March 17, 2009
by Ariel Adams
When I first heard about the Temption Cameo watch being released (this was last year) I was pretty excited. Not only was one of my favorite watch companies about to release an entirely new model, but it was one of those awesome looking watches that was within my grasp (financially speaking) to afford. The funny thing is that most of my fellow watch lovers don’t even know about Temption watches. For me the small Stuttgart company is larger than life, producing some of the [in my opinion] best designed watches out there (especially for the price). Even with just 700-1000 watches made each year, they are still able to provide incredible values.
Before looking at a Temption watch you need to understand what goes into their watches. I’ve written about Temption at length on aBlogtoRead.com, so I won’t emulate a broken record by going over their design theory yet again. Let it be said that Klaus Ulbrich is a fan of Bauhaus, modernism, and a Japanese aesthetic called Wabisabi. The watches are all what I would consider a healthy mixture of architecturally poised Romanesque style with a veneer of Bauhaus and modernism to soften the edges and help emphasize function. That being said, the design is actually deceptively simple and almost a triumph of the understated.
Why all the hoopla about just some new watch? Because it is so different. The combination of price + market distinction make it an important watch industry piece in my humble opinion. While many unique watches exist out there, so few have the type of broad appeal that I think Temption was able to bestow upon the Cameo.
A lot of what I want to say about the Cameo in this article will be from my personal experience with the watch. I’ve written a few pre-release articles here that you should look at for the fullest ‘picture’ of what the Cameo is all about. There you’ll get a few details that are important but I won’t reiterate here. I will however add again that the movement is an automatic ETA 2892A2 with some decoration. This is the highest grade base type three-hand automatic movement that ETA offers.
All Temption watches come in muted cool looking black boxes. This time a wooden (pretty sure its wood) box exterior houses leather inside – all black in color). The Cameo, being a watch rich with brown tones immediately stands out. One of the things that make Temption watches different is that while the production process of the watches is perfect, there is something so “un mass-produced” about them. Everything is limited run, everything is rare, and everything is finished very well.
The square-ish case is 38mm wide and about 50mm tall from lug to lug. Being square makes it feel bigger than it is, which is a good thing with a case like this. The entire case is curved so that it conforms to one’s wrist all the better. What is so cool about the Cameo, is that the entire watch case is curved, not just the back. It is extremely comfortable (and good looking) for that reason. I would consider the lugs to be integrated into the case structure, which have large retainer screws on the side which are a distinct feature of the overall design. The brown leather strap matches the mood of the dial color, and reminds me of the straps on the Bell & Ross BR01 watches. At the lugs the strap is 30mm wide and tapers down to 20mm at its smallest point. The strap is a bit thicker than you would expect, but I appreciate this added heft. Someone commented that it is a very “masculine looking watch, without being brash.” Holding the straps together is a folding metal clasp with a dual button release. The strap can be easily adjusted for any wrist. Temption actually includes a larger strap end for larger wrists. Funny enough, on my narrow wrists I wear the smaller strap on the smallest setting. One odd point is the orientation of the engraved Temption logo and signature on the clasp. It appears upside down, at least from the way I am used to seeing it. Perhaps this is intentional or Temption’s engraving supplier screwed up. Really not a big deal, but I thought it was worth pointing out. It adds character to say the least. Overall, I have to admit that the claps and strap are very well designed and go together well — they are a strong point of the watch.
Despite the unorthodox design of the case, the Cameo is still water resistant to 100 meters. No doubt the screw down crown and screw secured caseback assist this. I like knowing that I don’t need to be too delicate with the watch, as it is perfect for causal or formal wear. The rear of the watch features an exhibition caseback with a view into the moderately decorated movement. Perlage polishing coat some exposed parts of the movement, with cotes de Geneve polish is applied to the Temption signed rotor. A few nice details are included on the back — including the numbered watch as part of the 500 limited edition, as well as part of Temption’s design theory in Latin, “pulchritudo in claritate,” or “beauty and simplicity.” On the side of the case is a tiger’s eye gem cabochon set in the crown.
The part of the watch that you will spend the most time with is the dial of course. At first the Temption dial is attractive, but simple looking. Just recall the “beauty and simplicity” aspect of the Temption design philosophy and you get the point. The most important aspect of any dial design for Temption legibility. In this the Cameo succeeds. Although the case is square, the dial is round with perfectly sized hands and hour and minute markers. The contrast between the white and deep brown adds to both the beauty and clarity of the dial design. You’ll notice that the lume covered hands feature hands in a style that is common in other Temption watches — part an important branding exercise. Just as car companies try to maintain similar grills on cars, some watch companies do the same with watch hands. Unique to Temption is the “label hiding” that they do on each of their watch faces. The Temption logo and Cameo name are set on the dial in a slightly darker brown, only visible in the right angles or in the right light. I’ve always liked this about Temption because it results in the most unpretentious of looks. Around the raised circular dial are visual extensions of each hour marker, in a sunburst style.
Without sounding silly, I would suggest that the sunburst hour marker extensions on the dial give the watch a more ‘majestic’ look. While the dial could not be considered ‘exciting’ it is certainly pleasing to the eye. My feeling on the Cameo is that the watch is a look enhancer, rather than attention stealer – a subtle but bold timepiece that seems to make anyone look a bit better with it on. I’ve been wearing my Cameo watch a lot since I got it and it keeps making me happy. I love how it looks, how it feels, and how unique it is. Some people (like me) enjoy the idea that no one else seems to be familiar with the Temption brand. I’d like to change that, but admit to feeling hip with a strong, but little known brand. For that reason I am giving the watch my aBlogtoRead.com Seal of Approval award. temption-watches.de
I got my Temption Cameo watch through WatchExpo.com, which is in my opinion the best US Temption watch dealer. If there is a watch they don’t have in stock they can order it for you at a better price than any other US Temption watch dealer.