By Nancy Olson
Curtis Australia is perhaps best known for its bespoke jewelry and finely crafted writing instruments. But the Melbourne-based company has also been producing watches for more than a decade as yet another expression of its artisanal expertise and as an homage to founder Glenn Curtis’s generations-long lineage in watchmaking.
“My grandfather passed on his watchmaking and jewelry tools to me, and some of these tools were in turn his father’s, as were some of the [jewelry] production methods he taught me,” says Curtis. His company’s new Motima automatic models (the name is a loose portmanteau of “motor” and “time”) benefits from the same jeweler’s approach to watchmaking as the company’s earlier collections for men and women.
The new Motima Perpetual offers some notable diversity from Curtis Australia, which has previously focused primarily on jewelry-oriented models powered by quartz movements. The company makes its own gold cases and bracelets as well as the crowns and even the gold screws that affix the caseback to the custom-engraved rotor.
“We design everything here in Australia,” adds Curtis. “We then make prototypes of all these parts in house. By creating all the prototypes ourselves we ensure that the look, the balance and comfort are as we envisaged. We can also make adjustments and improvements as we go, resulting in a more efficient and seamless timeline from concept to finished watch.”
Made in Australia
Motima’s 9-karat rose, yellow or white gold 43mm octagonal cases are forged at over 1,080 degrees Celsius, and each is formed, hand finished, polished and assembled at the Curtis Australia atelier. The Motima’s three-step screw-down crown is 9-karat gold, as are the case screws, and the watch’s bezel is stainless steel set with a diamond set in gold above 12 o’clock.
“We concentrate our focus on the areas we are experts in—the metal parts, like bezels, casebacks, case screws, catches and screw-down crowns,” says Curtis, adding that other parts, like the dials, are outsourced.
The customized self-winding Sellita movement, visible via the sapphire crystal on the caseback, features 42 hours of power reserve and 25 jewels, and it operates at 28,000vph. The rotor is engraved with the Curtis logo.
The 43mm Motima collection includes models with blue, red or black sunray-finish dials, all of which display Roman numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. A red seconds hand traverses the blue and black textured dials, while a gold-finished seconds hand offers contrast on the red-dial model. The baton-style hour and minute hands have unobtrusive luminous accents running their lengths.
Curtis Australia fits its Motima is fitted on a leather strap or on a two-tone or solid gold bracelet. As noted, the manufacturer crafts the 18-karat or 9-karat gold bracelets in-house.
Price: $11,400 on leather strap or two-tone bracelet; $29,800 on 9-karat gold bracelet; bespoke 18-karat gold versions, price upon request.
Specifications: Curtis Australia Motima
Movement: Automatic Sellita with 42-hours power reserve and engraved rotor, visible through sapphire back.
Case: In-house octagonal-shaped 43mm solid 9-karat white, yellow or rose gold with steel caseback, sapphire crystal front and back, with engraved rotor. Screw-down gold crown.
Dial: Black, red or blue with gold-finished hands topped with luminous material. Diamond at top of dial.
Bracelet: In-house karat gold, steel or leather strap.
Prices: $11,400 (strap or two-tone bracelet). $29,800 (9-karat gold case and bracelet). Upon request for 18-karat gold case/bracelet.