The CHOPTANK caught a lot of attention this past year…and deservingly so.
When released in 2016, the tonneau-shaped full-calendar received praise for its distinctive barrel case and dial’s ability to translate the aesthetic achievements of the MISSION Chronograph in a new light.
But many collectors weren’t quite ready to break away from their “rounded” ways at the time.
In 2022, the Benzinger Choptank was featured on the cover of the Wristwatch Annual Catalog. A monumental achievement for American watchmaking. In many ways, foreshadowing what’s to come for Towson Watch Company…
The CHOPTANK defines an era of experimentation for our founding watchmakers. As traditionally-minded as Hartwig Balke & George Thomas were in their approach to fine watchmaking, they adopted a certain desire to test the bounds of shape once they had mastered their handmade techniques.
Many years ago, our watchmakers were asked to restore a rare piece of horological history from 1530. The instrument once belonged to Philipp Melanchthon, an infamous German philosopher who greatly influenced the modern-day schooling system with his humanist ideals. His spherical timepiece was known as a Nuremberg Egg, having a decorative pendant-like presence.
After George Thomas restored it, he asked his partner, Hartwig Balke, to help him design a line of timepieces that shared this essence of sculptural distinctiveness…but for the wrist. He wanted to replicate the feel of this “egg” that he once restored.
He didn’t want to replicate the design, shape, color or really any particular feature of the egg in. He wanted to produce a certain physical & emotional feel associated with it. Our watchmakers believed that this “feel” could be reproduced in several different ways.
Two timepieces in particular celebrate this era of geometric experimentation at Towson Watch Company. The pursuit started with the PRIDE II in 2010 and the CHOPTANK followed in 2016. Both executed with respect to the principles of the TWC Collections while taking direct aim at status-quo. The CHOPTANK shows what is possible for a tool watch with endless functionality to serve as a formal accessory with distinctive geometric appeal and symmetry.