Creativity in the watch space is not necessarily lacking. Plenty of companies come out with new designs that we did not even know we wanted, come up with new concepts for telling time, and other unique ways to get consumers to remove their money from their wallets and exchange it for a new timepiece. That being said, with all the hype of vintage reissue watches, and new color schemes for those watches, it is easy to get quite bored with the watch space. And those creative designs I mentioned, they are often astronomically expensive (but maybe justifiably so in many cases).
However, it is not often that I come across a new timepiece that makes me smile. Something that manages to be creative in a fun way, and forces one to reevaluate the purpose of wearing a watch, especially in the modern age where it is no longer necessary. This is what I thought of when I saw Trotha Contemporary Assets’ “To-Do List.” According to the brands website, Trotha’s inspiration comes from
“ideas of thinkers like M. Python and J.J. Sempe, which we implement in watches with entertaining mechanics wrapped in iconic shapes. The Mission objective is to create a “Memento Ludi,” a classic styled object you wear everyday and that reminds you, once a day, to be more bananas.”
I was able to get in touch with Friedrich at Trotha, and he gave more insight to the brand and the watch.
“I was never a watch person because I thought I don’t need one to tell me the time, which is/was the purpose of a watch. With the Apple watch as last proof that there are tools more functional, watches moved from “tool” to the “cultural item”/”artifact” section. This made me really curious, because of the possibility to use the complex centuries old mechanics to work for a new, a cultural or philosophical use.
Assessing the watch market to find a watch “matching my culture” I found either beautiful traditional watches, that didn’t feel so alive anymore, or creative and innovative brands, that were usually too flashy and in my opinion didn’t pay tribute to watch history .
This led me, with a lot of help by various swiss watch experts, to draft a new watch with a classic form, not attention seeking, and traditional mechanics used for a new and fun purpose. So I started in Zurich in 2016.
The first model, the To-Do List, comes in a very established form, a golden-cut of horology, equipped with a new functionality: not reminding you on deadlines but instead reminding you every day to appreciate life a little.”
When I had the chance to speak with Friedrich, he explained further the influence of Monty Python, J. J. Sempe, and the New York. With Monty Python, he said he appreciates the dry delivery of humor, along with the subtlety of their films. J.J Sempe’s art shines through with the styling of the the website, along with the small drawings within the date wheel. He also expressed that the fun loving nature that exist in the way the New Yorker presents information was an inspiration for the watch. All of these things tie into an ideal that I think holds true for a great number of people, and that breaks (both mental and physical) are important! Friedrich and I both agree that pressures from contemporary media and work expectations are draining, placing greater importance and remembering the things in life that bring joy and taking time for yourself.
In regards to the watch itself, resembles a certain model from the big R, however with a hobnail textured bezel, and red text and “date” wheel (more on that soon), giving the watch a more sporting look, in addition to sword hands and full luminous indices. At twelve there is a day indication, but at 3 o’clock under the date magnifier for the “authentic 90’s feel” according to the brands website, is a new reminder. According to Trotha’s website, the date wheel serves the user as such:
“The main function of the hedograph is to display a suggested activity at the display at three o’clock, to help you to focus on a time without Excel-Sheets. There are 31 suggested activities, based on “research” that will change according to your lifestyle. If you feel that in a current situation a specific activity was not sufficiently explored, you can use the crown to set a second (or third..) reminder. The hodograph complication is integrated into the movement of the watch and can be set using the crown.”
To round everything out, the 38mm watch case is fitted with a brushed jubilee style bracelet, with an additional microfibre “alligator” strap, elaborate grade Sellita 240-1 with a 38 hour power reserve. The clasp and buckle have the brands “Ballon de Plage” engraving, as does the crown and winding rotor. Overall, the case and bracelet finishing on the website looks great.
I really like the looks of the watch, and I really appreciate what Trotha is trying to do. The watch is more than fairly priced at 1600 CHF. Overall, I think that watch buyers would be hard pressed to find something as unique yet aesthetically accessible at this price. Plus, it really does make me smile, and I do think that is worth something on its own. I truly hope that people find this timepiece as enjoyable as I do.
To learn more, visit trotha.ch