I’m sure we’d all agree that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to looking for a minimalist watch that won’t break the bank these days. You only have to look at crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter to see at least 50 watch brands, on any given day, trying to raise funds for their ‘minimalist design without the luxury markup’ time-teller. So when something that’s actually unique comes along in the world of horology, we should probably take note.
24-hour watches aren’t a new concept, and neither are single handed watches - brands like Meistersinger and Slow have become staples of this particular market over the year - but they are a rare concept. With only a handful of brands in the world that produce them, Jacopo Dondi has made Perth, Australia home to one of them.
Starting out in 2015, the founders, Jake Delaney and Carmen Chappe de Leonval, knew that Kickstarter would indeed be the way to go about sourcing funds for their idea. “We were pretty naive to think that we’d be able to pull off creating a watch brand,” Jake admits. “We didn’t really know what we were doing. We just loved the concept, and knew that if there was still room for new brands to emerge in the 3-hander market, then there was without doubt room for another 24-hour watch. We still wanted to be different from the handful already out there, though.”
The brand differs from other 24-hour watch brands in the only way you really can in this industry: in price point and execution. While some of the already-established 24-hour watch brands have either latched on to a more industrial look and feel or opted to stay more in the ‘luxurious look-luxurious price tag’ camp, Jake and Carmen managed to combine both. Their watches retail at $280 AUD, but the case finishing and feel has been compared to brands retailing their watches at 10x that.
After their successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, they inspected, packaged, and shipped their watches from their own living room the following year. Their first design, the Inizio, sold out in early 2018, and the brand are now on to their second design, the Cambio. Jake and Carmen feel that the Cambio is a more refined version of the Inizio, perfectly encapsulating the progress that this Australian micro brand is making.
One thing the brand is commonly asked is “What’s with the Italian names?” Neither of the young founders have Italian heritage, but it comes back to them acknowledging that the 24-hour concept is not a new one. An Italian by the name of Jacopo De’Dondi created the world’s first clock - at least visually - in the mid 1300s, and it did in fact contain a 24-hour dial. “We played around with other names that gave the implication of ‘giving more time’, but kept coming back to the more traditional method of naming a watch company after an actual watchmaker,” Jake says. “It just seemed to fit.”
Although almost 700 years old, the 24-hour dial is certainly a novel concept in today’s world, but the ultimate idea is to give the wearer a more relaxed sense of time. And it seems to be doing that. “We’re used to regularly receiving messages from people saying how much they love how wearing our watches feels,” says Carmen. They’re not talking about the feel in a physical way, either. Of course, for some people it’s just about wearing a timepiece that has a stranger on the train ask “how do you tell the time that?” Whatever the reason, you can see why this brand is creating more than just a watch.
Jacopo Dondi will be focusing on finding stockists over the coming year, but they are currently offering 28% off the Cambio when you order through their website before December.
Images can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3ssVZjUU9HNZDVqbVJBS1JicFE
Jacopo Dondi Pty Ltd
Jacopo Dondi was founded by partners Jake and Carmen, based in Perth, Australia. Their watches are designed to display time in a much more natural way than your everyday wristwatch. Whilst their classic styling and elegant details look undoubtedly familiar, their timepieces, ultimately, change the way you perceive time.
Carmen Chappe de Leonval
Jacopo Dondi Pty Ltd