This week on the SUPERLATIVE podcast, aBlogtoWatch Founder Ariel Adams is joined by Karel Bachand, independent watchmaker and the founder of Barrelhand. To start the show, Ariel and Karel reminisce on their first meeting, and they dive deep into the inspiration behind Karel’s original infatuation with creating replicas. Ariel asks about some of the challenges Karel faced as he was getting further into his replica projects and approaching brands about them, as well as his feelings when going public in the watch community with his passion for the first time. The two connect the dots of how Karel went from those incredible personal engineering projects to founding his company, Barrelhand. As the two start to dive into the company, Karel expands on how Barrelhand Project One started as a research platform to push the limits of what is currently possible with additive manufacturing and what kind of role 3D printing plays in the operation. The two go into the details behind watch creation with a new brand, such as timeframes, the making of design files for new parts that are needed, manufacturing, and all the production elements that go into it. Listen below or on the player of your choice.
Karel Bachand is a self-taught watchmaker who took inspiration from the mind-boggling designs of Urwerk, first creating a replica of the UR-202 (which impressed the brand so much, they flew him to Switzerland for a face-to-face). Using the knowledge from that project and having a mechanically inclined mind, he started working on Project One (seen above), which was released in 2020 and sold out shortly thereafter. His next project, Monolith, seeks to incorporate advanced technologies for a watch geared toward space exploration. He is based in San Francisco.