The Kollokium Projekt 01 Broadens Creative Horizons

An affordable watch in a striking, brutalist style.

Positioned as a creative endeavour rather than a traditional brand, Kollokium debuts with a departure from conventional watchmaking norms, the Projekt 01. Born from the aesthetic sensibilities of its founders, Manuel Emch, Barth Nussbaumer, and Amr Sindi, Kollokium is about unconventional design and raw, unpolished aesthetics.

Kollokium is a project-based offering, with each “projekt” iterated into variants but produced in limited numbers. Projekt 01 begins as a “Friends & Family” edition only for insiders, but a publicly available version will soon be launched in early 2024.

Initial thoughts

The Projekt 01 blends avant-garde design with innovative manufacturing processes, and an affordable price tag. And it also doesn’t take itself too seriously, as evidenced by the case back – something that collectors tired of self-important brands will appreciate.

The cast steel case delivers an industrial and robust aesthetic, setting it apart from watches in this price segment. On top is a highly-domed “box” sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating that enhances the visual experience. But most intriguing is the three-dimensional pixellated dial made up of with 468 hand-applied cylindrical markers tipped with Super-LumiNova, a surprising degree of craftsmanship given its price.

Kollokium’s philosophy is also reflected in the decision to identify the La Joux-Perret G101 movement. Like many watch start-ups, Kollokium is committed to transparency, while being more about the design rather than a mechanics, as is appropriate at this price point given limitations imposed by the price. 

The “Friends & Family” edition costs CHF2,666.66, and subsequent iterations will be in the same ballpark. The price reflects a reasonable valuation considering its distinctive design, limited production, technical specifications, and unorthodox spirit. As a distinctive choice in the mid-range market, it will appeal to enthusiasts seeking a timepiece that transcends traditional micro-brand offerings.

That said, the design is unconventional enough to be polarising. Its success will depend on the acceptance of the unique design philosophy and the brand’s quirky image.

“Neubrutalist horology”

Kollokium is all about “Neubrutalist horology”, which draws inspiration from post-war brutalism, Kraftwerk synth-pop, and a Philip K. Dick retro-futuristic backdrop. It aims to capture a unique mood characterised by a balance of familiar and unfamiliar elements.

This eclectic approach reflects its founders, all industry insiders but from different corners of watchmaking. Manuel Emch is a veteran manager now in charge of Louis Erard and Raketa but equally known for leading Jaquet Droz and RJ-Romain Jerome. Barth Nussbaumer is a designer with a diverse portfolio ranging from TAG Heuer to Petermann-Bedat. And Amr Sindi is an influencer and media consultant better known as The Horophile.

The Projekt 01’s dial exemplifies the stylistic inclinations of the trio: it is a three-dimensional, pixelated surface with hundreds of cylindrical hour markers, each applied by hand and filled with luminous paint. The three-dimensionality is imperceptible at a distance, but creates an intriguing aesthetic up close, especially when coupled with an absence of visible branding.

The case construction of the Projekt 01 is equally distinctive and defy conventional approaches. Wearability was a key consideration in the case design according to the brand. Measuring 40mm at its widest and compact in form, the case aims to cater to a broad audience. It’s fitted to a single-piece textile strap that is lightweight and breathable. 

Fabricated with stainless steel through die casting, the case has an unfinished texture that results from the manufacturing process. It’s made up of two parts, a barrel-shaped case back and cruciform lugs inspired by a screwdriver head that are meant to evoke industrial architecture. And the case does without a bezel to enhance the viewing experience, allowing the “box” crystal to sit over the dial like a domed lid.

Key facts and price 

Kollokium Projekt 01 “Friends & Family”

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 11 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: La Joux-Perret G101
Features: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 68 hours

Strap: Elastic textile single-piece strap with “hook” buckle in die-cast steel

Limited edition: 99 pieces
Availability: “Friends and family” edition sold out; new iteration that will be publicly available in early 2024
Price: CHF2,666.66 excluding taxes

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