Amidst the never ending releases of sports and military inspired watches, Meshable has been quietly pursuing a tasteful, minimal aesthetic in their design-focused and high-value line of watches. Last we saw them they had released a Meca-quartz powered chronograph with a highly reduced dial and restrained 39mm case. Now they are back with their first automatic time-piece, the 003, which is powered by the popular Miyota 9015 movement. Featuring an appealingly simple dial with a contemporary feel and a classic case that speaks to early 20th century German designs, the 003 is worth a closer look.
Hands-On with the Meshable 003
Measuring a modest 38 x 46 x 10.75mm, the 003 brings Bauhaus watches to mind with strict lines and simple geometry. The central case is a straight cylinder composed of three sections: a bezel, mid-case and case back. The proportions of the three sections work nicely, breaking up the 10.75mm height. The watch isn’t tall, per say, but given the smaller diameter looks a bit thick. The separating lines between the sections help with this visually.
The lugs are thin, straight and flat with a hard angle down as they come away from the case. This sticks with Bauhaus style, baring a similarity to Stowa’s Antea watches. All three sections have horizontal brushing, giving it a subtle, but industrial look. I like the finishing, though because of the sharp angle where the case meets the lugs, the brushing quality gets a little funky in the corners.
On the right side is a square crown with rounded edges. It’s small at 4.5mm wide, and a bit tough to grip/pull out, but it does look cool. Obviously crowns are not usually this shape, so that adds some personality to the design. Flipping the watch over, you have a big display window showing off the Miyota 9015 within. Though there is no additional decoration, the 9015 looks good, and plays off of the cold, industrial feel of the case.
The dial of the 003 is clean and minimal, with a friendly overall feeling. Meshable plays with use of empty space and subtle color to take what could be too plain of a dial, and make it interesting. The surface is matte white, and all of the indexes are flat printed onto it. The hours index consists of small numerals and dots per hour. The numerals rotate per the angle of the hour, which always gives a sense of motion to a dial, in my eyes. Rather than black, the numerals and dots are printed in a dark gray, giving them a softer appearance. The dots at 12 and 6, however, are pale blue and purple, adding just the slightest hint of color.
Around the hour index, also in gray, is a minutes/seconds index consisting of lines per minute and numerals at intervals of five. This adds some precision to the dial, and creates a light border for the white. Though all of the numerals are quite small all around, I had no issue reading the dial at a glance, as everything is very crisp and clear, and has a nice amount of space around it.
At the center of the dial is a curious feature; a thin circle that is bisected, with the top half in blue and the bottom in purple, matching the dots at 12 and 6. To me, this sort of plays off of simple day/night indicator that one would find on a 24hr watch or sub-dial. But since it’s a 12-hr dial, it doesn’t seem to have any purpose beyond decoration. That said, the very slight use of color is appealing, and the circle itself balances out the empty space around it.
Just off of 3 is a circular date window showing the stock 9015 date. The numeral is in black and the surface below is silver. The window’s positioning doesn’t bother me at all, and I’m glad to see the window is circular, but this is definitely a circumstance where something custom would have been smart. Meshable clearly have a keen sense of graphic design and typography, so the large Miyota numerals feel too big and aggressive compared to the other type on the dial. It’s not horrible, it just clashes a bit.
For hands, they went with classic straight sticks in black for the hour and minutes. There’s enough of a difference between the two in length to make them easy to tell apart. These are an obvious choice for a watch this style, but they also work well. The seconds hand is also a stick, but rather than black, they went with a dark teal. The color plays well off of the blue and purple on the dial, and just generally looks nice above the white surface.
On the wrist, the 003 wears very well. 38mm is a great size for a casual watch like this, having enough presence, but still being small and comfortable. The thickness isn’t an issue on the wrist either. It comes mounted to an 18mm black leather strap with no stitching and a straight cut. This works with the design overall, keeping the understated appearance and not distracting from the dial.
Visually, it’s an appealing if not subdued watch. It’s not a watch that wants attention. Nothing is bold or shocking, and the small sizes of the numerals and markers on the dial disappear in the distance, making it simply look like a white dial in a steel cylinder. But, it’s not too austere or boring either. Up close, the well planned layout is appealing and the occasional hint of color is a pleasant surprise. With normal casual work attire it fits right in, perhaps even adding a sense of maturity to an outfit.
The Meshable 003 automatic is a smart addition to the brand’s line up. It’s very much in keeping with their minimal aesthetic, and while not a shockingly new design, also doesn’t feel like a clone of anything else. Their choice of details gives the 003 a certain contemporary attitude that speaks to the brand’s aesthetic. The watch will also be available in PVD, which further adds to the modern edge of the design and might give it a bit more personality for those who want it.
The 003 launches today on Kickstarter with an opening price of $245 for the first 50, then $266 and lastly $290. For a 9015 powered watch, these are exceptionally competitive prices, creating an overall great value. There aren’t many mechanical watches out there with this sort of style period, let alone ones under $300, making them a very compelling option if you’ve been interested in this aesthetic but not looking to drop several hundred to a few thousand on one. The post KS retail price will be 399 euros, which is still very compelling.