It always amazes me how incredibly diverse the watch community is. Most people immediately think of traditional “watch countries” like Switzerland, Japan, and Germany – and for good reason. These nations produce a lot of timepieces, maintain a healthy fan base, and (for the most part) shape the industry as a whole. However, sometimes brands pop up that challenge the established powerhouses. It’s not that they’re nonconformists – they just offer a new, refreshing approach. When we do something for a long time, it’s easy to lose sight of the original intent and become unable to see things from an outside perspective. Many of these new watch companies have no or very little previous experience with the industry, so their approaches are often considered rather odd. When I first learned about anOrdain, they immediately caught my attention, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
It’s All About Enamel
I first met the people behind anOrdain at WindUp 2019. It was their 2nd appearance at WindUp New York and 3rd WindUp event overall, including the event in San Francisco. However, the brand itself is still quite young. According to Nicky, one of anOrdain’s three enamelists, the company was formed some 5 years ago, but they only started selling watches about 2 years ago. As most brands keep their enamel techniques secret, it took anOrdain a while to develop their own way of creating these fantastic dials. But once they did, the result was phenomenal. Needless to say, each and every dial is done by the same in-house enamelists. From the copper plate to the printing on the final enamel dial, anOrdain does the whole process themselves. Once the dials are done, their company watchmaker assembles each timepiece.
When you think of enamel dials, you generally envision classic designs with traditional lines. While anOrdain timepieces are undoubtedly elegant, they combine traditional techniques with modern style. Their motto says it all: “Old crafts… New hands.” Other brands offer similar timepieces for ten times as much as anOrdain does. And that’s without mentioning that they are the only watch company outside of Switzerland and Japan to produce their enamel dials in house. Perhaps this explains anOrdain’s diverse customer base, from younger shoppers with a taste for something new to older, more established watch lovers who appreciate the fantastic craftsmanship. Their customers are also global, from the US to Asia and everywhere in between. This young brand has a bright future ahead of it.
Watches Made in Scotland
It is safe to say that anOrdain is in uncharted territory for a Scottish watchmaker. Their team mostly has artistic backgrounds, including jewelry design, architecture, product design, and more. If you’ve had the chance to visit Scotland, you’ll understand why a company like anOrdain could flourish in a town like Glasgow. Glasgow has much more going on than Edinburgh, the country’s capital. It’s younger and trendier, with many industrial buildings now finding new leases on life as art and design studios. anOrdain has set up shop in the city’s East End. Their small but dedicated team of young professionals is creating wonderful timepieces in this cosmopolitan milieu.
As anOrdain is a small company, their catalog is still somewhat limited. They currently offer two watch models: the New Model 1 and the Model 2. Each timepiece has an enamel dial – by now a given at anOrdain. Model 1 pieces are much more traditional in design. They have larger, 38-mm cases that are 11 mm thick and worn on 18 mm straps. You can choose from five different dial colors. Other than that, every watch is identical in terms of case shape, movement, and so on. Model 2 watches are slightly smaller at 36 mm. Here, the dials are available in a Fumé or conventional enamel style. There are five Fumé and six regular dial colors to choose from. The dial colors are more playful here and offer a lot of depth. Due to their thicker case, look even smaller than their 36 mm.
The first Model 1 was a great success, which is why anOrdain reintroduced this timepiece in early 2020 as the New Model 1. They also have a 3rd model in the pipeline. I, for one, can’t wait to see it. Their production numbers are small but consistent. This is where anOrdain might want to step up their game. Complications are also something the company are experimenting with. When working with enamel, even the tiniest complications, such as a date window, can be a challenge. But I’m sure they are up to the task. In general, I’m excited for anOrdain’s future, and I have a feeling we’ll be enjoying their amazing creations for years to come.