First Look at the Akura Wayfarer

Like many debut watches from up-and-coming brands, the Akura Wayfarer has been some time in the making. During an 18-month period, brand proprietor and designer Philipp Schönfisch has embraced feedback from the watch community to iterate, refine, and improve on his inaugural watch while staying true to his overall design philosophy. That said, this isn’t “design by committee,” which can result in bland or incongruous design, but rather a cohesive vision that makes for a really compelling first showing for the fledgling brand. With a Kickstarter campaign launching today, I recently had the chance to look over the final prototypes for two of the five possible variants.

Akura Wayfarer

  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Dial: Various 
  • Dimensions: 41mm x 48.5mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Crown: Screw down
  • Lume: Super-LumiNova BGW9
  • Movement: Miyota 9015
  • Strap/bracelet: Steel bracelet plus leather strap
  • Price: Starts at £399, or about $485 (early bird via Kickstarter)
  • Expected release: Kickstarter starting July 31, 2019


The main inspiration for the Wayfarer is the mountainous landscape of the Scottish Highlands, but that influence is reflected more in the overarching look and feel of the watch than in its functionality.

The case of the Akura Wayfarer measures 41mm in diameter with a lug-to-lug length of 48.5mm — right in my preferred zone for a sports watch. Coming in at only 10mm thick, it ticks another box right off the bat — it’s svelte. The only slightly unexpected measurement is the lug width of 22mm. This is largely irrelevant when the watch is worn on the bracelet as the transition from the case to the lugs, through the end links and to the bracelet, is integral to the overall design. However, the wider-set lugs are more noticeable when the watch is on leather.

The angular, stainless steel case combines lightly brushed surfaces with polished, chamfered edges. Slender crown guards flank the main crown at 3:00, and the secondary crown down at 4:00 is left largely unguarded, which keeps the right side of the case from looking overly aggressive. This second crown operates the internal bezel, which displays a combination of compass points and minute markings. Both crowns are signed.

Three dial colors will be available as standard — gray (the one shown here), black, and red — with blue and white dial (also shown here) variants included as stretch goals in the Kickstarter campaign. When it comes to dial texture, less if often more, and while the Wayfarer dial is elaborate, I do think it strikes the right chord here. It is fairly complex with geometric waves across the raised central area and cut outs for lumed hour markers within the outer portion. Overall, it still feels well-balanced without any single aspect dominating.

All three hands are lumed for their entire length, along with a good application of lume on the hour markers, minute track, and the markings along the internal bezel.

Inside the Wayfarer is the Miyota 9015, the popular automatic caliber with hacking, hand-winding, and an industry standard beat rate of 28,800bph. The movement has been modified here with a custom rotor and date wheel that better matches the color schemes of the respective dial, and the orientation has been changed to fit the 6:00 date window. The reprinted date wheels, especially the alternative colors used for the 31st of the month, are a nice touch. The stacked date wheel numbers on the white dial version are quirky and interesting, though I personally think they result in a slightly harder to read date for the majority of the month.

I have spent most of my time with the Akura fitted to the bracelet. The brushed links with polished chamfered edges are reminiscent of the AP Royal Oak, no doubt, and though the Wayfarer isn’t quite up to those standards in terms of finish and comfort, it’s still pretty good. The end link design extends the lug-to-lug length a little bit, so if you have particularly small wrists this may result in a slightly awkward fit.

Whether it’s the function of the internal compass bezel that appeals, or just the aesthetic, the Akura Wayfarer represents a solid first effort from this young Scottish brand, and it’s packed with small details that help to set it apart from many of its competitors. The Akura Wayfarer is available through Kickstarter with early bird pricing starting at £399. Akura Wayfarer via Kickstarter

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Brad stumbled into the watch world in 2011 and has been falling down the rabbit hole ever since. Based in London, Brad's interests lie in anything that ticks, sweeps or hums and is slightly off the beaten track.