domingo, julio 14, 2019

A Perfectly Useless Afternoon - Hands on Review

December 2019 Update: Mr Jones Watches has released an almost identical non-limited edition of this watch. I would be careful about any of the "limited edition" watches produced by this brand.

First things first: You have to give some kudos to the guys at Mr. Jones Watches for the fantastic customer service and response times and for allowing this idea to come to life.  Let's start from there: A Perfectly Useless afternoon is a very good idea.  

The design of the dial (as seems to be the case for most Mr. Jones´ watches) is the main feature:  Someone floats peacefully on a swimming pool and, if you look from above, the leg of the character marks the hours while the position of the rubber duck floating nearby marks the minutes.  

The name of the piece makes it almost the stuff of poetry and it was inspired, according to its designer Kristof Devos, by a quote from Chinese writer Lin Yutang:

'If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learnt how to live'.

Add to this the 100 pieces-limited-edition factor and you have, again, a very compelling proposition that made the author of this review pull the trigger just minutes after seeing it in an Instagram review by Santiago Tejedor from Horas y Minutos.  I insist: A very compelling idea.

But ideas are a dime a dozen, so the question is whether Mr Jones´ execution measures up to so much inspiration.  Is this watch also the stuff of poetry in the metal?

The most compassionate answer to that question is another question: Is it really possible to access the realm of poetry for around €200 in the watch world?

Unfortunately not.  The piece in the metal is not nearly as beautiful as the idea that spawned it. Mr. Jones does not reveal the material used for the cristal but it feels extremely plastic and fragile. The case is a tad too small and the polished silver finish looks like a magnet for scratches all the way to the bezel.  The lugs feel slightly puny and the milanese bracelet does not feel like the right choice of bracelet by default.  (They did offered to change it for free before shipping though).

The general issue is that on the wrist the watch does not look nor feel like it was built to last more than a summer, so I cannot help but think that the execution is actually defeated by the underlying ambitious idea and by its own marketing halo. If this wasn't a 100-piece limited edition I wouldn't expect the watch to feel like a real collectible item.

Oh, but of course it would look and feel better with a sturdier case, a sapphire crystal and a mechanical movement. Pick any one of the three and you will certainly be nearer to the €500 price point, so I propose we examine this watch as the watch that it is, not as the watch that we would love our favorite Swiss brand to make.  Let me say something almost controversial: While it is far from Chaykin's Joker, it shares the same spirit. It reminds us that we take this hobby (and ourselves) too seriously.   The reason why it might be a good idea to add this piece to any collection is precisely because having it in our wrists would remind us that we are also doing this for the fun. And then in all honesty, I tend to think that the impulse of wearing it precisely while pointlessly floating on a swimming pool is irresistible.  I might try it this summer.

This happens to be my first watch from Mr. Jones, so I cannot comment on the brand and their ethos.  Judging from A Perfectly Useless Afternoon, they have a long way to go in terms of their manufacturing capabilities but they have also proven that they can give it a shot. That they can recognize a beautiful idea when they see it and that they are ready to execute on it.   I wish them many more beautiful ideas and an equally inspired path to that place where fun meets watchmaking poetry.

A Perfectly Useless Afternoon

Technical Details as advertised by Mr. Jones:

Strap: 18mm silver stainless steel (alternative straps available here)
Mechanism: single jewel quartz mechanism
Waterproof: Yes! 5ATM
Guarantee: 12 months - any problems after, we’re happy to help
Width (3 o’clock to 9 o’clock): 37mm
Height (from lug to lug): 46mm
Case: 316L stainless steel - polished silver finish
Largest strap diameter: 205mm
Smallest strap diameter: 150mm

Will I give it some wrist-time? Don't own a pool.  Not sure yet.

2 comentarios:

  1. Dear Javier,

    I was interested to read your review of “A perfectly useless afternoon”, for me it’s really good to have insight from a different perspective.

    I’m really pleased you liked the design, we love the idea and Kristof is very talented!

    I wanted to comment on some of the points you raise: the case is certainly built to last for more than the summer - I designed this case in 2009 and we’ve got plenty of customers who are still happily wearing examples from the very first batch.

    The case is designed as a unisex watch case to appeal to both men and women and we feel it fits this brief very well - it’s certainly not right for everyone, which is why we do produce some much larger cases for some of the our other designs to accommodate people who prefer their watch to be a bit more substantial on their wrist.

    For me it’s very important that the majority of our watches are affordable to as wide an audience as possible, of course this means we have to use mineral glass rather than sapphire and in the case of this model we chose to use a quartz rather than a mechanical movement (although many of our watches use mechanical movements).

    I really do care that people feel happy with their purchase, so it would be no problem to refund or exchange your purchase, just let me know.

    Kind regards,

    Crispin Jones

  2. Dear Crispin,

    The way your staff handled my order and the fact that you took the time to read through and offer some insights into your watch-making ethos says a lot. It means that you care and that your watches are keepers.

    I look forward to many more interesting watches in the future!


Se reciben comentarios: