By Steve Huyton

Over the last few years, I have written several books about design and horology. This has given me a unique insight into the world of luxury. What fascinates me is overall psychology, which also creates desire, fulfillment and necessity. 

Within the watch industry brands pay millions on complicated marketing campaigns. This is also the age of the brand ambassador that, in my opinion, has been a game changer. 

Ultimately this has had a profound effect on small independents who have found themselves in a David and Goliath type scenario. The positive news is that it has stimulated sole watchmakers to create more adventurous pieces. A great example can be found in Roland Stampfli, the owner of Swiss-based AOS Watches.

Roland Stampfli

I’ve known Roland for nearly a decade and absolutely love his backstory. Essentially the brand was established to honor the legacy of his father, Arthur Oskar Stampfli. Roland’s mission is to create a beautiful range of timepieces.

The AOS Black Wind Roses.

Some of my favorites have been the ‘Black Wind Roses’ and ‘Elements‘ collections made with renowned South Australian artist Timothy John.

Examples from The Cat Edition

Just over a couple of years ago, I wrote an article for IW Magazine called AOS Feline Frenzy featuring a super cool watch called The Cat Edition. This particular model features a cool cat tattoo style illustration that is consistent with Roland Stampfli’s passions. 

New watch

Recently Roland unveiled the Dark Sky 1962 watch, a limited edition of fifteen pieces worldwide. What differentiates this timepiece from other models is the scaled-up case size.

The AOS Dark Sky 1962

Previous AOS editions have had 46mm to 47mm diameters that generally wear smaller. The Dark Sky 1962 is a true 51mm (excluding the crown) which makes a much bolder design statement.

I’m definitely in favor of these increased proportions as a lover of XL watches. Due to the use of anodized aluminum, this watch only weighs 100 grams. Ultimately this means it feels exceptionally comfortable and lightweight on the wrist.

What makes the Dark Sky 1962 so special is the brown and black screen-printed graphic dial. This perfectly complements the matte black case which is punctuated with eleven torque screws (that act as indexes).

Other delightful features include a domed sapphire crystal, skeletonized lugs and screw-down crown. Powering the watch is a Swiss-made automatic movement sourced from ETA. The Caliber 2892-2 comprises 21 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

Functionally the Dark Sky 1962 features hours, minutes, seconds and a date indication at 3 o’clock. The watch is also water resistant to a depth of 30 meters and has a power reserve of 42 hours. As a perfect finale, the timepiece is presented on a high-quality black leather strap with a matching buckle.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

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