February 8, 2009
by Ariel Adams
My problems with Concord all started with the “revitalization” of the brand a few years ago when the Concord C1 watch line was released. I wrote this article discussing how (and why) I didn’t care for the design of the C1. The brand keeps coming out with new watches all based on the C1, some more hideous that others. Then came out the vertically aligned tourbillon watch, and most recently, the tourbillon version of the Concord C1 will be supplemented with this new movement, the C1 QuantumGravity – and I am thoroughly annoyed by it.
It is funny, because other watches and watch companies do a lot of the same things that Concord is doing, but the marketing and attitude at Concord irks me the most. Namely, it is over-hyping and creating confusion around the new products that they release. Nothing about Concord’s new watches impresses me. There is really nothing to impress anyone. They want you to think they have created the next great watch, but they haven’t. They have just done the same thing, that other companies have done a number of times before, and made it look a little bit different. Let’s put it this way, nothing Concord has released is new or useful, despite how desperately they want their marketing materials to convince you otherwise.
The Concord marketing material is intentionally obfuscatory. The people writing it don’t really even know what they are saying. They just see what appears to be a complex movement and talk about how it has been delivered from “above.” In reality it is all cosmetic. With the new Concord C1 you are – more than any watch I can recall – paying an extreme premium for an image. An image I don’t really care for.
Take this most recent example. I want you to read the following marketing statement about the QuantumGravity watch. Then tell me what the hell the movement does that is new, interesting or important. Oh, and remember, Concord didn’t do anything. It is all the watch movement company BNB Concepts that has actually done the work:
Free, disruptive. The latest Concord specimen grants time a space that befits its very nature: free from constraints or ties. With an aerial bi-axial Tourbillon mechanism, a structure that makes emptiness its core material, a 3D dial, functional elements fitted to the side of the case and an industrial and minimalist spirit, the C1 QuantumGravity timepiece defies all laws, including that of watchmaking logic and most of all, of gravity.
The Tourbillon carriage, which is fitted outside the movement and case where it is suspended, literally, rotates in a multi-dimensional manner on two axes, the main one being vertical. The design of this disconcerting time device borrows its rigid and light structure from renowned cable-stayed bridges; an extended arm of cables fastened to the plate holds the cage in a vertical position, thus highlighting the sensation of autonomy.
Beneath the impressive sapphire crystal lies a panorama at its most extensive, giving shape to time, which becomes almost immaterial. While the dial strives to display the passing of time, it above all highlights empty space. The depth of its field of vision is dizzying and the feeling of levitation exhilarating. The officer-style hinged back excels in revealing the geometric circuit of the right-angled skeletonized bridges in a gigantic case measuring 47.5 mm in diameter and over 22 mm in depth. Its infinite precision holds many more temporal surprises…
The C1 QuantumGravity timepiece, designed by the “C Lab Series” team in conjunction with BNB Concept, takes watchmaking experimentation even further. It follows the impulse of a brand that defends its conviction of time inevitably linked to space. For more information: www.c1-quantum.ch
Did that make a lot of sense to you? I’ll tell you what the movement does that is supposed to be appealing. The tourbillon escapement spins on two axis points. That is merely an improvement of adding another axis, but functionally doesn’t really do anything else but make it a bit more interesting to look at. There are plenty of other more complex tourbillon movements out there. The rest of the movement? Those spokes, and support bars? Nothing. Merely for show. Cosmetic nothingness.
I am not trying to pick on Concord. I like a lot of their older watches a lot. I am merely using them as an example of a practice that is painfully annoying in the watch industry. Maybe it is successful? It is entirely possible that those people who are a good mix of wealthy, image conscious, and unsophisticated will receive the “message” and buy into these products from Concord. For me, the informed watch lover, I just roll my eyes.
Computer renditions of the Concord C1 QuantumGravity watch are now available (as seen above). I will link to my full article on Luxist when it is posted in a few days.
See Concord watches on eBay here.See Concord watches on Amazon here. [phpbay]concord, 6, “14324”, “”[/phpbay]