Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Preview: meshable chrono

Update 10/6/15: starting today on Kickstartermeshable is back for second bite at the crowd funding apple. I liked this German designed minimalist MechaQuartz when I previewed it back in July, but the €200 ($224) price tag and €28,000 goal held it back. The new campaign has a lower goal and an extremely attractive early bird price of €139 ($156). 

Mina Baldauf and Nemo Vucicevic of Düsseldorf, Germany have just launched the second model from meshable watches (no caps) on Kickstarter. The chrono (still no caps) wraps the increasingly popular Seiko MechaQuarz hybrid movement in a clean and stylish minimalist package and delivers it on both leather and Milanese mesh straps. 
Now I know it was not long ago that I listed the proliferation on minimalist quartz watches as one of ten things that bug me about Kickstarter watch projects, but the fact is, I love minimalist design. I really dig my Uniform Wares watch, I swoon over Nomos, and get positively giddy in the presence of a Junghans Max Bill Chronograph. What I hate, is cheap and lazy "minimalism" hacked together by someone who wouldn't know Bauhaus from an outhouse. I am happy to say that meshable does not suffer from these failings.
The chrono's stainless steel case is 39mm wide and 10.7mm thick. This places it neatly into a sensible mid-size range so it should be an easy fit for both men and women. It is a simple cylinder broken by a deep groove delineating the bezel, and angular lugs. The chronograph buttons are similarly unadorned, but the crown is knurled, adding a touch of texture. Buyers may choose from three finishes: brushed steel, PVD black, or PVD rose gold.  

The dial has two vertically oriented registers black with white baton hands, and a white date wheel. Obviously, white-on-black is a high contrast combination and a very common one. What makes the meshable different is the choice of grey for the indices and brand name. There are no numbers and no large markers. The tiny, low-contrast hash marks on the otherwise featureless dial make those simple white sticks leap into focus. They went low-key on the brand name too. It too is an unobtrusive grey, tucked over at 9 o'clock. I wish they could have made the date wheel was black as well, or eliminated it altogether to maintain the muted theme. As it stands, the block of white at 3 o'clock steals a bit of attention. 
Seiko's VK61A MechaQuartz has two sub dials, an upper dial tracks minutes, and the lower dial is a small seconds running with the current time. The large second hand runs with the chronograph. It is a familiar layout, but a MechaQuartz is unlike other quartz chronograph movements. A conventional, high accuracy quartz module handles hours, minutes, and seconds. When the chronograph is activated, a mechanical module takes over from the quartz, providing a smooth,1/5 seconds sweep and crisp snap back on reset. 
The chrono is intended to be an everyday watch, and it is equipped for the task with a durable and anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal, and 50m/5ATM water resistance rating. Each watch ships with two 18mm bands and a strap changing tool to better tailor the watch to your day. The first is a black or brown leather strap for a conservative dressy look. The second is a Milanese mesh that complements the watch in both style and name. I like a mesh strap on a smaller watch because it is a rugged and practical choice that looks sophisticated at the same time.
I liked meshable at the old price, but at the new price of $156 it is very hard to resist. Check out the new campaign at http://kck.st/1Q4sYr1.
Pictures courtesy of meshable.

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