Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

Here’s What Happens When a Famously Bulky Watch Goes on a Crash Diet

The lightweight SpidoLite shocked me and had me guarding my wrist

Sometimes you know you’re going to love a watch right away. Sometimes a watch surprises you. I wasn’t so sure when I first heard about the Linde Werdelin SpidoLite, because it’s big and futuristic-looking—but after a few seconds with it on my wrist, I was sold. In fact, it was one of my 10 favorite sport watches of Baselworld 2015. Here’s why.

It ticks a lot of boxes. There’s the unique design, the robust construction, and the futuristic looks. For every trait that could have been troublesome, Danish designer Morten Linde seems to have found a fix.

The titanium SpidoLite is much lighter than it looks.
The titanium SpidoLite is much lighter than it looks.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

I expected to find the SpidoLite’s size difficult to stomach. The case is 46mm top to bottom, 44mm across, and 15mm thick. This is a big one. But what makes the SpidoLite unique is the heavily skeletonized case. The art of cutting sections out of dials to show the movement underneath is popular right now, but Linde Werdelin has applied a similar method to the SpidoLite’s case. The company kept the distinct oversize profile while removing all the unnecessary metal, and thus weight. The result looks like something that might be used to fight off a Xenomorph, and it wears lighter and smaller than you’d expect.

The triangle cutouts let you see the spring inside the power barrel.
The triangle cutouts let you see the spring inside the power barrel.
Photographer: Stephen Pulvirent/Bloomberg Business

That’s not to say the dial hasn’t been carved apart as well. Other than the markers around the edge, there are no large solid sections of dial to be seen at all. The asymmetrical cutouts are a little overwhelming at first, but they keep your eye moving all over the dial to check out how each bit is finished. The overall effect is one of controlled chaos.

Linde Werdelin claims that the open top of the barrel is a sort of minimalist power-reserve indicator, because you can see whether the spring inside is tight (full power) or loose (running on empty). That might be a bit of an overstatement, but the design is cool nonetheless. 

The solid gold SpidoLite has a black titanium bezel and case back.
The solid gold SpidoLite has a black titanium bezel and case back.

The biggest surprise of all is that I found myself wanting to take home the gold SpidoLite even more than the titanium edition. Oversize gold watches with ornate dials aren’t exactly my thing. I’m a worn-in vintage fan, more likely to drool over something like this than over something like one of these. But when a gold watch is this comfortable and starts to look better with age instead of just dinged up, that’s something special.

People have drawn parallels between Linde Werdelin’s watches and the likes of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore and Hublot Big Bang. Sure, they’re all large sport watches with occasionally bold styling, but the SpidoLite sets itself apart with the complex case and quirky skeletonized dial. They might owe a little inspiration to big-brand predecessors, but they’re far from clones.

Is the SpidoLite for everyone? Absolutely not. Is it even for me (and my wrist) on most days? Not really. But it’s a thoughtfully designed and fun-to-wear watch that convinced me that ignoring a whole category of watches might be a mistake after all.

The Linde Werdelin SpidoLite is available in titanium and rose gold, priced at 15,000 Swiss francs (about $15,700) and 27,000 Swiss francs ($28,300), respectively. Each is limited to 75 numbered pieces.

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