The Road to Coniston - Part II

The Road to Coniston - Part II

I wanted to see if we could create a watch that was engineered, mechanical, that had real value. So I set out on a journey to find somebody who could help me achieve this. 

It all began around three years ago when Oliver was living in Sweden. A chance discussion with a friend working for a Scandinavian watch brand turned into a seed that would flourish rapidly into a desire to make his own watches.

Researching and discovering the logistics of how to go about creating a watch, and a business around it, he was taken to the far reaches of the internet, reading thousands of posts, articles and websites. One such article was written by a chap called Gordon who, 5 years earlier, had tried to do the same thing as he was about to embark upon. Gordon’s project had failed, but with the demise came important lessons and an experience like no other. After stalking his name across the internet, Oliver found his personal website, where Gordon had been showcasing his various projects.

Oliver contacted him and started picking his brain; how did you go about designing a watch? What pitfalls did you find? Why did things not go to plan for you? Over the course of a week the two discussed the ins and outs of starting a watch brand until Oliver asked Gordon if he would design the first collection for the brand.

Coniston Phone

Gordon was facing imminent parenthood, and the proposal was initially too overwhelming; time was too scarce to embark on such a demanding project. Oliver set about finding someone else, but a week later a new email arrived and Gordon was on board. The chance to design and develop watches was simply too exciting for him to turn down.

And so began the journey that would evolve into a brand on the cusp of releasing their 5th design, the Coniston, and with it bringing the past 3 year’s worth of experience and knowledge. Everything has been pored into the Coniston, all the successes of the first four designs to create their new flagship collection.

Coniston Design

The process for design and manufacture is over a year long; from those first sketches and ideas to holding anything physical, a realisation of those thoughts and ideas, it’s a long process. Gordon and Oliver spend months and months thinking about every square millimeter of a watch; agonising over angles, heights and depths, sketching some more, drawing it up and rendering in 3D, then going over it again.

Coniston Lume

Marloe is still a small company and doesn’t have R&D facilities of their larger companions. For the Coniston and all designs prior, it takes about 4-6 months whittling down all the ideas in to one design, package it up in the design proposal, discuss it at length with the manufacturer, sign it off and then... they wait. The manufacturer is busy tooling up, getting the design resolved for moulding, CNC, polishing, assembly; putting in place all the processes that they need to make the Coniston exactly how it's been imagined. Every component of the watch is split up and sent to production; cases have moulds, tooling paths, tolerance checks, finishing procedures... hands have dies that need manufacturing to stamp out the hand shapes; dials need their various elements made and blocks soldered on; printing plates and pads need creating... crowns are machined, movements are assembled. It’s a massive, massive process.

Coniston Manufacturing

After 2 or 3 months though, the first prototype arrives which is used for final sign-off for production - checking the fit and finish of the parts, the sizing and proportions - the manufacturer is then given the green light and then... more waiting, for another 2 or 3 months. Finally a production set of four watches from the manufacturing run arrive; the proper bonafide watches, fully finished as the final models will be. These watches are not for further sign-off or any changes, instead they’re for marketing and promotion and showing them to the world.

This is the point that Gordon and Oliver find themselves at now, where production is firing on all cylinders and they’re just about to take delivery of the final production spec set of watches.

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  • Fascinating to have a glimpse into your process here. I plan to make a purchase as soon as I build up my watch budget again (and my wife’s goodwill).

  • Very nice!! The watch has a very simple but unique look which is very eye catching.

    Tim Tibbits
  • Price to be announced shortly

    Oliver @ MWC
  • Thanks for sharing this story, it’s great to see small brands that work hard can produce great looking watches! What’s the anticipated price point for the new watch?

  • Thanks for the comments all, we both very much appreciate it.

    @Tom – the Coniston is 40mm diameter.

    @Dave – Coming soon in Part 3.

    Gordon @ MWC

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