There was a time when watches were used more as instruments rather than ornaments. This is undoubtedly part of the nostalgia that has brought about the explosive growth of the vintage watch market. At Lorier, our goal is to revive this spirit like no other brand in terms of our designs, the materials that we choose, and price.
Our debut model, the Neptune, is a dive watch. One big appeal of dive watches is that they have a history of being used everywhere, from battlefields to formal gatherings. See the pictures of Navy Seals with Rolex Submariners below:
Photo credit: Rolex MagazineNowadays, it's largely an alien idea, but it's actually how the great Swiss watch companies put themselves on the map: reliable watches with utilitarian yet refined designs, at accessible prices. Sadly, today, the same sort of watches would cost four times as much (after inflation), out of reach for the servicemen and servicewomen who would buy them. Imagine being a veteran wanting to buy a reissue of the watch you wore and finding out it costs almost as much as a car, with the original version costing even more!
That spirit, of having a watch that could accompany you no matter where you went, seems to have disappeared. As a brand, we made our choices specifically to revive it.
Why we didn't "go Swiss"
I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. A logical choice would have been to put Swiss movements in our watches, have them assembled in Switzerland to get the "Swiss Made" stamp, and charge three times as much. But that's not how Swiss watches made their name.
We don't think heritage should be bought--it should be built. In order to make a watch that can truly go anywhere, one that is well-engineered, well-designed, and well-priced, we chose a Japanese movement, the SII NH35A. It will require much less maintenance than any Swiss mechanical movement, will fail at much lower rates, and last longer due to its lower beat rate. Most importantly, it can keep time just as well. It's easily replaceable, and affordable. It hacks and can be wound by hand. For those who are unfamiliar with automatic movements, it doesn't run on a battery, but on your movement, so it will tick as long as you're ticking. Since we want our watches to be more instrument than ornament, the SII NH35A was the obvious choice.
Plexiglass vs. Sapphire
Most watch companies today opt for sapphire crystals. Not only are they extremely difficult to scratch, the word "sapphire" itself is more marketable. But they're not as practical as plexiglass. For one, sapphire suffers much more from glare, especially with a domed shape, even after the application of antireflective coating. Secondly, it attracts fingerprints very easily. Third, sapphire isn't as impact resistant, and will shatter into thousands of tiny pieces, which is quite dangerous for your watch's mechanisms. Finally, it's much more expensive to replace.
More than once, we were asked if plexiglass was a cost-savings measure. It was actually more expensive to manufacture a case with a plexi crystal, because tolerances need to be tighter for it to be sealed for a 200 meter/660 feet depth rating.
But it was worth it. Plexiglass has an optical quality that sapphire can't match, any scratches can be buffed out relatively easily, not to mention its impact resistance. Again, we make our watches not to be collectibles, but companions.
Like many microbrands, we could have made the Neptune a limited edition. But we don't want to stop you from wearing your watch for fear that you'll never be able to replace it. We're romantics. We build our watches to go out and see the world beyond your daily commute.
It wouldn't make sense to build a watch for adventures if there are no places to adventure to. For each watch we sell, we are donating to organizations that not only seek to restore our environment, but also aim to actively change laws so that our world can be protected from further harm. With the Neptune, we decided to donate to Oceana, one of the leading organizations fighting for our oceans and seas.
This won't be for a limited time, for a limited number of watches. We believe that we have to do our part, so we'll do it as long as we're in business.
We build watches that go with you, in every sense of the term. Enjoy!