I was pleasantly surprised by the watches I got to see and the variety of the resulting products. The diversity of their watches exists, even while Reservoir focuses on one consistent dial and look and feel for all of their watches. Let’s explore the Reservoir watches in more details.
Reservoir watches have a common dial design: jumping hour, retrograde minutes, and power reserve. It’s and interesting combination of three different complications that actually works well together. As you will see it can be adapted to various settings.
To achieve the three complications, the Reservoir creators use an ETA-2824 movement with a proprietary module attached. This module contains about 125 parts and when attached, converts the classic ETA movement into one that is driving the three complications that you find in all the Reservoir watches. The resulting movement’s power reserve for all of the watches is just under 40 hours at 37, which should give a day and half of standby time before needing to be worn again or powered with the crown.
The genius of the Reservoir watches for me is that the resulting abstract design of a central jumping hour, semi-circle retrograde minutes, and the bottom arc power reserve can work well for different types of watches. First, the natural look of the dial layout reminds one immediately of a car’s dashboard. So it’s obvious for Reservoir main collection includes many driving watches.
The retrograde minutes hand suggests a car’s speedometer and the power reserve the car’s fuel gauge. and the jumping hour the current speed. To keep things interesting, Reservoir changes colors and materials on aspects of the dial in order to keep the overall collection fresh.
Three main releases exist in steel and black PVD, a few models in gold and palladium, and in some in more exotic materials like laminated carbon, bronze, and titanium. The price points vary based on the case material at just under $5,000 for the steel models to around $15,000 for the palladium and gold models.
While the dial layout works brilliantly as a driving watch, it can also easily represent a pilot watch. In this case the three dial indicators representing minutes, hours, and power reserve reminds of the air speed, altitude, and fuel gauge. Reservoir does well to give the pilot version the look of watches in that category with styling cues in the strap and case.
Finally, the overall design can also work for marine watches. The inspiration in this case are the instruments onboard old marine vessels that would be used to indicate nautical speed or depth (for a submarine). The Reservoir watches use this inspiration to match the instruments into the overall three indicator design. An obvious expansion is of course diving watches which Reservoir planned to release but that I did not get a chance to see hands on.
When a watch represents one of man’s other most love mechanical artifact: cars, it’s not surprising that the two worlds collide. Reservoir chose a series of iconic cars whose color schemes and overall designs are reflected in some special editions driving car watch. One example is the Mini Cooper limited edition Reservoir watch which tries to include the funky style and color scheme of the iconic British car.
It’s very hard to find new watches that brings excitements to the watch industry. Typically they come from independents and have a price point outside what one would call entry level (around $5,000), Reservoir is interesting for it’s introduction of a watch design that is innovative, simple, and can be adapted for various genres and types of watches.
Indeed the current models all have a consistent design and look and feel while also accurately representing the types of watch it is meant to be. While I would have preferred Reservoir to only offer steel and perhaps titanium watches, instead of now venturing in higher price points with gold models, the overall result is still somewhat in the affordable price point for what it’s worth.
It’s super cool to see a new watch brand that tries to cater to watch enthusiast while bringing to market an affordable set of watches. It would be interesting to see where else the French company can take this winning solution? In many ways they remind me of Bell & Ross which took the winning design of the a square watch inspired by a vintage plane instrument and have created a successful brand.
I believe Reservoir’s path is heading in that direction. Can’t wait to see a chronograph or perhaps a GMT or travel time version. Reservoir watches can be ordered online along with choosing from a variety of straps. You can see the watches from their boutique in Paris and a few retailers around the world. reservoir-watch.com