INTRODUCING: Convopiece is the ultra bespoke service that will make the watch of your dreams INTRODUCING: Convopiece is the ultra bespoke service that will make the watch of your dreams

INTRODUCING: Convopiece is the ultra bespoke service that will make the watch of your dreams

Shane Hegarty

Adrian Aldred has always had an under-the radar and unconventional approach to the watch world. At age 19, he bought a Rolex AirKing using the cash saved from his barbering job and through design college used his student loans to buy more watches. He flipped to being a seller after discovering the Italian brand Locman, designing a booklet to showcase the watches and selling them to many – including professional footballers – who sat in his barber’s chair in London.

The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

As a creative director by trade, he reached a natural crossover of watches, design and enterprise in 2011, when he launched Convopiece and entered the rarified world of bespoke watches. Since then he’s helped create unique pieces with a range of independents, whether it’s arranging for family names to be placed subtly on an enamel dial of a Czapek or helping bring a sea of stars to a Kari Voutilainen.

Adrian Aldred

The most recent step has been the design and release of a five-piece only Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force, in rose-gold and featuring Kari Voutilainen guilloché work on the navy blue sub-dial. It felt like a good time to catch up with Adrian to get a sense of his work and of what goes into a limited or piece unique.

The open caseback of the Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Who have you worked with so far?

I have worked with De Bethune, Ludovic Ballouard, Kari Voutilinan, Schwarz Etienne, Moritz Grosmann, Svend Anderson, Speake Marin. There’s a couple I can’t say just yet…

Convopiece x De Bethune

How does it work when a client asks you to help them create a bespoke watch?

Here’s a real example: a client got in touch. I went to see him and he had on a De Bethune DB25. The watch is slightly big for his wrist and he said “I like this watch, but I really like the anthracite dial on the perpetual calendar, what can we do?” So I thought wouldn’t it be great if we if we can find the smallest case size that DB25 comes in and replicate that exact anthracite dial. We don’t necessarily need the perpetual calendar complication, but can we retain its moonphase in the 40mm case size? So, it’s sometimes about taking the seed of an idea and turning that into reality.

How about the beautiful “space themed” Kari Voutilainen GMT-6?

That came about through a conversation. Everything starts with a conversation. The client loved the GMT-6 but had never own a Kari piece before. I knew the client loved navy blue and he wanted something really, really different with the dial. I asked Kari for some examples of past bespoke projects that he had done and we saw something quite similar, that whole constellation. So, I said let’s sketch something that I have in mind because I know Kari can do it. I said to the client, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this part of the dial had these details” and I used Kari’s past projects as a reference. And the client said “Yeah, go for it!”

Tell us about the new Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force (price £28,800) which also features Kari Voutilainen’s work on the sub-dial.

It’s my first special edition. This watch started life as a unique piece and I was unapologetically inspired by the collaboration Armin Strom did with Oster watches in Denver. I thought their first release was very, very cool, but I had a different vision for the watch in terms of colourway and texture. This came about as a unique piece for a client and I loved it so I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could do more. So, I went back and asked for the client’s consent to do a small number and he said he was happy. I think the colour combination adds a certain level of class to the watch and a certain level of elegance to the watch, especially with the guilloché pattern that I worked on with Kari. It gives the watch a certain character.

The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force is limited to five pieces

And what’s the ambition for the future?

Ultimately, I would like to do more special editions so I can go deeper with conceiving the watches, to produce almost unique watches that are collaborations with great watchmakers that are special series, small runs, and to still continue to make dynamic unique pieces.

For more on Convopiece click here.