Toledano & Chan Introduce Long Awaited B/1 Watch

The small independent, or micro-brand, scene has been thriving in recent years, spoiling enthusiasts for choice with creative and inspiring watches that just hit differently than options from the mainstream brands. This space is at its best when unique visions can be brought to life that push the boundaries of the status quo and get us re-thinking genres, inspiration, and aesthetic codes. There are a few brands that live at the edge of this boundary, Kollokium is one of them, Arcanaut is another, and this week we’re getting another one in the form of a new project from Toledano & Chan, and the B/1 watch. 

The B/1 watch brings the aesthetic of brutalist architecture to life in a footprint that echoes the Rolex King Midas watch of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The result is as much a work of sculpture as it is a watch, coming together in dramatic fashion from every angle you dare to look at it. The broad, flat links of the bracelet and angular slab of the case work shockingly well on the wrist, with each interlink and angle of articulation getting careful attention. The B/1 is a tactile experience at its core, and challenges the concept of what a watch can be altogether. 

One of the founders of this project is artist and collector Phil Toledano, aka Mr. Enthusiast, who is well known for his distinctive aesthetic taste (and jumpsuits), and collection of horological oddities that break from convention. The concept for the B/1 has been taking shape for years, bringing together the concept of expressing brutalist architecture through a ‘70s inspired watch design. Demand for such a concept is at a fever pitch at the moment, with watches like the Piaget Polo 79 and the Vacheron Constantin 222 making recent returns to enormous fan fare. The B/1 taps into this same era with an original concept that’s been thoughtfully executed, eliciting the same emotional reaction as those historic recreations. 

The case and bracelet form a single, asymmetric design with a viewing window that was inspired by the iconic window of the Breuer building of the Whitney museum in New York. The angular shape of the case, and even the links of the bracelet, have a depth to them that cast shadows and catch light in interesting ways, making for a highly dynamic appearance on the wrist. There is a visual weight to everything about this watch, right down to the mixture of brushed and blasted finishes that define the geometry. 

The stone dial is made from Lapis lazuli and provides a beautiful organic contrast with the highly structured steel case and bracelet. There are no hour markers or complications, just the stone, and a set of dauphine style hands. It’s a confident design that works even at the scale of a small wrist watch. The head of the watch is difficult to take on the numbers alone given its unconventional shape, but it measures 33.5mm across, and between 10.40 and 9.10mm thick depending on the angle of the case. The lug width is 32mm, and the bracelet slowly tapers asymmetrically from there. So while it’s not a large watch, it’s not short on presence, both visually and physically thanks to the cuff-like quality of the bracelet. 

Inside resides a Sellita SW SW100 automatic movement, but that feels besides the point here. The textures, shapes, and structure of this watch are the real experience, and this is hopefully just step one for this ambitious new brand. This watch will be limited to 175 units, each priced from $4,000. I expect them to sell quickly when they go on sale starting May 16th. Toledano & Chan