluminova will glow through the matching hole.
To finish the watch’s design I created a crown that echoes the shape of the case. The custom made crown even has a rim echoing the case-glass transition.
The watch and buckle are held together by a brown genuine leather strap. As an alternative I also selected a black silicone strap which will take to a swim much more gracefully.
And now for the other fun part, creating prototypes.
Being unemployed at the time with a nice inheritance, I have been able to invest time and money in developing prototypes. I am working together with a German workshop familiar with making jewelry to do the technical development and production of the custom made cases. I prefer Swiss suppliers for the watch’s intestines.
July last year I got that brainwave and since then I took my time to refine the drawings again and again until every detail was to my liking. In December the (technical) drawings were finished and the German guys could start their magic at the CNC machine working the case.
Since September I have been busy selecting Swiss suppliers for the parts and by February this year all parts materialized just the way I designed them. Tolerances are nice but some of the design features require accuracy to the one hundredth of a millimeter. We recently finished fine-tuning the case to the actual prototype parts I received to meet those requirements.
The result is a watch just as I'd envisioned, a beautifully executed quality watch for you to enjoy. It took some time and perseverance, but I have been able to bring it all together. Holding that first prototype is a great feeling. A feeling I could convey to you when you decide to pledge for The Porthole.
- Polished bronze case and screw-in see-through back, 42mm in diameter and 12.3mm thick
- Polished stainless steel movable lugs, stretched out lug-to-lug size is 55mm, 22mm wide
- Blue lacquered dial
- Polished nickel hands and hour markers filled with C5 Superluminova
- Sapphire glasses top and bottom
- Movement: STP5-15 by Swiss Technology Production, 44 hours reserve, 26 jewels
- French brown genuine leather or black silicone strap, tapered, size 22/20mm
- 10 bar water resistance
As I said in the introduction, the bronze will develop a patina over time. This process will take months if not years. If you can't wait that long, you can accelerate it by putting the watch case in a sealbag together with a crushed boiled egg. Then it happens over night. Here you can see the result of the eggsperiment. You can undo by emerging the watch into cola :-).
Now it is time for the next step: releasing the watch into the world of watch aficionados such as yourself. The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough funds to produce at least a series of 300 watches. And hopefully more...
Glasses, hands, dials and movements are supplied from Switzerland. I found a good quality-to-price ratio for each part. Because of its special shape, the case is custom build in a German workshop with experience in making jewelry. Case and back are polished as a pair for the smoothest possible transition. Nevertheless they make the case for a fair price.
A watchmaker colleague and myself will assemble the watches in this German workshop. That allows for an important benefit: I will be on top of the assembly process all the time, so there is continuous in-line Quality Assurance and speedy response to aberrations. In my opinion better than doing postproduction Quality Control on finished watches with the risk of having to rework faulty ones from scratch.
In the end I think I made it happen: a beautiful European built quality watch with a fair price tag. By backing my project you will help me to fulfill my dream of creating and sharing my watch. For that gesture I will be very grateful.
The limited series of The Porthole comes in one execution. The colors and materials are pretty well balanced and match the nautical theme wonderfully. Just as I envisioned it. The limited edition watches will be numbered "Kxxx of K300" to show their Kickstarter origin. If we don't reach 300, then the actual number of pledges will determine the limited series length. After that the watches will be numbered sequentially.
You will have a choice of 2 straps: brown leather or black silicone. You can let me know your selection during a survey after the project has been successfully funded.
The shadowing effect of the luminova on the back of the hands is less strong on a glossy dial. Although the glossy finish resembles the sea surface as intended, a pearl finish will scatter the light better. You can choose your glossy or pearl finish for the dial in the post-campaign survey.
Stretch target #1: I designed a custom made pin-buckle for the strap. The buckle echoes the shape of the lugs to form a perfect match with the watch. The standard pin-buckle is swapped with this buckle when we reach € 80,000.
Stretch target #2: I will include a folding buckle with every watch when we reach € 160,000.
Stretch target #3: I will include both straps with every watch when we reach € 240,000.
Stretch target #4: reaching € 300,000 will open up a range of alternative materials and colors. I will offer the case in polished steel, the lugs in bronze and a green dial in both finishes. I might even offer a full brass version (case, lugs, dial, hands, markers). You will be offered a choice of metals and dial color in the post-campaign survey. Any combination is possible.
Your watch has a warranty of 1 year starting on the first day of the month following the month of shipment. After that you can have your watch serviced at your local watchmaker. Spare parts will be available of course.
Your pledge goes a long way on Kickstarter. Like any entrepreneur I would like to see my watches on the shelves of shops one day. By then the price will have tripled easily. Distribution channels and shops will take their share in revenue. So this is your chance to be among the first owners of a great quality watch for an affordable offer.
N.B. for EU residents only: I have to pay your VAT for you. Your VAT is included in the shipping cost as a single amount when you pledge. So don't be startled when you see the shipping cost: it is € 12 shipping + 21% VAT.
Right after the campaign I will order all parts. It will take anywhere between 3 and 5 month for these orders to fulfill. Most parts will take not much longer than 3 months, but the movements will take 5. And we need to account for summer closure of factories. As soon as parts arrive, we will check their quality, so we can act as soon as possible when necessary.
We will start by mounting the glasses, which can be done before the movements arrive, gaining some time. We will also start shipping out the first watches made as soon as possible. We don’t have to wait to send you your reward until all watches are assembled.
We will explore the possibility of having the parts shipped to us in a series of smaller batches. This will enable us to start assembling the watches earlier. There is room for a bit of slack and we should all be realistic about unforeseen delays, but you should have received your reward way before the Gift season.
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk is for me to die during production. I will see to proper contingency, so the project will generate and ship your rewards with or without me.
To build the prototype we had to make all of the parts, of course. Some turned out to be straightforward, some challenged even my well known and experienced suppliers, because it turned out some of my wishes were a first to them. In the end the devil has been driven out of every detail, so their is no longer any risk to encounter unforeseen construction challenges or unexpected production technique side effects.
The limited series will be made first and the production schedule is based on the maximum lead-time of all suppliers and a bit to produce a total of 300 watches. Apart from acts of God, there is limited risk for delay.
When the campaign is really successful, the delivery of the unlimited series of watches is based on available production capacity. No use to speculate before the end of the campaign.
Everyone is ready and committed. Recently I checked lead-times and prices with my suppliers again to be sure. The production schedule is up-to-date and the pledge amounts optimized to the latest information.
And then there are the Updates to keep you informed about any developments, good and bad. No risk that I will not inform you in time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)