The Emergence of the Micro Indie: A Brief Guide to High Craft, Affordable, Independent Watchmaking – Bilofy.com

Flipping a Garrick over reveals a level of finishing and attention to detail that is most often associated with watches priced at several times what Brailsford asks for his watches. While the new S5, with a custom made movement finished in a style reminiscent of British pocket watches, starts at close to $20,000, other Garrick watches come in closer to the $5,000 mark and still offer many of the same customizable features as their flagship. Garrick

Sartory Billard

Sartory Billard is the brainchild of Armand Billard, a largely self-taught French watchmaker and designer who makes bespoke watches from his personal studio. Unlike some makers of personalized timepieces, Sartory Billard does not offer a range of prefabricated watches for sale on his website for customers who might be willing to forego the personalization process. Instead, Armand provides copious examples of his previous work to serve as inspiration, and an outline of what’s possible in terms of customization. The list is long. On the entry level SB04, for example, customers can choose the case material, the finishing techniques applied, the design of the indices, and much more. Once you begin the conversation with Armand about your watch, he provides renderings of what the finished product will look like to provide an idea of what you’re getting into. 

A signature design element that Sartory Billard clients seem to take advantage of often is Armand’s ability and willingness to mix materials on the dial side. With the new higher end SB05 range (prices start at around $8,000), customers can create dials mixing stone and guilloche elements, for example. On the Sartory Billard website, almost 30 stone types are listed as possible options, with the promise that even more are available upon request. At least 12 guilloche patterns are available as well (with dials made by Comblemine), resulting in an almost impossible to imagine level of customization. Sartory Billard

James Lamb

James Lamb is a British watchmaker who debuted the Origin Series, his first collection, just about a year ago. These watches feature beautiful enamel work inspired by earth, air, fire, and water, with offset dials that put the focus on the bright colors of the main dial as well as the case shape. What might not be apparent from photos, though, is what really makes these watches special: each case is crafted from Argentium silver. Silver of course is an uncommon watchmaking material, but it has an undeniable lustrous quality that is hard to ignore, and feels like a logical choice for watches in the Origin Series. These are true art pieces, so concerns about silver’s durability in a tool watch context aren’t really at play here.

The Origin Series is limited to just 50 watches, and Lamb hasn’t publicly announced his next project, but has hinted that he’s working quietly on a few limited editions via his Instagram account. This is the kind of specialized, small batch watchmaking that feels truly exciting though, and it’ll be interesting to see what Lamb has in his future plans. James Lamb

Felipe Pikulik 

Felipe Pikulik is a young watchmaker based in Germany who has been making watches under his own name since 2017. While he hasn’t garnered a ton of mainstream attention to this point, his designs are gaining traction with aficionados, and it feels like his stock is on the rise. Pikulik’s watchmaking education is a reflection of much of his recent work. He studied under Stephan Kudoke, who among other things is known as a leader in skeletonization, a skill that Pikulik displays in the way he treats a relatively common movement (that also keeps the prices of his watches surprisingly low). 

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