Before I got into watches I had never really thought about the world that existed around the creation of them. Since that time it has been my pleasure to meet and befriend some of the most passionate, amazing and talented people.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Richard Paige, a passionate watch maker with a truly distinctive style. Richard is a 4th generation watch maker who has founded several high profile watch stores around California. He has founded watch enthusiast web sites and online watch repair courses. Now Richard creates the most amazing time pieces drawing a heavy inspiration from the 1920’s and 1930’s American culture.
Richard learnt his trade working on vintage movements from the “The Golden Era of Watchmaking”: American pocket watch movements made between 1890 and 1930. He was skilled at working on all movements over the years, but he decided he wanted to be different, that his watches should use these vintage movements.
The latest timepiece is a “Rpaige” steel Wrocket watch with outstanding engraved dial with Fancy Art Deco Arabic numbers…Movement from 1905…Black Ostrich strap.
It was difficult at first to decide what to say about Richard and his work, he is prolific with his watch making, and each piece he makes could be a story within itself by the time you drilled down into the design style and the movement at the heart of the piece.
When you scroll through his web site every piece catches your eye for one reason or another, and the style is like no other. I eventually decided that I had a bunch of questions about understanding Richard and how he works, and excuse the pun, what makes him tick.
My design inspirations come from the Art Deco period …this period began in 1925 in Paris, but my real inspiration is the architectural contributions that were made to this design concept from the great cities of the USA in the late 1920 and into the 1930s….great examples of this would be the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Buildings in New York City, as well as the Sears Tower in Chicago and the great Art Deco Hotels in South Miami Beach.
I’ve designed several Watch cases that evoke the Art Deco era…both in steel and Titanium…I love the different looks that the 2 metals show…and certain antique and vintage dials look best in one of the two.
The dial always comes first….its the most eye catching in any watch and is always the centre of attention…I pick a dial, then decide which case is the right fit for its look and feel…then I choose a movement for it…if it’s VERY rare then I’ll use a higher grade movement …perhaps a 19 or 21 jewel.
Then when the watch has been completely restored, and fit to the case…I choose which hands makes the right statement fir the finished piece….the strap is equally important, and must be chosen careful
The movements are the most challenging…I use American pocket watch movements manufactured between 1895 and 1930….and completely restore each one so that it tells time within its original tolerances…it usually takes 3 movements to make one fully restored watch….meaning I need the other 2 watches for replacement of worn or damaged parts.
I design the cases, usually with a graphic artist…then we transform the final design to a CAD drawing and have a prototype made of of plastic…if it feels right on the wrist: size, comfort, design execution….then I have a prototype made out of steel…this is the final chance to see if the Watch works as imagined…if it doesn’t, then we alter and redesign the Watch, and then if we feel it’s finally right, I have a case manufacturer produce the edition.
My philosophy about my watches is that I have an aversion to a “me too” Watch…if I can’t recognize the design as my brand from 10 feet away, then I’m not interested in producing the watch…I insist on being different, recognizable, and trying to break new design ground…since all my watch are time only, I don’t have the luxury of hiding behind complications….the hardest thing in the world of watches is to design something unique with just the dial, case, and hands..
Richards watches are true artistic timepieces, glimpses of an era from time, reimagined into a functional and eye catching watch. We were going to do a hands on review for this piece, but I believed the story was not about one watch, but about one man, his vision for watches and how he translates this passion through to his creations. A mechanical watch is a thing of beauty to behold, and Richard allows you to behold this one piece at a time. I would throughly recommend you take some time to work through his website, read his story, and admire his work.