Independent watchmaking in recent years has slowly been ticking into the mainstream. Just look at Geneva’s annual watch fair, the invitation-only, Richemont-run Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which hosted a dedicated section for independent brands in 2016 featuring nine watchmakers – a number that will grow to 16 for the 2018 edition. And now giving this rarefied world a digital, 21st-century boost is e-hub Skolorr, a shopping site and e-magazine launched last year that aims to promote this specialised area of watchmaking.
The site is the brainchild of Sky Sit, a luxury-tech entrepreneur with nearly a decade’s experience in the independent watchmaking world. Skolorr is a play on the word scholar but with a Scandinavian vibe, says Sit, who helped grow Danish watch brand Linde Werdelin prior to starting her site. “I love the whole Scandi ethos,” she explains. “It’s socially aware, careful and clean.” Sit and her team meticulously research every brand they present on the site, having visited the manufactures, and collate the site’s magazine-style Journal pages, which feature original content and imagery.
Skolorr’s inventory of 20 watch brands does include some timepieces familiar to connoisseurs – and SIHH goers. There’s Hautlence’s cushion-shaped, space-age-like Vortex Bronze (€141,667), for example, which is limited to eight pieces. And DeWitt’s titanium Twenty-8-Eight Full Moon (€28,600), with two eye-catching aventurine plaques on the dial and a moonphase mechanism.
But it’s the lesser-known names that make for the most enlightened browsing. Zeitwinkel’s understated pieces include the retro-style steel 082° (€7,975) with a grand-feu dial offset by blue enamel numerals and hand-made hands, while the smoked sapphire-crystal dial on its 273° Saphir Fumé (€11,345) subtly shows off the underlying calibre, which controls a patented large date display and power-reserve indicator.
Women watchmakers also have a strong presence at Skolorr. Scottish-born Fiona Krüger has carved out a cult following with her skull watches, of which the carnival Celebration Skull (from €24,500) and striking Petit Skull in a range of coloured guilloche dials (from €12,300) can be found here.
More subtle is the ultra-chic, vintage-like Kingsley (from €19,250) from husband-and-wife duo Struthers London, which can also be customised so that no two are alike. Indeed, bespoke orders are one of Skolorr’s main draws (cue the unusual one-offs by Swedish house GoS, with their psychedelic, elemental designs, from €7,350). Help is on hand in the form of a concierge service, namely from Sit herself, who will happily walk customers through their orders.
With independent watchmakers limited in their production capabilities, making anywhere from 30 to 300 pieces a year, the site is set to become a go-to hub for standout and one-of-a-kind pieces.