Alkin Model Two

Review and photos by Mike Razak

I’ve always liked the look of compressor-style divers—two crowns, internal bezel. The type seems to be having a bit of a renaissance since its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Aside from a few reissues, the dual-crown diver appears to be the purview of microbrands. You can find them from brands like Nodus, Farer, Gavox, Marnaut, Heitis…you get the idea. Today I’m taking a look at what I consider an excellent example of the compressor, the Alkin Model Two. Where the Model Two stands out from the others is in its simplicity of design. It is a no-frills, utilitarian timepiece that wakes up, goes to work straight away, and kills it. 

Brace yourself for some knowledge: The Model Two is the second offering from English brand Alkin Watches, who are building off the success of their Model One tool watch. The Model One brought a very similar aesthetic with exceptional legibility and durability from founder and designer Charlie Fowler. The Model Two does the same, but with added function.

The case of the Alkin Model Two is simple, modern, and robust. Just as the entire watch has nothing to hide, and is exactly as it looks, the case wears true to its specs: 41mm with 48mm lug-to-lug, and 12.8mm tall. The watch sat with an easy comfort on my 7-inch wrist, never feeling too big, certainly never feeling too small. You can feel the weight of the watch without feeling weighed down by it.

The dual screw-down crowns ensure 300m of water resistance, and both are easy to grip and operate. The setting crown features the Alkin logo, while the upper crown operates the bidirectional internal bezel and features a simple hatch pattern. In furtherance of practicality, the watch eschews polished bevels, sweeping lines, or any of that silliness. Brushed from head to toe, with chunky drilled lugs and slab sides, the watch is ready to get knocked around. “Do your worst!” it calls.

The dial of the Alkin Model Two is neat. I use neat very intentionally because, for me, “neat” suggests a fun idea that perhaps isn’t ideal in practice. The sandwich dial of the white model I had in for review is fully lumed, with cutout baton markers at the hours. The hour numerals—in a custom-designed font—are printed on in black. 

What’s the issue? Though the everything with lume on it lights up quickly and brightly (and will be even brighter for production), I had some issues when reading the time at a glance due to the lumed hands getting lost on the lumed dial. An easy solution here would’ve been to delume the hands and make them all black, allowing them to stand out more clearly against the lumed dial. If you think this may bug you, rest assured that the blue and black dial variants will not have this issue. 

Outside of that, the dial is quite well balanced. Nothing is oversized, there is a modern class to the dial font (the brand at 12, the mechanical and depth designation at 6), the readable minute track. The dial is distilled into all it needs to be and nothing more, and then it does those things well. The entire dial is encircled by the rotating internal dive bezel. It’s fully lumed with the same Super-LumiNova BGW9 as the rest of the watch and shines better than many other bezels I’ve seen (internal or otherwise). One thing I particularly like is the style of the rotating bezel. Instead of a sloped construction as is seen in many such watches, the bezel is flat, and its thick (1.4mm), black dimensionality gives the appearance of floating about the rest of the dial. Bravo, there.

Internal dive bezels are, in my opinion, much more about their look than their practicality. The only benefit is an added layer of safety in the locking crown. Aside from that, you’ve got to do more work for the same result you get with an external bezel. Further, because there is no click to hold it in place at certain positions, resetting it to precisely zero (which I cannot help but do) take a bit of patience. Just be forewarned: aesthetic, not practical.

The movement of the Model Two is on full display through a sapphire case back: the Miyota 9039, the best no date out there for microbrands, and a fan favorite, too. It’s robust and easily serviceable, with a power reserve of 42 hours and a quoted accuracy of -10/+30 sec/day. While I’ll question the need to have an undecorated movement on display, I’ll never argue with the choice to use the 9039 in a watch.

As with most black, white, and steel watches, the Alkin Model Two lends itself to a huge array of straps. I’ve had it on leather, suede, rubber, black, brown, green, red—it all works. If you’re planning to do a lot of swapping, this watch obviously won’t work with thinner, dressier straps. But everything else is fair game, and the 20mm lugs make your options endless. If you’re not one for swapping out and want to stick with the stock bracelet, you’ll be quite happy doing so. Fully brushed with solid links throughout and a milled clasp, the bracelet is every bit as sturdy as the case. Screw pins make adjustments easy, and there are six micro adjustments on the clasp for fine-tuning.

While I had this watch in, I kept reaching for it to wear, violating my policy of not wearing the same watch two days in a row. The watch just seemed to be a good choice all the time. Some people only see design that leaps out at them. But just as jazz is as much about the notes you don’t play, design is in large part about the elements you don’t notice. While there is certainly joy in a striking design, there can be equal joy in a watch being so clean and well-executed that there is nothing to notice. The Model Two is such a watch: a distillation of form and function executed so well you barely notice it.

The Alkin Model Two is priced perfectly at around $399 (especially the blue and black dials). A highly legible, highly wearable, and highly enjoyable compressor diver. The pre-order is now live, so if you’re game, the game is on.

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