April 7, 2015
Obviously, we spend a lot of time here at aBlogtoWatch focusing in on wristwatches. If you survey the larger watch community (particularly on social media), you will notice that a lot of focus is also given to things you might call “wrist adjacent” (such as bracelets), and just overall style. Today, we have a hands-on look at something that is very much wrist adjacent that will certainly up the style of your shirts – the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links.
When you think of watch-related cufflinks, you probably think of the ones that use salvaged vintage movements, generally in rectangular shapes. While those are interesting in their own right, what we have with the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links is something that is a good deal more elegant and refined. For starters, lets talk material. The cufflinks themselves are made of solid sterling silver, and then plated with either white rhodium (to match the finish of many white gold watches) or rose gold. How do we get to the designs they are producing? Well, that is a bit more of a time-consuming process.
Before taking a look at these Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links, I was familiar with the concept of lost wax casting, and the brand provides a rather detailed step-by-step explanation of the process. At the start, the new design is hand-carved from a block of wax. Around this wax carving, a plaster of paris mold is built in which the first (aka master) casting in silver is created. Once the silver has set, the plaster mold is broken, and they then set about cleaning up and polishing the master casting. From this, a rubber mold is made. This mold is then used to produce more wax castings which are then used to create the final cufflinks that you and I are able to buy.
As these carvings are done by hand (and a skilled hand at that), there are definitely some unique possibilities. If you have a particular watch that you love, Baz Persaud can likely create something that will match what you’re thinking of (and even create a lapel pin for it as well). We were able to spend time with quite a few different models from their collection, and I want to start with the one I spent a lot of time with, their chronograph. At first, your eye tries to figure out what specific watch they pay homage to, but that turns out to be a futile exercise. As Baz Persaud president William S. Lerner puts it, the “cufflinks are based on a combination of Rolex, Zenith, Omega, etc – I wanted them to be generic.”
If you notice from our pictures, we saw three varieties of the chronograph model of the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links. The larger ones are known as the Red Bar Crew edition (that’s the group that inspired the Commonwealth Crew Horology Club in Chicago among others), due to the input of one of the group members, Bill Bright, while the cufflinks were being designed. The smaller set are different from the larger, and it’s not just due to the patination applied on the subdials. Here, the initial wax model is created along with the help of CAD. There is still a hand-made process involved, it is just that the CAD allows for more precise work in the smaller version. Regardless of the precise creation process, they designs are well thought out.
This makes for cufflinks that work with any watch, really. If yours happens to be a chronograph (the watch, that is), then you are not going to be concerned that the cufflinks aren’t an exact match – because they simply cannot be (that said, they do have some model-specific links that have been approved by the actual watch brands themselves, if you are looking for an exact match). In fact, it is one of the brand-approved models (they also have ones from Clerc and Zenith in the works) that I spent more time with in the latter portion of our review time – the Giuliano Mazzuoli Transmissione Meccanica. If you recall, we took a look at this transmission-inspired watch before, and it has a rather distinctive style.
That geared influence still carries through, even in the smaller canvas provided by the cufflink. As I spent more time with them, these actually became my favorite of the sets we were sent to take a look at. At first, this was due to them simply not being chronographs (which I do not have or wear), but then the details of it grew on me. The very gear-nature of this version of the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links speaks to what I like the most about watches: their intrinsically mechanical nature. On top of that, if you’re not looking closely, these do not actually scream “watches” at you – and I like that they can sort of fly under the radar, exposing their horological nature only on closer examination. Sleeper cufflinks, if you will.
Why this particular brand (Guiliano Mazzouli) and watch? As it turns out, Lerner is actually an ambassador for the brand, and has a Mechanica in his personal collection. It makes sense, then, to have the links to match the watch. I think his statement on this really speaks to what is driving the brand:
His Transmissione Meccanica Chronograph, truly inspired me to make an inspirational cufflink honoring it’s design. Why? I saw the artistic passion that Mr. Mazzuoli put into making the watch, from the twenty two piece dial, to the beautiful bespoke irregularity of all of the hand made and finished, cases components. It is really a functioning sculpture. We also make beautiful, handmade, intentionally imperfect items, that hopefully convey our passion to our clients. We are thrilled with the cufflink, and believe it really captures the essence of the watch, and the passion for art and design Mr. Mazzuoli and I share.
We also had a chance to take a look at some very cool Patek Philippe-inspired cufflinks that were designed by Reginald Brack, who is the International Head of Retail, Watches for Christie’s (yes, the auction house). For his designs, he opted for no plating on the silver. For one, he wanted to let a patina develop. Second, it also matches the finishes on Patek cases, which do not have the rhodium plating.
These were some rather cool pieces in their own right. Totally different from, say, the Guiliano Mazzouli ones, in that these Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links are much more abstract, giving the sort of theme and feel of watches of days gone by. Both of the designs are pulling from 1940s Patek watch cases, and the back of the cufflinks have a vintage-style winding crown motif. While Brack opted for his in silver, you could get it in any material from sterling silver (which could be plated) to platinum.
It’s that last bit – the choice of material and finishes – that is really the icing on the cake for me with these cufflinks. Its one thing to look for a design that works for your own sense of style (and watch collection), but if you were limited to a particular palette, then it would not feel quite the same. With Baz Persaud offering you the choice of materials and finishes, then the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links really can become “your own.” Past that, if you do not like their “off the shelf” designs, you can certainly work with the brand to design your own.
Really, that’s what this sort of wrist-adjacent detail is all about. If you are getting into cuff links like these, you are giving careful thought to not just your watch, but what is adorning your french cuffs. For me, it was an interesting step up in my own cuff link wearing. I’ve got a decent selection, but these have all been in the sub-$30 range, generally with flip clasps, or perhaps simple silk knots. With the Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links (which start around $400), you have entered more of a realm of luxury.
I will admit I was at first concerned about how the fixed stems would work fitting to the cuffs. That fear was unfounded, as they are actually much simpler to put in than a silk knot cuff link, and just as easy to remove – when you want to remove them, that is. As the post is fixed, it solidly holds in place, so there really would be no worry about losing them. I wore these with great pleasure (as my Instagram account testifies). I wore these to the office, as well as for my regular suit-wearing excursions, and they quickly became my favorites (well, until they had to be returned).
The Baz Persaud Horological Cuff Links added a bit of passion to my wardrobe for the day, which is what these are about. Men generally do not wear much jewelry, so these are really a way of not only upping the sophistication of your outfit, but allowing you to proclaim (to those paying attention) that watches are not just a simple tool, they are something that you have a passion for. Are these going to be for everyone? No, likely not. I know that not everyone is in a suit as much as I am, so these sort of accouterments are not going to fly. Then again, not every style of watch is for every collector, so there is definitely a place for these.
It really gets into something that I have had simmering in the back of my mind as an article to work on – when it comes to watches, a lot of it boils down to a question of fashion. This is not to say that all watches are “fashion” watches, but that we pay attention to the details, to how the watch looks. The sort of people who are really driven by that are the same who likely are giving the same careful thought to their wardrobe. You do not have to be a “clothes horse” to get into these (which I certainly prove) – just a passionate watch guy (or gal – they have French cuff shirts too!) who wants to have an amazing way to hold the cuff closed and proclaim their passion to the world, without saying a word. bazpersaud.com