Custom Watches

How do you define luxury?

Luxury is having something created your way, just as you like it.

That’s why someone can luxuriate in a bath… not because the bathwater percolated from a Nordic mountain spring, but because the bath is perfectly tailored to them.

An item which is luxurious to you may be worthless to someone else, and vice versa.

When it comes to a watch, imagine getting one as a special gift. Would you rather be given one tailored to your specific, personal design choices, or get a gem-encrusted garish nightmare which, technically, may be worth more?

I’d hope for the personalised watch!

Overseas Chrono Blue / Garrick S1

Of course, if you’re treating yourself, and you can afford to write a blank cheque, you could use the likes of Vacheron Constantin’s custom watch service, perhaps getting something modelled on the exquisite Overseas Chronograph (shown left). However, as the guide price of the watch is £23,100, you can imagine how expensive a bespoke version would be!

Or, for a fully British experience, you could perhaps buy a Garrick S1 timepiece, one of only ten ever to be made, at £27,995. You can get the hands customised, or perhaps go for their fully bespoke service and get a watch made to your precise design.

But wait a minute… as gorgeous as those watches are, they’re out of the price range of most of us, and that’s before we start talking about the personalised custom-created watches.

What if there was a better option, one which gave the customer the ability to have their own watch tailor-made from an almost endless number of possible configurations, but the finished watch was a fraction of the price of a bespoke watch from a top-end watchmaker?
Thanks to the Internet, and the inventiveness of a company called UNDONE, the possibility now exists. You can configure your own watch from a dazzling array of possible components, including the case, dials, movement mechanism, straps, colours and even add your initials. Most impressive of all, the cost of such a luxury is much, much less than you’d expect. Click here for details.

Can You Gift A Custom Watch?

This is an interesting question. Obviously, a personalised watch is something unique and specific to the person wearing it. Usually, you’d expect that person to have chosen the tailoring option themselves.

So what can you do if you want to give a personalised watch as a gift? Well, consider it like buying someone jewellery. You need to do your homework. Think about what they like and what they don’t like. Consider what they’ve bought in the past. Do they prefer intricate, delicate designs, or bold and strong ones? Do they like colour, or monochrome?

When you give a personalised gift, you always run the risk of it not being a total, precise match for what the person would’ve chosen themselves. However, the very fact that you’ve made the effort to try to tailor a gift just for that person should more than compensate for any minor differences between what they would’ve chosen and what you selected, assuming you put in the effort and come close to what they would’ve chosen!

With a watch, make note of what the person currently has, and the styling of it, from the strap to the dial and the hands. Also consider what the watch is used for. Is it just to tell the time, with bold hands and dial, or is it used to convey subtle messages to other people, such as how successful the person is, where the design and styling may be more important.

Can You Build Your Own Watch?

Some people want to take watch customisation to the ultimate level and build their own watch. While it is technically possible, you may want to use the simpler option of getting a custom-made, personalized watch after reading about what’s involved with making your own!

Firstly, you’re going to need some specialised tools, which are unlikely to be in your garden shed! You’d be wise to invest in a magnifying headband because you’ll be working with some tiny components. For the same reason, a set of high quality tweezers is also a good idea, along with a spring-bar tool and some watchmaker’s screwdrivers or watch-repair toolkit. You’ll also want a very clean work-space.

Secondly, you’re going to need several parts which comprise a watch. There’s the case, complete with bezel, a movement mechanism with possibly a movement ring to enable it to fit snugly in the case, a dial, watch hands and a strap with spring bars. You’ll probably want some hypo cement to stick the parts together as required and possibly mounting screws and tabs if your movement mechanism doesn’t come with them.

Bear in mind that each part and tool costs money and has to be delivered, which costs more. If you just want to make one watch, doing it yourself may be an expensive option, but if you’re doing it as a hobby and for the enjoyment of making your own, personal, bespoke watch, then good luck!