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Diving watches…vintage…all add up to a particular type of watch that may or may not suit your particular watchmaking tastes. But if so, I look forward to telling you about Flow. No, not the home decor store, but a brand new watch brand that comes to us from the Canada. Ed Chothe founder, is a fan of vintage divers and, in particular, of the glorious period of the 1960s and 1970s. Ed therefore decided to create his own brand, Fleux, and his first two models, the FLX001 And FLX002to celebrate in its own way a particularly vibrant period of watchmaking.
Vintage yes, but vintage with taste
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems many young brands were too focused on vintage divers a few years ago. All you saw in this particular segment of the watch market was vintage divers, more vintage divers, and more vintage divers. It had become a bit too much for me and maybe for you too. So I find it interesting that Ed decided to create such a watch about two years after the trend passed. Call it brave or whatever, but his first two models are here and you might be interested in them.
Although it may sound subjective, I would say there is a right way and a wrong way to do vintage. The good one is when the watch has a vintage touch while being modern. The bad is when a brand leans too heavily on vintage, such as aging markers and hands or combining design elements that don’t work well together. It’s like designing clothes in 2023 that look like they’re from the 1980s but use modern materials. This would be the correct method. Does that seem logical to you? I hope.
In the case of Fleux, I think Ed added just the right amount of vintage to make the watches look interesting without overdoing it. For example, he used C3 Old Radium lume on the hands, markers and text to make the watch look like it’s been exposed to too much sun for too long, but not in such a way that it has the air damaged. Likewise, he opted for hesalite rather than sapphire for the domed crystal to add a touch of nostalgia, and he opted to use friction bezels rather than clicker bezels to bring us back to the era when all glasses worked this way.
The watches in detail
Although the watches look vintage, they are decidedly modern. They are equipped with a movement Seiko NH38A, known for its robustness and reliability. The watches are water resistant to 200 meters thanks to a screw-down crown and back, making them true divers. The bezel inserts are made of aluminum coated with a protective finish, which gives them a certain bakelite appearance without being as fragile as the latter. The box is in stainless steel and the recycled marine plastic strap. Which means that by buying a Fleux, you are also doing a good thing for the planet!
From the point of view of dimensions, both models have the same housing: 38mm in diameter (39 mm at the level of the bezel), 47mm from one horn to the other, 14mm thick and 20 mm in horn width. Although the watches might be thought to be thick, they are quite flat on the wrist, as the 14mm measurement includes a domed caseback and domed hesalite glass. Most of what we see is therefore the profile of the case and the glass. As for the case, it features a simple yet effective design, with an elongated profile and downward facing lugs. It’s simple and it works.
The finish is simple and effective, with a predominance of brushed surfaces on the sides and upper parts of the case, and a polished chamfer along the latter. The crown is reasonably sized – not too small, not too big – and features a knurling deep which makes it easy to grip and operate. The simplicity of the design of the case is found on the dial where the name of the brand and the text are written in small and in a color that echoes that of the C3 Old Radium lume. However, one element that stands out is the diver’s flag, which is also engraved on the crown.
The differences between the two models
As you may have already noticed, the FLX001 And FLX002 differ in their appearance. Specifically, their bezel and dial are different. The FLX001 is equipped with a countdown diver’s bezel where each five-minute increment is underlined by a line, while the 10-minute increments are underlined by Arabic numerals. The painted indexes also have different shapes: the one at 12 o’clock is an inverted triangle, those at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are sticks and all the others are circles. Note the difference in size of the indexes between the upper half of the dial and the lower half.
There FLX002for its part, is equipped with a bezel of the type bundle, developed in the 1960s for German submarine commandos. This type of bezel has only one index so that divers can track elapsed hours instead of minutes. Typically, bund-style glasses have an inverted triangle, but Ed chose to go with a bright dot. The dial has been given a “Californian” treatment with Roman numerals on the upper part of the dial and Arabic numerals on the lower part. Unlike the FLX001, all indexes of the FLX002 are more or less the same size. I like both versions!
If you’ve made it this far, I take it you like vintage divers. The Fleux FLX001 and FLX002 are overall good watches with great specs and a good visual balance between vintage and modern – at least in my eyes. They are currently available for pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign that ends on May 1, 2023. The prices are as follows: Super Early Bird from 383€Early Bird of 411€and final price of about 425€. Delivery is estimated for September 2023. To learn more about Fleux, click here and about the Kickstarter campaign, click here.