Kickstarter: The Coastliner Automatic Watch Is Brimming With Understated Retro Appeal

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Kickstarter occasionally has a watch project, but they’re relatively rare, and even when one does pop up, it usually isn’t impressive enough to turn my head. The Coastliner, a project going on right now, is definitely a noteworthy exception. From independent graphic designer-turned-watchmaker Tim Hadleigh working out of the U.K., the retro-cool Coastliner gets its design inspiration from American classic cars of the 1950s, and the result is a stunner.

watch-back-2Hadleigh’s Coastliner marries a mirror-polish stainless steel case with a cream-colored dial, tapered needle minute hands and a sea-foam green second hand that acts like a cherry on top of the 50s-theme sundae. A brown calfskin strap, with green interior lining to match the second hand completes the look. The Coastliner’s appeal isn’t all on the surface, either; the watch is powered by an ETA 2824-2 automatic Swiss movement, visible through the exhibition window on the watch’s case back.

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The Coastliner’s face, with its small, sans-serif hour marker and the subtle relief design printed on the center may be my favorite part of the design, but every element comes together nicely. All of the elements of the fully functional prototype (save the sapphire glass and Swiss ETA movement) were designed and built by Hadleigh himself, who got his start in watchmaking as a hobbyist taking things apart, and eventually graduated to building his own designs, and even his own movements, by hand.

The project is set up to fund a limited production run of 50 Coastliner watches. As of this writing, there was just one remaining at the discounted pre-order level of £375 ($592 US), with another 25 available at the full price of £750 ($1185 US). The prices are fair given how much work Hadleigh is putting into the production (a process he describes in detail for a previous watch he built on the Kickstarter page), and given the quality of the components. A lot of collectors hesitate on new or young brands, but if you’re a fan of supporting a new generation of makers trying to deliver high-quality products outside of the heavily entrenched legacy watch brands, the Coastliner is a good pick.