I wrote last year about how I felt about smartwatches, being an amateur watch collector. One of my main gripes with current-gen favorites like the now-defunct Pebble and Apple Watch was that they offered little choice when it came to the overall design of the timepiece, as compared to the wide variety available in the world of traditional watches.
While I find it nifty to be able to receive notifications on my wrist, I’m still a fan of a self-contained mechanical device that serves a single purpose and does its job well. However, the process of stumbling upon a watch – as well as a watch brand – that really speaks to your sense of style can be rather daunting; not to mention how difficult it is to find something that suits your budget.
That’s why I was intrigued to learn about fledgling brand Eoniq. The Hong Kong-based company wants to redefine the way you buy a watch, by allowing you to customize a timepiece down to the last detail and have it shipped to you anywhere in the world.
Over the past couple of years, I’d begun learning about the world of watches by looking up the few brands I’d previously heard about and then delving into watch forums, blogs and subreddits. It’s great to discover a style that resonates with you after months of searching, but that’s clearly not for everyone.
For example, there are brands that specialize in timepieces specifically for pilots, automotive racing enthusiasts, sailors and divers; others are inspired by Bauhaus architecture from the 1930s, while some offer watches that are best paired with suits for formal affairs. If you’re looking for something specific, you’d better have plenty of time on your hands to look through a ton of these. Or you could try Eoniq’s site.
Originally crowdfunded on Indiegogo, Eoniq now lets you order a custom watch on its site from wherever you are. You can customize every aspect of the watch, from the finish of the case and movement to the dial design (choose from a wide range of classic, functional and avant garde styles) and the type of hands to grace it.
It’s all made possible thanks to an easy-to-use Web app, which lets you see what your watch will look like as you tweak its look one step at a time. There are several options for each component, so you can create a timepiece that’s truly unique. What’s more, you can add custom text or a logo to the dial too.
There are two excellent basic styles to start with: A handsome 44m pilot watch suitable for men, and a dress watch in 38mm and 42mm with a skeletal dial design showing the inner workings of the mechanical movement. An elegant unisex quartz dress watch is in the works and will become available to customize soon.
If you’re wondering what a customized watch looks like in real life, feast your eyes on these photos of my Fleiger Type B-style Eoniq. I went with a the Navigator pilot style 44mm with a matte black case and Forest Brown strap, and chose to add a simple glyph, which you can see just below the 12 o’clock index.
The components are beautifully finished and the watch feels very well put together. You’ll find that Eoniq has put in plenty of attention to detail, from the custom (i.e. not picked from a parts bin at a large multi-brand watch factory) knurled and embossed crown, the neat matching hardware on the quick-release straps, and and the neatly finished exhibition case back.
The retail value of this timepiece, including its Miyota 8N24 automatic movement, is about $448, which I believe is fair considering the overall finish and the included components. Watch critics may argue that Eoniq is yet to make a name for itself as it’s only just begun its operations.
One major challenge for the company lies in making a name for itself while offering such a wide variety of options. Many well-regarded brands, such as Omega, Nomos and Patek Philippe have built a reputation for themselves by crafting and sticking with iconic designs that are easily recognized by aficionados; Eoniq is clearly going against the grain here, and it might be a while before it’s accepted by watch lovers at large.
However, I’m confident that if the company can continue to deliver quality products and release unique base designs, it could certainly become a favorite for people who want a bit of control over what their watch looks like.
Published January 5, 2017 — 10:49 UTC