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What our Debut Collection of Modern Watch Offerings Means to Craft + Tailored CEO Cameron Barr

People often assume that I don't like modern watches, and that's simply not true. Despite the fact that my true passion is in the vintage space, modern watches play a role in my life and I like them quite a bit – with the caveat being they have to have a spirit that harkens back to the golden era of watch design.

Modern watches have their place; they’re carefree to wear, you don’t have to hunt and peck for a killer example – which can be a huge part of the fun of vintage, but isn’t for everyone – and they’re usually very accessible. But there’s a spirit that was present in the horological icons of the past that’s missing from much of the modern pieces available today. Some call it progress, but I think it’s generally a step away from the charms and charisma that’s lured so many of us into this addictive vintage end of the hobby in the first place. The sizing, the color palettes, the appointments overall – something is missing, and it isn’t just patina and a story. I’m far from alone in this thinking, just look at the incredible success of the Tudor Black Bay series, a watch I wear weekly and adore. 

I’ve known for quite some time that I wanted to bring a selection of modern offerings into the fold for Craft + Tailored, but finding modern lines made by brands with a legitimate heritage that still produce watches that speak to that past (and aren’t extremely exclusive) is trickier than it seems. It took us a bit to hone in what modern watch lines and brands truly fit our ethos as a company, that we would all wear proudly, and that shared the X factor cocktail of accessibility and panache. That have soul, but are useful. I’m proud to say that we have finally settled on a trio of marques that I believe all represent the best of the heritage-inspired modern watch world, and have now gone live with Craft + Tailored’s first group of modern offerings.

The trio of brands we’ve brought in for our debut heritage-inspired collection include Zodiac, Nivada Grenchen, and Alsta. These three brands all encompass what I personally love in a modern watch, and their core models all seek to modernize iconic classics and pay homage to the past in a way that makes vintage charm accessible and functional. I think that philosophy has been sorely missing in the Swiss watch industry for the past 20 years. 

These brands all bring quality, substance, and an accessibility to great watchmaking that is undeniably becoming difficult to get ahold of at a similar price point in the vintage market. Whether you’re after a killer diver or GMT with a tangible, downright important heritage, a great chronograph with all of the right motorsports-inspired aesthetic touches and visual queues, or even something that speaks to your vintage taste, but is a little less precious for travel, adventure, or rough weekend activities, these three lines all offer something that we love.  

Tyler's Love Letter to Zodiac We've had a long history with vintage Zodiac watches. Tyler tells his tale here. Read the Feature

Zodiac is a brand that makes watches that carry on the visual appeal and rich history of their divers and GMTs, both of which were some of the earliest brought to market in the ‘50s and both of which helped to define their respective categories. Zodiac is doing an amazing job of positioning themselves as a brand that appreciates its history, but knows how to make a modern-quality product. They’re doing something special and we’re very, very proud to carry their watches. We here at C + T have long been fans of vintage Zodiac, so carrying their modern offerings just makes sense. 

Nivada Grenchen is a company we’ve been watching for a while and are really excited to bring into the mix. The watches Nivada Grenchen produces these days are incredibly wearable and carefree to own, but like Zodiac, have a respected heritage and are produced in the way that we all would want them to be as vintage enthusiasts with access to modern materials. The new Nivada Grenchen watches also do an incredible job of staying true to their vintage form factors and sizing. When we first saw the new Nivada Grenchen line, everyone expected them to retail at a substantially higher price point than they do – they’re just that good.

Alsta is perhaps the most under-the-radar modern line we’ve decided to carry, however, they’re doing something very cool with their range of heritage-inspired watches. Alsta is best known as the brand that produced the Nautoscaph Superautomatic, the beautiful dive watch worn by Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper in Jaws. But the fact of the matter is Alsta’s watches stand proudly on their own as a killer line up of sports-minded pieces that require no film connection to love. The sports watches Alsta is making today are wonderfully well-crafted and have that utility-focused, rugged ‘70s charm we all love at an unbeatable price. They’re watches that are meant to be used and the company is even making some innovative pieces that inject a vintage aesthetic into something functional for modern users, particularly with models like the Motoscaphe – which was designed with features specifically geared towards motorcycle riders. These are handsome, functional, and incredibly accessible watches that we think add something unique to our offerings. 

Craft + Tailored has always been a company that wants to cater to everyone. Most of us didn’t wake up one day with the money for a collection of our dream watches, and most of us live lives that make wearing some of our vintage favorites every day impossible. There’s an air of exclusivity in the watch world that we’ve never truly loved or bonded with; for us, it’s about the stories and the passion, not the cost. With this new chapter in the Craft + Tailored story, I’m really proud to say we’re taking a step towards bringing more people into the hobby with watches that are truly respectable, fun, and soulful. It’s a natural progression for our brand and you can trust that with the blood, sweat, and tears myself and my team have put into understanding and handling the best-of-the-best in the vintage watch world for years, we wouldn’t sell a modern watch we wouldn’t wear ourselves. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  

Founder and CEO of Craft + Tailored, Cameron Barr searches the globe for vintage timepieces and ephemera. His passion for telling the stories behind these incredible objects laid the foundation for C+T.

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