Although I have followed the brand’s emergence in recent years, this is only the second time I have mentioned Southern California-based DEVON. The brand made waves with its “Tread 1″ watch which displayed time via an interwoven system of conveyor belts, in part managed by an optical recognition system (the watch is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery). It was and remains a very cutting edge watch, and I really like it. A testament to the Devon Tread 1’s ingenuity was that it was nominated for the Gran Prix d’Horlogerie de Genéve in the category of Design and Concept Watch – the first American watch brand ever to receive this prestigious recognition.
Following the success of the Tread 1, the brand is in the process of rolling out its second model, the Tread 2. Now a couple years in the making, I’m not sure I like the direction that the Tread 2 is headed. I will discuss this and take a closer look at the Tread 2, below.
The Devon Tread 1
Last year at Baselworld, the brand introduced its second model, the Tread 2. I gave the Tread 2 a brief look in March of 2012, and I must say that I did like the design iteration. Fast forward to today — I learned that the Tread 2 has been redesigned and will again be presented to retailers and customers at Baselworld 2013.
The ‘original’ Devon Tread 2
Prototype presented at Baselworld 2012
Admittedly, the Tread 2 as presented March 2012 was a prototype. And while I can appreciate the desire of designers to endlessly tinker with their designs, I think that Devon should have stuck with the design presented last year. The new design, shown here, just doesn’t do it for me. In particular I am not a fan of the eight rivets (four on either side of the case) and also I see no need for the “Hour” and “Minute” notations (I think this is quite obvious). On the plus side, the watch is purportedly more form fitting, though the dimensions have increased a bit — 44mm x 42mm now vs. 42mm x 38mm for the original design. No word yet on whether the price will also change; last year the Tread 2 was quoted at $10,000. The Tread 1, incidentally, was priced at $15,000.
In sum total, I think the design changes make the watch look a bit more toy-ish than previously, which I do not like.
The Devon Tread 2 -- 2013 Redesign
In fairness, I will say that given the complexity of the Devon Tread series I am willing to withhold final judgement until I see the Tread 2 in-person. Beyond Perpetuelle, the real test for Devon will be Baselworld 2013 and the reception the new design gets this year from the same retailers and customers who saw the original design last year.
My last word for now is that the Tread 1 remains the brand’s flagship and more desirable piece. The Tread 2, despite its lower price-point, is hopefully still a design in progress. It’s never easy launching your own watch brand from scratch, particularly an American brand which must compete against the Swiss giants. Devon undoubtedly hit a winner its first time out, and despite my criticism I am hopeful that the Tread 2 will ultimately be successful for the young brand.
Your thoughts are welcome — drop a comment below.
Learn more about Devon at http://www.devonworks.com/