The Electricianz Matrix Limited Edition May Be Gone, But It’s Not Forgotten
When the latest Matrix film was released, I, like many of you (I imagine), was transported back to 1999 when the first film came out and blew my 14-year old mind. A rush of nostalgia compelled me to rewatch the original trilogy, and I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much better Reloaded and Revolution were than I had thought at the time. Back then, I had thought them brutal abominations that barely deserved any kind of association with the ground-breaking debut of the concept. However, what surprised me was how many of the “classic” fight scenes, action sequences, or even expository dialogue actually came from the second and third films. Filled up with green-numbered enthusiasm for the franchise, I was thrilled to see The Electricianz release a Matrix limited-edition watch to mark the fourth film’s release.
I managed to secure one of the press samples of this goofy little gadget so I could bring it to your eyes, lest it had slipped past them upon its drop. If you haven’t heard of The Electricianz before, I advise you to take a seat. This quartz-regulated, unapologetically steampunk wrist weapon will surely inspire a strong reaction. Which form that reaction takes, however, is anyone’s guess…
I must be going soft in my old age. For someone that takes a generally biting and cynical view of “real” horology when the slightest detail is somehow “off” in my mind, I have noticed how disgustingly warm and fuzzy I am feeling toward these newer, have-a-go hero brands trying (often desperately) to do something (anything) differently from that which has gone before.
I find myself making excuses for watches that are, in comparison to the pantheon of truly great timepieces that most of us lust after, materially rubbish, odd-ball trinkets that threaten to steal your attention for a matter of minutes before being summarily forgotten. As they say, trends are temporary, but class is eternal. What we have here is certainly not classy. To be honest, it’s barely a trend (and if it is, it’s a trend no one asked for).
But, in the same way, brands like SevenFriday, Klokkers, or even Dietrich were able to titillate me to the point of seriously considering a purchase, sufficiently “other” to be of genuine interest. Is it good? Well, no, not really. It’s really, really bad in a lot of ways. But for some incredibly annoying reason, it doesn’t stop me from wanting it. In some ways, its crassness, utter ridiculousness, and balls-to-the-wind self-confidence make me want it even more.
I actually own a watch by The Electricianz already. I picked up the yellow one upon the brand’s debut, which feels like a long time ago. It has received barely any wrist time. That’s not because it isn’t comfortable. Despite these watches’ massive 45mm diameter, they are lightweight, have stout lugs, and sit rather ergonomically. And it isn’t because I don’t think it’s cool. I do think it’s cool. It’s simply because it isn’t a watch designed for me to wear.
Despite that, I wanted to own it because it made me smile. That might sound grossly wasteful, but it isn’t as uncommon a habit as you might imagine. A great many of my friends and teammates (myself included) own a number of Casio G-Shocks that we never wear but simply enjoy owning. I can certainly understand that this kind of frivolity will rankle some, sicken others, but resonate with a few. If I were to clean out my collection, these curios would be the first to go. And yet, since no one is forcing me to do that, I keep them, look at them, show them to people as conversation starters, and feel like I very much got my money’s worth.
Are all watches for wearing?
And isn’t that the point? What is value? If you simply see a watch as a tool to perform the basic function of telling the time, this kind of hoarding consumerism might well seem disgusting. You know what? I won’t argue with you. In the face of the horrors so many people in this world have to face, it is pretty uncomfortable to acknowledge. But that self-inflicted discomfort doesn’t change the facts. Watch collecting is rarely defined by pure rhyme or reason. In fact, the longer you spend in this game, the more eccentric, or, should I say, addicted you are likely to become.
We don’t collect watches because we need multiple tools to tell us the time. I’d wager that very few people check the aggregate time of their entire watch collection before settling on what time it most likely is exactly. Although, as a side note, that’s not a bad way to squeeze the functionality of a tourbillon or a dual-resonance movement out of a budget collection of pieces, if that kind of thing is your bag…
We collect watches because of how they make us feel. We do it because their characters matter to us. To the uninitiated (or even to the more level-headed collector), the notion seems mad. And perhaps it is. Perhaps we are all a little bit mad. And maybe, just maybe, that’s why The Electricianz still exists (or, at least, one reason as to why it does).
A world of one
Not every watch has to change the world. It’s far more likely that watches only change the worlds of individuals on a very micro level. The relationships we cultivate with the watches in our collections are developed in a similar fashion to the way we build friendship groups. There is often one character for one thing and another for another thing. We don’t expect the same friend to be there in every situation. Is it therefore healthier to look at your watches the same way?
You’ll find there are “thinking watches” that grow with you through life. You have sporty watches that come out with you for a run, whatever the weather. There are heirloom pieces that keep you connected to your family. Perhaps one or two were gifts that tie you to a special person or time in your life.
And maybe, just maybe, there’s one watch that represents that friend who turns up at your door unannounced at 3:00 AM, in the middle of a driving snowstorm, wearing board shorts, a tank top, and a retro pair of Briko sunglasses, cigarette hanging out of their mouth, covered in schnapps, and tailed by a bunch of irate police officers and reminds you, with a gravelly chuckle, to live a little. That friend, for me, is basically any watch from The Electricianz, but especially the badass Matrix Limited Edition I have on my wrist today.
Matrix versus Matrix
We recently reviewed the much more serious Matrix Limited Edition PRS from Hamilton. That IP-plated, green-LED-screened gem was my favorite PRS model ever, because, for me, it was perfectly aligned with the gritty, Neo-futuristic style of the Matrix films. But, in comparison to this buoyant example of joie de vie, the Hamilton looks like a cardigan-wearing Classics professor.
I like watches to be a lot of whatever it is they want to be. I like full-blooded, whole-hearted designs that leave you in non-doubt as to what a watch is and what it is there to do. While that sounds “wild”, it doesn’t have to be. A Breguet Tradition model is a perfect example of a watch that knows itself. So too does The Electricianz Matrix know itself. You might not like it at all, but I doubt very much you’ll be getting an apology any time soon.
Let’s call a spade a spade
I mean, it is ridiculous. It is covered in the cascading digits that make up the Matrix. Bright green numerals tumble over the crystal and onto the strap (which feels like it’s made from some kind of plasticky-skinned space slug) and litter the display. The off-center dial tells the time, which is probably the most surprising thing about this watch. Yes, it actually works. Better still, it tells the time in the dark thanks to the garish green glow that is cast from beneath the time-telling chapter ring whenever you press the big, unmissable button at 2 o’clock.
Although it’s likely to cause your seasoned Calatrava collector to lose his lunch, I’ll bet if you show this to a kid or a young teenager next to a classic dress watch, they would think The Electricianz model was the more exciting of the two.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s because it is…
Are you an idiot like me?
Look, Fratello is a serious watch site. We cover the whole industry from top to bottom because that’s our duty to you, our readers. You might think a light-hearted look at a model like this, that retails for under €400 is a waste of time, but I think it’s a valuable part of the rich tapestry of our industry.
We often laud watches that can start conversations. But let’s take the newly-minted Omega Seamaster 300M Professional with the green dial into a room full of “normal” people along with The Electricianz Matrix Limited Edition with its flashing green display. Let’s see how many people notice that the Seamaster is novel for not having a red-tipped seconds hand or red Seamaster text like the old models when its rival is illuminating the imaginations of wowed onlookers with its ghostly glow bug of a dial.
Inspiration is the key
You see what I mean? We, as in watch lovers the world over, are so used to existing within an echo chamber of appreciation for high-end watchmaking, it is easy to forget the value in the “wow” factor for the uninitiated.
The first watch I fell in love with belonged to my childhood friend, James. James had a Smarties watch. He’d saved up the caps from tubes of Smarties (which were/are small, sugar-coated chocolate candies) and sent them off with a postal order to get his illustrious timepiece.
It blew my mind.
I’ve been obsessed with watches ever since. It wasn’t a Patek, a Vacheron, or an AP that got me into this hobby. It was a totally naff Smarties watch. And I could easily imagine this Matrix model and any other watch like it being exactly the kind of amusing and engaging springboard for young kids who will one day give a damn about the white text on the green SMP. And therefore, even though you have to be kind of mad to buy one, maybe, just maybe, it might be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Learn more about The Electricianz here, and please let me have it (both barrels) in the comments below. I deserve a good roasting for putting you all through that…