The Affordable, Vintage-Inspired
Timepiece That Almost
It's not a new proposition, a watch company hoping to be born via crowdfunding, but it's hard to say if anyone has done it as well as Nadim Elgarhy, founder of Helgray. He launched his range of affordable, retro timepieces on Kickstarter last spring and the first line—inspired by the military trench watches of WWI—was funded in about four hours. Looking to produce a follow-up line of chronograph watches, Helgray just launched a new Kickstarter campaign and blew past the initial goal for $20,000 in just 38 minutes. That's right, completely funded (and then some) in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Game of Thrones.
"We'd received a lot of positive feedback pre-launch, so we were expecting a solid first day," says Elgarhy. "But we never expected to reach our goal in less than an hour—and in just 6 days we'd raised $100,000, with over 400 backers on board." So what is this watch that's got so many guys gunning for their credit cards? It's another vintage-inspired timepiece, but this design comes from another era. Dubbed the Silverstone, it was influenced by 1960s racing chronographs.
"You'll see we took inspiration from some of the small details of various chronographs from that time," says Elgarhy, who then adapted them to the modern engine that powers the Silverstone—a Seiko VK64. A hybrid mechanical/quartz movement, it combines the best attributes of mechanical watches (the smooth sweep second and the instant reset-to-zero chronograph) with the advantages of quartz (no need to wind the watch, virtually zero maintenance and low cost). "The final touch was modernizing the whole package without losing the retro touch," he says. "We stepped away from oversized watches, keeping a reasonable 40mm diameter, and we chose to offer four classic racing colors." Since they've already blown past their stretch goal, they've unlocked an added bonus: anyone who orders a watch will get a free stainless steel bracelet in addition to the leather strap. Which makes this affordable and adaptable timepiece all the more worth the wait.