A brand's story : Prometheus by Extropian

Brand's story
Prometheus Watch Company
A brand's story : Prometheus by Extropian

In our space, the watch world, micro brands are known for 2 main things; one is being relatively young and unfortunately, the second one is that sometimes they do not stay relevant for long. The later is due to the aggressive nature of our hobby, watch enthusiasts are getting more knowledgeable every day and in consequence, they want more. In my personal opinion this is a good thing because the brands which manage to survive do bring something special to the table. Since 2008 Prometheus, a Lisbon based brand has done exactly that, a price/quality ratio which was unheard of back then.

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There is a direct link with the Greek mythological figure and the brand philosophy. It is playful, a bit cheeky and with a big passion for well-crafted objects. We can safely say that without these characteristics, Prometheus as a watch company will not be here today. 

There has been many designs and models that Prometheus offered in the past, and with a large fan base of owners and enthusiasts, there is plenty to discover. Let us begin the journey for what is one of the oldest micro brands that we have a chance to focus on.

How it all begins:

If you turn back the clock to 2008, the watch world was quite different. All of the watches that now are hard to obtain were readily available back then. Another point is that social media as we know it, was not quite as powerful and micro brands, well, they had a different approach to it. With the In-house movement craze also missing, ETA movements were easier to source which allowed start up brands to focus primarily on the design, and it is here where Prometheus found their first wings, at the WatchUSeek forum. With an official page, Prometheus started to ask to the community which design should be produced, eventually a Supercompressor style won the competition and the first Ocean Diver from the brand was born.

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Since then, a plethora of mostly professional watches have sold out constantly, from the Manta Ray to the Sailfish, they all have something in common which is a high grade in quality. It might sound like a cliché but these watches do punch well above their weight.


Who made it happen:

The vision can be attributed to Carlos Carvalho who is the owner of Prometheus Watch Company. Carlos has also a sidekick brand which you might heard of called Borealis, this brand was co-founded with Carlos’s wife, something to also have a look at. 

One of the different traits of Prometheus is that it is founded in Lisbon. We are not saying that Portugal is not a hub for watch enthusiasts, but we can safely say that not often we come across many Portuguese brands. It is all very refreshing.

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We spoke with Carlos many times for long periods, his enthusiasm is contagious. We really enjoy when we can speak with an owner about many things and not only watches, as it also shows a better insight on what can inspire a person to create a brand and consequently its design traits.

I always think that because Portugal feels a bit isolated from the watch news, it must be harder to get inspiration on new models, but again here is where the community feedback and support helps to drive brands like Prometheus. It is an organic growth that not many watch brands can enjoy today.


What is the brand Philosophy?

Drawing another comparison with Greek mythology, Prometheus is known for stealing the fire from the Olympian gods to give it as a gift for humanity. We will not go as far as to say that watches are equally as important as fire but the fact that it was a brand which started with a design by the community really draws parallels.

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The idea behind Prometheus Watch Company is to have a watch that is different in design but also well executed, quality on the dial, hands and bracelet is key to Carlos and you can tell as soon as the watches are handled that there is no compromise.

Another point that we found out is that the brand is very open to feedback. Design shouldn’t necessary be a democratic process as you might end up with a final product that is far off from your initial thoughts but, Prometheus does embrace it and evolves that way. This might be the main reason why their designs look so different; they are not based on pure owner watch enthusiasm.

The price is also engrained in their offering as Prometheus was never intended to be brand hitting over the 1000 USD price bracket. The company always intended to stay below that mark with the quality aspect already mentioned.


Style and design

Prometheus is known for high performance watches, usually with dive capabilities. In consequence this also means that the watches are on the larger side which to us is fine, especially for a professional tool object. 

The design can be considering bold with high contrast colours to aid with visibility and also brushed surfaces to enhance the tool look. These are just a few of the design details found in their watches. This dial legibility is also achieved by a good dose of lume application.

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The bracelet construction is something that the brand has mastered. Since the beginning Prometheus understood the importance of a good bracelet. They all feel solid and well-constructed which is something rare to see in this price bracket unless you are a big conglomerate and benefit from in house capabilities.

In their divers, we can find technologies such as helium escape valves, divers’ extensions, and depth ratings up to 1000 meters. As mentioned, it is catered to a more professional environment but that said, it doesn’t mean that these watches cannot be worn on daily basis, they feel equally attractive and usually they come in an array of versions, for example the date and non-date versions of their latest model: The Jamanta.

Part of the charm on wearing a tool watch every day is that you will not have to be afraid of using it, what I mean is that with brushed surfaces and enough water resistance, watches can become a great companion for any situation.


The current line up

After 15 years of its inception, the brand line up has seen many variations. The brand is not accustomed to have a fixed line of products with a dedicated DNA, sure you can see traces on different versions but once a design has sold out, you will rarely see it again. This does create a big fear of mission out or FOMO as we know it, but also creates a feel of uniqueness.

Coming back to what is currently on offer, we have the Jamanta which means Juggernaut in Portuguese.

As the name suggest the Jamanta is a big watch at 42.5mm with a short lug to lug of 50.2mm. The horizontal pattern dial gives a nautical aura that is appreciated and because it is a time only (and date also if you opt for that version) it feels like an everyday watch. 

The attention to detail on the dial and bracelet is what we are used to from Prometheus and getting up close is a delight.

The Jamanta comes in 3 variations, a Pastel Blue with white accents, a Black Dial with Yellow accents and a white dial with marine blue. They all come in data and non-date versions. The price of the Jamanta is 415 USD.

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What is coming?

We are unsure what can next for the Portuguese brand, we are sure that the pillars on which each model has been built, are going to be there but, can they surprise us? Perhaps a chronograph? A GMT? We are very keen to speak to Carlos and see what can be coming for 2024, we know he is not planning to stop here.

Great design is a very subjective concept, but quality is one of the few currencies we can count on. We have seen many brands that have great renders and professional pictures but as soon as you take them out of the box, the disappointment is huge. Here is where experience comes handy at Prometheus Watch Company, they have been working with suppliers and client feedback for more than a decade.

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The more that we uncover brands like Prometheus the harder is to see value in more established mainstream brands, the main reason for us is that quality comes at a price but until certain point. Prices start to rise because marketing must come into the equation, from ambassadors’ salaries to those billboards at a Monaco Grand Prix, we, the enthusiasts, are the ones paying for it. With microbrands in general we know what we are paying for and that is when we get surprised. 

In the case of Prometheus, the quality and proprietary design are the core offering from them, there are no hidden cost and even so, after profits we still look at the price tag and think : ‘’ how on earth they got to this price?’’.


Article written by Robbie and Watches

Created the 2024-01-15

Modified the 2024-01-17

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