Our favorite makers in the Bay area, Xetum, have just released their new line of Kendrick watches in time for racing season. The watches, designed in California and assembled in Switzerland, are fairly unique in the watch industry as Xetum is one of the few American watch brands – besides Bathys – to make it in a very competitive marketplace.
I pared down the elements on the dial to just a minimum, but made each feature bolder, from the hands, to the markings on the dial, to the numerals,” said founder Jeff Kuo. “To stay within the ‘instrument-style’ vein, I looked to automotive dashboards for inspiration. Not any one particular car or brand, but rather looking at dashboard instruments that made a strong statement, but in a subtle and nuanced way.”
Xetum traditionally sells watches with an embedded leather strap so these new Kendricks are a departure. The watches feature striped NATO nylon or solid rubber straps.
Watches are obviously an aged technology but Kuo has tried to bring the industry into the 21st century by selling his work online. He is, however, beginning to partner with retail stores, a move that would seem a little backward to some. However, given the hoity-toity nature of many watch shoppers, it’s obvious that opening a few industry doors can help Kuo spread the Xetum message.
“We have also realized that some of our customers want to see the product in person, and we have recently stepped up our efforts to selectively work with great retail partners to provide an in-store experience that is highly complementary with our online sales. Companies such as Warby Parker have done this through pop-up shops or in-store displays, and our approach has been instead to sell with a small number of like-minded retailers to offer a physical store presence,” he said.
The watches are available now and come in white, black, and light blue. The model we looked at, in blue, has a certain “faded” look to it akin to old Kodachromes and the nylon straps are much more durable than the leather models. They are, as expected, a bit on the expensive side: $995 for the NATO model. However, for the price you get an increasingly rare ETA 2824-2 inside a solid, handsome, and locally designed 40mm automatic watch.