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 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.
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.