by Bridget Harrington Rector
From the creator of the unusual wood and leather watches (which were picked up by the MoMA Design Store) comes an equally eye-catching wristwatch made of solid marble. The Mason Collection demonstrates how Lorenzo Buffa—the designer behind the Analog Watch Co.—continues to treat watch design as an art form.
After completing a successful Kickstarter campaign for the Carpenter Watch, Buffa opened a showroom/studio space in Philadelphia, where he has continued to play with new materials and ideas. “The first successful campaign was a big ego boost,” says Buffa. “It was encouraging to realize that people see the value in a minimal, unbranded watch that lends itself to interrogation.” Thinking about how that success could be replicated led to a firming-up of the brand’s mission. “We aren’t just that ‘wood watch’ company. We are a minimalist art watch company that loves nature and pushes the limits of the conventional watch.”
Buffa originally toyed with using concrete in his next watch design, but with this new brand clarity, he realized that concrete isn’t as natural or one-of-a-kind as wood. So he set upon marble, with its beautiful natural veining and luxe reputation. “We call them sculptures for the wrist,” says Buffa, so perhaps marble was always the inevitable conclusion.
Of course, working with natural materials means finding new and experimental processes. The first sample was bulky, with a lot of metal, which sent Boffa back to the drawing board. He ended up designing a unique caseback feature that could avoid the lugs that usually hang off the body and pushed the supplier to make a process to insert a little lip in the face that would allow the glass to sit flush with the stone. These tiny details took months to get right.
In the end, 16 months of development paid off. The result of Buffa’s stringent attention to detail—from the straps made by a local Amish leathersmith to the Swiss made, gold-plated movement—is a unique watch that brings pleasure to the eyes every time you check the time.
Check out Analog Watch Co.’s Mason Watch Kickstarter campaign. Watches can be pre-ordered for $165, discounted from the future retail price of $399.
Image credit to Analog Watch Co.