DESIGNING THE GEMINI

We’re drawn to mechanical watches because of their beauty, complexity, and their role as precision instruments during some of the most pivotal moments of the past century. The chronograph holds an undeniably special place in that rich history.


THE ROMANCE

Strapped on the wrists of famed race car drivers, pilots, and astronauts, mechanical chronographs exude excellence, daring, and effortless cool. It’s no wonder then that when the opportunity presented itself, we had to make our own.


THE MISSION

Chronographs were no mere trinkets, too expensive or collectible to actually use. They served a purpose as both a useful tool and a personal statement of style. That, to us, is the ultimate role of a watch, and one we wish to make possible with the Gemini.


THE INSPIRATION

The allure of chronographs is that people actually used them—and with panache. 


Left

Jo Siffert, Heuer Autavia ref. 1163


Top Right

Nina Rindt, Universal Genève Compax ref. 885103/02


Bottom Right

Paul Newman, Rolex Oyster Comsmograph Daytona ref. 6263


REFERENCES

Our favorite chronograph references, each one an icon in its own right, served as the starting point for the Gemini's design.


Top, left to right:

Universal Genève Compax ref. 885103/02

Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona ref. 6263

Heuer Montréal ref. 110503 


Bottom, left to right:

Eberhard Contograf ref. 31501-806

Heuer Autavia ref. 1163

Breitling Co-Pilot ref. 765CP


Photos: Analog/Shift + Craft & Tailored


REFERENCES

Some may say that the unadorned, closed backs of these watches are unremarkable, but we like how these convey their true nature as instruments rather than novelties. 


Some have famous engravings that reveal their legacies. It’s also possible to use such engravings to trace watches back to their original owners, giving them an extraordinary sense of significance.


BACK TO BASICS

We design watches with the intent that they will be worn and cherished for many years. It is dangerously easy to over-design a watch, and fall into the trap of keeping up with trends. 


To create a design that is truly lasting, we strive to find a point of perfect balance. It has to be bold, but not garish; sharp, but not jarring; excellent, not excessive. 


Tight proportions and the subtle use of color make the Gemini a watch that is handsome, yet doesn’t scream for attention.  


TIMELESS ELEGANCE

With a case width of 39mm and a case height of 10mm, the Gemini remains faithful to classic proportions, avoiding the often bloated look of many modernized vintage reissues.


The Gemini's contours are graceful and slender, sculpted to fit virtually any wrist. 


PURE CLASS

Like its predecessors, the Gemini features a no-frills closed caseback.


An exhibition glass back is certainly a pretty thing to look at, and even the added cost is small. But we truly believe that a solid steel back, with its understated, utilitarian aesthetic, is the apt choice for a tool watch. 


Plus, as a canvas for the wearer’s own personal expression, it’s ultimately more meaningful; with the watch becoming a true companion and a unique piece of its wearer’s personal history.


PURPOSE BUILT

The Gemini’s extra functions go beyond that of a stopwatch.


Its 12-hour bezel provides a clean, minimal aesthetic while also proving supremely useful. It can track hours elapsed (by aligning the bezel triangle with the hour hand), or a second timezone (by using the bezel as a second set of hour markers).


In this image, the dial indicates 7:12 AM New York time while the bezel marks 2:12 PM Athens time.


CRYSTAL CLEAR

True to its vintage spirit and utilitarian purpose, the Gemini features a domed plexiglass crystal. It gives the watch a certain clarity and sparkle not found in modern sapphire, which suffers from smudges and mirror-like glare.


But it’s not just about better optics and vintage charm: it’s tougher against impact, and scratches can always be buffed out. Indeed, it still holds its own today. 


For more on plexi's advantages, see here.


THE MOVEMENT

Mechanical chronograph movements are known to be temperamental. Many watch brands err on the side of caution and go with meca-quartz or fully quartz for this very reason. But we just couldn't do that. There's something so exquisite about a fully mechanical chronograph that we can't resist. After all, if you bought a chronograph solely for performance, you'd buy a $20 digital Casio.


For a fully mechanical chronograph, the movement options are limited. Most available mechanical chronograph calibres are thick and priced as high-end luxury items: whether Japanese (SII NE88/86), or Swiss (Valjoux 7750, Sellita SW500, ETA 2894). For a capable, affordable movement there was one clear choice: the Seagull ST19. 


We wouldn’t be the first microbrand to go with the ST19. As the direct successor to the Swiss Venus 175, it’s a tried and true design further refined over the decades. And it's genuinely amazing that this old-school movement is still being produced, at an accessible price to boot.  


There is no other mechanical chronograph movement that can compete in terms of its price/performance ratio. Its column wheel means that chronograph action feels crisp, and it has proven reliable given proper casing and QC. 


Each Gemini is tested in 3 positions over a 72-hour period, regulated, and personally inspected before shipping. For more details, see here. 


A FITTING NAME

With so much lore surrounding the chronograph, it's only fitting that the Gemini's name references not just its design but also the spirit of its ancestors.


The two subdials reflect the duality of its namesake, the mythical Gemini twins. They were famed horse trainers, tying in to the original purpose of the chronograph as a timer of horse races.


We also wanted to acknowledge the historical significance of chronographs in space travel (such as the Omega Speedmaster or the Seiko 6139) by paying tribute to NASA's Project Gemini, which helped pave the way for Apollo's moon landing. 


GO FORTH

The Gemini is an ode to the chronograph at the peak of its design and history-making. We hope that wearing it, you feel the romance and ambitions of an era when everything seemed possible. 


We also hope that you make it truly your own, imbue it with your own moments and memories, so it becomes a piece of your history, too. 


Begin here.