The Elka Watch Co. is a new brand (based on a historic brand) from watch industry veteran Hakim El Kadiri that seeks to capture the style and elegance of watch design rooted in the 1960s. Yes, this has been countless times over these last few years of making everything old new again, but the rich design language of 60s watchmaking was never so homogenous that it can’t inspire a variety of modern heirs. Your idea of what made mid-century watchmaking great might be entirely different than what Hakim has in mind, and so we’re left with as many interpretations of an aesthetic as there are designers who take on the challenge. The new watches from Elka don’t break any new ground, necessarily, but are honest tributes to a deeply valued pocket of watchmaking history, and appear to be rather well made.
Elka launches with two separate collections making use of the same 41mm case. The D Series is a clean design based on a pocket watch design by Ulysse Nardin. Today, it can best be understood as a simple, dress watch style layout with minimal text and thin baton hour markers to mark the time. Silver, blue, and gray dials will be available at launch, and the watches can be had on leather straps or Milanese style mesh bracelets.
The X Series takes a completely different approach, with a dial modeled on flight instruments originally designed by Heuer. This is a sportier design with blocky Arabic numerals marking the minutes at intervals of five around the perimeter of the dial. Dials for the X Series will be made in black, dark blue, and beige. Watches in this collection can be purchased on leather or textile straps.
So, in both cases we have rigorously simple dials based on historical designs that every watch collector has likely experienced before to some degree. What Elka is doing to set themselves apart, though, is using a higher quality movement than the typical Miyota or Sellita that you’d normally find in a debut watch from a Kickstarter brand. These watches are powered by the La Joux-Perret G100 automatic caliber, with 68 hours of power reserve. Along with a premium movement comes a premium price: the new Elka watches start at a little over $1,600 after currency conversion, but discounts are available for backing the project early on Kickstarter.