By Steve Huyton
Even though I’ve never met Torsten Nagengast in person we have been friends for several years. It started back in 2013 when I featured his ‘Unique Repeater Watch 18k Diamonds’ on my website. That particular model is a unique 1/1 piece that is powered by a LeCoultre caliber from 1908.
I was massively impressed to discover Torsten is a black belt master, fourteen times regional and four times German Champion in Kickboxing. He has also won the bronze medal at the World Championships.
This competitive spirit was the catalyst for a really exciting project called Extreme, which he conceived around 2016. After years of fastidious research and development, the timepieces are now ready to hit the market.
At this stage, I should give context and explain Torsten has also worked in the automotive industry for years. Within this period he has collaborated with prestigious clients such as BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. Ultimately this experience was the catalyst for the Extreme project. Torsten’s vision for this watch was to create something special constructed from cutting edge lightweight materials.
For example, he uses a case constructed from forged carbon and a multi-layered dial from carbon fiber. However, the most ambitious part of the project was to create an in house mechanical hand-winding movement from anodized aluminum.
Richard Mille has been creating these types of timepieces for several years. Most notably their collaborative series with tennis legend Rafael Nadal. Unfortunately (due to price point) most people would have to sell their homes and live in the car to afford them. Torsten was very keen to make a similar style watch that is also highly accessible. While this Firefly example is a one-off watch, Extreme watches like it are priced at around $2,300.
Early on in the process Torsten and I realized there was a certain symmetry and our respective paths were aligned. As well as being a multi-published award-winning author, I’m also an industrial designer. I’ve created numerous watches from different carbon composites that have previously not been used in the industry.
I spoke in detail to Torsten about these creations and we agreed it would be mutually beneficial to co-create a watch. The result is a unique version of the Extreme called the Firefly.
What makes this timepiece so special is the vibrant orange carbon composite case. This complements the orange chapter ring and small second counter showcased on the multi-layered carbon fiber dial.
For Torsten Nagengast, Extreme is far more than just a watch brand. It combines three of his passions, which are automotive technology, exercise and horology. A few years ago Torsten (by his own admission) was approaching middle age as an unfit, workaholic. Extreme symbolizes a renewed lust for life.
From a consumer perspective, it’s also a win-win scenario because they can get a really cool watch, which utilizes state of the art lightweight materials. From an aesthetic point of view, it also is very successful and will appeal to a broad demographic.
Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews.