Argon, a new independent brand launched their first ever watch – the Spaceone, and within minutes, it achieved funding in less than a minute.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Argon Spaceone, launched on Kickstarter
The release price for the Argon SpaceOne is EUR 1,500 (brushed steel or polished steel) and EUR 1,900 (titanium models and forged carbon). Available in brushed Titanium (limited edition of 100 pieces), in forged Cargon, also limited edition of 100 pieces. In brushed stainless steel and polished stainless steel, and blue titanium, which are available only during the pre-order period of 30 days from May 11, 2023. Deliveries estimated for December 2023. Orders for all watches will stop after Kickstarter pre-order period.
Our first reaction of the Argon SpaceOne is that this has been done before. The watch looks like a carbon copy of the De Bethune Dream Watch 5, which was launched in released in 2014. We said this in 2014, “De Bethune Dream Watch 5 looks like something that came out from a Sci-Fi film. With its avant-garde design and polished titanium case, it looks like one of those spacecraft from the movie “Star Trek”, albeit less complicated. While it looks futuristic, there is something that I love about this watch: simplicity…It has just got the right balance, in terms of its design. Not really sure about its size though…”. Of course, on closer examination, the Spaceone design is unlike that of the Dream Watch, but that was our first impression on receipt of the release material.
Of course, the De Bethune is equipped with an exclusive movement designed and manufactured by Denis Flageollet. The movement shows not only a jumping hour digital display, but also a display for the moon phases. The movement has a self-regulating twin barrel with 5 days of power reserve with an in-house silicon and palladium balance wheel, clover triple parachute shock absorption system and the spherical moon phase with an accuracy of 1 day in every 1,122 years. The DB caliber 2144 has 329 components. The Dream Watch 5 comes in at a width 49mm, length 39mm and a thickness of 11mm.
Meanwhile the new Argon is powered by the P024 SOPROD movement, and measures much larger at 51.7mm width, and 12.6mm thick. However, it must be noted that the De Bethune debuted at CHF 150k back in 2014, and the Argon is less than EUR 2k. But comparing the De Bethune to the Argon is an exercise much like our recent Rodenstock vs Fujinon comparison. Interesting to some, perhaps, but ultimately these products are designed and targetted at totally different market universes.
Over time, we have seen De Bethune release several versions of the original Dream Watch 5, including in gold, and even a tourbillon version in 2021. Also, Chinese copies of the same Dream Watch 5, with different levels of results. Some good, some terrible. And it is with interest that we received news of the Argon’s SpaceOne launch. We did get wind that it was gathering interest in the periphery shows around Geneva during Watches & Wonders 2023, and have some interest to see the novelty, as we have known the work of Théo Auffret for a while. But we simply did not have any time to drop by. The Kickstarter launch was spectacular, having achieved the level of funding in super short time. Very impressive. And other than the reaction we talked about above, the effort in design is very impressive as well, and indeed commendable! Made even more so, at the highly accessible price point. And we wish Théo and Guillaume all the best in this new endeavour!
On May 11th, just over four days ago, Argon launched SpaceOne, its very first watch model, on the Kickstarter platform for crowdfunding creative projects, and within minutes registered a dazzling success. Dazzling yes, surprising less so if we consider it is the brainchild of Theo Auffret (27), a passionate independent watchmaker, and Guillaume Laidet (37), a compulsive watchmaking entrepreneur, both French, very active and already well established in the watch industry.
The goal was to raise 100,000 EUR and get the project off the ground. Argon’s SpaceOne streaked through that threshold within less than a minute.
200,000 EUR in less than 5 minutes.
Three hours later, the new watchmaking brand’s first creation rocketed past the EUR 500,000 mark.
72 hours later, the result is still staggering: 694,000 EUR – and counting! – pledged by just over 359 watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs who can’t wait to unbox their SpaceOne until June 11, 2023 – deliveries to commence late in 2023. There are still 26 days left before the pre-order window closes on 10 June 2023 at 15:49 CEST.
When the SpaceOne project was presented to the press and retailers around the world on the sidelines of the Geneva Watch Week Fair in March 2023, it was already then buoyed by strong anticipation on social networks. This no doubt gave Argon a head start on Kickstarter and explains how SpaceOne so quickly captured the imaginations and won over the hearts of the watch lover community.
The Argon SpaceOne is a radical, neo-futuristic watch design with a jumping hour inspired by science fiction and developed by Théo Auffret. At 27, this young independent Parisian watchmaker with his own eponymous brand and a prestigious GPHG nomination to his name – his Tourbillon Grand Sport watch was officially shortlisted at the official 2022 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – is also passionate about cars and aviation.
His partner in time on the SpaceOne project: serial watchmaking entrepreneur Guillaume Laidet (37) whose watchmaking journey took a leap in 2015 when he launched his first brand, “William L 1985” by raising more than 192,000 EUR on, you guessed it, Kickstarter. Known as a ‘brand maker’, Guillaume Laidet is today the CEO of Nivada Grenchen and the man behind the rebirth of the Vulcain brand. His start-up spirit goes hand in hand with an unparalleled zeal and tireless energy, transforming a vision into a lasting success. As the architect of the vintage watchmaking revival, Guillaume is one of the players in the industry who is radically reshaping the watchmaking scene.
Guillaume Laidet: “Theo and I and the team at Argon are grateful to our fans who believe in our young brand and have made the successful launch of the SpaceOne possible. Their trust and enthusiasm motivate us to continue to innovate and to keep pushing the boundaries of watchmaking, not just in terms of what it means to make but also to wear and enjoy watches.”
The Argon SpaceOne
The design of Argon’s SpaceOne is inspired by space exploration and the design era known as “space-age” that became popular during the space race of the 1960s. The brand name – Argon – pays tribute to the noble gas of the same name. The number 18 of the periodic table of elements. This first collection includes a range of limited-edition models made from three different high quality materials: stainless steel, titanium and forged carbon.
The jumping hour function of the watch was developed directly by Theo Auffret in his workshop. It consists of nine elements; all components are made in Switzerland by the best suppliers, and the watch is assembled in France in a dedicated workshop.
The watch is equipped with a Swiss automatic movement, a sapphire cockpit and a stainless-steel caseback. It comes with two FKM rubber straps – black and orange FKM – and is water resistant to 3 ATM. The watch case measures 42 x 51.67 mm, with a thickness of 12.6 mm and a width of 22 mm. The minute disc is made from sapphire for maximum transparency.
The movement is a P024 SOPROD without date, self-winding, with a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a power reserve of 38 hours. The SpaceOne weighs 90 grams in stainless steel, 60 grams in titanium and 30 grams in forged carbon. The strap and buckle add 30 grams to the watch.
The packaging of the watches is inspired by a space suit. Each SpaceOne will be vacuum packaged using the same system used to preserve perishables, ensuring that the watch arrives in perfect condition, just as it would after a long trip into space. The combination of these two elements creates a packaging that is not only visually stunning but also highly functional, consistent with the exceptional quality of the watches.
Argon SpaceOne Technical Specifications
– Jumping hour, digital display
Swiss automatic movement, Sapphire cockpit
Assembled in France
Case Size / Diameter: 42*51.67 mm
Case Thickness: 12.6 mm
Case Lug Width: 22mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Case back Material: stainless steel case back with flat sapphires, see-through case back
Hands/Disc: The hour disc & second disc are printed with super luminous, and the minute disc
is made out of sapphire also printed with supper luminous.
Strap: Black / Orange FKM rubber Strap
Movement: P024 Without Date version Self-winding
Frequency: 28’800 vibrations per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours