- An elegant way to display watches
- Compartment can hold jewelry, watch straps, and more
- No metal parts
- Acrylic top can look cheap
- Holder won't fit smaller watches
- Drawer can easily misalign
The advent of smartwatches may have made it feel like we only ever need one timepiece, but not everyone has subscribed to the hi-tech wearable trend. And even with a smartwatch, there will always be a place for more traditional watches, especially those from luxury brands. Some even have two or more of these, and it often becomes a worry and a chore to organize them inside boxes with tiny pillows. Holme and Hadfield has designed a way to keep some of those watches organized while putting them up for display. But are the Watch Deck and its siblings the best way to take care of your luxury timepieces, or are they just pretty faces?
Watch collectors and serious watch owners are probably familiar with traditional watch boxes. They keep your watches organized and protected, but they aren’t exactly flattering. They are often also cumbersome to use, requiring a multi-step process to remove a watch and then put the cushion back inside the box. The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck does away with all of that and lets you showcase your favorite watches when not in use.
The majority of the Watch Deck is made of wood, from the box itself to the holders to the drawer. The company describes it as a sturdy “medium-density fiberboard” material that will withstand the test of time, with proper care, of course. The three available finishes of Oak, Walnut, and Black all look elegant and perfectly fit any classic timepiece you choose to put on top.
The transparent cover, however, is almost the complete opposite of the box. Very discerning eyes will be able to tell that it isn’t glass, and that’s actually for better and for worse. The acrylic top removes fears and worries when handling the cover, especially when repeatedly removing it to fetch the watch you’ve chosen to wear for that day. However, it also slightly cheapens the overall impact of the Watch Deck, especially once you realize its true nature, and raises concerns about the product’s sustainability.
There are no metal parts in the Watch Deck or its smaller siblings, at least not that are visible and large enough to affect the quality and operation of the box. No gears or slides to wear and tear over time, and nothing to affect the watches themselves. Even the drawer operates on a simple wooden system, which also has its own set of drawbacks.
Holme and Hadfield’s watch cases blend well with almost any kind of room or furniture thanks to its minimalist design, though there will certainly be instances where its wood and glass motif might clash with some themes. The color option will be a bigger point of consideration when buying a Watch Deck, but one that pleasantly contrasts its surrounding can also work in its favor. After all, what better way to call attention to your watch collection than by having an Oak or Walnut box that visually pops out in the middle of a predominantly black and white shelf?
The Watch Deck’s simple design is also reflected in its simple use. You really don’t need instructions for this kind of product, and you simply remove the acrylic cover to place or take out a watch for use. Likewise, you pull out the drawer to remove or place a wallet, glasses, and other trinkets inside. What you have to mind, instead, are the physical dimensions of the watch holders and the drawers, which limit what you could place in them.
The wooden watch holder posts themselves were designed with 45mm watches in mind. Watches with smaller or shorter straps might not be able to wrap around the posts properly. Conversely, watches with larger bodies might prevent the case from closing, though some have had luck with 51mm watches inside.
Even with all watches fitting well, there will be some worries that the wooden surface might scratch the watches or that the watches would end up scratching each other. The posts are fortunately spaced apart sufficiently that the watches won’t rub against each other. The smooth finish of the Watch Deck’s surfaces also helps reduce the chances of the watches themselves getting scratched.
The Watch Deck’s drawer is about 12.5 inches wide, 4.4 inches long, and 1.8 inches deep. It’s big enough to fit a regular-sized wallet or eyeglasses and a few other items like a key fob. There are even small compartments inside for rings and coins. The two-piece “Weekender” and single-piece “Daily” naturally have less room inside. The drawer moves smoothly when you pull it but stops completely at a certain point. You don’t have to worry about pulling too far or the draw falling off when transporting the Deck.
As mentioned, these drawers don’t use any metal to stay in place and move, which lessens the number of things that could break or fall apart. Unfortunately, a pure wooden drawer system requires more precision and design to operate smoothly. It is easy for the drawer’s slots to misalign, and, over time, the friction will wear down those wooden points of contact, and it will be difficult to fix this when the time comes.
You would think that a wooden box like the Watch Deck is the ultimate sustainable product, but that’s only half true. Being able to repair or service a product is also part of its longevity. Craftmanship isn’t just about the design but also about the quality of its execution, and Holme and Hadfield’s watch holders raise very important questions.
The lack of metal parts reduces the number of materials required to make the Watch Deck, but it might also make things like the drawer harder to repair when slots misalign, or the wood has worn down. There are even some customer complaints about drawers that weren’t as smooth as they should be right out of the box.
The biggest blemish on the Watch Deck’s face is the one that you might not always see, depending on how clean it is. Hard-quality acrylic is substantially tougher than glass, of course, and it will also last longer. It doesn’t look nor feel premium, though, and it is definitely not one that is easily repairable or replaceable. When it does get deformed, scratched, or broken, there is very little choice but to discard or replace it, and it isn’t the most recyclable material on the market.
To be fair, Holme and Hadfield doesn’t exactly make sustainability an advertising point for its products. Its use of wood is an aesthetic decision rather than one with a mind towards the environment or future generations. At its price point, it’s probably not surprising that the Watch Deck isn’t something that is playing for keeps, but you’d hope that the younger generation of designers would actually try to make a lasting positive impact not just in design but also on the environment.
Assigning value to a product, especially designer products, isn’t exactly straightforward. That said, value shouldn’t be based solely on appearances, something that’s presumed to be the default for these items. Design, after all, isn’t just about looking good, and product design ensures that things also work the way they were intended to, which often means trying to solve a particular problem.
The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck definitely checks most of the boxes. It looks handsome on top of any room decor. Its minimalist wooden design and clear acrylic case make sure that your watches are the center of attraction. It even has a compartment to hide other possessions from view but still keep them within easy reach.
The clincher is its price tag, which is almost scandalous for something that’s considered a designer item. For less than $100, you get a stylish holder for four of your favorite watches and a chest for everything else. At that price, it’s almost too easy to just buy a new piece if the current one breaks, which is probably why longevity doesn’t seem to be a high priority.
While smartwatches are turning age-old wrist-worn timepieces into more hi-tech but utilitarian objects, there is still a great number that sees watches as more than just accessories. Some do treat them as luxury items and symbols of social status, but there are those that see in them the epitome of excellent product design.
The Holme and Hadfield Watch Deck provides a pedestal that shines the spotlight on these timeless tellers of time. Made from sturdy wooden material and fine finishes contrast perfectly with the metallic bodies of the majority of watches, at least the ones you will proudly show off to everyone that pays attention. The choice of acrylic might be a bit questionable from a sustainability standpoint, but it makes the case easier to use and worry-free.
Perhaps more importantly, the Watch Deck is also a testament that great design and great value don’t always have to come with a high price tag. Admittedly, not all watch connoisseurs will be happy with some of the design choices, but Holme and Hadfield clearly wants to deliver the message that living a life by design doesn’t always have to be expensive.