Oregon-based Celeste Watch Company offers premium handcrafted fashion timepieces with a distinctly PNW vibe.
I generally distrust fashion watches. Fossil, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors — if it shares a name with a clothing brand or perfume line, I’m steering clear. Many of these are banking on the name, not the product, to justify their price.
This often leaves consumers stuck with a piece of costume jewelry disguising an ultra-cheap, low-quality quartz movement. So, while the logo embossed on the dial may look nice, you’ll find a stuttering, misaligned second hand spinning above it.
For this reason, I hesitated when someone pointed me toward Celeste, a purveyor of fashion-forward timepieces. But after a look through the brand’s website and catalog, I was intrigued. Sapphire crystal? Natural materials? These aren’t things I expected to see on a typical fashion watch.
So, after perusing the designs, I asked to take a look at the model you see here — a $325 timepiece known as the Sasq-watch.
Celeste Sasq-Watch Review
Let’s start with the most basic question: What are you getting for your money? Here’s where Celeste breaks the mold — sapphire crystal, a handcrafted dial, a polished 316L stainless steel case, and (best of all) a Swiss-made Ronda quartz movement.
First, the crystal. Sapphire has long been the glass of choice for luxury watches, and it’s finally trickling down into more budget-friendly pieces. And while I wouldn’t exactly say $325 is budget territory, there are plenty of more expensive makers that still haven’t gotten the memo.
Beneath this crystal lies the watch’s namesake — a sasquatch striding through a mountain forest. The description lists the materials as “Cherry wood, Tahitian Black-Lip Abalone, and Mother of Pearl.” Upon close inspection, the different facets come together to form an attractive collage. Each of these dials, sasquatch or otherwise, are assembled at the company’s facility in Springfield, Ore.
Next, the case — 316L stainless is a likewise popular choice for higher-end brands, thanks to its corrosion and magnetic resistance. This particular case measures 38 mm, which is sort of a happy medium between men’s and woman’s timepieces. Bigfoot, yes, but not exactly a big footprint.
Jokes aside, the 316L stainless steel case and crown team up for 50m water resistance. While this is on the low end for anyone planning to swim or shower with the watch, it’s miles ahead of the 30m (or worse, unlisted) ratings seen on the majority of fashion pieces. Rain, splashes, or accidental immersion in a punch bowl shouldn’t hurt the mechanism within.
Lastly, the movement. Ronda is a well-known maker of quartz mechanisms. The brand powers everything from these Celeste pieces to the (practically) bulletproof INOX I reviewed a few years back. And while there is a touch of second-hand stutter to be found on the Sasq-watch, I’ve seen more expensive models from Victorinox with a similar issue.
Beyond the watch mechanism and art, Celeste has included a few other nice touches. First is the band, crafted from vegetable-tanned leather.
Per the company’s description, “If you’ve ever seen a leather jacket or bag that looks beautifully aged, it’s probably vegetable-tanned leather. Vegetable-tanned leather develops a patina over time, giving the leather a soft sheen and beautiful depth of color. [It] also often smells sweet and earthy, rather than the chemical, synthetic smell of chrome-tanned leather.”
Yes, I sniffed it. And yes, it smells good.
Moving on, Celeste also packages its watches in a semirigid container. The outer surface is an attractive weave of something that feels like nylon, with prominent branding on the zipper and center. Inside, there’s soft padding to keep the watch from rattling around.
Intangibles and Options
I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover another thing that sets Celeste apart from the pack. It’s a small, woman-owned and -operated watch company, the brainchild of its eponymous founder, Celeste Wong.
After a lifelong fascination with timepieces, she states, “I knew I needed to make the perfect watch — something to beautifully complement my love of nature, the ocean, and art. I wanted something organic and crafted by hand so that each piece would be unique and inspired.”
As you might guess from the review above, the personal touch here is evident. Celeste offers a wide range of patterns and materials, all with the same thoughtful attention to detail. And if you can’t find something ready-made that catches your eye, they’ll even put your pet’s face on a watch. With the holidays coming up, that makes them a great gift-giving option.
Conclusion: Celeste Watches
As I said in the introduction, I’m generally not a fan of fashion watches. But, that’s really not what Celeste is offering. Their products aren’t just fashionable — they’re good watches.
If you or someone you know is in the market for a more unique and interesting option than the standard Citizen or Casio, I can say that Celeste has my unqualified recommendation. The brand’s quality materials, thoughtfulness, and variety of designs were strong enough to impress even a style-challenged curmudgeon like me.
Add in the company’s American-assembled pedigree and wealth of handcrafted options, and you’re left with a shining alternative to the Fossils and Relics of the world. And if you ask me, that’s every bit as rare as the cryptid on the Sasq-watch’s face.
Take a look at the brand’s website to learn more about Celeste and its wide range of handcrafted timepieces.