When it comes to new watches, especially from newer brands, they have to do something to set themselves apart. This may take the form of using interesting materials, crazy dial designs, or unique case shapes. In other words, unless they’re competing on value in a segment, they have to show us something we have not seen before. That is what we have going on here with the case of the Eldon prototype we spent some time with.
We recently spent some time with the Eldon prototype (known as Emerge White), and we can give you our impressions of this watch, which offers the fairly unique ability of being able to change it looks. This starts with quick-change straps – an easy starting point. I rather like this style of strap, though I do realize it is a bit more difficult to manufacture. And, if you manage to break one of those quick-release spring bars, you are likely out of luck (and will have to use a standard spring bar). What if I told you that you could change the bezel? Again, something we have seen before, but still not all that common.
What if we told you that you could also change out the case – or, if you want, the dial itself? You see, that’s what the Eldon is all about – changing things. To accomplish this, you start by unscrewing the bezel. This then releases the inner module (which contains the dial, crystal, movement, and caseback) that can then be popped on out. Including the strap, this means that, with the Eldon line, you have four distinct elements that you can swap around at will.
The concern with this sort of arrangement would be how stable, or solid, this whole arrangement feels, right? I mean, you are tightening things down by hand, so you are very reliant on the machining to allow for a smooth – and tight – locking down. While I did find that there was a little bit of play of the center module within the case, this really not anything too major. And frankly, we were playing around with a prototype, so this is something that could well be addressed in the final version being made available via the Kickstarter campaign.
In terms of the look, this modular arrangement does give the Eldon lineup a very particular look. Specifically, the crown area of the watch. You end up with a very recessed area that of course mimics what you might expect for a traditional crown guard. Then you notice it’s closed at the bottom, and then it gets a bit trickier if you need to pop the crown out and adjust the date or time. While one could hope for a more open crown guard, that would impact the structure of the outer case. Not an insurmountable engineering problem, but not a simple one.
Then again, with the Ronda quartz tucked away in the Eldon case, you are not all that likely to be fiddling with the crown. If you do have that center module out, though, you will want to protect that crown. It makes for a very exposed stem that you could damage if you weren’t careful. That would be more of something you would run into if you had a second inner module, though. Which, while that might be a longer term goal for future owners, I don’t imagine first-time buyers would jump right into that (I could be wrong – let us know in the comments below!)
The stability of the 42mm case on the Eldon watches is also why I imagine we ended up with the closed lugs. Open lugs may have been a more traditional look, but that brings in other concerns with structure and the like. Frankly, on this watch, I like how they did the lugs, gives the case a sort of “stealth fighter” feel (even more so if you opt for the PVD case). In terms of daily wear, the Eldon prototype was an able and practical companion. I found the dial fairly sharp to read, and I did not experience any issues with things becoming loose or unscrewed. Well, aside from when I’d find myself fidgeting with the bezel.
Speaking of that dial, we have been told that the Eldon watches will see some slight revisions to the look of the dials (four new ones, actually). Additionally, there are going to be some slight adjustments to the thickness of the case as well. Past that, what is available via the Kickstarter campaign (LINK) will be just what you are seeing here in our review. If we stopped just at the dial(s), the Eldon is nice enough, but nothing that particularly interesting. Include the case shape, ok, things are starting to shape up and be a bit more interesting for a quartz watch. Expand the horizons into the modularity and interchangeability, though, and now you’re cooking with gas.
For me, I hope that these first Eldon models are the start of a longer run for the brand. I could envision this growing to get you various case options, and hopefully expanding into some more interesting (say, mechanical) inner modules that could be swapped in. For now, though, the Eldon starting lineup (consisting of the Minimalist Ocean, Stealth, and Classic) is a worthy first outing for the brand. And, with earlybird pricing starting at £85 ($103 USD), you certainly won’t be breaking the bank to get into these watches at all. How the campaign funding goes will, I suppose, tell how many other folks are as keen to be swapping bits around as I was in my time with the watch. eldonwatches.com
- Brand & Model: Eldon Emerge White
- Price: Earlybird pricing starts at $103
- Who we think it might be for: You like to change things about on your watch, but haven’t quite gotten to be a full-blown customizer
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Not at this point – once the platform expands, then perhaps
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Anything that can be done to slim it down
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The promise of modularity
Tech Specs from Eldon
- Case size: 42mm (50mm lug-to-lug), 12.6mm thickness
- Case material: steel (brushed, rose gold, or black finishes available)
- Crystal: flat, mineral
- Strap: leather and alligator, pin buckle clasp
- Movement: Swiss-made Ronda quartz – 507 (day-date) and 503