Exploring the world of watches on a budget

More September Preorders

Like I said last week, there are a bunch of brands launching pre-order campaigns this month - too many for one article. Here is part two.


Flush with the success of the K-01, French micro Akrone returns with its sophomore offering, the logically named K-02. It is a titanium diver's watch with a ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal, ETA 2892 automatic, and 267m water resistance. Why so precise? Because that's how deep it went while setting a cave diving record. I particularly like the horizon dial, intricately skeletonized hands, and knurled bezel. Kickstarter pricing starts at €542 ($605 USD) on a nylon strap. The titanium bracelet is an extra cost option.


I featured Valachio once before when they were funding the Pantium. It was a fairly common minimalist quartz but it had some interesting strap and hand colors, a domed crystal, and a very low price. After the campaign, they sent me a black and red one as a gift. I must say, it is a perfectly nice watch but the best part is that they made enough on the quartz to launch a new automatic watch, the Avantiam.

The new watch stays true to Valachio's modern aesthetic, kicking it up a notch with a fine-lined radial layout and porthole to display the balance wheel of the Miyota 90S5 within. The case is available in either polished stainless or PVD black or gold finishes. Refreshingly, it is just 37.5mm wide and 9.5mm thick. Interestingly, the knurled crown is positioned 13.84 degrees from 3 o'clock (roughly 3:30). It is an appealing piece and I love the fact that they went for a sub-40mm case. Kickstarter Early Bird pricing starts at $385 CAD ($295 USD). 

Visitor Watch Co.

A few months ago, I clued you in to some beautiful new models coming soon from Phil Rodenbeck of Visitor. Well, that day is here. Today, Visitor is opening pre-orders to the first group on the wait list. I got to sample all four as prototypes and I was blown away by their beauty and quality. Read my reviews of the Calligraph Linden, Duneshore Shallows, Duneshore Shallows Blacksand, and Vale Park Officer to find out why I think Phil is one of the best designers in the microbrand world, then head over to www.visitorwatchco.com for ordering info. 


Newcomer Hamtun breaks onto the scene today with a 41mm titanium diver's watch. The H1 has a ceramic bezel, domed sapphire crystal, and is rated to 200m. The movement is a sturdy Seiko NH35A automatic. The face is a dark matte gray with one of three colors in its sandwich dial: white, blue, or a stealthy grey. Buyers may choose a titanium bracelet or silicone strap, but will get both of stretch funding goals are met. Kickstarter pre-orders start at a very appealing $199. The campaign goes live at noon US Eastern Standard Time. 


Votum was a Swiss brand that produced some nifty little numbers from the early 1960's through the 70's when it died in the quartz crisis. Now the brand may see new life with a funding campaign on Kickstarter. Four models are offered: Heritage, New Classic, Elegance, and Mechanical Date. The first three have a 41.5mm case with sapphire crystals, 100m water resistance, and clean, modern dials. The Heritage and New Classic use the ETA 2824-2, while the small seconds Elegance has a Stelita SW260 instead. The Mechanical Date uses a Stelita 221 in a 42mm case, and is distingushed by a date function that operates like a GMT, with a fourth hand that indicating the date on a rotating bezel. The utility of this feature eludes me but looks attractive enough. Indeed, all the watches are handsome, if a tad generic. The Kickstarter page shows several vintage Votum watches and I must admit I like all of them far better than the new models. Early Bird pricing starts at Fr 495 ($510 USD). 

Photos courtesy of the watchmakers 

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