There are watches and then there are timepieces. And then there’s Sekford.Watches are a much-lofted accessory. So much so that we separate those of exceptional quality under a category of their own: the timepiece. The word evokes a mysterious feeling of prestige. A sense of history. Of class. And regardless of what you call them, they also represent a sobering connection to our inevitable mortality.
While we find all of this a bit sensational, we get the hype. For many men, a watch is their only piece of jewelry. Watches are simplistic in function yet incredibly complex in construction. They are vehicles through which to display one’s distinct personality, as well as a context that distinguishes jeans and a t-shirt from a black tie event (or for some, an in-your-face reminder of income). We’ve heard (and support) a bit of advice that you should start your collection with a piece that is made to be worn with a suit. But not everyone can walk into Rolex and drop $5,000 (a fact made more offensive if your suit budget is $500; no judgment if it is).
But if a man is brave enough to take on this wrist bound expedition, there’s a wide world for him to explore. The timepiece market is crowded. It’s run by giants that were there in the beginning and still produce some of the most classic and cherished designs. It’s also been piled on by eccentric movements and a “let’s just see what we can accomplish” mentality (see: Romain Jerome’s watches, which literally feature pieces of asteroids and even the Titanic). It’s also a space that is full of poorly made watches, more at home at the bottom of your drawer than the top of your wrist.
Somewhere between those concepts — the “watch” and the “timepiece” — is exactly what Mr. Kuchar Swara was looking for one weekend in London. But after a fateful day in a vintage watch shop that nearly culminated in the purchase of a ’50s Longines, Mr. Swara determined that he would design and create the dress watch he was looking for (but, as he puts it, at a “democratic” price with quality only found in the luxury market). In his opinion, this space was missing in the watch industry. Swara states with British nonchalance: “You just can’t get a watch for a thousand dollars that looks and feels as good as a pair of Church’s shoes.”
So, Mr. Swara reached out to his network, notably Cedric Bellon and Pierre Foulonneau, a specialist watch designer and industrial designer respectively, with experience at the likes of Hermes, Bell & Ross, and Longines, to name a few. Though Swara thought it was a long shot, his French colleagues were up for the challenge, and Sekford was born.
Inspired by vintage British pocket watches, the Sekford team has put immeasurable care and time into the research and craft of these watches, from the shape of the domed glass to the historic process of typeface and numbers painted by single hairline brushes. The payoff is a line of pieces that displays a deep connection to horology with materials that, to the eye (and specifically to the touch), exude craftsmanship equal to timepieces five times their price.
The line (consisting of four face/strap combinations) is simple and uniquely vintage feeling. Each dial appears hand painted. The end product is restrained and, as such, is completely refreshing. Every mineral crystal face (a painstaking process) is constructed to display the face clearly, regardless of viewing angle. The leather, sourced and manufactured in the UK, feels exceptional, like a bespoke pair of wingtips.
Sekford watches are, to the chagrin of many in the industry, all built around a quartz movement. But industry be damned. Mr. Swara is passionate about thinking outside the box on this issue. “Nobody in the quartz market is giving this much attention to the quality of a quartz watch,” he passionately tells us. “And perhaps that’s the problem.” Sekford believes there should be more watchmakers focused on this type of movement (as opposed to the snobbishly “superior” mechanical one), as it brings price point relief and long-term reliability.
Sekford is also committed to giving the time, energy, and nuanced service that creates a lasting relationship with each of their customers that has previously existed only in the luxury market. Each case is engraved with a unique serial number. And with each purchase comes a personalized certificate (and a registration in their system) that creates a sense of contractual longevity.
The team at Sekford set out, as many brands have done, to create something they couldn’t find. And yet, as many brands have failed to do, Sekford has succeeded. They’ve managed to create a watch and a timepiece as one. Made with the highest end materials, a respect for horological foundation, and a $1000 price point.
In the spirit of their brand, we don’t want to make these watches seem untouchable. Or mysterious. There’s a lot that could be made sacred about what Sekford is doing (and in some ways, it really is), but having spent some time with Mr. Swara, mystery has no place here. These watches are damn beautiful. They’re affordable. And they’re exceedingly well made.
Underthink this and give Sekford a call.