#LookCloser – Carpenter Watches – The M2 Brooklyn Field

THE M2 BROOKLYN FIELD by CARPENTER WATCHES

Hello again #watchfam! Before I begin, I would first like to extend my deepest gratitude towards the man himself, Neil Carpenter for giving us the opportunity to work with him, and to review the M2 Brooklyn Field. (Hope you’ll love this write up, Neil!)

I am excited to bring you another episode of #LookCloser! Here on Chronomatick, our mission is to bring to light, the inspirational stories of budding watchmakers to share with our viewers. In our free time mostly, we love browsing through the internet or Instagram for watches.

Through our exploration, we’ve stumbled upon Carpenter Watches on Instagram. I fell in love with the clean aesthetics, and the harmonious design of Neil’s watches. I had to approach him! Daunting as it might be, after introducing ourselves, Neil was incredibly supportive to send us a sample of the M2 for a review.

Without further ado, ladies, gents and #watchfam, this is the M2 Brooklyn Field by Carpenter Watches.

Enjoy!  

-Max

Introduction.

Neil Carpenter’s Watches and his story

At a young age of 6, Neil Carpenter was brought into the world of watches. It all began with the discovery of his family’s pocket watch collection, made up of brands like Hamilton, Waltham, Illinois, and Elgin. Although it looked ancient, Neil was fascinated by how beautiful they were. Each watch had a unique story of their own, told by the patina of their age and wear. As a young boy he fell in love with the idea of these watches being passed down from generation to generation, whilst still being able to use them.

To him, these watches were precision tools to get things done. As John Mayer said in an episode of Talking Watches on Hodinkee, “they’re like the iPhone 5’s… and a GMT [on a watch] is like an app”.

It is the design of these pocket watches that formed the basis of Carpenter Watches’ design-DNA. This explains why the M2 Brooklyn Field looks like a pocket watch on your wrist, but more on that later.

Graduating from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, Neil founded Carpenter Watches. His focus on Industrial Design upon graduating was carried on into the design of his watches.

The Brand

Carpenter Watches originated from Brooklyn, New York.

Although Carpenter Watches is a relatively new brand, it has already gained a loyal following among watch enthusiasts and bloggers alike. It has caught the attention of a number of watch reviewers such as The Time Bum (link), and aBlogToWatch(link). Other links if possible.

Kicking it off in November 2015, the brand’s Kickstarter campaign is a successful one, and it has now started shipping its watches around the globe.  You can check out Carpenter Watches’ Kickstarter campaign here. (link).

The Watch, Aesthetics, Design, and Concept.

 

The Case

The watch comes in three combinations. The M1, which comes with a stainless steel case and a cream dial. The M2, which comes with a stainless steel case as well, but with a black matte dial. Lastly the M3, that comes with a bronze case with a matte black dial.

The cases have that curved, modern, pocket watch-styled look to it. It sits quite tall on the wrist, but it is comfortable. The wire lugs really helped with the stability and positioning on the wrist. It was told that soldiers in World War One (WWI) welded wire lugs to their pocket watches and attach them to their wrist for quicker access to time. In the same era, German pilots use watches to tell time and navigation, hence earning the name of “flieger”.

It can be observed that Neil drew inspiration from watches from that time, and he respectfully demonstrated the marriage of these designs into his watches.

In addition, I really, really dig the patina that will develop on the bronze model (M3). I believe the M1 and M2 will age well too, but I’m just a sucker for the bronze patina. I would put a bun strap on that and wear it any day! Just look at that beauty.

The Movement

Japanese Miyota, with manual winding feature. A relatively good movement, but nothing special.

The Strap

The watch comes with a standard brown leather strap. It has this matte feel on the surface of the strap. The strap also comes with a solid stainless steel buckle with the ‘Carpenter’ branding engraved on it.

My only gripe towards the strap is that it fades upon wear. Perhaps Carpenter Watches wanted to present the ‘beaten out’ look, for that WWI feel of a soldier’s watch. It reminded me how Converse present their beaten up Chucks for that street-grungy look. But hey, that’s not a big deal as the strap can be changed to give the watch a different look.

I’d put a leather Nato strap on it, and I’m sure it’ll look kickass.

 

The dial

In my humble opinion, I think this is where the M2 steals the spotlight. It is one of the best designed dials on a watch that I have ever seen. It carries within itself a clean, harmonious, well-balanced looking surface. To me, the dial just screams Bauhaus! Learning art in high school, I had to know a thing or two about design. With that, I came to know the existence of Bauhaus and its design concepts.

What’s Bauhaus? Staatliches Bauhaus was an art and design school in Germany. It was famous for its approach to design that it publicised and taught. The Bauhaus design language can be seen in products from home appliances and electronics manufacturer, Braun. Dieter Rams, a prominent and influential German industrial designer, played a key role in the design of Braun’s products.

As for Bauhaus-like design in watches, you can take a look at some pieces from Junghans, Junkers and Nomos, which, guess what? Originated from Germany. These watches were given the clean, minimalist, harmonious look to it, like the M2.

Carpenter Watches’ M2 delivered a balanced proportion of numbers and markers on the dial. The typography is clean, sharp and crisp, making it easy to read from afar. Therefore, legibility is spot on. It drew an equilibrium of not being too striking like the dial of a pilot’s watch, and not too subtle like a minimalist watch’s dial.

Another nice touch to the dial that puts the cherry on top, is the speared seconds hand. I just love seeing it sweep pass the markers on the dial. Thumbs up to Carpenter Watches for that.

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