WE’VE SENT A COMPLETE NEWBIE SHOPPING FOR A FROMANTEEL AUTOMATIC WATCH. HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED.
10 minute read
By: Mr. Freek Caron | Fromanteel staff-writer, Amsterdam (GMT +1 hrs) | 10 minute read
In this edition of the Fromanteel Times we decided to do something different. In most articles, we share our knowledge of our watches, Fromanteel events or the state of the watches industry. We share what we believe is right, why we do what we’re doing and what we believe in.
Today, we’re putting all that away to let someone who’s a complete novice to watches discover an important side of Fromanteel, our automatic watches (better known as ‘Pendulum’). We asked our newest editorial staff member, Freek, to pick an automatic watch from our collection without giving any information upfront, this is what happened.
A short introduction
Growing up I’ve always found watches fascinating. The moments you see a person entering the room with a glinsering piece on his wrist will last forever in your imagination. You start writing that person's story for yourself and wonder how they got where they are.
I always thought that one day I would own an exclusive watch myself and become that man people stare at when I walk into a place. The older I got, the more I realized that to own an exclusive watch, one must know more about watches than just being able to name some of the most known brands.
Now, at 24 years old, I got familiar with the Fromanteel brand. Alfredo and Martijn, co-founders of the Amsterdam watches brand introduced me to the industry and the fascination grew on me. One day they challenged me: “pick an automatic watch from our collection, and tell us why you’ve chosen this specific watch”. I took on the challenge with open arms, and this article illustrates my train of thought.
What is an automatic watch?
The first thing I had to do was get a proper understanding of what an automatic watch is. What’s the ‘go-to’ first thing one does these days? Correct: to Google it: “a mechanical watch in which the natural motion of the wearer provides energy to wind the mainspring, making manual winding unnecessary if worn enough”, the definition as Wikipedia tells me.
Okay, so that raises the next question; what is a mainspring? I started doing some more digging to understand the basics of an automatic watch, and I decided it was time to speak with an expert. I phoned Alfredo Silva, co-founder of Fromanteel, to teach me a thing or two about automatic watches.
After an intense hour of analyzing different watches I learned that each automated watch has a ‘mainspring’, a spring that slowly unwinds itself and by doing so causes all the parts within the watch to move. It’s automated since there’s a mechanism that winds the mainspring to maintain a continuous movement.
To realize there’s such a complex mechanism in a timepiece that’s relatively small is astonishing. All of a sudden I truly understood anyone wanting to own an exquisite timepiece, especially the automated watches. Time to dive into the Fromanteel collection!
What are the options?
When looking at the Fromanteel collection, I found there’s a difference between the Quartz powered watches and the automatic watches. Since I’m looking for an automated watch, there’s quite an extensive list of options;
- Pendulum Original
- Pendulum Special Dark
- Pendulum Blue
- Pendulum Driver Blue
- Pendulum Night Dive
- Pendulum .BLU White
- Pendulum .BLU Blue
- Pendulum Prestige
- Pendulum Chrono .BLU White
- Pendulum Chrono .BLU Blue
At first glance, the one thing all of these watches have in common is the elegance, the subtleness and the feeling that they bring me when simply looking at them. After dreaming of owning an automatic watch for so long, suddenly it feels like it’s closer than ever.
The beauty is that these watches are among the best produced watches in the world. Alfredo told me that the ‘Swiss Made’ trademark ensures that at least 60% of the added value at manufacturing occurs in Switzerland, a country that’s extremely serious when it comes to watches. It was quite astonishing to hear the rules and regulations the country has for the watches industry to maintain its high standards.
Now, when comparing these watches in terms of price tags, we’re talking a completely different ballgame. Similar watches from other brands are on sale for double, sometimes triple the amount that Fromanteel is selling them for. ‘Quality timepieces, without the hefty price tag’, that’s what brings me to pick a Fromanteel watch as my first automatic watch.
What I’ve learned
I’ve placed my pre-order for the Pendulum Chrono .BLU white to ensure I’m among the first batch of lucky ones to be wearing such a unique timepiece. Till then, it’s going to be a waiting game, lucky I’m accompanied by my Quartz powered Fromanteel Moon Phase White in the meantime.
Looking back at the challenge I can truly say it brought many revelations. I understand why people spend a fortune on a watch, I understand why people can spend hours speaking about watches and I understand why watches is a multi-billion dollar industry.
However, if we put the commercial understanding aside it truly comes down to true craftsmanship. There aren’t many industries where each piece is dominantly produced by human beings that do nothing else than eating, breathing and dreaming watches.
To see a brand like Fromanteel take the essence of this industry and translate it into a comprehensible brand philosophy that allows more people to enter the industry is truly enticing. I felt privileged to do a challenge like this and experience the one-on-one class by a watch expert like Alfredo Silva.
Am I up for another challenge? Definitely! Next time I’d love to speak to even more experts both locally and internationally to gain some extra perspective, who knows I might even visit a Swiss Atelier one day!
When going through the different models, looking at competitors and learning more about the innovation under the roof of an automatic watch, I had a tough time making my decision. Each watch has its own unique characteristics and reasons why I’d see myself wearing one.
I want a watch that looks good and isn’t overly complicated. However, I want my watch to be able to tell me more than just the current time. I’d love to have the current date, a way to measure smaller time frames than 24 hours, and possibly an extra feature if it’s subtle enough since I’m not looking to carry anything looking like a smart-watch on my wrist.
Then, I found it: the Pendulum Chrono .BLU White. Walking into a room with this subtle bright piece on your wrist will surely make heads turn while simultaneously allowing you truly ‘stop’ time in line with the .BLU philosophy.
The philosophy behind the .BLU collection is the most convincing part since it resonates with my personal stance in life; allowing to live in the moment, ‘stop’ time to reconnect with the calm and reliable state of human metabolism. Kind of a mindfulness thing. There’s one feature on the Pendulum Chrono .BLU that truly allows me to do so.
Had I ever heard of a chronograph? Nope, but I do now! A chronograph function is a stopwatch feature to track time as precisely as possible. The beauty is, since the watch is mechanical , all of this happens through the means of true craftsmanship. Placing one tiny screw an inch to the left might cause a disruption in time.