Apart from watches another great passion of mine is contemporary building and interior design. It always amazes me how a client can present a vague idea to an architect and they will produce meticulously detailed technical drawings. The concept will then be transformed into a fully functioning bespoke home. This type of customisation is now playing a huge part in watch design. More and more consumers are interested in owning their own unique individual timepieces. In previous articles I have written about watchmakers like Frank Heydrich, Thomas Prescher, Martin Pauli (Angular Momentum) and Richard Paige (RPaige) that already offer this type of service. Another great example is Swiss watch brand Ochs und Junior.
Ochs und Junior is a small boutique watchmaker based in the idyllic location of Lucerne, Switzerland. The business is very small and includes only four key personnel: Ludwig Oechslin (chief designer and technical expert) Beat Weinmann (CEO) Cail Pearce (communications) and Sandra Flück (technical assistant to Ludwig Oechslin). Essentially this means that the company has a very limited marketing budget and relies on word of mouth. Unusually they only sell directly and not through any retail outlets. Beat Weinmann deals with customers on an individual basis either in the office or by email. In fact he operates in a very similar manner to a tailor by suggesting different materials and fitting for size.
Approximately a year ago I was privileged to review the wonderful Moon Phase Patina. This exquisite timepiece measured 42mm x 11mm and felt very comfortable to wear. Ultimately this is down to elegant case design and choice of lightweight titanium in production. As part of the customization process clients can also opt for luxurious sterling silver and a smaller diameter of 39mm. Personally I would love to see a supersized 55mm -60mm version of these timepieces. Brands like Chronoswiss and Glycine (that are normally associated with more traditional watches) ventured down this route and I really admire their adventurous spirit.
Presently Ochs und Junior have four exciting models (Moon Phase, Annual Calendar, Date and Two Time Zones) to choose from. Although there are restrictions in terms of the case size and material choices there is scope to create some unique dials. In the last few years’ customers have been requesting some very eclectic designs. In my recent article entitled ‘Moonstruck’ I featured their sensational Nebra. This timepiece has a very distinctive textured turquoise façade and effectively incorporates gold leaf and 12-karat gold into the composition. Another one of my favourites is the Annual Calendar with the rusty iron dial. A Norwegian businessman commissioned this watch and the dial has been varnished to avoid further deterioration. Hopefully in the future the company will explore more idiosyncratic techniques and textures.
All of Ochs und Junior’s watches are manufactured in Switzerland and prices start from CFH 8,000 (approximately $8,428).