steam•punk /ˈstēmˌpəNGk/ noun
1. a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. Derived from its sci-fi roots, steampunk design emphasizes harmony in form and function and is especially hot with hipsters now in everything from fashion to design and art. We thought it would be fun to look at some of the most exciting examples of steampunk style in modern watches, starting with a popular seven friday watch.
SevenFriday describes their P1’s design focus as being the "impressive mechanical display of visual complications" but goes on to say it is also about “transporting the power of the engine to the surface." We think they hit it out of the park with the P1. They managed to bring the “engine”—or movement—on to the “surface” or dial of the watch quite well. They even managed to do it with an entry-level price point in a watch that looks decidedly high-end and edgy and very steampunk.
It would be hard to imagine a more steampunk watch than this baby. From the antique brass finish to the huge piston-driven crown protector—it’s Jules Verne meets the 21st Century on your wrist. Surprisingly for a watch in its price range, the Retrowerk is a German and Swiss collaboration, not an Asian import. The German influence is evident in the uber-industrial look. Looking like a cross between the Graham Chronofighter and a U-Boat (the watch, not the submarine), the Retrowerk Piston Brass still manages to have its own unique vibe.
Devon Works Tread 1
We may be forgiven for saving the best for last: the fabulous, funky Devon Works Tread 1. Many watch aficionados didn’t know what to make of this bruising behemoth when it hit the market a few years ago. After all, it looked so…different. Aside from looking so unique, it was battery powered—something that doesn’t often go well with haute horology. No matter. The Tread 1’s majestic coolness has won over even many prior skeptics. It was a finalist in the 2010 Geneva Grand Prix in the Design and Concept Watch category. That is something quite extraordinary for battery-powered watch, to say the list. This large and in-charge American-made watch is sure to start conversations and attract attention. Being a new company, Devon Works doesn’t have the huge rolex watch repair infrastructure for support and service yet, but we wouldn’t bet against them. They are a watch company worth watching.