JN Shapiro is living proof that you can wake up one day, have one too many espressos, and say ‘You know what? I’m going to make a watch better than the Swiss can.’ But then actually do it. The former part of that process, well, I must get a dozen or so DMs a week from new watch upstarts seeking counsel. The latter, I’ve only witnessed a handful of times in my watch life. See, the path of starting a new watch brand begins with hope and boundless optimism. But, more often than not, it ends in wistful financial ruin and divorce as the double-barreled shotgun of economies of scale and getting anyone to care stares you down. How did Shapiro achieve escape velocity when so few do? In a word, focus.
Allow me a slight digression. What do you call a hot house environment filled with extroverts who have no idea what they want to do with their life? This is what we call an MBE or business degree. But saying you want to ‘be an entrepreneur’ has the same sort of vulgar quality as wishing to be famous or rich. A successful business is not to be chased, but developed as a side effect of doing something brilliantly, in much the same way that you find happiness by finding meaning and not chasing happiness itself. You don’t start a successful watch brand because you wish to have a watch brand, but because you have reason to.
What I tell those dozen or so upstarts is always the same thing; become a true expert at one thing. It doesn’t matter what. Anordain mastered fumé enameling. Monta ruthlessly optimized the quality to value ratio in detail. MB&F bottled up a child’s creative madness and exported it in watch form. Whatever the thing is, you have to do it better than anyone else. Joshua Shapiro didn’t set out to start a watch brand. He fell in love with guilloché; and that’s the best sort of start there is. Shapiro is an expert of dials. And he’s doing it in the watch desert that is the California of all places.
When I say fell in love, that’s understatement. He’s pushing the world of engine turning forward. The guilloché of this petite seconds features an innovative pattern known as an infinity weave. This is a guilloché within a guilloché, a dream within a dream. And it’s the first of its kind. I remember listening to him speak on the excellent Waiting List podcast a year ago, noting that, for every final product, it often takes two or three dials to machine one without a flaw. I think I’d give up. But Shapiro never did, and today he’s one of very few bringing back real watchmaking craft to the US. Peter Drucker once said that behind every successful business is a courageous decision. Behind this one, there must be hundreds.
The rest of this Infinity Series is up to scratch. Shapiro has crafted this case from tantalum, a hard and difficult to machine metal rarely seen outside Journe, at 39mm. The movement, smartly, is outsourced from zee Germans at Uhren-Werke Dreseden, but of serious quality and well decorated. From what I hear, he’s working on moving that in house in due time. Moreover, the Arabic chapter ring is made of tantalum also. The base of the dial is palladium. Everything here is just worth studying. And that’s not common of a new-ish manufacture. Hell, it’s not even common to most of Richemont.
This example is in great condition, looks hardly aged a day. The case has little to no surface wear and the rest is perfect. It comes with a full set.
Find this Infinity Series here from S. Song for 48000 USD.