The biggest challenge in writing about a new American brand fueled with Kickstarter dollars is there’s no history. And I don’t mean history of company performance – or product performance, for that matter. I mean the stories that go with a brand or a model. You know, like the James Bond connection to the Submariner, the spacefaring history of the Speedmaster, or the numerous brands served by LeCoultre.
None of that really exists with a new brand.
But take one look at Brooklyn, New York industrial designer Neil Carpenter’s Brooklyn Field timepieces, and you’d certainly suspect there was a story behind the watch. They’ve got an old feel, and indeed, were inspired by the pocket watches of yesteryear.
And really, there is a story there. It’s just not 70 or 80 years old.
But the story is nearly as old as Carpenter. He discovered his family’s collection of pocket watches at age six. He was drawn to them. They felt “ancient and beautiful, … with each watch telling its own unique story though the patina of age and wear.” As such, they informed Carpenter’s subsequent design of the Brooklyn Field.
The watches themselves have a look that’s a cross between a pilot watch and a field watch. One might observe that the dial has some updates to a more modern look but, if anything, I get a faint (or not so faint) Bauhaus vibe.
The watch is available with a black or cream dial, and in steel or brass (black dial only). Ticking away (no quartz movements here, folks) is a solid Miyota 821A that’s been modestly decorated with a skeleton rotor. The dial is protected by a double-domed sapphire crystal, and the display case back features sapphire as well. The vintage-inspired look is completed with lugs that appear to be wire, but conceal a spring bar beneath the brown leather strap.
The rounded case with narrow bezel contributes to the Bauhaus effect, as do the minimalist numerals and narrow stick hands. The round date window with its steel surround is a detail that just simply fits – especially with a period homage like the Brooklyn Field. The signed buckle – with a non-standard buckle design to boot – is another nice detail.
It seems that attention to detail is one of Neil Carpenter’s hallmarks. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall and early winter (he raised nearly $75,000, smashing his $40,000 goal), he delayed the initial delivery of watches due to a minor issue with the spring bar/ lug/ strap intersection. He retooled, corrected the issue, and is now due to ship in early April.
Alas, you’ve missed the $100 discount that went with the Kickstarter campaign, but you can still check out Neil Carpenter’s watches and order them here.
(Image credit: Carpenter Watches unless otherwise noted.)