For The Love of Time
A few years ago, I started sharing stories from what find I had seen on crowd-funding platforms so I could show my appreciation for the people getting things moving in their passion for design. It’s been a while since I have featured one, I did have a few months a while back where I didn’t see anything of interest. Thankfully, that has changed!
If you have been following The Man Has Style for a while now (or even from the beginning 4 years ago), you will have read about my love of timepieces. There is so much fascination for me in the use of watches, the intricate details, function and overall design of these accessories. I use the term accessory loosely, for it means, “a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive,” as while the watch indeed does this, for me growing up it wasn’t an added something, it was a necessity, an essential part of your daily dressing. Of course, with smart-phones and so many other time-telling devices now, it has become more of an addition for many, an accessory for looks rather than function.
When I was introduced to a new campaign on Kickstarter this week, I was quite intrigued. An Australian based designer, a watch and, more appealing for me, a pocket watch. I have a very old pocket watch passed to me from family, which I adore, although don’t use due the weight, it’s heavy! While the occasional wear is possible, it’s not for the every day and to see this one from Wanderlust Watches that looks great, is modern in design and weighs a whole lot less, I not only wanted to find out more, I had to speak to the designer myself.
Q&A with Alex Dask
TMHS: Watches are such a wonderful part of life and seeing you have launched on Kickstarter a pocket watch, it really captured my attention. Over the past few years on The Man Has Style, I’ve talked about how timepieces take me back to my childhood where the fascination stemmed at a young age my love of watches. It is wonderful to see it also takes you back to a time in Greece with your grandfather. Tell me more of this and how it has influenced you to bring this old time favourite pocket watch to modern times.
AD: Thanks for taking the time to chat to me. I was born in Australia and love this country, although my father was born in Greece and I still have a strong connection there too. Throughout my childhood, we would regularly travel back to Greece and I remember a simpler time. One distinct memory I have is spending hours with my grandfather on the porch on summer evenings. In Greece at the time most men carried ‘worry beads’ which are beads on a chain that are flicked around the hand, mostly as a form of relaxation or to pass the time. However, I distinctly remember my grandfather using his pocket watch to similar effect and I was mesmerised by him ever so effortlessly swirling his pocket watch in his hand.
I think it’s this memory that gave me my love of pocket watches. However, the problem I had was that all the pocket watches I owned – while highly sentimental to me – spent most of their time in my dresser drawer as they were no longer practical or fashionable. I wanted to bring back all that nostalgia I had for the pocket watch, yet with a modern twist.
TMHS: How have you adapted from the traditional pocket watch to suit today’s lifestyle?
AD: The key issues I had with my antique pocket watches were the design, function and fashion. I believe we have solved all 3 issues as outlined below.
In terms of design, we found antique pocket watches to be heavy and bulky, averaging around 125g and 14mm thickness so we couldn’t fit them in our skinny jeans or many other modern garments. The solution we came up with was a much lighter 60g and a super slim 9mm thickness perfect for traveling with and fitting in a skinny leg jean.
In terms of function, antique pocket watches are lacking in many of the manufacturing techniques & materials now common today and are therefore not very water, dust and scratch resistance. Our solution was to use the latest manufacturing techniques and high-quality materials that allow for a far more function timepiece in terms of water, dust and scratch resistance. Perfect for exploring.
In terms of fashion, antique pocket watch designs, while beautiful, are somewhat dated and the colour choice is limited. This means they don’t go with a modern wardrobe or even with a modern 3-piece suit anymore. Our solution was to design our timepiece in several distinct colours with interchangeable straps, allowing you to match your timepiece with your outfit.
TMHS: The first stage to unlock on the Kickstarter campaign is well on its way at the time of the interview. You have chosen the Vaugirard jet black pocket watch and chain. Stage 2 is the Le Marias in gun metal grey and Stage 3 the Champs-Elysees in rose gold. Tell me more about the inspiration for the names of each pocket watch.
AD: I have had the privilege of visiting Paris quite a few times and have spent lots of time in each of these areas. While it may sound strange I believe places and objects all have personalities around them. When I was designing each of the timepieces I immediately knew which suburb in Paris had the same personality as which pocket watch style.
When I look at the all black colour of the Vaugirard timepiece a calm feeling overwhelms me and I am transported back to the serene streets of Vaugirard.
Le Marais has a lot of old world charm and nobility surrounding it with its historic architecture, and similarly gun metal grey/silver has an old charm and nobility about it.
The Champs Elysees is iconic and has a more opulent character with its’ high style, and similarly rose gold characterises opulence to me.
TMHS: Do you draw your designs freehand or using a computer? Having worked as a designer for many years I have used both methods depending on what I am designing, and what stage I am at. Do you find yourself drawing by hand ideas or are you quite technical in your approach?
AD: I draw by hand the initial sketches and then work in collaboration with our manufacturer to bring the designs to life via graphic drawings on the computer. I feel this way you get the best of both worlds in that hand drawing allows you the freedom to quite quickly go through designs to come up with a rough version and then moving to the computer allows you to really technically scope out each detail and come up with a model that can actually progress to manufacturing.
TMHS: What is your favourite thing about pocket watches?
AD: I find that in this modern day and age we are constantly bombarded with notifications from multiple devices all vying for our attention, the thing I like most about the pocket watch is that you aren’t distracted by it and I love that in that moment it takes me back to a simpler time.
Find the full Kickstarter campaign here: Wanderlust Pocket Watch
Words by Sarah Crawford, Founder & Editor.