Crude Studio is a new watch brand with an atelier in Germany near the jewelry/watchmaking town of Pforzheim and a founder who resides on the Spanish tourist island of Ibiza. That already sounds like an intriguing recipe for a watch company. The Gypsetter is the company’s first product, with a name that combines the words “gypsy” and “jet-setter,” alluding to the brand’s target demographic of free-spirited, itinerant spirits. The Crude Gypsetter watch is extremely unique and well-made, yet it isn’t for everyone due to its look. I’m not sure I have what it takes to be a Gypsetter these days, thanks to pandemic-grounding, but I am intimately connected with the mindset that the brand’s creator used while designing this amazing timepiece.
My Crude trip began at a French pastry shop in Los Angeles’ upscale Melrose neighbourhood, when I met Greg, the brand’s founder. He was on one of his gypsy journeys, heading to California to learn about local culture and photograph a lifestyle shot for the Crude brand’s approaching formal debut. The fact that he travelled all the way to L.A. for the shoot (despite the fact that he resides in a vacation area) is certainly a very good signal that he is the type of gypsetter the Gypsetter watch is designed for. Greg did, however, build Crude Studio in the first place to fulfil his sense of style. End Of Advertising Message (Advertising Message) (Advertising Message) (Advert
Crude’s creator moved to Ibiza from Germany some years ago for a fresh life and pace. His main business there is owning a stylish hotel, which has given him the opportunity to not only explore his own aesthetic and lifestyle preferences, but also those of others. Living and working in Ibiza provided the entrepreneur with the best “gypsy” education possible.
Crude is an atelier concept with its own facility, not just a design concept. Given its distinct fashion concept, the Crude Gypsetter watch is unlike many traditional timepieces, yet it has all of the materials, construction quality, and design attention that watch connoisseurs crave. Not after first seeing it, but after knowing its storey and wearing one for a while, I became rapidly enamoured of the Crude Gypsetter. The first thing you notice about the Gypsetter watch is that all of its visible components are made to order. Crude spent a lot of time developing and handcrafting the components that went into the watch because nothing is off-the-shelf. The best timepieces in the world all have one thing in common: they all use highly unique pieces.
The case is the most visually unique aspect of the Gypsetter watch, and for good reason: it is cast rather than machined (more on that below). If you take the word “Crude” seriously (as the brand wants you to), you’ll get the “raw,” “organic” vibe they’re looking for. Luxury, according to Crude, is about a “lived-in” aesthetic, comparable to the attractiveness of vintage items and the interior design idea of shabby chic. In every manner, the Gypsetter is a luxury watch, but it doesn’t go for the standard clean Parisian-style of luxury that much of the industry is known for. End Of Advertising Message (Advertising Message) (Advertising Message) (Advert
The Gypsetter case is 43mm broad, 13mm thick, and has a lug-to-lug distance of 53mm. The wide lugs, nearly broader strap, and overall presentation on the wrist make it appear fairly huge. The strap itself is a work of art, unlike anything I’ve seen on a watch before. Each leather strap for a Gypsetter watch is custom-made to fit the size of the wearer’s wrist. The strap attaches to lugs that are 24mm wide but bend out to about 33mm broad. On the front, it has a tight weave, but on the back, it has a more classic look. The strap looks and feels more like something from a high-end motorcycle jacket than a watch band. Without its unique strap, the Gypsetter watch would not be what it is. Crude is also expected to release other “vegan” straps in the near future for individuals who don’t care for cowhide. (The leather appeals to me.) Take note of the handmade spring bar hole caps, which are just one of the watch’s many unique features.
Cast sterling silver is used to make each Crude Gypsetter watch casing. In today’s luxury watch market, neither of those things are common. Casting is an older method of metalworking in which liquid hot metal is poured into moulds. It produces an organic surface that is often finished or polished afterward. Metal stamping and machine milling have mostly rendered casting useless in the industrial world, and this is how most modern watch casings are created — and then polished. Crude defies convention by using a casting process to create its cases and opting for a “crude” appearance. The ultimate result is intriguing and natural, precisely as the brand intended.
Then there’s the issue of the casing being made of 925 sterling silver. While gold has long been a desirable watch case material, silver has fallen out of favour since the days of pocket watches. When steel came along, silver went out of favour. Silver is more expensive than steel, as well as being softer and more susceptible to oxidation. Silver tarnishes when exposed to the air unless it is polished. Case oxidation and tarnishing are now referred to as “patina-ing” by watch enthusiasts. Because of the way bronze oxidises, bronze watches are popular. Why not reintroduce silver as a watch case material to match bronze as a somewhat more luxury counterpart, if a tarnished case patina is now deemed attractive? Until now, no one except Crude seemed to have considered it.
The dial is actually part of the massive and heavy (a lot of silver) monobloc case, which adds to the appeal of the cast casing. The extra silver parts that are joined to the larger one-piece 925 silver casing are only the caseback and crown. Crude etches a serial number on the left side of the case, and then there’s the option of precious stone adornment. The possibility to place diamonds or other precious stones on various places of the casing is probably the most classically sumptuous aspect of the Crude Gypsetter watch experience.
The Gypsetter’s capacity to be adorned actually adds to its value as a luxury or jewellery item (which it inherently is). The Gypsetter offers a few gem-setting zones that can be customised. The first are the hour marks nine and ten. Then there’s the option of placing stones around the bezel’s perimeter. Crude may also add stones to the crown’s periphery, as well as the matching sterling silver buckle (which is also made in-house by Crude). The fact that the shine contrasts with the silver’s bare surface is what makes it so effective. The contrast between the industrial polish and the gleaming stones is stunning.
I recommend making a gradation of stone hues on the dial for this Crude Gypsetter watch just to show off what the brand can achieve. The darkest shade of blue is seen in the blue sapphire stone at 12 o’clock, which gradually lightens as it progresses down the dial. It creates a very appealing effect, in my opinion.
The Crude watch dial’s raised markers are effective and visually appealing. Even though it is from a rookie manufacturer, the entire dial is quite well-designed. The dial’s symmetry, sense of depth, textures, and legibility appeal to me. The contrast of the hands is the only thing I think Crude could have done better. The hands have a unique design but are polished, making them difficult to notice. I must admit that the hands grew on me over time, but I still believe that it is the easiest thing to fix in future generations of Gypsetter waters. Having said that, Crude did a lot more with their initial product than the bulk of new watch businesses I’ve come across.
The Gypsetter’s dial is protected by an AR-coated sapphire crystal (with another one on the caseback), and the case is water-resistant to 100 metres (without the need for a screw-down crown). The Gypsetter is equipped with a Swiss-made Eterna calibre 3935A automatic movement. The beautiful dark grey colour and Côtes de Genève stripes are applied to the 4Hz, two-day power reserve movement. A customised Crude automated rotor, which is a neat-looking matte DLC-coated black half-circle with a discreet Crude logo on it, sits atop the movement. Black DLC-coated screws fasten the rear to the case, matching the rotor. One of the best reasons Crude picked Eterna 39XX series movements, in my opinion, is that they are wide enough to look to be appropriately sized for the case. For example, ETA movements would have been largely much smaller (something with enthusiasts tend to gripe about).
The features, materials, quantity of unique pieces, and limited production numbers of Crude Gypsetter watches aren’t cheap, but they’re also not overpriced. Brands like these, which cater to specific lifestyles, are, in my opinion, part of the luxury watch industry’s future. There simply isn’t enough room in the world for 40 Rolexes. The watch industry’s near-term future, in my opinion, will be controlled by roughly 30-40 major worldwide brand names, with the rest of the market being filled in by micro/independent/boutique companies that can better cater to certain lifestyle needs and interests. Crude will speak to a wide range of clientele in this way, but it is part of a broader herd of like-minded businesses that is still growing. The Crude Gypsetter watch starts at 9,600 Euros and has a retail price of 13,400 Euros as displayed.