It was way before I considered diversifying my watch blog to start selling watch parts and straps that I looked through my watch parts box and thought - "wouldn't it be cool if I built a watch that looked good with any strap". A really simple thought but one that gave me the inspiration for this watch.
I was eager to maintain a simple design that would be flexible enough to accommodate a leather strap, a NATO or a stainless steel band. In reality, I think I could have gone further. Does this watch build suit a rubber strap? Not sure. What about a bund? Maybe. I think I went for a super simple design to give myself the best chance of flexibility but I think I could have been bolder! Let me know what you think in the comments below. What do you think I could have done differently with my flexi-watch?
However, what I have ended up with is a simple watch which does indeed give me numerous options. I'm not sure that it would win "watch design of the year" but when I'm struggling to decide what watch to wear for the day ahead, this is always the straightforward (and enjoyable) option.
And, as with all my watch builds so far the total build cost comes in under £100 - a bargain! Check out the watch strap too - if you're based in the UK you can now buy it here on The Thrifty Gentleman website.
Case: 40mm Silver Coating Case part brushed (AliExpress) - £31
Movement: NH36 movement (AliExpress) - £28
Dial: 28.5mm White / Silver Watch Dial (AliExpress) - £13
Hands: SNK369K1 Watch Hands (eBay) - £6
Strap: NATO Black, Navy Blue, Red White (The Thrifty Gentleman) - £4.95
How did the build go?
The build process itself was a bit of a doddle, if I'm being honest! This aftermarket dial was a new product on AliExpress at the time that I bought it, so it had very few reviews for me to determine the level of quality I would be getting. I needn't have worried though - the quality control of the dial itself was perfect and it was easily installed onto the movement and into the case.
You may recognise this case from previous builds - I have been very impressed with the style, finish and quality of this case and especially due to its price, it is always one of my "go-to"s when I am looking to build a watch from scratch.
The only challenge with this build was the hands. Not so much the installation of the hands - again, no problems there. However, identifying which hands I wanted for this build was, in all honesty, painful! I tried baton hands, mercedes hands and even silver cathedral hands before I went with this final choice. Unfortunately my vision was becoming its own downfall - to stick to the brief of creating a watch that could accommodate all straps I was putting together something that was becoming so unbelievably exhaustingly boring!
It was time to rummage through my parts box and I found these hands that I had bought months previously without a particular build in mind. Do they work? Sure! Could the overall build have been more innovative? Probably!
In conclusion, I would say this watch is likely still in its transition phase. I have a feeling that one day I will have this Eureka moment and I will know then exactly what I need to do to finish this watch off. For now though, I think it is a really subtle piece that, every time I take a look at it, I feel I'm getting drawn in more and more.
I have a feeling this isn't the end of the story for this watch... to be continued?