This is a hobby that gets taken pretty seriously sometimes. Million dollar watches and collectors appearing in the pages of the NYT are commonplace these days. As passionate as we are about watches, it’s important to take a step back from time to time and see them for the luxury that they have become. It’s refreshing, then, to see watches that aren’t afraid to have a little fun in their approach. The Meca-01 from Lima Watch falls squarely into this camp, putting a toy-like spin on the mechanical watch.
The retro designed packaging of the Meca-01 sets the stage perfectly for the brand’s first mechanical offering. There’s an illustrated robot straight out of the ‘50s sci-fi genre with copy to match. It feels a bit like something you’d see from Max Busser as inspiration for an horological machine. Unlike those, this watch is far more accessible, priced at under $300, and what it lacks in sophistication, it makes up for creativity.
The robot on the front of the box is a fictional wind-up toy, with the key depicted below the oddly worded message “with Key Manual Winding Action”. This alludes to what you’ll find inside, as the same key is packaged within the box for use in winding the watch itself. The crown features a keyhole at its end for the hex key to insert, allowing the user to wind the watch much like the tin toys the watch is inspired by. Setting and adjusting still requires the crown to be pulled out and manipulated by hand, however. And yes, winding can still be done by hand as well.
The dial continues with the tin toy motif with red pinstripe circles occupying a gently raised center portion of the dial, and blue Arabic numerals reading off the hours. Red dots flank each hour for a final detail that culminated in the red Lima Watches logo at 12 o’clock. Hollow syringe hands are careful not to steal much attention from the silver dial, as does the discreet date aperture situated at 5 o’clock exactly, replacing the hour numeral.
The steel case measures 39mm in diameter, but its execution is a bit unusual. The top is uniform in texture and flatness, sitting flush from edge to edge. It appears as if they stopped after the first stage of stamping the case. It’s an odd experience to behold, as well as it is to wear, but the aesthetic fits the overall tone of the watch. Within beats a Seiko NH35 automatic movement, which is visible through the exhibition caseback.
The Meca-01 may be as much a novelty as it is a watch, but it’s a good reminder that watch collecting can be light hearted and imaginative. At $275, this may even make a great gift to lure a younger generation into mechanical watches. Learn more about the watch from Lima Watch here, though be warned, their website requires a flash player to properly navigate, so enter at your own risk.