The Padron Watch Company was Kickstarted into the watch world in 2011 and offers a lugless, surgical-steel automatic that looks like a DeLorean parked on your wrist.
This wrist-ride was inspired by late, mid-century watches but looks more like it is back-from-the-future. “I wanted to design something from the perspective of a product designer living in the 1960s imagining what a popular men’s wrist watch might look like in fifty years,” Leo Padron said. I think he did it.
The company’s founder used his software design skills to create the Padron Selby after several successful watch-launches reviewed by Patrick here and Matt here.
The Selby felt and looked like a tool the second I held it. Its weight was equivalent to the deepest diving watches, but it looked like an unassuming mid-sized sports, maybe dress watch of the 60s, sort of. The modern sword hands and blue second hand were the first indications to me that this watch might not be easily categorized.
“The dial, hands, crown, case and band are my original designs,” Padron said. “I wanted to preserve every measurement from my CAD files to the execution so that no detail gets degraded.” Padron used this case design on one of his early prototypes called the Tessera and has revived it with the Selby. “I want to make a dent in the design language of what a sensible watch can be,” Padron said. He named this version after Selby Ave in Saint Paul, Minnesota. “My callout to Saint Paul, since my previous watch was the Hennepin, a major avenue in Minneapolis where I am located,” Padron said.
The case shape is unique with no traditional break between bezel, case and lugs. It is one hunk of surgical steel measuring 42mm wide and a relatively conservative length of 45mm.
Its dimensions are deceptive since the width of the case at the bracelet is not much wider than the 22mm-wide bracelet it connects to before it flares out to the widest points of the case at 9 and 3 o’clock. The length of the case, too, is visually enhanced by angled points at 12 and 6 o’clock. Go ahead and include the gentle geometric crown guards and screw-down crown and you got the rest of the case width. The case size still looks small and part of that comes from the brushed steel finish which diffuses the light around all of its curves and edges including those of the crown guard protecting the signed crown which is easily unscrewed to set.
The sapphire crystal has an antireflective coating and is exceptionally clear and easy to read the dial. The exhibition case-back offers engraving around the glass and a nice view of the movement.
The ETA 2824-2 automatic movement has the center seconds and the typical quickset, date-function along with the hacking feature you’ve come to expect. This 25 jewel movement hums along at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The higher vibrations-per-hour usually translates to a higher precision time keeping. This rate is pretty standard for other similar mechanicals that copy this prolific Swiss movement, which carries a 38-hour power reserve.
Leo Pardon selected ETA’s “top grade” execution for this watch. “’Top grade’ means an improved escapement with Incabloc shock absorption, better alloys, better plate decoration, and more regulation,” Padron said.
Proportion is still important and you can see it’s a little off between the dial and case. The case is big, right, but it doesn’t look big. I think this is created from the 23 mm wide flat black dial base. This dial base seems small compared to the overall case width. The chapter ring makes up the rest of the dial but cuts into the dial’s real estate and slants up 45 degrees from the dial and offers notches of white luminescence for each hour on the dial. If the dial were a coliseum, the hour markers would look like 12 entrance points onto the field.
The silver polished sword hands frame its luminescence and offer great clarity against the semi-gloss black dial day and night. The blue, center-second hand sweeps from one blue Arabic numeral to the other. There’s a small, white “Padron” at 12 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. The date window reveals a white numeral on a black base offering clear contrast between the hour numerals.
The 22 mm wide bracelet, too, was designed by Leo Padron. Its integration into the bottom of the case makes it seamless. Yes, its width does make the case look smaller than it actually is, but I don’t mind that.
The wider bracelet does give the 157 gram watch the security on the wrist, but this thing doesn’t go unnoticed. Overall, it rides nice, the bracelet adjusted easily and its height and soft-edges allowed the watch to easily slide under my shirt sleeve.
I see this as a solid value if you are the type who is not chasing the next iteration of the well-known watches and appreciate smaller brands, unique stories and U.S. designs with a Swiss movement.
Padron Web site offers some customization when you select your Selby with options for the band type, case color and dial color. The Padron Selby also comes in a “Noir” version if you like the all-black look for a few extra bucks and each comes with a three year limited warranty on your individually numbered watch. With only 1000 out there, don’t rely on going back in time to get one before it runs out. $735. padronwatchco.com
- Brand & Model: PADRON SELBY
- Price: $735
- Who we think it might be for: This watch is for the person who wants the modern look, but respects the history of a mechanical movement.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I liked the design, but I found the weight of the watch to be a deterrent for me.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would increase the actual dial size to the full width of the case to give the watch more dial and less chapter ring.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Clearly, the case was the most unique feature of this watch. It’s striking.
- Brand Model: Padron Selby
- Movement (technology): Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 Automatic movement with bidirectional winding, date and hacking.
- Size of case diameter (mm): 42 mm x 45 mm
- Height of case: 12 mm
- Weight: 157 g
- Case material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Case Back: Display
- Crown: Steel screw-down crown with crown guard
- Crystal/Glass material: Sapphire with antireflective coating
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 150m/500ft
- Strap/Bracelet material: 316L Solid link stainless steel band with adjustable clasp
- Illumination: Superluminous hands