Meet Kent Wang, Accidentally Ivy

We are going through the archives  for any number of reasons, and I came across an collaboration between the site and Kent Wang.  This is Kent Wang.

Kent Wang.

Kent Wang is currently living in an RV in Europe.  Actually, traveling through Europe.  I didn’t know that when I reached out to say that I admired the product that he was collaborating on here.  He responded immediately which one does not always find in this line of work, and we started “talking.”   Then I went to his website.  You should too.  Here it is.

The first thing I saw there was the watch I am going to review today, but that watch led me down the road of knit and gaberdine ties, and pocket squares that are museum quality.  I’m not kidding.  I didn’t want to take the one I have out of the packaging.  I really didn’t.

Kent is not an Ivy designer.  He is a generalist who designs what interests him.  In his words:

Me:  Some of your work isn’t in the Ivy space, some of it is.  How did you make that distinction?

Kent: I’m attracted to the rich heritage of clothing we have in America. Whether that’s Ivy critter ties or aloha shirts, there’s so much beautiful complex history that fascinates me.

But a ton of what he designs is Ivy.   I asked him about that, and he told me this FANTASTIC STORY:

In Chinese, there’s an ancient saying “drawing a snake and adding legs”. The story goes: a drawing teacher holds a contest for his students to draw a snake in five minutes. A student finishes early, so he decides to use the extra time to add legs to his snake. Of course, he loses the contest. He’s ruined his work by putting in unnecessary details. In the same way, I think a lot of clothing is diminished by extra “features”.

This philosophy leads a ton of his work right to the Ivy doorstep.  Including this watch.  Let me introduce you to the Art Deco Watch.    When Gramercy was born I bought my sister, who is her godmother and was in the room during delivery, a Cartier tank.   The Cartier tank is a sole icon, but having worn hers (she wanted the men’s) I can tell you, this watch is in the discussion.  And nowhere near, nowhere near the price.

I am working him over to name it the Ivy Style watch.  Read on and you will know why.

The Art Deco Watch from Kent Wang. There is so much to love about this watch, from the mechanics (you wind it) to the look and feel to the price point to the strap. This would make an extraordinary licensing project, don’t you think?
From the side.
And the back.

Sapphire crystal sets the tone of the watch, which reads like a MUCH more expensive watch than it is.  The movement is manual wind, Seagull ST17.  What does that mean?  I am quite sure I don’t know, and of the thousands of daily readers I am grateful to have each day, I am also quite sure only 2.1 of you know.  Here is what I do know.  I wind it in the morning, and it keeps precision time all day.   The specs call out for 40 hours, but why roll the dice?  I wind it in front of people I want to impress.  Ok, there aren’t that many people I want to impress.  But when G. Bruce Boyer and I have lunch in a few weeks, I am going to wind it in front of him.

The watch is simply a delight to look at all day.  There is enough going on around the sides of the watch to establish consistency with the aesthetic, but not so much as to interfere with anything.  The blue hands are a tremendous counterpoint.  The numerals are perfectly selected, and the face of the watch is engaging.

Let’s talk size.  The watch measures 38mm wide,  and the case is 8.8mm thick.  In this barrel shape, that establishes a hybrid.  It is of course fine enough to be a dress watch, but it is also of the right size to be a good casual watch if paired correctly.  For someone who wears untucked OCBD’s almost all the time, it is a perfect statement.   But with a suit or blazer, it presents like a dress watch.  There are of course utilitarian cross platform watches (hello Timex) – but very very very few at this scale and aesthetic.

The finishes are also made to impress.   The blue of the hands pops just enough to note, but not so much as to be a detail unto itself.  The polish of the steel reiterates the quality.

Let’s talk dollars and cents.  The watch sells on the site for $450.   For an elegant, winding, automatic watch designed near-perfectly and constructed to be nearly as utilitarian as your, well, utilitarian watch, $450 is a rabid bargain.   I have worn the watch for a few weeks now, and I can tell you to performs, feels and looks on par with Rolex and Omega and Longines.

I will show you me wearing it so you get a better sense of how it looks not on a model.  In a few days I will be reviewing some more of Mr. Wang’s work, and it will be in those pictures.

Let me know if you have any questions and I will forward them to Mr. Wang.  And his RV.  In Spain.

JB

20 Comments on "Meet Kent Wang, Accidentally Ivy"

  1. Tonneau watches are the most elegant. Swiss watch companies making haute joaillerie use the tonneau format.

    Now I have to look up haute joaillerie. – JB

  2. First Time Long Time | February 24, 2022 at 10:25 am | Reply

    Mr. Burton, I was the occasional reader of Ivy Style until you took over and now have become a daily reader. Thank you for reinvigorating the site, it is a welcome change and the growth you are having represents that.

    I am impressed with this watch and am heading over to Mr. Wang’s site to have a better look. At first glance it seems to be a lot of watch for the money, and I can see why you are so taken with it. Best of luck and fortune in your endeavors here.

    Thank you. Let me know what you think about it? His site is an interesting place to spend a few. – JB

  3. Very good looking watch. One could set up a very nice entry level “collection” with this watch along with the newly released Timex Waterbury (Hodinkee edition) for less than $800.

    That’s a TREMENDOUS idea. Those two together would cover all the bases, and you could build from there. – JB

  4. That’s a beautiful watch! Kent Wang also makes outstanding polo shirts (they refer to them as rugbys) and sunglasses, both sold at incredibly reasonable prices. I’ve been a fan for some years and it’s great to see him featured in a post here.

    Hi Nevada, I am proposing that he do some of the Ivy Style product line, drop him a line if you think it is a good idea 🙂 – JB

  5. @JB — I do, and certainly will.

  6. There are some nice clothing options on the Kent Wang site, but they use what I call “hipster sizing” – i.e. nothing that fits a man with shoulders.

  7. I love the look and listed specs of that Kent Wang watch — especially so at that price.

    Also, I generally think ill of Rolex, as their business model involves requiring authorized dealers to purchase packages of watches while deliberately under-supplying in-demand models to create artificial scarcity. Go into any AD and you will not likely have an issue offering to pay 80% of list price for a readily-available Datejust, while if they happen to have a Submariner, GMT or Daytona in the store, it will have a sign next to it that says something along the lines of “For Display Only”.

    But to quibble with one minor claim above, I’m not so sure a 21,600 VPH Sea-gul movement you can buy for $50 on eBay will perform like a 28,800 VPH Rolex movements rated to -2/+2 seconds per day.

  8. A sharp looking guy with an interesting approach. Sharp looking watch too. It would not look out of place on the wrist of a man in an old Laurence Fellows illustration. And I too now check in daily. For news and other features.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

  9. Go into any AD and you will not likely have an issue offering to pay 80% of list price for a readily-available Datejust…..@K.E. with respect, this has not been true in YEARS. And most AD’s have neither Datejusts nor sport watches in the case anymore. No issue with the business model comments, though.

  10. Nice items. Despite wearing “Trim Fit” shirts much of the time, even I think the sizing is “hipster thin”. BUT – he does clearly identify the measurements for each product line. So despite taking an M in Lands End, L in BB, and XL in Lacoste, I just might try out one of their polos in XXL! Or maybe a Hawaiian shirt in XL.

    Wish him well, I like the style and his straighforward and apparently honest approach.

  11. Thank you, John, for the kind words. Hello to you all on Ivy Style! I hope to answer any questions and participate here whenever I can.

  12. As my secretary just chatted out, “Happy Aloha Friday”. My casual attire consists of gently ironed flat front and cuffed Bill’s, RL Yarmouth charcoal and white university stripe oxford (’80’s vintage), sockless Alden loafers, engine turned Trafalgar belt, old BB 3/2 blazer, no tie and a Cartier tank on a blue NATO band. The Wang watch looks very nice if it is the right size. So many watches these days look like something Flava Flav might wear.

    Cheers,

    Will

  13. Re: Rake — On the contrary, the last three Rolex ADs I’ve visited here in the Twin Cities had multiple Datejusts available.

    I was surprised to see a jeweler at the Mall of America now carrying Grand Seiko. I guess J.B. Hudson is no longer the only GS AD in the state.

  14. Nice duds and watch Will. Far too many gaudy wrist monstrosities out there, on this we can certainly agree. The Kent Wang example looks like it’s a very respectable size, and it’s possibly as versatile as the Cartier tank.

  15. @ K.E. life is indeed different in the flyovers. None to be found in either VA, or in NYC save the Rolex store itself (Wempe didn’t have any last week when I was in to see Rudi). Though maybe different depending on whether one wants the 36mm or the 41mm. How did the discount discussion go?

    I’m a JLC guy, so Rolex’s business model isn’t relevant to me, though becoming more pervasive throughout the industry. Only one I own is a 6694 that belonged to my grandfather.

  16. Venturing off the beaten path a bit here. The vibe is updated traditional (?) /modern luxe/…something. Feels… hmmm.

    JB, your vibes, all over the place, are — not sure.

    Politely made suggestion in quiet voice: Please maybe a post about a Scottish tweed weaver and the merits of the Rolex 1016. Lent is a season for repentance, after all.

    Right, because what we need is ANOTHER article about Scottish Tweed. Why didn’t I think of that? … – oh wait, I know why. Because somebody else did. Like, 10 years ago. – JB

  17. Jim Bob Jump Back | February 26, 2022 at 3:45 pm | Reply

    Nice article, butcept Mr. Wang needs to ditch those brown shoes. He could pull off the move with Weejuns, Alden Slip On, Alden Tassel Loafer, et al in a burgundy, oxblood, color. Burnished tan will fly with khaki & olive. Hence, my old Haspel Wash n Wear Suits. Enuff said.

  18. My first thought has always been, where is this item made, then I go from there. I certainly don’t want to support a country that uses slave labor to finance their military.

  19. @Robert — A number of product pages on the Kent Wang site say where the item is manufactured. @AndrewK247 — In terms of Kent Wang sizing, I just order a size up from my normal letter size and the fit is perfect, neither too slim nor too billowy. I can say this for sure for the polos but I haven’t tried their other garments yet. I can also say that their keyhole sunglasses are suggestive of the very Ivy P3 shape and are a steal for the price.

  20. Henry Contestwinner | March 1, 2022 at 3:43 pm | Reply

    That is a beautiful watch. I wish it were a bit smaller; I’m afraid that on my skinny arm, it would look as though Flavor Flav’s preferred neckwear had migrated to my wrist.

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