Back in the days, way, way before smartphones, social networks and especially Instagram, if you wanted to see amazing pictures, you would go to a photography exhibition. At that time, I had a mentor, who would initiate me in the magic world of photography and one day, he told me the secret of a great picture. After walking out of an exhibition, where you saw hundreds, maybe thousands of images, there is always that one photo that stays in your memory, it haunts you for days, the picture that will leave an impact on the way you see the world, that is a great picture. I followed his advice all my life and when I’m overwhelmed with information, it helps me sort out the essential from the noise. It works with watches too, if I go to a show or a watch event where I would see a bunch of watches, I will always focus on that one piece that I remember, that defines that event for me.
With this review too, it is a bit like this, as I’m typing it up, I don’t have the watch with me. Actually, there have been more than six months that I returned the Feynman One prototype and because of moving to a new city, this review, just like WatchPaper in general, had to wait. Right now, I can only rely on my memory and the few pictures that I took and I think that this review because of these limitations will be, somehow, more honest than my previous ones.
The first thing that I remember about this watch is the dial with its complex design, its depth with all the layers and the textures. And there was something very elegant and exotic about it, the chapter ring, the disc for the hours and the small second disk have this unique way of displaying time increments. It looks like a railroad track but it also reminds me of a Feng shui compass, and every time I looked at the Feynman, I was under the impression of wearing an amulet. I know Feynman designed the dial according to the golden ratio, but to me – not that I would be an expert in Chinese geomancy – it also has a good feng shui, maybe the two concepts are related.
I really liked the way the name of the brand is displayed, between 4 and 6 o’clock, it leaves the eye all the pleasure to enjoy the rich texture of the dial, highlighting its 3D architecture. The shape of the small second is quite unusual and it was only later during a rather amusing exchange on the Microbrand Watches Facebook Group we learned from a person close to the brand that it was actually inspired by the tail of a gecko, a symbol of good luck in some Asian cultures.
Another feature that amplifies the sophistication of the dial is the thick sapphire crystal that, if I remember correctly, is not a usual domed crystal, because it has curved edges but the top is flat. This also makes the watch rather tall compared to its diameter, but with a dial like the Feynman One, there is no choice but to have a taller case in order to fit everything. The case has a classic dressy vibe but at the same time, it manages to be modern by positioning the crown at 4 o’clock and having the shape of the lugs sharp with an angular geometry.
Through the back watch nerds will be happy to admire the top grade ETA/Peseux 7001 hand-wound movement, really hard to ask for anything better for a watch in this price range.
The grey lizard leather strap that came with the watch works great with the dial and if in the prototype phase the buckle was probably too sharp, I was told that production models have that problem fixed, the edges a softer and they won’t damage the strap.
I’m really happy to see that Feynman was welcomed by collectors, last December, their Kickstarter campaign went very well and the pre-ordered pieces have been shipped a long time ago. The Feynman One is an interesting watch that manages to combine Chinese aesthetics with a classic design, appealing to a wide customer base. Going forward, I do hope that they will continue in the same vein, using high-end movements in watches that are sweepingly alluring. Keep up the good work, Feynman! You raised the bar high for Feynman Two.
More about Feynman at feynman.watch