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  • The Logo and Mark

    The Logo and Mark

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    This is week 6 of our Black Label Experience series, where we will be posting a behind the scenes view of our Black Label line over the coming weeks. View all the posts here.

    Since Black Label was to be a distinct product line within the Crown & Buckle brand, it needed its own visual identity. In September 2015, we set out to define that identity with the help of our friends at Motto. On a broad scale, we knew from the beginning that we wanted the visuals of Black Label to be dark, clean, and high-fashion-esque. We started experimenting with logos, and created an internal document that hashed out some of the language we'd be using to define Black Label, much of which you can see in use on the Black Label page. A "mood board" for the photo style was also created, to help us stay on track during the multiple photo shoots of Black Label products.

    After a few different iterations, we settled on the logo design you see below. The full Black Label logo combines several elements. The first thing you'll notice is the low contrast, grey-on-black coloration. Our standard Crown & Buckle logo mark is at the top, anchoring the logo with a familiar element. The Black Label text in the center is a sans-serif font that plays very well with our standard logo mark, while being differentiated enough to stand on its own. The last element is the icon, which is used throughout the Black Label web page and embossed on all of the Black Label products.

    The icon is a free-form design that is simple, strong, and easy to remember and associate with Black Label. It may look like a ribbon or a banner at first glance. You might also be able to make out a fox head in the design. This loose association was to symbolize the sleekness and elevated nature (noble, wisdom) of the Black Label line. Used on its own or as a part of the complete logo, we really love the fox head icon. It is now Crown & Buckke's "iconic mark of quality."

    Did you see anything in particular in our logo before reading about it's origins? We'd love to hear about your impression!

     

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  • The Materials of Black Label

    The Materials of Black Label

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    This is week 5 of our Black Label Experience series, where we will be posting a behind the scenes view of our Black Label line over the coming weeks. View all the posts here.

    In 2014, we launched our American Made collection almost exclusively using Horween Leather hides. Horween is probably the most well known leather tannery in the world (besides luxury conglomerates like Louis Vuitton and Hermes), having made a strong name for themselves over the last century. They certainly deserve their excellent reputation and the allure surrounding their renowned products like Shell Cordovan and Chromexcel leathers.

    Watch straps require leather with very specific characteristics. A strap needs to be comfortable, but it can't be flimsy. Stretch is typically a bad thing for watch straps, and lots of leathers get stretchy the thinner they are. It's easy for leather to be strong when it's several millimeters thick. However, if a strap is double layered, you are looking at a maximum of 2mm per layer, or just ~1.25mm per layer for svelte designs like our Black Label straps.

    We've learned a lot about picking out the best leathers for watch straps through our own manufacturing. One of the things we've learned is that what works for one type of strap may not work for another. For instance, when it came to the Black Label watch straps, any oily or waxy leather would not be suitable. With the strap only being sewn at key points, we are relying on strong glue to hold the layers of the strap together. However, any oil and/or wax present  in leather prevents the glue from bonding properly. Improper glue bonding can cause the layers to split apart, sometimes the very first time you flex the strap! That is why it was vitally important for us to use appropriate leathers for these straps.

    You may have noticed that the Horween name is absent from the descriptions of our Black Label products. That is not at all a knock against Horween; we simply made the decision to use Spanish and other American leathers for Black Label to best fit the specific demands. We selected leathers with characteristics that would allow them to be glued and form a rock-solid bond that won't separate. In the future we will continue to use Horween leathers for a lot of our American Made products, but that collection will also be increasingly supplemented with other American tanneries. Those tanneries may be less known, but they nevertheless make excellent leathers for watch straps.

    Lastly, we made the conscious decision to withhold the names of the tanneries for the Black Label products. We did so as the only benefit would be for our competitors. The tanneries used essentially have no public presence and no brand recognition, meaning the average consumer would have no association with the name, unlike with Horween Leather. Big name or not, this is some of the best leather in the world, perfectly suited for the specific application of watch straps, rolls, and pouches.

     

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