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Starting a new watch brand from scratch is no mean feat. For the vast majority of young watch companies, there is a steep learning curve involved in creating a product line, and the first few releases from these brands tend to show the hallmarks of a marque still learning the intricacies of design and manufacturing. With this in mind, it’s exceedingly rare to see a new independent nameplate come out of the gate with a truly spectacular first release, which makes Canopy’s inaugural effort even more impressive. Founded in mid-2020 as the brainchild of co-founders and lifetime watch enthusiasts Machlen Polfliet and Ross Tomson, Canopy has spent more than two years tirelessly refining, prototyping, and designing its first-ever watch release: the Canopy Wake One. The Wake One series clearly shows the benefits of these years of dedication, blending diver and pilot watch iconography together with impressively refined materials, finishing, and construction. The result is not only one of the best inaugural releases from an upstart brand in recent memory but one of the most compelling watch offerings in its segment overall.

Available in either classic 316L stainless steel (known as the Silver Edition) or aggressive black DLC coating (known as the Midnight Edition), the case of the Canopy Wake One measures in at a handsomely balanced 39mm-wide and 12.8mm-thick with a 46mm lug-to-lug distance. The overall form is a take on the classic dive watch look, with tapering athletic lugs and a bold unguarded screw-down crown, but Canopy elevates the design with impressively nuanced touches. While the case sides may appear like simple vertical polished planes at first glance, upon closer inspection the Wake One slopes subtly inward towards its caseback to minimize its footprint on the wrist and create a compact, balanced wearing experience. Likewise, a slim, flowing polished chamfer helps to define the upper edges of the lugs and gives the Wake one a more sinuous, complex form on the wrist. The real standout from this case design, however, is the bezel insert. Topped with a pared-back, fully luminous minutes scale, this insert is crafted in glossy polished forged carbon fiber to create a moody, swirling blend of blacks and grays. Canopy tops the signed crown with a similar forged carbon insert, complete with an embedded steel Canopy “C” emblem. Canopy finishes this case with a sapphire display caseback to showcase the Swiss automatic movement within and engraves the surrounding caseback ring with a unique limited edition serial number (exclusive to the first 250 Launch Edition models sold in each case finish). As befits its diver-style design, the Canopy Wake One is rated for a scuba-ready 200 meters of water resistance.

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For the dial of the Wake One, Canopy taps into the clean legibility of classic pilot watch designs while adding its own uniquely memorable cues. As with the case, there’s an impressive wealth of visual detail to discover here, from the gently sloping applied black indices to the complex array of highlights and shadows created by the heavily grained matte black dial surface itself. The modern lumed alpha handset and minimal dial text help to keep the Wake One’s focus squarely on functionality, while its 6 o’clock date window maintains dial symmetry and provides useful information. Canopy adds a splash of dynamic color to the design through its arrow-tipped seconds hand, with a vibrant red finish that both adds a characterful highlight to the dial and improves at-a-glance legibility even in low-light environments.

Canopy powers the Wake One with a modified Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. The SW200-1 has been the dependable backbone of countless Swiss timepieces over the years, and Canopy makes this familiar movement its own with a stylish signed black rotor. In terms of performance, this movement offers a reliable 41-hour power reserve alongside a smooth 28,800 bph beat rate.

Amid all the quality construction, exotic materials, and nuanced finishing Canopy brings to the Wake One line, the stainless steel three-link bracelet stands as one of its most impressive achievements. This sharp, heavily faceted solid link bracelet design transitions cleanly between smoothly brushed upper surfaces and mirror-polished bevels, giving the Wake One a series of dynamic highlights stretching all the way around the wrist. The two-button milled clasp continues this feeling of quality, and even more impressively, it includes a ratcheting micro-adjustment system for easy sizing on the fly without ever removing the watch from the wearer’s wrist. It’s a rare and extremely welcome addition at this price point and one that helps the Wake One to adapt to any situation above or below the water.

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Although most new watch brands spend their first few releases learning the ropes of the industry, young brand Canopy overcomes the initial hurdles in style with its inaugural Wake One series. The Canopy Wake One offers stunning finishing, build quality, and attention to detail throughout, with a deftly blended pilot and diver ethos that makes this the perfect adventuring companion for sea or sky. The initial Launch Edition of the Canopy Wake One series is limited to 250 units in each colorway. MSRP for both variants of the Canopy Wake One stands at $999 USD as of press time. As a special benefit, aBlogtoWatch community members can enter code “ABTW” at checkout for 25 percent off the purchase price.  To learn more about Canopy or to purchase your own Wake One, please visit the brand’s website.

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