We’ve got a new girl in the office (wink to those who grew up in the eighties). It’s called Atelier Holgur and is a watch brand based in Singapore, a country that is more about buying high-end watches than making them. That’s why its founders have turned to those who know the most about this, the Swiss, to provide them with what they need to configure their first product, an interesting diving watch.
The idea came from Matthew De Bakker, a Singapore-based diving enthusiast, and his Danish partner Asbjørn Simonen-Andersen, whose grandfather, Holgur, was a watchmaker in Denmark (hence the name of the brand). The two met at the school they attended in France, and after years of disconnection they came together again in this project.
To debut in the watch industry, De Bakker and Simonen-Andersen have given birth to the Frømand watch (Danish word meaning frogman), and have limited it to a hundred pieces, because starting with a low production is usual for a debutant and independent brand. What is higher is its price: 9,850 Swiss francs (about 11,000 dollars) plus tax. Let’s see why.
First of all, because of its movement, mechanical automatic and largely skeletonized, which is charged with energy by a micro-rotor. This is the Caliber ASE 200.00, executed by the Swiss firm specializing in high-end movements Schwarz Etienne, which has added sandblasted bridge surfaces and hand-polished bezels. Its power reserve is very considerable: 86 hours, approximately.
On the outside, it is attractive. Its makers rightly consider that not everyone who buys dive watches is a marine explorer, so this Frømand is also designed for the office.
It features an angular case 40 mm in diameter and 13.5 mm thick made of grade 5 titanium (so we presume its lightness), with alternating polished and micro-blasted elements, although it is mostly matte. It has a barrel shape, and imperceptible parts attached to the lugs to secure the strap, which surrounds these integrated bars. This unusual solution does not prevent the case back from displaying the caliber through a sapphire crystal.
Its dial is highly legible, which is what is required of this type of watch, and simple, with a contrast of black and white that never goes out of style. The surface emulates the ‘vinyl record’ effect, with its concentric circles, a pattern that is also used on the 6 o’clock seconds hand to add depth.
Of course, it meets the demands of a tool watch destined for the sea: it is water-resistant to 300 meters, has guards protecting the screw-down crown, a 3D fragment of Super-LumiNova, a luminescent material, is embedded in its hands, and the unidirectional bezel is also fully illuminated.
The Frømand comes with two straps: a black everyday strap with hook-and-loop closure and a blue-green diving strap, both made from recycled ocean plastics. Now, would you spend that kind of money on a brand that no one knows about, or would you support creative professionals who have something to say with pieces that only a few can boast about because of their scarcity on the market? That’s the question.