It’s no easy feat to gain any form of respect from the watch community when creating one’s own watch brand. This is especially the case in a market that has become flooded with startup brands using “off-the-shelf designs” in order to create the next “most affordable watch.”
Straton Watch Co. was started in 2015 by Kyle Schut, a 30-year-old classic car and watch enthusiast who combined his passions to create a brand which is exclusively automotive themed. Kyle successfully launched his first design, the Vintage Driver Chrono, which went on to raise 157,000 Swiss francs (approximately $160,000) on Kickstarter back in August 2015, over-funding its goal by 1000% and continued successfully to deliver, on schedule and as planned, about 800 watches to customers around the world.
For the next design to come from Straton Watch Co., Kyle set a goal of designing a watch which would hopefully gain some sort of respect from the watch community. This watch took the form of a barrel-shaped case inspired by the great racing chronographs of the 1970s which in turn were inspired by great motorsport events of the era. With this idea in hand, the Straton Curve-Chrono was born – nothing new, nothing ground-breaking, just a tasteful rendition of what watches would have looked like back in the ’70s.
If a watch design was appealing, Kyle noticed that watch purchasing decisions were often left to case size. For many, a watch was either too big or too small. With this is mind, it was essential that the Straton Curve-Chrono be produced in 2 case sizes, specifically 39.5mm and 42mm.
Besides the different case sizes, the Straton Curve-Chrono will have 2 movement options. The first is a 110-piece limited edition NE88 automatic. For those of you not aware, the NE-88 is Seiko’s flagship automatic chronograph movement. It runs on a high frequency of 28,000 beats per hour and has a vertical clutch that eliminates the “jumping seconds hand” at the start of a chronograph measurement. The column wheel is an advanced feature that coordinates the chronograph functions in a way that ensures smooth operation and less stress for other components. The power reserve is more than 45 hours, and the movement houses no fewer than 34 jewels. It is a formidable opponent to any comparable Swiss Made chronograph movement. The Straton Curve-Chrono Automatic pre-order price will start from 679 Swiss francs (Approx. $700) on Kickstarter.
As not everyone can justify paying the premium for an Automatic watch, the second movement choice for the Straton Curve-Chrono is the Seiko VK64 meca-quartz. An option which gives the user the best of both worlds when it comes to affordability and function. The VK64 is a hybrid movement developed by Seiko which combines the accuracy of a quartz watch (+/- 20 seconds average per month), a mechanical chronograph-feel with a 5-beat-per-second sweep chronograph hand, and a fly-back chronograph reset. This movement gives a great user experience that will even appeal to owners of mechanical chronographs. The Straton Curve-Chrono meca-quartz pre-order price will start from 279 Swiss francs (Approx. $300) on Kickstarter.
The option list for the Straton Curve-Chrono does not stop there; the watch comes in 5 color variations including Stainless Steel and a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. Customers have the option of having their watch with or without a date window. There are 2 case back options inspired by legendary wheels, and Kyle has now confirmed due to backers requests to offer a third option to those who pre-order the Automatic version to have a sapphire crystal display case back.
Kyle continues Straton’s automotive roots with 7 different racing-inspired striped straps, and with each watch pre-order, a customer gets to choose their favorite two designs to accompany the watch.
After the launch of the first model, the Vintage Driver Chrono, many customers were interested in the gloves worn by Kyle in the exhibition photos. He decided to capitalize on these requests and design his own driving gloves which launched with the Straton Curve-Chrono on Kickstarter. The gloves are crafted from genuine leather in a classic style with breathing holes for maximum comfort and grip. They come in 7 different colors, 5 men’s sizes and 3 ladies sizes, and can be ordered either as a separate purchase or together with a watch.
If you are interested to learn more about the Straton Curve-Chrono or driving gloves, the Kickstarter is live until May 20th, 2016. You have the possibility to pre-order a watch, gloves, or both and save up to 40% on expected retail prices. Having reached its target funding goal within 5 minutes of going live, and as of April 25th having 280 backers with a total of 125,000 Swiss francs, there is still room for more interested buyers to get on board. You can view the Kickstarter page here.
Straton Curve-Chrono Specifications:
Case Material – 316L (Surgical Grade) Stainless Steel, Polished and brushed steel – Version E black is DLC coated (Diamond like Carbon)
Case Sizes – 42mm and 39.5mm
Lug To Lug – 42mm case: 47.4mm
Lug To Lug – 39.5mm case: 46.5mm
Case Thickness – 13.9mm without crystal, 14.5mm with
Movement – Seiko NE88 Automatic
Movement – Seiko VK64 meca-quartz hybrid
Crystal – Domed Sapphire Crystal
Hands – Luminescent Hour Hands, C3 Superluminova
Crown – Screw down
Inner rotating bezel for tracking a second time zone
2 stamped case back designs
Strap – 42mm case : 22mm width, 39.5mm case : 20mm width, genuine leather or stainless steel mesh, included 2 racing inspired straps
Water Resistance – 10ATM/100m
Warranty – 24 Months