By Jason Heaton
on 4.24.12
Photo by Fraser

There are some things for which Scotland is known: single malt whisky, Sean Connery and bagpipes, to name a few. You may soon be able to add wristwatches to that list. Young Scottish product designer, Gordon Fraser, is a watch enthusiast who wanted to create a watch that would be accessible to other guys like him, who love fine timepieces but don’t have a fortune to spend on them. His forthcoming ONE44 Chronograph and ONE44 Mechanical, set to launch in 2012, look promising and we’ve got a quick preview.

As the watch names suggest, Fraser’s design principles are based on what he considers the “golden diameter” for wristwatches – 44 millimeters. And while some might argue that this is yet another in a line of oversized trendy timepieces, Fraser’s initial drawings indicate that the watch will have short sloping lugs, which should make the watches suitable for a wide range of wrist sizes. The cases will be made from sandblasted surgical grade stainless steel by renowned German case maker, Fricker, and topped with a sapphire crystal.

The dial designs of both the ONE44 Chronograph and its Mechanical sibling are stark and downright Bauhaus. But they’re saved from outright severity by a clever stenciled, “ONE” in place of the 1:00 marker and a simple lime green disc for a logo and sweep hands in the same color. Even more unique is that the dials are “sandwich” dials, with a layer of luminescent paint that is visible through the cutout markers in the anthracite dial.

If you’re a true watch geek, you’re no doubt waiting to hear what movements Fraser will be using. The ONE44 Chronograph will use a Swiss Ronda quartz movement and before you roll your eyes, consider that it features 1/10th of a second timing capability and a big date display. The ONE44 Mechanical will be based around the venerable ETA 6498-1 hand-cranked pocketwatch movement and Fraser plans to offer a special edition for which renowned Swiss watchmaker, Jochen Benzinger will be hand finishing. The Benzinger-finished movement will feature guilloche decoration, black PVD components and touches of the same lime color from the dial. Needless to say, its caseback will be a clear sapphire, so better to admire said movement.

As is the case with many new watch brands, the first two models will be sold as pre-ordered limited editions of 35 of each watch. The only prerequisite is that you must be a member of the Watchuseek watch forums, a free membership that you can sign up for if you’re not already part of the gang there. The ONE44 Chronograph sells for ~$886 and the ONE44 Mechanical goes for ~$1,208 or ~$1,933 for the special Benzinger edition.

Beyond the ONE44 watches, future timepieces are in the works and Gordon Fraser is already hoping to bring some of the manufacturing and assembly in-house. If Fraser’s early efforts are any indication, and Fraser gets his way, Scotland may be known for watches.

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