Meet Fleming, America’s Newest Independent Watch Brand

For many of us, the pandemic provided time to reflect on the aspirations we’ve long put on the back burner and consider how we might bring them to fruition. This is precisely what inspired longtime watch enthusiast and collector Thomas Fleming to realize his dream of creating his own watch brand. After three years of tireless research and development all fueled by personal passion, that dream becomes a reality today with the launch of his namesake brand, Fleming, and its first model: the Series 1.

“To be perfectly honest, almost no part of the design process was free-flowing or organic, except for the persisting excitement that kept me going throughout this journey,” Fleming admits. “I’m not a watchmaker, so I knew I needed help from experts with everything. Developing the vision and the designs was the one aspect that I really wanted to take on myself, but as I’ve learned, it’s really helpful to have people with whom to bounce ideas back and forth. Designing, for me thus far, hasn’t at all been something where I just see a perfect picture in my mind and everything immediately clicks; instead, I’ll experiment with 1,000 versions of something to maybe find one that I like.”

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Fleming Series 1 in Platinum
Series 1 in Platinum

As it turns out, for the Series 1, he was able to find three. The brand’s inaugural model—a classic, 38.5 mm time-only dress watch—comes in three iterations, each with their own distinct personality thanks to their hand-decorated dials from the skilled artisans at Comblémine, owned by master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. The first in rose gold features a dial combining carbon gray and light champagne. The second in platinum also features a two-tone style dial with southwestern brown and amber. Then the third and possibly most unique variation comes in a tantalum build with a dial of frosted platinum and dark blue aventurine.

Fleming Series 1 in Tantalum
Series 1 in Tantalum

“For the rose-gold and platinum versions, I wanted to keep each individual element fairly traditional—from the case material to the dial colors and textures—but interpret and combine them such that the watches as a whole felt very fresh,” shares Fleming. “Alternatively, the tantalum model represents a more subversive take on what a dress watch can be. If you were handed it while blindfolded and told you were holding a precious metal dress watch, nothing would feel out of place: it’s heavy, its form fits the definition, and it’s manually-wound. Yet, when the blindfold is removed, you’d be met with something that looks decidedly more space-age than a Calatrava of yore.”

Tennis Pro Casper Ruud in Fleming
Tennis Pro Casper Ruud in Fleming

This marriage of honoring Swiss tradition and harnessing American ambition is at the core of the brand and resonated early on with young tennis star Casper Ruud. Ruud has already test driven a Fleming prototype on the court and is currently working with the Fleming team on one of its forthcoming models: a more lightweight and performance-based watch called the Series 1 Ghost. In addition, the conceptualization of the Series 2 is already underway in collaboration with the renowned designer Emmanuel Gueit, who is best known for creating the AP Royal Oak Offshore as well as his work with brands like Piaget, Harry Winston, Hermés, and Rolex.

Series 1 in Rose Gold Caliber FM-01 Movement
Series 1 in Rose Gold Caliber FM-01 Movement

Equally important to the design of Fleming watches is the technology powering them. For the Series 1, the brand tapped Le Locle-based independent Jean-François Mojon, awarded Best Watchmaker at the 2010 GPHG, and TMH SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The result is the Caliber FM-01, which emphasizes traditional haute horlogerie hand-finishing techniques while striving for the highest standard while maintaining a contemporary feel.

Fleming will retail the Series 1 Launch Edition directly and anticipates producing around 5 to 10 pieces per month, with the first deliveries currently slated for April. The allocation process grants committed buyers 14 days to secure their piece with a 25% deposit, with the remaining balance due pre-delivery. The rose gold Series 1 is priced at $55,200 whereas the platinum version will set you back $58,700 and the tantalum iteration comes in at $51,800.

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