Our next watch is made in Canada. From a train track.

About one year ago we had the idea of producing watches in our local town of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. "Wowzers, this could be really awesome!" said the team. The idea was so exciting but the more we looked at how we could make it happen, the more challenges we uncovered. Over the past year we’ve been chipping away at these challenges and, on August 31, we can’t wait to show you what we’ve created! 

At the end of 2011 NOVO watch officially opened its doors. What does NOVO actually mean you might ask. Well, novo is the neuter form of the word “new” in Russian. Having lived in Russia for a few years and spending time in Novosibirsk (translation: New Siberia) it has a special meaning to me. Not only that, but originally our goal was to approach the watch world in a new way. We launched our products with the idea that we’d invent new ways of looking at time to separate ourselves from the other existing brands. This proved to be great! We got some good recognition, won some awards from companies like Thrillist, and gained a loyal following! 

As time went on, the minimalist movement exploded!! Daniel Wellington led this charge and we wanted a piece of that minimalist pie as well. We started making beautiful minimalist watches (that we’re still in love with), but as Kickstarter ramped up and access to China became easier, we quickly got lost in the flood of other companies coming online and doing the same thing. It seemed like many of the watch companies were inspired by similar things we are, so everyone’s stories became the same and it started getting more difficult to differentiate ourselves with our new minimalist product. We still believe we have some of the most beautiful watches in the world of course, but it forced us to rethink our next steps and how we want our future to look. It might just have been the best thing that could have happened to us. 

All the brainstorms gravitated to a repurposing theme as well as mechanical watches. Could you imagine repurposing a piece of history and giving it new life on a wrist powered by a mechanical movement!? You can’t be mad at that idea, it’s just so awesome. It does give us more challenges, but the harder it seemed the more we wanted to conquer that mountain. It’s forced us to learn about new materials, old materials, how we source them, the processes involved in repurposing, finishing techniques, how to work with mechanical movements, and the list goes on and on. We've been extremely lucky to learn from some of the best and what was originally a wildly fun idea has now become, what we think will be, a big part of our business. 

So what’s our first product you ask? Our first product will be made from a 133 year old train track found at a local coal mine in our hometown of Lethbridge! A little history on this dimepiece: The track was produced by Dowlais Ironworks in Wales in 1884. Dowlais Ironworks was a major steel producer located at Dowlais, Wales. Founded in the 18th century, it operated until the end of the 20th, at one time in the 19th century being the largest steel producer in the UK. Coal mining was the leading economic driver of Lethbridge and the tracks that we’re using have helped carry thousands of tonnes of coal. They’ve seen the world change, supported business, and sat dormant since the closing of the mine in 1957. We know we can’t give them the work like they were built for, but we can definitely find them a new home on someone’s wrist.

We pride ourselves in being incredibly creative and until now our creativity could only reach certain heights. What we’re most excited about now, is that ceiling has been removed and now we have the freedom to create, explore, and express in completely new and unrestricted ways. Buckle up, cause this journey is going to get wild. Follow us on Instagram and Youtube to see how this story unfolds.

If you’re interested in joining the waiting list, shoot me an email at steve@novowatch.com for more information about pricing and availability.

 

The track 

 

Forging into proper shape

Forging the track to proper shape

 

 

Ready for machining

Track ready for machining