I walk passed Truth Coffee on Buitenkant Street in Cape Town most mornings to fetch my car. Apart from the coffee, patrons flock from near and far for the Steampunk-themed experience. The waiters are always dressed the part and if a timepiece is ever reveled, expect it to be a pocket watch. Google pocket watches and you’ll see how fashionable they’ve become - again. Before we referenced time on our wrists, we kept these little pebble-shaped tickers snuggly in our pockets.
The revival over the passed couple of years may have something to do with our fascination with the past, its reimagining as some sort of dystopian future or the influence that award-winning TV series such as Boardwalk Empire have on contemporary street fashion trends. With the music industry so powerful, Swiss watchmakers might also be hoping that someone like Pharrell Williams adds a watch to his chatelaine, which would start a new chain of events.
Harlem couturier Daniel ‘Dapper Dan’ Day was in the news earlier this year over Gucci’s ‘appropriation’ of a jacket very much like the one he made in the 80s for Olympic sprinter Diane Dixon, which ultimately lead to him being sued and the closure of his business. Day was a pioneer and trendsetters in early Hip-Hip fashion known for using oversized and reinterpreted luxury brand logos on his custom-designed tracksuits, tailoring and fur coats. As he says in a recent interview with Noisey.com: “The Afro-Latino thing here in Harlem, we all have this thing about being royal. To wear the crown, you can’t walk around looking like everybody else.” Dapper Dan surely deserves the appropriate accessory. With the 80s so hot right now there is bound to be a lot more chained accessories making an appearance.
Longines’s 185th Anniversary celebration releases this year include the 49.5mm RailRoad Pocket Watch to mark over a century of the company’s links to and adventures of the railroad. The expansion of the railroads at the turn of the 19h century shifted the notion of time into a whole new dimension with punctuality and precision being of the utmost importance. This RailRoad features a manual-winding L513.2 calibre and white polished dial with large Roman numerals for perfect visibility. The railway-style minute track completes the aesthetic.
At the top of the pocket chain is the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260. This double-dial masterpiece was conceived over a period of eight years and has an entirely unique calibre with 57 original complications. It’s also unique in that it’s a one-off special commission to Vacheron’s Atelier Cabinotiers from a client who wanted “the most complicated pocket watch of the 21 Century”, according to the head of the bespoke division, Dominique Bernaz. Among its impressive list of features are the Gregorian and Hebraic perpetual calendar with days, number of the week within the year, months, years, leap years for each; an astronomic calendar, rattrapante or split-second chronograph and Carillon Westminster chimes with minute repeater.
For a totally futuristic Punk look, HYT are the hybrid vehicle equivalent of the watch world. HYT are not only cool because of their Steampunk aesthetic, they’re the first manufacture to combine mechanical and fluidic technology. This titanium-cased Skull Pocket has an embossed Hermès leather cover and features the smallest dynamo in the world with the hour being indicated by a green liquid-filled capillary.
For a more accessible timepiece the 48.5mm Tissot Savonnette with its golden and palladium brass Art Deco-inspired case is a reinterpretation of one of their models from the 1930s, and features a Swiss quartz movement.