There’s no denying that we’re in a spinning loop of retro reissues. While some are beautiful and poignant time-traveling talismans capable of mood-elevating magic, some are just cash cows. But if you’re into asymmetric modernity, the architectural futurism of the Toledano & Chan B/1 brings a much-needed breath of fresh air.

This year, Watches and Wonders saw most watches being tweaked, perhaps with a new bracelet or dial/bezel color. Look at what is happening in the world of cars, with brands outdoing each other in the search for the future of design. Surely, that’s a path to follow in 2024 for the watch industry? The people at Toledano & Chan think so and have run with it.

Introducing The Architectural Futurism Of Toledano & Chan

Toledano & Chan

This new brand has transformed the spirit of ’70s chic into an angular piece of futurism, and I’m here for it. To most Instagram fiends, Phil Toledano is synonymous with his alter ego @misterenthusiast, his love of cars, and the sadly now-defunct Viva Bastardo podcast. As a dapper visual artist who loves cars and watches, he easily lures people into his universe of quirky cool. Last year, I chatted with Phil and covered his mad custom Rolex pieces. His collecting habits also had a hand in my desire for the Otsuka Lotec No.7.5, but this is bigger. I saw the B/1 prototype on a fuzzy Zoom call last year, but now it is real. This watch is the brainchild of Phil and watch designer Alfred Chan, and it looks like nothing else.

The background

I had the pleasure of a deep dive into their mind space last week, and they shared the inspiration behind the B/1. I asked Phil and Alfred if this was a way forward from the now too-hot trend of retro-integrated bracelets, and Phil answered, “We set out to design a thing for us that we loved, and hopefully, people would share our passion. Sure, it’s inspired by our love of integrated bracelets, but it’s incredibly important to expand that language and move the idea forward. If it’s a pure reissue, it’s lazy if you don’t attempt to design something new.” As you see from the image above, this includes an architectural edifice of a brutalist concrete composite watch box.

Introducing The Architectural Futurism Of Toledano & Chan

Phil elaborates, “We fell in love with the idea of a sculptural watch. We felt no one was doing that, and I still think no one made a sculptural watch unless you want to buy something 30 or 40 years old. So, hopefully, we’ve moved that idea forward.” For me, this ties in with Phil’s Instagram account being packed with his love of impossibly sleek ’70s Piagets and Patek Philippe dress watches with Beta quartz movements. And that includes his deep love of the somehow familiar-looking (next to the B/1) asymmetrical Rolex Midas.

Introducing The Architectural Futurism Of Toledano & Chan

The B/1 is fresh, asymmetrical, and fiercely angular

At first glance, you see an almost industrial-looking, dramatically beveled shape with a difference. The B/1 is rendered in matte blasted and brushed 904L stainless steel on a fully integrated bracelet with a cuff-like look that stands out. With few exceptions, integrated bracelets are still an appendage. No matter how sleek they are, most still feel and look like an addition to a watch head. Except for the Piaget Polo 79, a faithful reissue, no one seems to have moved the game forward. And aside from Moser with the Streamliner or the more jewel-like creations from Bvlgari and Cartier, where’s the sculpturality?

Introducing The Architectural Futurism Of Toledano & Chan

This seems to have been a strong incentive for Toledano & Chan. “Yes, this is an integrated bracelet but more so an integrated-design watch instead of, you know, just the bracelet being integrated. This is more like a cohesive design. When you look at the kings of the bracelet game, for example, the Nautilus, they are in watch cases. The bracelets are integrated and designed into the case. However, if you look at our case, it is designed as part of the whole,” Phil explains.

So, how is it different from the other integrated-bracelet offerings? “It’s funny that you mentioned the (Rolex) Midas. If it had continued to evolve as a line for 40 or 50 years, maybe Rolex would have ended up here. The most interesting differentiation is that there are integrated-bracelet watches, and then there are, for instance, the Piaget Polo 79, which are designed with a continuous concept.”

The B/1 is very different in a good way

To start, the B/1 bombards the senses with delightfully conflicting messages. That is how it works its magic. Sure, if you’re from a world where a Submariner is everything to you, this is a big step. But don’t let that stop you because this might be the most interesting watch you’ll wear and a massive icebreaker. The B/1 is a fresh, cohesive design, true to Phil’s words. The bracelet and watch head appear as one entity, not as separate parts, and it has a touch of ’70s chic but only in spirit. This feeling of familiarity while being quite alien yet balanced is what makes it. And, of course, the enigmatic jewel-like lapis lazuli dial doesn’t hurt!

Introducing The Architectural Futurism Of Toledano & Chan

A juxtaposed and future-proofed debut offering

We’ve delved into the backstory and the genre the watch inhabits, but how does it stand out in 2024? Value-wise, at US$4,000, I feel it’s a good proposition. Sure, it has a fairly standard but solid Sellita SW200 with a 41-hour power reserve. But all the rest is designed and manufactured specifically for this 175-piece release. Part ’70s sports watch, part brutalist architecture, it just works. But while it looks dramatic and very angular, the B/1 comes in at a reasonable 33.5mm in diameter. The slim case measures 10.4mm at its thickest point, tapering down to 9.1mm at its thinnest. This asymmetric watch also offers a comfortable left-hand crown. The drama is accentuated by a massive bevel to the right of the space-abyss dial, so there’s a lot to take in.

As mentioned, each dial is made from lapis lazuli. This is a gemstone that makes each dial unique and brings a strong contrast to the silky steel. With two sharp dauphine hands, the hour one with a cheeky off-cut end, the faceted details abound. The bracelet itself merges with the case, matching its dramatic side bevel. Though made from warmer and harder-to-machine 904L steel, it has a sleek but hewn-from-solid vibe. The B/1 is the secret love child of the Rolex Midas and the Girard-Perregaux Casquette. Still, it has a refined touch that belies Toledano & Chan’s small-production debut. I’m already looking forward to the next chapter as the B/1 is a captivating watch. It will be available soon from Toledano & Chan and Hodinkee for US$4,000 and produced in a limited edition of 175 pieces.

What about you, Fratelli? Are you ready for the architectural futurism of Toledano & Chan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Lapis lazuli
Case Material
904L stainless steel with brushed and matte blasted finishes
Case Dimensions
33.5mm (diameter) × 31.5mm (length) × 9.1–10.4mm (thickness)
Case Back
904L stainless steel, bolt-on
Sellita SW200: automatic with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 41-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50 meters)
904L stainless steel bracelet
Time only (hours, minutes)