This is a guest post written by my brother-in-law Bradley.
Over the last couple of years I have become more and more interested in watches. What started as the appeal of having something nice looking on my wrist to tell the time became more of a fascination over how all the gears, wheels and springs of a mechanical watch work in harmony to keep accurate time. A modern, quartz (battery operated) watch will always keep better time – a good mechanical may typically gain or lose 10 seconds or so a day. It may sound a lot, but in reality that means it’s accurate to within 0.02%. When you look at the inner workings of a mechanical watch it’s difficult to comprehend the precision engineering that goes into it.
If the main point of a watch is to tell them time, then why on earth would anyone want to pay more than £30 for a simple quartz watch? The truth is that a lot of people wouldn’t want to. Many people are happy to check the time on their mobile phone or on their computer screen, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Look around you though. A lot of people will be wearing a watch, and almost all of them will be different. Human nature means that there are a lot of people who want something that looks good on their wrist. Although you might not be able to see it straight away, there are a lot of people who enjoy knowing that a simple swing of their arm sets in motion over 100 tiny precision pieces which all combine to tell the time. I’ve been conducting some interviews for work recently, and something struck me. When you first meet someone, what do you look at first? Their eyes? Their smile? Their shoes? For me, I look at their wrist (obviously I don’t make judgements based on this, but it’s one of the first things I notice).
So, while browsing online I came across a guy from America who is setting up his own watch company. Chris (“Doc”) Vail became frustrated at the lack of options for people who wanted to own an automatic chronograph but didn’t want to pay the earth. His solution was to create one himself. It may sound like a foolhardy venture – there is a saying that goes: the best way to make a small fortune in the watch industry is to start with a large fortune.
What is an automatic chronograph and what’s so special about it? Well, a chronograph is a watch which also has a stopwatch function operated by pushers on the side of the case. When this extra complication is added to a mechanical watch, the complexity and price of the watch movement go up. Take a look online and you will see that most automatic chronograph watches cost £1,000 upwards. The Lew & Huey Riccardo – the Rally Inspired Chronograph is priced at $475 through Kickstarter or the Lew & Huey official website. If you look carefully, you will be able to find other automatic chronograph watches in this price range, but none that look as good or have specifications as impressive as the Lew & Huey Riccardo watch.
Because Chris has started this project as a watch enthusiast first and foremost, he has sought advice and listened to the opinions of his potential customers and come up with a watch which has received much praise amongst online watch communities.
The reason for this post is to try to promote this new business. I’ve had various communications with Chris and can tell that he is passionate about watches. He has some other great ideas for unique, stylish watches and hopes to be able to produce a whole range of watches in the future and price them all under £300. Like many small businesses starting up, he is committed to investing his own money into this project but is also looking for backing through Kickstarter or pre-orders on his own website to make sure this project gets off the ground. 200 watches will be produced in the first run and each will have a limited edition # engraved on the back. Production samples are now in hand and full production should be starting shortly. If you are interested in watches, or want a unique timepiece on your wrist, then this is an opportunity not to be missed.
- Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Caseback: Sapphire Glass and 316L Stainless Steel
- Display Glass: Domed Anti-Reflective Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 10ATM / 100M / 330FT
- Case Diameter: 42mm
- Case Length (Lug-to-Lug): 49mm
- Case Thickness (Dome Crest to Caseback): 14.5mm
- Distance Between Lugs (Strap Width): 20mm
- Strap: Leather with Deployment Clasp, 10″ incl. case
- Warranty: 1 Year/li>
- Movement: ST1940 Cal
Over the last few years I’ve become more aware of what effect I’m having on the environment. The idea of being “green” encompasses a lot of things – turning our televisions and computers off completely rather than leaving them on standby, buying local produce so food miles are reduced, choosing organic because of concern over the use of chemicals, that sort of thing. But what about my shoes? Are they environmentally friendly?
The other day I noticed that Spartoo have a category of shoes that are considered green. I’ve thought in the past that eco-friendly shoes tend to be a bit hippy in design – strange colours and patterns and perhaps a little frumpy in style. But as I browsed this category I was really impressed at the range of shoes available, and found myself wondering what made the selection better for the environment than my leather Dr Martens or canvas Converse.
Brands in the green category include Birkenstock, who’s brand manager Christina Piazza is quoted as saying: “Our products and production processes have always been sensitive to the environment. This sensitivity extends into everything we do — in our manufacturing process we strive to create minimal impact on the environment.” On their website they point out clearly that they are not new to the “green” bandwagon – they have been eco friendly for 230 years.
Other brands included in the category include Dream in Green and Snipe (and others too), who also make known their environmentally friendly values which are very commendable. I’m not saying that other brands, like some of my favourites, aren’t environmentally friendly – no doubt many have similar values and suitable production practices, but I find it interesting when a company stands up and says “this is us, this is what we believe it, come with us”.
Would you choose an “eco-friendly” shoe brand over another simply because of the values expressed by the company? What do you think makes a shoe green?
The other day I wrote about my inability to walk in high heeled shoes these days (see here), and while I have been trying to retrain my feet by wandering around the house in them (yes, I am wearing my green suede courts as I run about my house trying to get everything ready for my motorcycle trip starting tomorrow), a number of you suggested that I chose some nice wedges as a compromise.
I never need any encouragement to browse for new shoes, but in the interests of blogging (and not shopping… honest) I had a look to see what wedges caught my attention.
I spotted these first. A nice thick cork wedge, chunky straps without being over the top, a great orange colour. And I love that they say “have a nice day” on the insole! I could wear these.
Another traditional sole this time with rope outline – you know these Hush Puppies will be really comfortable, maybe even for all day wear.
Raffia wedges have a county-feel to them but I don’t think I’ll be walking over a green meadow in these UGGs any time soon. They are very pretty, though.
I still like a court shoe and these by MTNG would give me the height nice and safely… hopefully! The burnt brick red is a really great colour too.
The thing about wedges is there’s a whole load more shoe to go pattern-crazy on – just like these 70s inspired courts by Desigual. I’d recommend a pretty “plain” outfit to go with these!
If the psychedelic colours of Desigual aren’t your thing you can still go a little bit crazy in wedges with these Lola Ramona bow wedges – and why not!
I discovered the other evening that I have forgotten, completely lost the ability, to walk in high heels. I wore some old faithful black courts out for a meal with friends, and by the time I’d walked from my car to the pub where we all met my feet were killing me. I was very sad. Okay so I’ve not worn heels this high for months and months, but these were comfortable shoes I’d worn all day in the past, they’re not even that high anyway, so I didn’t expect to hurt after just a few hundred metres.
I see two shoes options open to me. One is wear high court shoes lots more to get my ability back again. The other is give up and buy some nice flat shoes to wear out. I’m not completely sure which to go with yet… but it was a great excuse to browse the flat shoes category on the Spartoo website! What do you think to these options?
These Bronx silver flats have lovely sparkly stars and dots which would make them the perfect finishing touch to lots of different outfits. And silver goes with pretty much anything.
This ballerina slipper from Ash is unusual – I love the cut out design, with the studs that continue to be a trend. Certainly more interesting than a plain flat shoe.
These red Pataugas shoes with strap are oh so cute – especially with the decorated toe. A Mary Jane will be a comfortable shoe for all day but this model would also brighten up your feet for an evening out eating at your favourite pizza parlour.
If you feel the need to stick with black then these Shelly shoes have got to be the perfect choice for wearing instead of heels. Black patent, cute strap, perforated design, little red heart – what more could you want?! This is a really girly shoe that even I could wear this summer.
So what would you do? Give your gorgeous heels away and settle for flats on a night out? Or wander around the house in your favourite shoes until you can make it from the car to the restaurant and back without grimacing?!
A pair of white Converse All Stars is a wardrobe staple. They are such a versatile shoe for spring and summer – go with every outfit, are very comfortable, great for men and women, ideal for home and holiday wear.
If you don’t, but still want to have some gorgeous white pumps for this season, then there are alternatives.
These Superga white pumps are lovely with the patterned white upper. They are a lightweight canvas and look very feminine.
Keds are low profile and very light to wear – you don’t get a much simpler shape than these.
I love Vans and these white ones are fabulous. This was the first style that Vans sold when they started trading in 1966.
(Oh and don’t worry about the white and the British weather/dirty pavements – Converse come up nice and clean in the washing machine!)
When I was a teenager – 17 or 18 or so – I had a pair of Coca Cola jeans. No really. I loved them. They had a fabulously flattering shape, low on the waist, skinny through the thigh, opening out into an understated flare at the ankle. They had that Coca Cola logo thing on the pocket and a bit of red at the hem too. They fitted a treat. Then they didn’t. I kept them for ages in the hope I’d once again get back into them. Once I realised I had no hope I put them in a charity bag. It was a sad day. My favourite ever pair of jeans.
Why am I telling you this? I spotted some Coca Cola sandals on the Spartoo website and it brought memories of those jeans flooding back! Naturally I could happily wear a pair – I am sponsored by Coca Cola after all! But could you? Is it ok for drinks companies to make shoes?
And they’re not understated either…
…these espadrilles are in the brand’s bright red and include a massive Coca Cola logo on the back. And these wedge sandals don the brand equally as obviously.
How about these more vintage looking ballerina flats? Would you wear these?
I think of the styles currently online my favourite are these trainers. The most discrete of them all I actually really like the colour combination and they look comfortable too.
So would you?