+ What do you do?
We do three things. We create bespoke vintage watches, we restore vintage watches, and we assist collectors interested in sourcing vintage watches.
+ Are the watches on this site for sale?
Generally speaking, watches featured on this website are not for sale. Rather than an online store, this site serves as a visual testament to both the watches we admire, and the work we do. The vintage watches are from our personal collection as well as the collections of our friends. While we sometimes sell or trade our own watches, and occasionally help our friends to do the same, we are not in the business of selling vintage watches. Of course, like many collectors, we find it difficult to resist a good trade, but we do not advertise watches for sale, and typically we are too sentimental to part with pieces from our personal collection.
The custom watches featured on this site are specifically not for sale. Each watch pictured was imagined, designed, and executed in collaboration with, and expressly for, an individual. These watches are intended to serve as examples of the work Cloister does. In some cases we have replicated work for individuals who fall in love with examples featured here. However, we do our best to ensure that no two bespoke pieces are ever exactly alike. If you like something you see, we can work with you to create a similar piece (with your own personal touches).
+ How do you create Custom Watches?
Our process for creating bespoke watches is intensely personal. We begin, always, with a conversation about an individual’s taste and preference, and we move from there to select the perfect base watch with which to start. Occasionally we begin with modern watches, but generally speaking we prefer to breathe new life into vintage pieces.
Once the base watch has been selected, we work to revitalize it into something entirely new and unique. This process always includes a full mechanical restoration to ensure that each piece is functional and accurate (we provide a three year warranty on our mechanical work).
Simultaneously, we begin the custom design process, again in close collaboration with the individual for whom the watch is created. This includes, but is not limited to, bespoke dial design, design of custom parts (case-backs, crowns, bands, bracelets, buckles, etc.) as well as an overall design scheme with as many personal touches as the watch’s new owner desires. Ultimately, we seek to design watches which are not purely customizations of existing pieces, but rather are thoughtful re-imaginings of what could have been during the relevant historical period.
+ Can I use a watch I already own as a base?
Typically we tend to purchase base watches on behalf of clients to ensure that we are starting with authentic, original, and unmolested pieces. That said, we occasionally do work with base watches supplied by clients, especially when those pieces have sentimental value for individuals. We approach this on a case-by-case basis, and are happy to examine base watches owned by individuals.
+ What is the average turnaround time?
Once clients select a base watch and a broad design scheme, an estimate is created and sent to each client. Once agreed upon, work can begin in earnest. The length of time from this point to delivery varies based on the scope and complexity of work. Generally speaking, watches are completed in between 90 and 180 days. That said, we do not consider any project completed until the client is fully satisfied with the work. In some cases, we have sent dials back to Bavaria multiple times simply to adjust the hue of a single accent color by the smallest of margins. It is our pleasure to ensure that each completed piece of work meets all expectations, and it is our obligation to continue refining our products until those expectations our met.
In some cases, we have completed and executed design schemes in as few as 60 days. In others, we have worked for over twelve months on individual projects prior to delivery. We provide updates, as requested by clients, along the way, so in cases where projects require more time, clients are kept abreast of progress.
+ What is the price of a Custom Watch?
The cost of each project varies greatly given the base watch from which we start, and the work required. Rarer and more expensive base watches have the most significant effect on the cost of a project, as does the addition of complex parts or rare materials.
We also realize that sometimes project costs vary unexpectedly. To combat this, we always provide thoughtful estimates upfront, and invoices at the beginning of projects which reflect the total cost of any project. Total project costs never vary from our initial invoice. We do our best to accurately predict the cost of the project, and in cases where costs increase, those costs are borne by Cloister.
We ask for a 50% deposit upon beginning each project.