Custom Watches

It is important to let you know, from the beginning, that I design and build my own original and unique brand of custom wristwatches.

Making a custom wristwatch for you is a complete process, starting from scratch, and moving through various stages to the finished product. This involves the creation of a blueprint from the dialogue we engage in, by which you communicate your desires, preferences and requirements, to whatever level of detail suits you.

Do you have an idea about styling, or have in mind a custom pattern or image put on the dial of the watch you want to order? Do you want something special that no one else has, a “one-of-a-kind” piece, just for you?

First we’ll discuss what you are looking for, what you like and don’t like, functionality, et cetera. This can take place by e-mail, over the telephone or even in person, by appointment.

Once this is settled and you are happy that I understand you, it is up to me to come up with a design, one which I have conceived, but which incorporates all your specifications, of course. Please bear in mind that in the final design, it is imperative that I ensure the soundness of the engineering, the aesthetics of the timepiece and the practicability and usability of the finished product.

In addition, I am very careful not to be plagiaristic, I am pedantic about respecting copyright and trademarks, and I am scrupulous regarding originality – I avoid compromising my designs by staying well away from the intellectual property of others.

Then I would make some sketches for you based upon our conversation(s). After you have studied the sketches and given your approval, I make a computer mock-up and send you some pictures so you can get an idea of the watch in three dimensions. Once those pictures are approved by you, I can begin the next steps.

Within that time-frame I usually take a couple of deposit payments until we reach the end of the computer mock-up stage. At that point I require that the deposits total 80% of the watch’s full price before going ahead to build the watch.

Some components to consider when thinking about a custom-made watch:

  • the movement
  • dial design
  • different materials and colours of the dial
  • watch case
  • mineral or sapphire crystal
  • style of the hands
  • strap
  • deployment clasp
  • movement ring colour and finish
  • personalization (engraving)

If you’re interested, the building of one of my watches is not a contiguous process: here’s a very brief outline of what happens in my studio after the initial design work (using CAD) –

  • Gather and /or order components
  • Start the process of making any custom components
  • Cut the dial by laser to the right size in the right material
  • Solder feet (posts) onto the back of the dial for eventual fitment onto the movement
  • Drill center hole into dial
  • Work on the dial to ensure that it fits perfectly, with proper alignment on the movement
  • Hand-apply luminous pigment into the hour markers (enables the glow-in-the-dark effect)
  • Brush-finish and sand dial surface once the pigment has cured properly
  • Colour the dial using various processes, like oxidation, to achieve an even colour
  • Apply a museum-quality wax to the dial to preserve the finishAssemble and build the watch, which includes the following components: case, crystals, movement, spacer ring(s), movement ring if applicable, dial, hands, seconds hand if applicable, crown, strap and buckle /clasp
  • Test the watch over several phases.
  • The whole process, from start to finish, usually takes 3-5 months, sometimes more, sometimes less – it depends on the complexity of the watch, and what time of year it is.

Here’s the story of some of my previous custom projects – if you have any questions about what’s possible, please contact me.

The first picture seen below is a concept sketch I made for the completed watch in the second picture. The watch case is made of sterling silver with a 14k yellow gold dial, diamond markers and diamond dial (total carat weight of about 0.66ct), hand engraved inner bezel, Swiss quartz movement, genuine crocodile leather strap with double deployment clasp, and sapphire crystal.

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The second set of pictures shows a custom project in which the watch consisted of my regular 36mm stainless steel case with a rose gold-plated skeletonized Swiss automatic movement (ETA 2824-2). The customer and I had a few exchanges about the style of the dial that she wanted and in the end, though I thought we had it narrowed down to a certain style, I included a sketch of something a little more organic than what she seemed to want, and that’s what she chose! I’m happy with the way it turned out. The first picture in the set is my original sketch with the raw dial.

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I worked on an interesting custom project with Mason Plumlee, formerly of the Duke University Blue Devils basketball team. He commissioned me to make four watches, with the Blue Devil logo as the watch dial, that he would give as gifts. Even though we didn’t end up making the dial blue like the logo, I think it turned out very well. I oxidized the metal of the dial to give it that grey look and then went back and hand burnished the edges to make them “pop” a bit. Mason chose an impressive Swiss skeletonized movement, which is PVD coated. In the photos, you can see the custom etching on the back crystal of the watch. I want to say thanks to Mason for coming to me with this fantastic project.

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The following images are taken from my Instagram account.

The Maki Project

The Maki, oxidized brass dial, with sterling silver case.

maki1amaki1bmaki1cmaki1dThis watch was originally a custom project that I undertook for a special customer – Mr. Maki. After completing the project, I asked Mr. Maki if he would mind if I continued to make this watch for other customers, to which he readily agreed. I thought it would be appropriate to name the watch after him, since he was the one I designed it for originally, not to mention that has an interesting last name.

This configuration of the Maki watch is exactly what Mr. Maki received. (The watch also comes with your initials laser inscribed on the case back if you so desire.)

Size: 46mm diameter

Case and case back: Solid Sterling Silver, partially oxidized, partially polished

Dial: Oxidized Brass with white Swiss Super-LumiNova with a blue fluorescence

Crown: Standard stainless steel

Crystal: Domed Sapphire (front), flat mineral (back)

Clasp: Stainless Steel, dual folding deployment style

Movement: Swiss made ETA 6497-1 mechanical, hand wound, specially skeletonized, PVD coated movement

Strap: Genuine shark leather with white contrast stitching, 24mm lug

Hands: ‘Index’ Style, white on silver, minute and hour hands, red ‘stick’ style small seconds hand

Warranty: 2 years

 

Custom Jewellery

Before I started making watches, I made jewellery. I still love to make custom pieces if the opportunity arises. From engagement rings and wedding bands to cuff links and dress sets, I can make custom jewellery for you for that special occasion. I’m a certified gemmologist, so finding that extra special gemstone for your needs is not a problem.

Please do contact me via the website if you are keen to have a piece of jewellery custom-made.

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