Titanium for a tool watch is a good combination. The dull gray of a blasted titanium finish offers the ruggedness and no-nonsense sobriety that a tool watch cries for, while the lightness of the material allows a sizable and chunky device to be worn effortlessly. At this point in 2021 it’s no surprise to see another integrated bracelet being thrown into the mix too. With the debut watch from Arken ticking all of these boxes, what is going to set it apart?
On first glance the Instrumentum looks every bit a hefty tool watch, but at 40mm in diameter this debut offering is actually pretty compact. The specs stack up pretty well too; its dive watch appearance is backed up by 300m of water resistance, a screw-down crown and a ratcheting clasp. The grade 2 Titanium has also been treated to bump the harness up to 600 Vickers. The brawny styling borders on the excessive, though this is probably reigned in somewhat by the very reasonable case size. The 40mm diameter is the measurement across the bezel so does not include the ‘wings’ which extend beyond the case on the left hand side and form the crown guard on the right.
Exactly how a watch looks on the wrist owes a lot to the balance between bezel and dial too, and there’s a lot of bezel on show. The fully graduated bezel is a single piece of titanium (rather than markings printed on an insert of a different material) with thick-cut teeth, and the heavily tapering bracelet continues the aggressive styling with the same link pattern seen on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. Tapering bracelets ordinarily offer great levels of comfort, so it’s clear that Arken are going to great lengths to make this a very wearable, and capable, tool watch.
The monochrome dial of the Instrumentum is just as bold as its surroundings, though the shapes here are a little softer with large BGW9-filled hour markers in either circular or teardrop form. The rounded tip of the second hand receives the same C3 Superluminova as the bezel pip. The handset looks as though it attempts to bridge the gap between the forceful case lines and the rounded dial markings, though some may find the three distinct hand shapes slightly jarring as a group.
Inside the Arken Instrumentum is the automatic Miyota 9015 – a movement now well known for its efficient winding, good power reserve and reasonable accuracy out of the box. As you’ll note from the images, Arken have opted to place the date window in place of the six o’clock marker to keep the symmetry of the design, and retained a white background for readability.
My first impressions were of a slight hodge-podge of styles and influences from the Patek Nautilus ‘wings’, a Vacheron inspired bracelet, a dial filled with large lume-plots and all of that wrapped up in an aggressive titanium case. When that package is revealed to be quite reserved in scale, it suddenly feels like the Arken Instrumentum could be a very wearable watch. Preorders are due to being on 15 September with prices starting at $500. Arken.