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Fleming and friends look to replicate the magic of MB&F from America

California-based entrepreneur turns to Switzerland's most respected suppliers for the creation of the Fleming Series 1.

During the French Open in Paris last year, Norwegian tennis ace Casper Rudd was seen wearing a particularly elegant dress watch that spotters had a hard time identifying.

Watch industry insiders soon realised that the watch was a protype of a timepiece conceived in the United States by Thomas Fleming, but little more could be said about it until today, when the prototype becomes a reality with the launch of the Fleming Series 1.

Casper Rudd joined Fleming as an ambassador and investor before the business had completed its first commercial watch and his status as a top 10-ranked player guarantees the launch today will be noticed around the world.

Casper Rudd wears the

Mr Fleming first started work on creating his own watch in 2020 when his long-held passion for collecting was given the time it needed to percolate during the long weeks of lock downs.

He was joined last year by James Kong, a collector known by his Instagram handle @waitlisted, who gave up a role as a corporate attorney in New York to become COO and art director for Fleming.

Initially, it looked like Fleming’s first launch would be in the sports watch category, which would explain the partnership with Mr Rudd.

“We will focus on developing watches that are incredibly lightweight and shock-resistant so that they can stand up to anything — even Grand Slam tennis matches — without compromising wearing comfort, mechanical complication, fine finishing, or any of the other flourishes you’d expect in a high-end watch,” Mr Fleming said during the French Open last year.

Fleming Series 1

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Fleming Series 1 in platinum.
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Today we see the Series 1 for the first time, and it is positioned as a perfect prestige dress watch; much more in the same market as a Voutilainen or Roger Smith than a Richard Mille.

There is a connection to Kari Voutilainen because the dials of the Series 1 are made by Comblémine, which he owns.

Fleming’s movement maker for its hand-wound FM-01 will also provide reassurance.

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Fleming’s FM-01 hand-wound movement.
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Chronode in Le Locle, run by Jean-François Mojon, is the same firm that makes complex hand finished calibres for MB&F, Kari Voutilainen, Hermès and Harry Winston.

Working with the very best manufacturing partners is central to the development of Fleming watches. Volumes will be low, but the quality of every component and visual expression on the dial will be at a comparable level to today’s finest independents.

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Fleming Series 1 in rose gold.

That assertion will be tested when customers get their first look at the Series 1 watches, which are boldly priced at CHF 48,500 for a rose gold limited edition of seven pieces, CHF 51,500 for one of nine being made in platinum and CHF 45,500 for a tantalum model with a production run of 25.

Dial and hands have been designed in harmony. For example, hands and markers echo the shape of the lugs for each variant.

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Fleming Series 1 in tantalum.
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The platinum watch has a hand-turned guilloché pattern, while the rose gold piece has a hand-hammered inner dial and seconds subdial as well as a hand-guillochéd outer ring.

Fleming will sell the Series 1 Launch Edition directly to consumers, and the aim is for Mr Fleming and Mr Kong to build personal relationships with every owner.

It took three years to bring Fleming’s Series 1 to market, but the sports watch with an integrated bracelet, which the business was planning from the start, has also been under development in parallel so could be unveiled soon.

A second edition of the Series 1, known as the Ghost, is also underway but no details have been shared.

“Fleming is family-owned and entirely independent, making the brand free from short-term pressures and competing motives of investors looking for returns. As a result, Fleming is instead able to focus on creating a brand that innovates while helping preserve the tradition of high-end watchmaking for the very long-term,” Mr Fleming explains.

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