Krayon is a newer Swiss watch brand, founded by Mr. Remi Maillat, and it currently produces two models: the high-end Anywhere, which I look at today, and the even higher-end Everywhere, which is a watch with a similar complication that allows for more user adjustability. (More on that in a moment.) What makes Krayon special is that its mechanical watches currently focus on displaying elegant sunrise/sunset complications — a feature rarely, if ever, seen in today’s mechanical watches. What impresses me most about the Anywhere watch is that it very attractively and logically displays the current time as well as a welcome visual display of how much daylight is left in the day.
Maillat is among many talented watchmakers who, over the last few years, departed frmo a popular brand that has more or less abandoned its high-complication division. He hails from Cartier, where he worked for a number of years helping to create some of its really interesting high-complication pieces that never really struck a chord with the market. My theory for why Cartier failed in this space was not related to the product, but rather that Cartier was not able to effectively communicate the technical prowess of its high-complication watches via marketing — nor were they particularly strong at reaching male watch consumers, at the time. Cartier’s relationship with male watch buyers has improved since then, but only after the high-complication division was more or less closed.
I presume that Maillat developed the idea for the mechanical sunrise/sunset indicator display while at Cartier but was never given a chance to industrialize it. Setting up his own brand allowed him to take his good ideas and make them a reality. The Anywhere watch is a great concept not only because it is mechanically novel, but also because it is imminently relevant to many wearers. Knowing perpetual calendar or equation of time information is rarely useful for most daily wristwatch-wearing needs. But few people would argue that knowing the length of the day versus night as the seasons change is useful information. Krayon’s Anywhere watch also happens to take out a lot of the mental processing often requires to read such watches. Taking a cue from some digital watches and displays that came before it, the Anywhere creates a visually impressive dial that immediately helps you visualize the current 24-hour day/night cycle.
The dial of the Anywhere watch might require some explanation for those not familiar with how these indicators work. This is also a good time to explain the difference between the Anywhere and Everywhere watches. (The latter has a dial look which, in my opinion, is not as elegant.) In the Anywhere watch, a watchmaker must initially set the latitude for one specific location on earth. The Everywhere watch allows the user to do this. Why is this important?
The current length of the day and night varies over the course of the year but is also very much dependent on the latitude. After the position of the city the watch owner chooses is set into the watch, all that is needed is the current month and date (as well as time) to offer a reasonably accurate understanding of the length of the day versus the night. This is displayed using two items. First is a sun-style hand that moves around the periphery of the dial once every 24 hours. In a sense, this is like a synchronized 24-hour hand that simply moves around the entire dial once each day. It also represents the path of the sun through the sky, which is a nice concept. Underneath the “solar hand” are two overlapping ring discs that move in order to create more night or more day, depending on the season. Displaying this information mechanically using fixed parts is a challenge when considering the incredible display options available on a digital screen. The trick here was to create a useful instrument with an old-world decorative feel that is familiar and in demand by many wristwatch enthusiasts.
The lighter-blue section of the day/night disc represents daytime hours, while the starry deep blue portion represents the night. Using the movement of the solar hand, you can not only visually see how much day or night there is in a given day, but you can also view in relative terms how much daylight is left or how soon until dawn as a function of the position of the solar hand in combination with the day/night discs. I’ve always liked reading the dial of a digital Yes watch, and here we have a fancy mechanical version (albeit with more limited functions) that I think can easily appeal to the larger wristwatch enthusiast community.
Currently, Krayon offers a few versions of the Anywhere watch in previous metal cases, as these are still decidedly high-end items. This particular Anywhere is the reference C030-01 in a 39mm-wide 18k white gold case. The hour markers and hands are original, even if the hands look a bit like those on F.P. Journe’s watches. The elegant, textured interior time display dial has a subsidiary dial for the current month and date. A seconds indicator would have been nice, but it would have removed a lot of the dial’s simple appeal. I think it is also impressive how thin the watch is at 9.5mm-thick (water-resistant to 30 meters), given the movement and the various dial layers.
According to Krayon, the movement inside the Anywhere watch (the caliber C030) is just 5mm thick. You can view the movement through the sapphire crystal caseback and admire its distinctive wavy Côtes de Genève-style decoration pattern. The movement is comprised of 432 parts operating at 3Hz with a long power reserve of 86 hours. It would have been nice to have a power reserve indicator on the rear of the movement, given that this is a manually wound mechanism. The more complicated Everywhere watch is powered by an automatic micro-rotor.
Krayon intends for the Anywhere watch to potentially appeal to both women and men. There is a version of the watch known as the Lady Anywhere which comes in 18k rose gold with roses engraved into the side of the case along with a pink and blue dial. There is also an 18k rose gold model for men, in addition to this 18k white gold model. Krayon also seems to specialize in bespoke orders, meaning it can make a customized Anywhere watch for you.
Taking into consideration the refined execution of the Anywhere movement and watch design, I think Krayon is an important brand to keep an eye on. I don’t know what current availability is for the Krayon Anywhere and Everywhere, but these are very niche watches currently sold through niche retailers. I don’t think anyone wearing a Krayon Anywhere will encounter too many people who have a timepiece like theirs. Now people just need to get over the fact that Krayon’s luxury watches are not the same thing as Crayon wax coloring sticks for kids. Price for the Krayon Anywhere watch is $129,000 USD. Learn more at the Krayon website here.