OK, I admit that I can be self-contradictory. While proclaiming last week that I enjoy the thrill of breaking established dress codes with a banged-up diver’s watch under a formal shirt sleeve, what I’m secretly longing for is the chance to dress up properly, and that does include the watch. In Norway we’re still semi-locked down, still in trackies, still haven’t travelled abroad for a year. What better mood improvement is there than wearing the right watch with the right shirt and some sharp tailoring out to dinner. When you’re getting suited and booted, you can’t go wrong with something slender and Swiss with an exquisite dial. London-based debut microbrand Fifty Eight might just have something to slip under that cuff, with five references of their Geneva Tribute being launched on Kickstarter.
The first and most striking example in their Geneva Tribute Collection, is a particularly flash version of a suave dial colour we know from the 40s and 50s, salmon. The Kokanee Salmon ref.5815 is an elegant, colourful tribute to watchmaking in Geneva, with a sector dial. The inner circle has a vertical Côtes de Genève-inspired pattern, an unusually elegant way of accentuating the dressy vibes. The dazzling salmon colour is matched by a set of blued Alpha hands, for a new twist on a classic Swiss colour combination, equally striking today as it was last century. The needle seconds hand has a diamond shaped counterweight, completing the blue touch of a strong dial design.
In the Midnight Blue ref.5811, Fifty Eight have pinpointed a dapper matt navy colour that makes this reference a versatile take on “the Good Dress Watch”. The design team know which boxes to tick, and the applied logo at 12 is a timeless, balanced aspect of what is a decisive style, with the facets on the polished hands working well on the vertical background texture. “I aspired to create more than a homage to an iconic watch design, so instead, I created a homage to the past and present of Swiss watchmaking, says Chris Tomozei, the 35-year old founder of Fifty Eight. “So what better way of doing that other than celebrating the heart of the watchmaking – Geneva, Switzerland.”
While I love bold colours, there is also a lot to be said for monochrome formality, something the Lucent White ref.5814 , and Jade Black ref.5812 prove, the intricate dialwork coming to the fore in the calmer setting. The white dial is crisp with a capital C, taking on the feeling of a tuxedo shirt in the finest Egyptian cotton, with a discernible pop from the bluest of blued hands. The small details that go unnoticed at first glance, make themselves more obvious in these two clean dial variations, and in particular the delightful contrasts within the sector dial.
The smooth, matte outer section against the Côtes de Genève inner circle with its tactile structure, gives me the impression of a two-tone dial when light hits at the right angle, and you notice the minimalist hour indices. The indices are slim, polished, and intersect the dial centre at the quadrants, creating a symmetry that befits the formality, and ties the dial design together.
Each of the references will be produced in a limited run of 158 pieces, individually numbered on the case back, which is engraved with an illustration of the St.Pierre cathedral in Geneva. With a short-lugged 41mm case of a slim 10.2mm, comfort will be paramount with the Geneva Tribute series, while under the engraved case back lies the well-known solidity of a Sellita SW200-1 self-winding movement. Should you feel the need for an extra dose of panache, the Rose Gold ref.5816 dials up the elegance with its rose gold-toned polished case and Alpha hands on the black dial, taking on the look of an expensive tailored suit.
With hand-sewn Italian leather straps and all of the quality control and assembly undertaken in Switzerland, the Geneva Tribute from Fifty Eight is a superb entry ticket into the world of mechanical, Swiss elegance.
The Fifty Eight Geneva Tribute, price and availability:
The Fifty Eight Geneva Tribute launches on Kickstarter with an Super Early Bird pledge of £460 limited to the first 58 on a leather strap.
For more details and sign-up information, visit Fifty Eight here.
Made in partnership with Fifty Eight. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.