CHOPTANK: An Instrumental Beacon

The Choptank pays homage to the navigational beacons in the Chesapeake Bay that came before it. Both the lighthouses and their horological form serve as a token of local culture and prosperity in industry. Serving for sailors and admirers alike.

The Choptank E250 triple calendar chronograph drew inspiration from the Chesapeake Bay’s industrial heritage and style. The beacons shining light through the Choptank River during America’s industrial boom stood as sentinels of maritime history in the Chesapeake region. They guided schooners, skipjacks, and steamboats through shallow waters at night. They were reproduced years later to serve as a visual icon of local revitalization. Our watchmakers wanted to translate this presence and utility of the beacons and their reproductions into a horological form with the Choptank timepiece.

Exploring the bounds of shape in watchmaking design was the primary purpose of our nautically-inspired project. The Choptank’s case shares an industrial “screwpile-style” reminiscent of the iconic beacons. Aesthetically, the shape of the lighthouses were always an eye-catcher for sailors, even more so than their shining light. Their attractiveness and utility aligned. The shape of the structure was designed precisely for visibility and comfort, reflecting light in dozens of directions with an array of surfaces that produced a bulging yet homely effect. 

The instrument’s impressive durability and utility was designed for everyday wearers who want to be updated throughout the year.

Hartwig sketched the shape onto his sketch pad from the bow of his boat one morning, rounded the corners and flattened its ends while maintaining the beacon’s general design. After a few refinements, his prototype sketch of the Choptank’s case was complete. To honor the instrumental value these beacons carried for Hartwig and fellow sailors alike, our Choptank had to serve as a sufficient tool-watch. It was only necessary to use the 7751 and make it an annual-calendar moonphase chronograph. We chose this movement to bring the story to life, and have the Choptank aesthetically and functionally replicate the value of the river beacons. Giving sailors the maximum utility mechanical horology has to offer in one uniquely elegant instrument. 

Complications include minute, hour, day, month, date, 24-hour, moonphase, and a chronograph that accounts for seconds, minutes and hours.

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