Hands-on with a TOC19 prototype
Here is another pReview, this time, we will take a look at a TOC19 prototype, a Bauhaus-influenced hand-wound watch, the debut piece of TOC Watches from Ireland. It is currently on Kickstarter and it didn’t take long for the campaign to attain its goal. Since then, the interest around this watch keeps growing and I hope the backers and potential buyers will find this review useful.
Before I would go into the more details about the TOC19, I have to admit that despite its size — 44 mm — or maybe because of it, my wife has instantly fallen in love with it. She likes wearing big watches and she prefers modern, clean designs, without the decorations that go on a typical lady’s watch. I guess, the TOC19 checks all her boxes and when I told the people at TOC Watches about it, they admitted that quite an important chunk of their backers are ladies.
For my small wrist, I found it too big, especially lug-to-lug it’s 52 mm, so for guys with small wrists, you might want to think twice. It’s not about the comfort, it wears well, but it will make your wrist look even smaller than it is. TimeCaptain, with his 7 3/8 inch wrist, absolutely loved it. And if you are a regular reader of WatchPaper, you know that he loves hand-wound movements and the TOC19 is powered by the Seagull ST3621 movement that can be admired through the huge display back.
The Seagull ST3621 is actually a Unitas 6498 clone, and there are several quality grades. This prototype was using a lower quality grade, but the production models will all have first-grade movements, so I’m not going to go into more details about the winding, the power reserve and the accuracy of the watch. A well adjusted first-grade movement will run just as well as a Swiss calibre.
The fun part of having a hand-wound movement is that you have to wind it from time to time and this creates a stronger bond with the watch than an automatic or a quartz movement. It’s like a plant you have to remember to water. It’s a small-seconds complication, nothing to worry about the date, you can just pick up the watch, wind it, adjust the time and you are good to go.
There are several colour options for the dial: retro cream, black, Sunray crimson red, Sunray emerald green or Sunray silver. The Sunray finish is a very interesting choice, as it brings some action to this dial that was voluntarily kept plain, with the numbers and minute marks printed. I would have made the hour hand slightly smaller than it is, but other than this tiny detail, the dial is very well-balanced, with plenty of space left for the light to play on its Sunray-finished surface.
The thin bezel gives the watch a slender and elegant look, and while it is more than 12 mm thick, overall the TOC19 looks thinner than it is. The domed sapphire crystal was a fantastic choice, the curve is kept under control, it won’t distort the dial, but it fits perfectly with the overall look of the case.
Every surface of the case is polished, while the lugs and the crown have the right proportions compared to the dimensions of the case.
When you pre-order the TOC19, you can choose from several strap options, and this is a watch that I could see fit for the strap swapping game. The possibilities are endless and each time you will put on a different strap, you will discover a completely new watch.
As a conclusion, the TOC19 is a watch with a strong identity, bold proportions and at the same time, it remains a Bauhaus-inspired design. If you’re looking for an affordable hand-wound piece with solid specs that will stand its ground in both formal and casual circumstances, then you found it, but be prepared to fight for it, as your sweetheart might confiscate it. There are still a few Early Bird spots left on Kickstarter at €189/US$222/CA$276, which is a big saving compared to retail that will be €379. You can save more if you buy more than one and then there will be peace at home. The campaign will run through Friday, August 25, 2017.
Case: polished stainless steel
Diameter: 44 mm
Lug-to-lug: 52 mm
Height: 12.2 mm
Crystal: domed sapphire
Crystal on the back: sapphire crystal
Movement: hand-wound first-grade Seagull ST3621
Strap: genuine leather
Limited to 1919 pieces
for each dial colours in total.