December 22, 2014
by Ariel Adams
A few years ago, the watch industry was brought back to life by the efforts of small independent watch brands that were suddenly able to reach new audiences thanks to the internet. Without major advertising budgets or retailer networks, these small brands sought to capture people’s attention via use of innovative or just “different” designs. Some hearkened more to classic design, while some were plainly novel with a focus on the abstract, avant-garde, or just plain futuristic. Many very good designers struggled to get their often very good designs noticed without having to latch-on to a larger company.
Today, things are a bit different, as the major brands are increasingly focusing on the internet and at the same time, it is difficult for smaller brands to acquire mechanical movements or the parts necessary to produce their watches. Nevertheless, we admire the efforts required for smaller brands such as Jordi Swiss Icon to produce watches and bring them to market. This is a review of the Jordi Chronograph Red Horizon.
Jordi as a brand is designed by Michel Jordi, who is a known name in parts of the Swiss watch industry. The Jordi brand bears his name and unique design style that mixes classic with modern appeal that is quite refreshing. There is a European artistic simplicity that I enjoy, as well as a touch of traditional watch design which should help these timepieces appeal more to serious watch lovers. Having said that, the distinguishing elements of the Jordi Chronograph watch are difficult to pinpoint, as none of the specific design elements themselves standout as being eminently memorable.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Jordi Chronograph watch is the case shape itself, which like many timepieces before it is inspired by the smooth roundness of a water polished pebble. This fact is difficult to determine when looking at the watch straight-on, but when viewed from the side, it is easy to see smooth pebble-style curves as the crystal, bezel, middle case, and caseback all meld together. I happen to be a fan of this style and have been since Ikepod watches became popular in the 1990s. The case is 44mm wide and produced from a combination of PVD-coated black/deep gray titanium and colored anodized aluminum.
This particular Jordi Chronograph model is known as the Chronograph Red Horizon, and that is because of the red accents. Use of a colored ring of aluminum as part of the outer-bezel is unique, and the integration of the color is attractively done on the flange ring, caseback, and the inner strap. There are other color versions of the Jordi Chronograph that include the black and gold colored Chronograph Club 100, black and green Chronograph Belvedere, and black and yellow Chronograph Blazing Sun.
There are interesting design elements on the case, which are primarily seen in the lug structures as well as the crown. The crown is shaped like a bowl and inside of it is a Swiss cross symbol. This is perhaps the first “bowl-style” crown that I’ve seen, and it isn’t anymore or less comfortable to use than any other crown. It does look interesting though, as though some type of robot ear is sticking out from the side of the case.
The integration of elements on the case is interesting, and mostly harmonious. Anyone wearing the Jordi Chronograph Red Horizon will certainly feel that it is a very different type of watch, but it isn’t different enough to behave any differently than other similar timepieces. For its size, the case feels light due to the mostly titanium construction. The case is further water resistant to 100 meters.
Over on the rear of the Jordi Chronograph Red Horizon watch you’ll find a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback over the movement. The rotor used for the watch is specially-made by Jordi in-house and is meant to look as though it completely goes around the entire movement as opposed to being a half circle. The rotor is mostly in black and resembles a car wheel, while the center is engraved with a nice design and appears to be in unfinished brass. It is a nice looking rotor, even though there doesn’t appear to be any apparent theme behind it.
Jordi notes that the design of the Chronograph Red Horizon is inspired by not only Swiss culture, but also nature. The “Red Horizon” name is meant to allude to the sunsets in the Swiss alps, while the dial is said to be inspired by a traditional local Swiss paper-cutting art form. This inspiration begins with the hands themselves that are intended to resemble scissors. At first glance, I never would have considered the hands to be like scissor blades, but after understanding this connection I can see a similarity.
The face behind the dial of the watch is perhaps the most unique feature of the watch as it has paper-cutting style artwork inspired by the nature of Switzerland. The face has images of trees and grass, as well as deer and horses. The imagery on the face is said to look like Swiss paper cutting art. This dial background is quite special looking, and doesn’t really interfere with legibility. The design is partially mimicked on the outer surface of the leather strap.