Production SITREP: Helvetica, Titanium Hardware, 20ATM

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#COURGcrew — October SITREP.

Thrilled to report we’ve made steady progress in the last few weeks. This got a bit long as usual, and I hope you enjoy this dispatch from the ground crew hard at work here in the hangar.

DANGER

If you haven’t already, FILL OUT YOUR SURVEY NOW so we can include your order in the first production wave … we’ll wait right here for you … until this MONDAY.

SITREP TL;DR

  • Mission on schedule
  • Survey lock and load: 19OCT (MONDAY)
  • Production underway for Ti grade 2, pressure tested to 17ATM
  • Ti grade 5 prototype near completion, pressure tested to 20ATM
  • Helvetica for Type-A
  • Exclusive titanium strap hardware confirmed
  • Multiple order shipping & freight no added cost
  • Horween leather patterns in motion
  • Fly Boy –> Superbowl Boy
  • Check this space for HQ dispatches

Production Underway for Ti grade 2, 17ATM+

We’re moving along well with the titanium grade 2 prototypes and moving into full production. Just this week, I approved all the dial variants (small but important update to the Type-A, see below) and are closing in on finalizing the handsets. There’s some minor tweaks that are in the works, and we have good momentum moving into full production.

The manufacturer ran some preliminary pressure tests on the grade 2 prototypes and confirms that we easily withstand 17ATM right now with the 2.6mm sapphire, which is still above the original 15ATM. But we’ll still push to see whether there are structural enhancements in the final case mold to add further resistance.

Once again for reference, unless you’re doing serious scuba diving, 15ATM is already more than sufficient for swimming in the ocean, just about any watersports, and even most recreational dives.

Here’s the caseback in action (pardon the weird blow out that makes the back appear two-tone and grainy. It’s just the lighting):

IMG_20151016_124252_600px

For those of you with eagle eyes wondering why the case edge towards the bottom seems to abruptly cut off, that’s actually a slight softening of the edge to allow for thicker straps.

Ti grade 5 Prototype Near Completion, 20ATM

The titanium grade 5 sample should arrive sometime next week. I can’t wait to compare the grade 2 and the grade 5 and share the findings with #COURGcrew.

Turns out the grade 5 lends more than just some scratch resistance. A surprising finding that I’m excited to share with you all is that the initial pressure tests of the grade 5 prototype has proven to withstand 20ATM.

This was unforeseen and could not be predicted until we built and tested, but makes sense once we take into account that the alloy makes for a significantly harder material.

Bottom line: At this point in the mission, we’re on schedule.

Survey Lock and Load

I realize that we initially set lockdown for BackerKit surveys on 13OCT, but for a couple reasons I held off:

  1. We haven’t hit the 95% threshold of responses that BackerKit recommends before closing the survey.
  2. I wanted to be able to provide as much information on the differences between grade 2 and grade 5 to you all before closing the survey down.
  3. I needed to tweak the watch box dimensions to better accommodate the waxed canvas Mission Folio and needed to confirm whether that would change the shipping/freight outlook.
  4. I haven’t let the BackerKit survey delay hold us back from initiating production.

And I believe we’ve addressed these four points and now must forge ahead with the intel in hand and place orders or risk pushing the timelines.

Although we only have 92% completion on the BackerKit survey, I’ve decided to move ahead with the initial order runs so we don’t get held up by the laggers. In fact, based on the BackerKit survey results so far, I have already wired 30% deposits for TiGr2 cases, dials, sapphire, ballistic and Mil-Strap styles, and titanium hardware. I confirmed initial order quantities and plan to finalize production numbers as backers late surveys land.

That said, on Monday we’ll lock and load all the surveys which have already touched down. And then let the delayed ones catch up later in the production cycle. So, yes, those of you who have locked-in your orders will fly in the first production wave.

Exclusive Redux Titanium Strap Hardware

The titanium strap hardware prototypes arrived here at HQ! Our manufacturer on these was able to implement our exclusive design and still ensure production within our tight timelines. They are a more secure fit for the straps and don’t flop around like the typical “ZULU” rings. I designed these with just the right amount of angle, curve, and heft.

In addition, they finished the mold for the matching buckle a couple weeks earlier than expected, so they will ship those samples soon. We’ll etch the Redux symbol into the buckle. Also, we’ll etch one of the hardware rings with Redux & Co.

RDX_buckle

Helvetica for Type-A

Special thanks to COURGcrew members Bryan, Chuck, and Petr, who pointed out that the initial Type-A dial prototypes used Arial font for the numerals (except the 1). Somewhere along the way that font got lost in translation. As an aspiring design nerd, I couldn’t let us go into full production with Arial.

That’s because Helvetica is the original Swiss-designed font, while Arial is a slightly tweaked step-child made to avoid copyrights. For example, here’s Arial (left) vs Helvetica (right), I’ve circled one difference out of at least seven.

arialXhelvetica

So, we’ve updated the Type-A numerals 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 with Helvetica. If you’re interested in learning more about the typographic backstory, Gary Hustwit produced an entertaining and fascinating documentary on Helvetica.

Multiple Unit Order Shipping & Freight

We’ve been in a holding pattern for finalizing shipping details on multiple unit orders pending dimensions changes to the crate. We have a final prototype of the box enroute.

Based on initial calculations, our fulfillment partner does not foresee added shipping and freight multiple COURG unit deployments. More importantly, I do not anticipate this pause will cause any delays in production.

Horween Leather Patterns in Motion

With this strap, I’d prefer minimal wrap back on the tail. So, the Worn & Wound team proposed that we increase the space between the rings. Once that’s confirmed, Worn & Wound designs the leather dies to cut the shapes out to provide us a head start so those are ready to roll as soon as the titanium strap hardware maker delivers the goods.

Again, scale has come into play, as has the relationship we have in place with our on-the-ground local operators that sped us to the front of the production queue. If all goes as planned, the manufacturer tells us a first wave of titanium hardware ships at the end of this month. The first lot will ship to NYC so that Worn & Wound can stitch in the hardware and buckles.

Fly Boy –> Superbowl Boy

Thanks for all your generosity toward making the Wish Kid’s mission a reality. I think we were all excited at the prospect of helping the little guy get on a fighter jet. I just learned that the Wish Kid’s physician grounded the young man from the fighter jet wish because of his fragile health.

However, Make-A-Wish is still committed (and so are we), to helping make his second wish come true: Superbowl! So, I think we might propose to help fly Wish Kid and family to the Superbowl on a commercial flight. If only I had a plane … and a pilot’s license (near the top of the bucket list)!

HQ Dispatches

So you’ve probably noticed that our dispatches have now found a new home. For you, I believe this makes for a better reading experience. For me, the main benefit is that it’s much easier to write, add photos, and edit on WordPress than on Kickstarter. We’ll continue to dispatch the TL;DR there and link here so everyone stays in the loop.

Pardon the dust in the virtual blog hangar, it’s a work in progress and I don’t have much time or desire to spend a ton of time on it right now. It functions and that’s all we need at this point.

Thanks again #COURGcrew, I hope you’re as excited as I am for the COURG and that this update helps give you a glimpse into the day-to-day decisions, creator dilemmas, and victories.

Godspeed and tackle your missions. elbert, over and out.

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  • Bernd

    Hi,

    I already filled out my survey and I choose the A-11 Design over the Type B because you initially stated that it wouldn’t be available with date window.
    Has that changed, since in the picture in this update there is the type B with date pictured.

    If so, can I still change my order?

    Best regards from Germany,

    Bernd

    • Hi Bernd — Yes, you still have until Monday to make any changes you’d like to your order. Go for it!

      • Bernd

        Thanks, I’ll do so.
        One more question: Do the Italian leather straps also include the ti hardware shown in this update?

        • Bernd

          Well, guess it’ll be two more questions: On the Type B, is the second-hand also illuminated?

          • Yes, Type-B second hand will be green lume

        • Yep, all COURG straps will come equipped with our newly designed titanium hardware!

  • Ron Walsh

    Thanks for the awesome update. Thanks so much for keeping us updated. Semper Fi.

    • You’re welcome, Ron! Thanks for tackling this mission with us!

  • sherif

    Great update. Much appreciated.

    I’m curious to know whether the Ti5 caseback will state the ATM as 15 or the newly demonstrated 20.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for asking, Sherif. Yes, for sure we will mark the TiGr5 caseback with 20ATM. And thanks also for helping make that PDF available for people who couldn’t access the site!

  • Will Heybruck

    Where did you get the Dash 8 to use as the background model for some of the watch pictures? Love it…real pilot’s airplane.

    Dash 8 pilot here.

    -Will

    • Oh sweet! Where do you fly? Nice spotting — we often fly between NYC and Toronto and our airline of choice, Porter, flies a fleet of Q400. So I often snap photos of the Q400 boarding and deplaning — most of the cockpit shots are also Q400.

      • Will Heybruck

        I’m with Piedmont, currently a sim instructor in the training department. Interesting you mentioned Toronto, as we have leased one of Flight Safety’s simulator’s to increase our training capacity and I spend most of my time up there. Contact me via email for a special offer.

        Piedmont flies in and out of Charlotte and Philadelphia mostly. Used to do a lot of LGA and Toronto (still do heavy checks up there I think) but we’ve shrunk from 110 airplanes to 43 currently, and that flying went away.

  • Marco

    So the nylon strap, the italian leather straps and the Horween straps all have the titanium hardware?

  • Daniel Ferrer

    I decided to go with the regular leather strap (not the W&W one)… the material in buckle and the rest will be also in titanium?

    • Yes, all straps will use our titanium hardware, including the buckle.

  • Adrian

    Anychance of getting priority shipping to South Africa? With our post office it will take weeks to clear customs. Willing to pay extra but there was not an option for South Africa.

    • mario

      Adrian, and Pilot,

      I’d also be interested in priority, or perhaps a consignment ship, or something, to South Africa (Cape Town, more specifically). Not only will it take weeks for our packages to arrive, there is a very high likelihood that it might never arrive (Adrian might understand, but to clarify: our postal system is rife with crime and corruption). Perhaps we can gather all the SA orders and have them shipped en masse to a designated address and have them couriered out from there? I’m very open to suggestions. As it stands, I’m having mine shipped to a friend in the UK, who will be visiting me in February…

  • Bryan

    Thank you for changing the numerals to Helvetica! I’ll change my backerkit survey selection back to Type-A. I’m impressed that you wrote up several paragraphs and even included an image to show the differences between that and Arial.

    • Had to happen — thanks for eagle eyes.

  • Ron

    What does the lume look like on the Type B??

    • Ron

      Are the second hands green like the Type A, with everything else blue, or are there parts that don’t glow?

      • All handsets will be blue lumed dials, hour, minute hands and green second hands.

    • I don’t have photos of this yet, but the dial is all lumed except the minute markers.

  • Joseph Salice

    Are there any pictures yet of grade 5 case vs grade 2 available yet and also is that leather strap pictured with the titanium hardware in the update the Italian leather one available on backerkit

    • Stay tuned! The TiGr2 vs TiGr5 comparison photo is inbound and I’m really hoping to have it tomorrow or early Monday. Eyes on the radar, COURGcrew — bogey incoming!

  • David Blockley

    Excellent update and thanks for giving it a new home of its own. I fell in love with this watch from the moment I stumbled upon it because it it exactly the style and bomb proof design I want. Still excited.

    • Thanks, David! Can’t wait to deploy these to you all!

  • John Crumrine

    Great update as usual! I can’t tell you adequately how valuable it is to us to have am insight into your creation process. It’s inspiring to hear about all the challenges as they arise and how you solve them. Thanks again.

    • Thank you, John! I enjoy sharing the journey with you all and it also helps me organize and focus on what’s important next.

  • jon

    I couldn’t help but notice that the Type B in the picture has a date window. Is this an option now, or did the creator just use proto types to demonstrate the hardware?

    • Type-B now includes date option.

  • Hi pilot,

    Just looking at the image of all the watches lume faces, can’t seem to see the hands lumed? did this change?

    • Hi Todd, the hands on this batch of prototypes were mostly just placeholders as our designs require new molds, which are still in the works. And the lume shot was of the dials alone just off the production line. Have no fear, all will be lumed!

  • Jason C.

    Awesome update as always! Other kickstarters have a lot to learn from you, and I don’t just mean those offering watches! I have to concur with Bernd, that Type B with date is a fine looking watch face. Absolutely can not wait to get one of these beautiful watches in hand!

  • Charlesy

    Elbert, wow that’s the best way to describe the last update.
    Your Zulu strap design looks fantastic.
    20 Pressure is an added bonus.
    The initial production watches look amazing.
    Cannot wait to get my watches.
    This is worth the wait keep on course and target, if things happen so be it, rather see your vision rather than rush it.

    Keep up the good work and try and get some sleep.

    Cheers

    • Thanks so much for the kind words and enCOURGment, Charlesy!

  • Ray Ng

    Are all the straps coming with titanium hardware?

  • Ranger9-95

    Great update! With it now being 20ATM, most dive watches with that water resistance has a screw down crown. Is it a screw down crown? If not, how were you able to get a 20ATM rating with out it? Thanks.

    • Both TiGr2 and TiGr5 COURG is screw-down crown equipped!

  • Bobby

    Hi,
    So before the survey is locked I have to ask – will the Type B hands be changed to the final design from the KS page or remain the same as in the last update?
    Thanks in advance

    • Plan is to match the final design drawing.

  • Mor

    Hi Elbert,

    can you share a few more words about the straps? are all Zulu straps?
    what is the difference in leather of the Italian vs W&W? or more precisely, what does it mean “premium leather”?
    is the dark brown strap in the picture above the Italian leather?

    one last question: if you believe you’ll get the TiGr5 sample on Monday, why closing the survey on Monday and not wait one more week until all can see the diff between both versions?

    Thanks…
    –Mor

    • The ballistic nylon and Italian leather straps are “ZULU” style straps. The W&W collab is a single piece of Horween Chromexcel. I’d say the difference is the Horween is a higher quality leather, which is a bit more buttery in finish. The Horween is made in the US and has a proprietary oil finish that protects the leather. One other thing I’ve noticed about the Horween is that it has a bit more stretch. The brown strap in the picture is a prototype of the Italian leather. RE: TiGr5, I’m not receiving the prototype on Monday, but our agent might be able to get ahold of it and shoot quick photos for us.

  • Adrian Foley

    Hi Elbert

    I know this is way late in the game and probably can’t be changed but initially in some of the case back designs you had either “NYC” or “NY” and I note that in this version there is neither. I only ask because I’m originally from the city and would like to see it on the watch.

    Oh and the redesigned titanium strap hardware with both the straps looks really good. Looking forward to seeing it in person.

    Thanks

    • Yeah, we didn’t have room for the NYC on the caseback, and from general consensus among the backers, there was preference for information that would be functionally important for a watchmaker or owner to know and not have much else. Thanks, Adrian!

  • Niranjan

    Really cool..love the pic’s…seriously can’t wait any longer.best of luck.

    Niranjan

  • VERY happy about the Helvetica news. Arial wasn’t a deal-breaker, but now I can rest easy knowing my typeface is legit. I realize this may seem silly to some. Thank you for the update!

  • John Boehm

    Pilot:

    Circling over the new AO for a recce. Looks like crew is copacetic with SitRep and standing by for Orders. I take it from your comms that helo flight is a no-go. If so, make sure special package receives team-signed game “payload”.

    Wingman Two-Seven-Zero, 588th Backer Sqdn., Over & Out…

    • Yeah, sadly, the helo is no-go. Great idea on the payload! Appreciate the comms two-seven-zero.

  • Chase

    I noticed the A-11’s lume doesn’t appear as bright as the zero hour. Is that how it’s going to be in the final run?

    • They’ll be equally bright on full production.

  • Chase

    I would like to make a 2 piece watch strap out of the leather coming with the canvas roll and I’m wondering if it’s possible to purchase a set of the new titanium buckles and clasp? Also what size/type of spring bars should I purchase. I know it’s a 20 mm strap width but on Amazon there is 1.5mm, 1.8mm and. 2.5mm divers bar. Does having drilled lugs make a difference? And spring bar recommendations? Thank!

    • Hi Chase, sounds like a fun project! We’re not able to make a separate one-off order for the hardware alone right now logistically. The easiest way to get an additional set of hardware is to snag a ballistic nylon strap and cannibalize it for your new strap. Spring bars for the COURG or for the strap buckle? If the former, the COURG will come equipped with shoulderless springbars. If the latter, our straps will no use any springbars. Hope that helps.

      • Chase

        Thanks it does help. Any chance the hardware may be available in the future?

        • Not sure! Just trying to focus on this phase first!

  • Stevan Prasetyono

    Dear Pilot;

    I have been away for a while due to family affair and did not open my e-mail. I lodged my survey back on 23rd September. Just realised Bernd message above (and your reply) that type-B comes with the date and the only reason I didn’t select it was because originally I thought there will be no date. I fully understand and aware now past the deadline already, and my pledge include 3 “random” variant face. Would you please include type-B in it? all 3 of them? Sorry for making this request…..but I really do hope you can fulfill my request….it is important for me and my family.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    • Hi Stevan, please email support@backerkit.com and CC me with this request ASAP. They’ll unlock you and help you make the changes you need.

      • Stevan Prasetyono

        Hi Pilot;

        I have sent email to backerkit but not sure how to cc to you as I do not have your e-mail address (listed as donotreply@wordpress.com or something like that).

        Would you please check it out? or give me your address so that I can fwd to you?

        thank you.

        Really appreciate your support.

        • Hi Stevan, I’m sure they’ll get on this quickly for you. you can fwd to: hangar at our domain.

  • Jgmyers

    What are the lengths of the various available straps? I only saw one length listed under the horween option.

    Thanks!

    • Both the MilStrap and the ballistic are 320mm long | 12 5/8in. Hope that helps!

      • Jgmyers

        The leather straps are listed in regular and xl sizes, but only the regular length is provided. Two questions – can you provide the XL length, and since the leather mil straps don’t have the traditional NATO under-strap buckle, do they compare to a normal NATO strap in fit (by eliminating the extra material)?

        • The Worn & Wound team is hard at work with the prototypes that incorporate our hardware, so I don’t have an exact length on the XL yet. RE: MilStrap, these have the “NATO” under-strap buckle.

          • Just in: normal is 10″ the Xl is 10.75″

          • Jgmyers

            I placed an order for 2 of the leather, but need to change to XL, based on those specs and the fact that the final version will have the under-strap. What’s the best way to make that change? Sorry about the long string…

          • Best way is to send any changes to support@backerkit.com at this point. The Horween regular is 10 in. and will fit up to 8.5in wrist with extra holes to spare. The XL is slotted for 10.75 in. but I haven’t received the prototype on that yet, so that’s not final.

          • Jgmyers

            To be clear – I ordered 2 of the regular length Horween straps. If those have the under-strap I need to move them to XL.

          • The regular length Horween do not have an under-strap.

          • Jgmyers

            Do the XL Horween have the understrap?

          • No