Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene

This past Tuesday, I was introduced to newcomer Arcadia and their G1.0 Graphene Field Watch. The brand kicked off their first Kickstarter on Wednesday, and by Thursday, I had a review sample in hand. They have let me keep the watch to put it through its paces as I see fit, but given that they have a crowdfunding venture underway, I thought it best to get my review up as soon as possible. After a couple of days on the wrist, I'm ready to report. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch wrist

Arcadia is an outdoor lifestyle brand, so it makes sense that their first offering would be a field watch. The G1.0 is sensibly sized at 40mm wide, 47mm long, and a slight 9.5mm thick. The round case has a smooth bezel and is distinguished by long, tapered lugs that are clearly defined against the barrel. I hesitate to call them horn lugs as they are more integrated than that, but they do harken back to that style. The brand offers the watch in polished stainless steel, but the real attraction is the unique, graphene-coated version. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch

Graphene is a two-dimensional carbon crystal that is absurdly strong and only one atom thick. It was the subject of Nobel Prize-winning research in 2010, and about two minutes of Wikipedia research by me just now because, I am not ashamed to admit, I had never heard of it. That said, it is tough stuff. Arcadia uses proprietary graphene coating called DuraPhene that claims to be harder than a diamond, 200x stronger than steel, corrosion resistant, and anti-microbial, all of which seem like good qualities for a watch case. To the eye, it an attractive matte finish that is, not coincidentally, a dark graphite gray color. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch

I like the look of it as well as the promise that it will hold up better than a typical PVD coating, but it is not indestructible. As we watch fans know, even a diamond-like coating (DLC) will scratch if you try hard enough -- or if you don't try at all and then one day look down at a hairline of bare metal on your formerly pristine black watch and say, "Damnit! How did I do that?" I'll be curious to see how this one fares over time. From a purely aesthetic perspective, it works rather well.

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch

The watch is rated for 50m water resistance, which is not out of line for a field watch and more than sufficient for most activities short of sustained immersion. More disappointing was the flat mineral crystal. If you go the extra mile to make your case scratch resistant, your crystal ought to be the same. Sapphire would be a big improvement and is arguably a necessity on a watch like this. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch  side

I had issues with the crown. First, it is polished, which to my eye, seems out of place against the stealthy gray case. Coating the crown head to match the case would be my first choice, but if this were not feasible, then bead blasting it to a matte finish might tone it down just enough. Second, I could not keep a good grip on it. In spite of its coin edge, I kept slipping and pressing it in as I set the watch. The tiniest bit of additional travel would have made all the difference. Of course, you won't have to do this often.

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch case back

The case back is polished stainless, engraved with the G1.0's basic specs. Behind it lies a Miyota 2035 quartz movement. It isn't sexy, but it will do the job and take a fair beating while doing it. I love my mechanicals, but when it comes to field watches, there is something to be said for the accuracy, affordability, shock resistance, and immunity to magnetism that you get with a simple quartz. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch

I really liked the G1.0's ivory dial. It is a warm, creamy color that tends towards yellow under artificial light and cream in the sun. The layout is clean and legible, and those large, pistachio green markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 are a pleasing complement. Semi-skeletonized sword hands with lumed tips look great and reach right to their markers. Lume quality; however, is merely average. The hands hold their glow for a little while, but the markers fade right away. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch  lume

One interesting feature is the compass rose printed on the rehaut. It certainly cements the field watch theme and is designed to help you get your bearings when using the watch as a makeshift compass in the wild. (See the post, Navigating With Your Watch for a how-to.) I'd have preferred a rotating compass ring for this function, but then again, I am also the sort of person whose sense of direction comes entirely from the soothing voice emanating from my dashboard, so maybe I'm not in the best position to criticize. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch strap

The Arcadia's 20mm strap is black leather embossed with a carbon fiber pattern. It is padded, tapered, and stitched in white. I thank the brand for not putting the G1.0 on a nylon NATO. I like NATOs, but they have been done to death. I'd much prefer my watch to come on a nice two-piece strap like this and play with cheap nylon pass-throughs on my own. Quick release band pins are a nice touch. The buckle is polished and signed. It kind of ties back to the crown, but not enough for me. Again, I'd have preferred to see it coated or bead blasted, but that is hardly a deal-killer. 

Arcadia G1.0 Graphene Field Watch wrist

The G1.0 is an excellent fit on my 6.75" wrist. Between its low profile and feather-light weight, I hardly noticed it. The dial is attractive and easily legible, although it did get tricky when the lights went down. The watch will retail for $349, but you can still pre-order the graphene version one on Kickstarter for $199, or the polished case version for just $129.  The campaign ends March 14, at 1:00 PM EST. 

For more information and photos visit: www.arcadiawatches.com
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