HoDinkee’s about to launch the UNIMATIC X HODINKEE. It will sell out in a femtosecond. And then hit eBay for a price premium. Baaaaaaa. Yeah, you heard me. Anyone who somehow manages to secure the UNI-HO should self-identify as a sheep. Someone who buys a watch that everyone wants to buy because everyone wants to buy it. It’s a horological circle jerk. In contrast, the Celegin Draken . . .
At first blush the Draken’s yet another pilot watch in a world of pilot watches. Take a closer look at the image at the top of this post.
In my considered opinion the Celegin Draken evokes the old joke about how Michelangelo made his David: he bought a block of marble and removed the bits that weren’t David.
Try and see what’s not wrong with the Celegin Draken. How its masterful minimalism puts the not-ugly but more-than-somewhat-overwrought Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 to shame.
Notice the Celegin Draken’s subdial symmetry; both dials have three sets of numerals, identically placed. Check out the unobtrusive numerals on the right-sized ceramic bezel. The way the midnight blue/black bezel complements the strap. The contrast between the arrow-tipped second hand the syringe-style main hands. The balance between the top text and the Swedish fighter jet. Ah yes, the jet . . .
The Dragon is a pilot watch with a timekeeping function (bicompax chronograph) with a clear salute to perhaps the most beautiful fighter aircraft ever: Swedish Saab J35 Draken. The starting point for the design comes from classic pilot watches from the 60s and 70s when the Dragon was active.
Aside from the image on the dial and the crown engraving, the Celegin Draken doesn’t evoke the jet that serves as its inspiration. But the chronograph is definitely in tune with lagom – the Swedish “not too little, not too much” mindset that informed the J35’s design and capabilities.
Unlike HoDinkee’s skinny jeans and latte corporate drones – who don’t deign to show you the Italian designed watch they’re pimping with a Japanese sports car – the Swedish watch guy’s motivated by “wanting to give the buyer the best possible experience, the one I’d like to have as a buyer myself.”
So no hovering over your keyboard at T-minus zero to try (and fail) to beat thousands of aspiring buyers desperate to get in on a UNI-HO. You want one of the first-run, 100-watch limited edition $500 Drakens? Drop Mr. Celegin an email (email@example.com).
Hang on, you say. Five bills? Yes, the Celegin Draken is made in China, running off a hand-wound ST 1901 movement, on full display behind a transparent caseback. And?
As much as I hate China’s human rights record, there’s nothing wrong – and a lot right – with Sea-Gull’s quality and quality control. I believe Lenny when he says he’s selling the 100-piece limited edition debut model at cost, to launch the brand amongst “influencers.”
Bottom line: Celegin is one of many independent watchmakers offering unique (if minimalist) products for a fair price that you can buy without engaging in an online bunfight.
Before you go chasing the latest thing – as determined by large, faceless organizations that treat you like a supplicant (i.e. dirt) – consider the advantages of following Fleetwood Mac’s advice and go your own way.