Just launched minutes ago and already achieved its target two times over on Kickstarter, is the delightful Vario Empire watch designed by Ivan Chua in Singapore.
Unlike a whole raft of watches that you’ll find on Kickstarter, everything about this 38mm Art Deco-inspired dress watch is original, from the design to the elegant stepped case, to the guilloche dial, to the onion crown, and hands, everything was custom made from scratch.
Ivan started out three years ago designing watch straps, specializing in colorful geometric and patterned NATO’s, but more recently he has looked to leather and even Harris Tweed straps. In a country where it rarely dips below 85 degrees, it’s surprising that Ivan would even be aware of Harris Tweed, still woven in the distinctly chilly environs of the Outer Hebrides.
And in theory, at least, it should be surprising that Ivan would opt for a watch that is so distinctly Art Deco in its look and feel. Art Deco originally emanated from France just before World War 1, taking much of its influence from Cubism, whose key proponent was Pablo Picasso.
However, by the 1930s there was a strong Art Deco influence that had found its way to the former British Empire outpost of Singapore, both in terms of architecture, some of which still stands, and through design.
It was in Singapore that for some 7 years, Russian émigré Vladimir Tretchikoff was recruited as a designer and art director for Warin Publicity Services where he created eye-catching visuals in the Art Deco style of the times. He later went on to be one of the best-selling artists of the 20th century, and it’s known that his exhibitions were better attended and outsold those of Picasso in the United States. So whether Ivan knows it or not, he is in a city with a strong Art Deco heritage.
Tretchikoff’s maxim was ‘Express Your Passion. Do What You Love. No Matter What’ and for Ivan, each watch or strap he creates is a labor of love.
Choose Your Empire
The collection consists of four watches:
Silver Dial / Heated Blue hands / Navy Blue Italian Leather strap
Gunmetal Tuxedo Dial / Silver hands / Maroon Italian Leather strap
White Dial / Heated Blue hands / Grey Italian Leather strap
White Tuxedo Dial / Silver hands / Black Italian Leather strap
Early bird buyers can get their hands on the sapphire glass-covered Miyota 6T33 Hand Wound Movement which requires an enjoyable daily winding ritual. There’s also an optional Seiko NH38A Automatic Movement which will be offered if the stretch goal is reached. The watches come on a choice of an Italian leather or Harris Tweed strap in colors to suit the tone of each watch.
Super Early Bird pledges will see you able to pick up this charming Empire three-hander with Art Deco numerals and an Art Deco dial for just US$218, which is less than the price of many a quartz everyday beater. All I need now is a tuxedo.