Christian Bedat (formerly of watch brand Bedat & Co.) is back with a new twist to his Red8World (Red8 Watches) brand of timepieces. Red8 is getting a bit more global with a new concept that combines good looking affordable timepieces, with a fresh business model for those looking to sell (and buy) timepieces. Red8World now has an offspring, Red8USA, which debuted at Couture 2014. Is it a new brand? Sort of. Red8USA is the first in what Bedat hopes will be a series of new Red8 brands labeled by country or region. If it goes well, then the future will see Red8China, Red8Germany, Red8Brazil, and so forth. That might be getting too complicated for now, so lets stick to the brand’s new diver watches that fall into the Forty, Fifty, and Dive watch ranges.
The Red8USA Forty watches may get their own article later, as they are a bit different in theme, given that they combine the looks of a dive watch with Swarovski stone set hour markers. They are actually cooler than they sound. For now, I will focus on the Fifty diver watches in steel and the Dive (diver) watches in titanium.
Part of Bedat’s plan is to have each of the different global Red8 brands offer similar watches with slight design tweaks such as unique dials, colors, etc… The goal is to have some regional differences while combining a core aesthetic. It is actually rather ambitious for a small brand, but the potential is there. Christian Bedat is a remarkably clever designer and is among the few people in the world that I’ve met that understands how to make a good-looking watch and makes it look very easy. Not only that, but he knows how to inject a very high level of quality into a relatively inexpensive package. Compare the Red8USA Fifty and Dive watches to other sub-$1,000 timepieces from micro-brands and you’ll see where Red8USA easily stands out.
Let’s go back in time a moment to the launch of Red8World back in 2009. aBlogtoWatch reviewed the Red8 watch here that was 38mm wide with a Seiko auto-quartz (Kinetic) movement inside. You can see some design similarities but the new Red8USA watches are much more interesting as men’s watches – especially because they are mechanical (and larger in size).
The Red8USA Dive and Fifty watches are 42mm wide and water resistant to 200 meters. Like I said, the Red8USA Fifty watches come in polished steel cases while Red8USA Dive watches come in brushed titanium cases. The crowns on both models are black rubber-coated steel. Case quality is very good for the price, and as diver-style watches, they have rotating timing bezels.
While the bezels are colored aluminum, they are not just flat rings. Red8USA uses bezel inserts with lowered text and markers which offers a much better and high-end look. The large crown adds a friendliness to the design, and the colorful dials are eye-catching and imminently legible. Notice how despite the fact that Bedat wanted to have modern dials with an almost bubbly sense of fun, minor details such as the length of the hands are proper. It just goes to show what can happen when you combine knowledge of proper watch dial design with actually being a good designer.
The Red8USA Fifty diver watches in steel have a tile-textured dial that is similar to the “Mega Tapisserie” face of many Audemars Piguet watches. There is a peripheral scale for the minutes, and the hour markers are large, legible, and swathed in luminant. The hands are also attractive and easy to read despite a small level of skeletonization. The date window between 4 and 5 o’clock is properly done, as it does not interfere with the hour markers and uses a black-colored disc. The eighth day of the month indicator is in red versus white.
Over the dial of all Red8USA watches is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. The Red8USA Fifty watches are named as such because “Fifty” is spelled out on the bezel where “50” should be. It is just a design cue and is interesting. The same goes with the “Forty” collection of watches. Red8USA Fifty watches come in three styles for now. That includes the Fifty ref. US151 in black-coated steel with a black bezel, the Fifty ref. US152 in polished steel with the black and white bezel (the most classic looking pieces of them all), and the Fifty ref. US153 in black-coated steel with a black-and-blue bezel.