“Trust me, it can’t be done guys, it’s been tried many times, it just doesn’t work, give up.” That’s what the experts said. And if the determined founders of Lexell Watches had heeded these words today we would not be discussing the world’s first stone and steel watches.
The avid watch enthusiasts behind the Seattle based Lexell Team – so named for the closest comet to pass earth in 1770 – had come to the realisation that most watches, especially those in the mid-price bracket, were essentially made of the same materials. They wanted to create something different, something eye catching, yet natural, beautiful and enduring. They decided to make watches incorporating stone. That’s when all the experts, watchmakers as well as stone merchants, stepped in and said it can’t be done. You can’t control the cutting of the stone, it’s prohibitively expensive, we can’t deal in such small quantities, give up, go home.
But the Lexell guys did not give up, and they did not go home. In the course of the past year the team heard the word ‘no’ more than they ever thought possible, but after scouring three continents for a solution, they eventually found people willing to help them make Lexell Stone Watches a reality.
They discovered a stone merchant prepared to sell in small quantities, they found a skilled stone cutting company willing to experiment and cut the stone to the desired shape and size, and they identified a watchmaker patient enough to develop several prototypes until they arrived at exactly the product they wanted. In the end it wasn’t that it couldn’t be done, it just meant finding the right people to do it. As a result, Lexell want their watches to resonate with their customers and instil in them the belief that anything is possible, including the impossible.
Lexell Stone Watches
Lexell offers a range of tasteful, quality watches in a range of stones currently including quartzite, slate and granite. Each piece is individually made with cut stone links and bezels. These materials can last a lifetime so they imbue the watch with a sense of permanence and natural beauty. And, being stone, no two watches are exactly alike. The watches are powered by Japanese quartz movements with a date function. The watches come on stainless steel bands with stone inlay, and there is also a quick change leather band to change the look and feel of the watch.
To help Lexell develop the watches they invited Ryan Beltran of Original Grain, who has enjoyed great success with his range of natural wooden watches, to help in the design of their range of stone and steel timepieces.
Having arrived at a product they love, the time came to take the brand to market. They decided on a Kickstarter campaign. In fact Kickstarter has become a favoured financing model for many an ambitious start up watch brand. Few though have enjoyed the, ahem, meteoric success that Lexell has witnessed. Within three days of pitching for a $15,000 goal, they had raised $100,000. Pledges now amount to $188,161 and there is still a fortnight to go in the campaign.
Presently there are two ranges, Infinity and Myriad, a special edition gold and black granite watch will also be produced as well as a ladies watch series. The overwhelmingly positive response on Kickstarter means Lexell can further explore the use of stone and to introduce rarer, more exotic varieties to their products.
The $99 and $109 watches have already sold out. If you wish to opt in on Lexell’s Kickstarter campaign you can back the $119 and $179 models. Or you can choose any three watches for $297.
Tim Nybo, founding member of Lexell, talks about the watches
Visit the Lexell Stone Watches Kickstarter page