Winter is coming… The sky is grey, the weather is cold, the road is slippery when I ride my scooter to work… And suddenly, Federico Restrepo comes into my little blogger life, with a message on Clock Me Tender mailbox, asking me whether I would be interested in doing a review of watches from a collection he has just launched…
Who is Federico Restrepo ?
A few days later, we have had a phone call.
The man is voluble, enthusiastic, exuberant, spontaneous and, as I will learn later, impatient 😉 He talks to me about his strong experience in luxury product design, his youth in Bogota, where he was born in 1962, his master of philosophy in La Sorbonne, his beloved Chinese wife.
Federico is not a watchmaker. He is a designer. A multi skilled and very talented one, if one believes the long list of awards he has received. I suggest you visit his official website restrepo-fils.com.
Not a watchmaker… but not a total novice either as demonstrated by his collaboration with Technomarine in 2013, a project with which he won an A’ Design Award in the Jewelry, Eyewear and Watch Design Category.
This time, Federico Restrepo took the maximum risk, launching his own brand and collection. On hour of and intense and very animated conversation later, we had a deal. Federico agreed to lend me one of each model of his collection.
Colors in abundance
Restrepo watches? It is a profusion of shapes and colors which attacks your retina and makes your cones and rods go crazy. Columbian sunshine and colors power in action! Very very far from the rigor of the watchmaking art to which amateurs are accustomed… I might as well say it: it’s even a bit destabilizing. But I believe that this is what makes life fun in Federico’s head.
Watches that make you smile
One of Federico punchline is “Restrepo reveals your style”. As for myself, I would probably have chosen “Restrepo makes you smile”. Indeed the multicolor watches of this brand have nothing comparable with any other.
Federico lent me three watches. A chronograph “El caballero sin armas”, a GMT “Day Warrior”, and a Power reserve complication “Hasta la Victoria”. As Federico explains on the brand website, these names are reminiscent of the Spanish literature or the Cuban revolution, even though Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro, the Leader maximo were more fond of good luxury swiss brand than local watchmaking…
El Caballero sin Armas
Yes. I warned you. Restrepo is color, more color, always color. Look at this PVD deep blue coated case. Look at this dial. It’s also big size. As for the whole collection, the elliptique case size is 48,71 mm x 37,9 mm lugs excluded. Unusual on the wrist, but however comfortable.
The chronograph is equipped with a Valjoux 7750. The “bulhead” configuration is quite funny, but not very easy to handle, due to the lugs flat face just below.
Let’s have now a closer look at a few details. At twelve o’clock, the elliptique Restrepo logo is proudly displayed in its dark red dress. As far as I’m concerned, I would have preferred a simple “O” in the name, rather than the logo, again. However, this illustrates quite well, in my opinion, the designer’s exuberance.
The three microgroove subdials have flashy colors, as well as the orange hands.
Did you notice? The dial has non symmetrical lume dots on the right side and there is a colored zone on the flange. What for ? I asked Federico. The answer ? “Just for fun”!
This chronograph is an invitation to dance all night long, under the spotlights. Hmmm. Here is an idea! Lets’ do this! Choose you favorite disco track. Turn up the volume. Ready? Go!
Surprise! Even the lume dots are not symmetrical. This detail had escaped my first observation. Federico Restrepo really doesn’t do anything like everyone else.
This chronograph is proposed in two other versions, with a white dial, and a silver or gold case.
Hasta la Victoria!
New explosion of shapes, colors and numerals! This watch illustrates how little Federici Restrepo cares about watchmaking codes, or even the primary function of a watch, which is to tell the time. Everything is a pretext for a new shape, each surface is exploited to offer an additional color. Look at the flange. The six (Yes, not five, six!) white and red segments have no utility. Just for fun again!
The automatic Myota 91 00, offering Day, Month and 24 hours functions and, at twelve, a power reserve indicator is a perfect playground for Federico’s exuberant creativity.
Figures, subdials, power reserve indicator… all are applied pieces. Not printed. The relief of the forms adds to the impression of abundance. Like the fruit stalls on the Bogota Paloquemao market.
All Restrepo watches have a sapphire caseback, allowing to see the movement. It’s trendy. However, as the movements are not very interesting on an aesthetic point of view, I would have liked to see a full solid steel caseback, focusing on the very humorous signature “Made on Earth” engraved on every watch.
Without any surprise, the Restrepo logo is engraved on he crown. In coherence with the colors abondance, Federico could have given his crowns a colorful face. An idea for the next time ?
What about joining now “El Caballero sin Armas” on the dance floor?
With a Restrepo watch on your wrist, you are sure to catch people’s eyes. A real seduction asset for new encounters in nightclubs or on New Year’s Eve! Would you like another glass of champagne?
This is the most simple watch of the whole collection. However my favorite. After all this colors profusion, its two-tone dial is peaceful. Like when you see the elliptic curve of our blue planet during an stratospheric flight. Of course I know what I am talking about! I went there many times!
What? Thats a Federico idea ?! All right, all right… I confess. He mentioned it in his communication supports…
The Restrepo Day Warrior is equipped with an automatic Hangzhou GMT Caliber. Yes, it is a Chinese movement. Like you, I have an unfavorable apriori. But let’s not fool ourselves. The Chinese watchmaking companies have strongly progressed these last years and propose ideal movements for the realization of fancy watches at unbeatable prices.
Like the “Hasta la Victoria”, the “Day Warrior” has two applied beveled numerals, at 3 and 9 o’clock.
And now comes my favorite moments for this review: the dance floor test.
Wow. Look at this.
I think I have found my conclusion for this article: Federico Restrepo’s watches are truly UFOs in the codified and polite world of watchmaking!
Very original and attractive or too fancy and different? I couldn’t say. One person’s taste is not the same as another’s. But I am delighted to have virtually met Federico Restrepo, thank him for his confidence, and wish him and his brand the best.
I leave you with music and pictures. Write a comment, like, share, follow my instagram thread to get the latest news from Clock Me Tender.
And above all: Merry Christmas!