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Brooklyn-Designed Carpenter Watches

Limited edition automatic timepieces drawing inspiration from old pocket watches

by David Graver
on 08 July 2016

After successfully funding on Kickstarter in 2015 and delivering pieces this spring, Brooklyn's Carpenter Watches now exists as a fledgling company in its own right. Based out of Park Slope, founder and designer Neil Carpenter continues to offer his three limited edition aviation-inspired wristwatches, which he developed over seven years while holding a nine-to-five job as an industrial designer. Everything that drew initial backers still holds true today: these are inexpensive automatic watches (something one doesn't find often) made from premium materials. The debut models, all known as the Brooklyn Field, measure a reasonably sized 40mm and each iteration offers subtle variation. These are entry-level automatic watches for anyone looking to step up their wristwatch game.

Materials matter here. Two pieces are crafted from stainless steel while the third (the M3 Brooklyn Field) is hewn from brass. As Carpenter shares with CH, "We went with brass [instead of bronze] for durability reasons and I hate it when it comes out of the package because it's very yellow but within a week in gets a super-cool patina. It tells a story." The M3 were got hands on with had already accrued such a patina, making the piece visually nuanced. All of the cases are one piece, and each features an exposed caseback and double-domed sapphire crystal, which Carpenter explains is actually the most expensive component of the watch (because of sheer thickness and polishing on both sides). Aesthetically, all of this grants an uninterrupted design language to the watches.

"My background is in industrial design, specifically kitchenware and cosmetics," Carpenter tells us. "I was constantly creating objects meant for disposal. I decided to look back at our history, with developments until now, and find what objects people hold on to. I asked myself, 'What is passed on through generations?'" Carpenter had been handed down a pocket watch collection from his dad, who received it from his father, who in turn received it from his. Four generations kept these watches, which then became the design inspiration for the Brooklyn Field.

There's also value in the fact that Carpenter has kept stock low. "Right now, we have about 100 watches left, total, altogether." All the pieces are numbered and every watch comes with a certificate of authenticity. In the process of launching his brand, Carpenter found that people were seeking out specific serial numbers. And many people, because of the price point, would buy one of each model.

In one month, Carpenter will be offering another limited edition piece with a brass case and cream dial. It was based on customer requests. "It will take a year to develop the next pieces, so this will hold over inventory until then," he explains. That said, only 50 pieces have been produced. As for that next piece down the line, Carpenter plans on making something smaller. "I've noticed that many older, elegant gentlemen wear tiny watches," he says, citing vintage Rolex Perpetual Oysters as inspiration. On the inside, however, he's aiming to include better automatic movements—though the current Brooklyn Field's Japanese-made Miyota 821A definitely gets the job done.

Brooklyn Field Carpenter Watches are available online for $595.

Images by Cool Hunting

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