When people reminisce to the heydays of jet skiing’s height of popularity, being the late ’80s through the mid-1990s, much of the their grievance with today’s slump is – among slowed sales, a drastic decline in racing and recreational riding venues, and the like – often associated with jet skiing once having a look, a feel and a spirit.
The iridescent pinks, yellows and greens, the wrap-around Oakleys and the low-cut tank tops and high-cut shorts that once embodied the jet ski life has gone the way of the dodo. And that’s OK. It’s not an embarrassment or something to be ashamed of. But today, the look of a jet skier is less “river rat” and more “soul surfer.”
The few helping to establish a new look to the sport are the freeriders – those jet skiers who spend their lives in the water, be it under throttle or paddling out on a long board. While some would want to steer the casual look of the sport closer to motocross, the freeriders and the companies they command are doing a far better job of marrying surfing’s soul into the sport. And we’re OK with that.
Last week, one of our favorite people on the planet – Ross Champion – announced the release of the much anticipated Champion Timepieces. A combined effort between the famed IFWA world champ and Cold-Fusion’s Carl Gramberg, the new watchmaker promises to provide the PWC community a quality waterman’s watch that will perform as good as it looks. We could ramble on, but it’s best we let you read the official release in Ross’ own words:
Carl Gramberg and I (Ross Champion) are extremely happy to finally be able to announce Champion Timepieces. Champion Timepieces is a watch company with a vision for building a brand strongly rooted in jet ski culture that will be shared with the world.
We have been working hard the past 13 months on developing the company’s first entry in to the world of watch making the “Fusion.” We are very proud to be able to announce this venture, along with the Fusion at this year’s Daytona Freeride.
If you are reading this, chances are our first model was made specifically for you. We created the Fusion to be an authentic representation of the culture that so much of our lives revolve around. To do that we use many of the same materials and manufacturing techniques in building the Fusion that have made our world of high performance watercraft what it is today.
The Fusion’s body (case) is meticulously machined from a block of 6061 t6 Billet Aluminum at our facility in Oxnard, California. To create the case we employ multiple processes using state of the art CNC equipment and fixtures before each individual case is hand polished and sent to anodizing.
This is the very same material and process used to create the beautiful Billet components that have helped take our sport to new heights.Using this material and manufacturing process really set Champion Timepieces apart from the rest of the watch industry.
We used a real carbon fiber face in the design of the Fusion as a nod to the incredible hull builders who picked up where the OEM’s left off and have literally helped the sports of freestyle and freeride reach a level that could not have been imagined in years past. Besides, for beauty it’s hard to beat raw carbon fiber and aluminum.
The band that secures the Fusion to the rider’s wrist gets it’s strength from the very same nylon webbing material that is used to make straps that help keep the hood in place on serious surf boats. But this band is something very unique and very special in the watch industry. Coming to us under special license from Reactor Watches the Fusion’s band uses nylon webbing for strength, but is co-molded with silicone rubber for comfort.
The Fusion’s name is symbolic of the partnership that was formed between Ross and Carl to bring this watch to life. It also pays homage to Carl’s brand Cold-Fusion through which he has made ground breaking Billet jet ski components for the past quarter century.
While Champion Timepieces is a partnership between Ross and Carl, the business is by no means a two man show.We are very fortunate to have a great team advising and helping us as we enter the world of horology. Carl’s long time friend Jerry Jacob was the founder and CEO of the iconic brand and watch company Freestyle until selling the business in 2000. Jerry and one of his partners in Freestyle, Jimmy Olmes (the founder and current CEO of Reactor Watches) have been kind enough to help us navigate the process of sourcing the best components and assembly possible for Champion Timepieces.
The vision for Champion Timepieces is pretty simple. We want to create bold, functional time keeping machines that are representative of the things in life we are most passionate about and reflect our values.We hope these watches will resonate with those that share our same feelings. And we will use the amazing machines, people and imagery that surrounds those passions to market our watches to a broad audience.
In so doing, we hope to be able to provide a positive impact on the athletes and sport that means so much to both of us.
With that in mind, I am very proud to be able to announce the Champion Freeride Team. Consisting of Randy Laine, Mike Serlin, Jake Montadon, Zack Bright, Mark Gomez, Darin Andersen, Jake Bright, Pete Mcafee, Ludo Mouveau, Carl Gramberg and Ross Champion; this team has been assembled to travel the globe in search of great waves and good times.Our first project is slated to begin filming mid February.
This dream, goal and vision is so close to becoming a reality. But we are not quite there yet. To make it all happen, we are humbly asking for your help. To date we have invested over a years worth of work many thousands of dollars, and have called in all kinds of personal favors to get where we are today. But we are still not quite there. All our our design, engineering, prototyping and testing has been done.
Component manufacturing is in process and our complete production samples will be back from the assembler later this month. But to get this business off the ground, we really need your help.
We need to have orders for 50 Fusions before we will be able to begin production on our run of 100 watches. Our website will go live on Jan 15th and we will release the first 10 serial numbers for sale at premium prices for those that would like to own a piece of history, and would like to go above and beyond in helping us turn this vision in to a reality.
The next 40 serial numbers will also be available to be ordered at our regular price of $350. Serial numbers 011 – 050 will be sold on a first come first serve basis.
As a special thank you, the first 50 Fusion’s will come with a custom engraved plaque in the watch box containing a personalized thank you note from Carl and myself. All of the Fusions will come with the serial number engraved on the box as well as the watch. When Fusion serial number 050 is ordered, production will begin and watches will be delivered within 60 days.
Thank you in advance for your support in helping us make this dream a reality. And if you are unable to buy a watch at this time, but believe in our vision, we would ask that you please share our message and help us get the word out.