This new watch brand just created a timepiece inspired by brutalism

Artist Phil Toledano and watch designer Alfred Chan partner on a new watch inspired by everything from the windows of the Guggenheim to early ’70s integrated bracelets

Phil Toledano, a New York-based artist better known in the watch community by his Instagram handle @misterenthusiast, and Alfred Chan, a Hong Kong-based watch designer, have never met in person despite designing a watch together for the last three years.

“This is the most 21st-century business you could ever imagine,” says Toledano with a laugh. The duo initially met on Instagram, becoming friendly over their shared passion for watches and Brutalist architecture. In 2021, they began brainstorming about a watch which ultimately resulted in the B/1 by Toledano + Chan in 904 stainless steel.

Toledano & Chan B/1. Photo by Toledano & Chan

They felt that something architectural and sculptural was missing from the market and it turns out they were just steps ahead of the current zeitgeist favoring design-led vintage pieces. You will notice the case of the watch takes its cues from the shape of the windows on Marcel Breuer’s iconic Brutalist building at 945 Madison, the former home of the Whitney Museum. Furthermore, the bracelet employs the ’70s era style in which the bracelet and case follow one continuous design language.

“We were really in love with integrated bracelet watches,” Toledano tells Robb Report. “But there are two kinds of integration bracelet watches: There are watches that just have a band integrated into them and there are watches that have what we call a continuous concept design. So the design of the head of the watch continues through the bracelet. The whole thing is one kind of sculptural thought. And that was that was our goal for our watch is to make this continuous concept design.”

The case and bracelet aren’t the only interesting details on the piece. The crown is featured on the left, known as a “Destro” watch typically for left-handers (destro mean’s right in Italian, the side one presumably wears it on). It also comes with a handsome lapis lazuli dial—stone dials have become a coveted design that is prominent in ’70s era watches. And at 33.5 mm by sloping 10.40-9.10 mm thick (due to its angled case shape) and lugs measuring 32 mm across, it is a bit larger than other rectangular-shaped models from other brands such as Cartier. It is equipped with a Swiss-made Sellita SW100 automatic movement and has 42 hours of power reserve.

It’s a rather considered piece for a duo that never really had a business plan. Toledano says they never set out to make a watch. Instead it manifested from conversations and mutual design tastes. “I was really in the frenzy of my Patek [Philippe] ’70s stuff,” he says. “And we kind of ended up making a watch design without thinking about how much it would cost, which is not really how people work, I think [laughs]. But mostly, we just wanted to make something that we both really, really loved.”

With only 175 made at a retail price of US$4,000, you can expect these won’t last long. Dropped on 17 May, they are now available on Toledano & Chan and Hodinkee.

This story was first published on Robb Report USA