When I stumbled across Aevig watches on the forums during one of my regular crawls, I was immediately excited by what I saw. They were cool, fun watches with some familiar elements, yet clearly forged by a designer’s eye. They weren’t trying to be anything they are not, and they had graphic details that were well executed. So, I went over to their site, which is also simple and well done, and then I got hooked. They have a couple watches currently for pre-order, the Huldra and Corvid quartz, which we’ll look at in greater detail below, as well as a few awesome designs in the pipeline. Their site also had a link that was quite mysterious… a small frame of a film next to the word “icons”. I was amazed to find that Aevig also designed a set of beautiful postcards with line drawings of famous watches from movies, from Alien to Ghostbusters to Apocalypse now. Simple, clean expressions of watchnerdome in a fun and collectible package. Clearly, Aevig is a different type of brand.
Based in the Netherlands, Aevig, which is ancient Norse for “eternal”, is setting about doing what we love to see; making affordable wrist watches that are a twist on something classical, and lack pretension. The founder of the brand, Chip Yuen, clearly has a passion for vintage tool watches, and wanted to create a line that was inspired by the past, but had dials that spoke to a signature unique, modern graphic style. Though the watches themselves aren’t groundbreaking-ly new, their DNA is their own and their designs are memorable.
The Huldra and Corvid are a great pair for a first release. They come in at fairly different prices, though both very affordable, at about $450 (outside of the EU) for the mechanical diver and about $129 for the quartz field watch. As a duo, they are quite differently styled, but likely will both appeal to the same customer… I know they both appealed to me. Chip was awesome enough to send us over a couple of prototypes to take a look at, so below is sort of preview-review of the watches. These are prototypes, so there are a handful of differences from what the final models will be like, but they get the general idea of the watches across.
Corvid Kvarts Field Watch
Every collection needs a beater watch… or two or three. Now, I don’t mean to put down the beater watch, they are often amongst the most cherished in your collection. These are the watches you’re not afraid to wear when you do house work. You’re not afraid to wear when you’re running around with your hyper-active nephew. In the end of the day, they are simply a trusted go-to watch that can take a beating. The Corvid field watch is that type of watch.
Clearly based on military field watches from the mid-twentieth century, the Corvid takes a familiar look and remixes it. The result still totally reads “field watch” but doesn’t look like any you’ve seen before. The case has a fairly classic shape and comfortable medium-small size, measuring 40 x 48 x 9mm. Giving it a slightly different appeal is the “destro” crown at 9 rather than 3. The dial takes things further, having all of the elements you’re used to, lines, dots, numerals, etc… but shuffling them around for a different layout. The new layout maintains at-a-glance readability, but has a quirky balance to it that is unique and enjoyable. One fun, though potentially divisive detail, is the dotted-zero in the font. It doesn’t bother me, adding to the overall personality of the design, but it is strange.
The Corvid is available in three color-ways, and we got to see the DLC case / sand dial combo. Paired with a very nicely made olive NATO with black hardware, this watch has a distinctly camo-vibe to it that works with the theme. The sand color is something special. Unlike the khaki Seiko 5 SNK803, which has a flat, creamy color, the Corvid has a metallic sand. As such, it’s a dynamic color that changes with the light and angle, ranging from a very pale champagne to a dark bronze. Simply put, it’s very attractive and looks awesome against the black case and olive NATO.
The Corvid Kvarts (love that) is just a very appealing watch that is fun and easy to wear…and that, I believe, was the goal. Inside is a Ronda movement with a 6 year battery life, so this is a watch you can just pick up and run with. The look is both stylish and classic, emoting military watches yet having a stylized palette that works great with casual attire. For $129, it’s a winner. The prototype we had will change in a couple of ways though, namely the crown will get .5mm wider, it is a tad small now, the hands will get a bit larger too, and the mineral crystal will become a domed acrylic. As the saying goes, I think that will really tie the room together. Aevig also has an automatic version planned that will be powered by the Seagull ST2130 movement. Price is TBD, but I imagine it will still be quite affordable.
Huldra Retro Diver
I love vintage watches and I love 70’s barrel cases, so the Huldra diver was immediately appealing to my eyes. Once again, Aevig took something familiar and recognizable and twisted it ever so slightly to be their own. In the case of the Huldra, it’s simply in the style of the markers and the color ways. Perhaps less unique overall than the Corvid, the Huldra succeeds in its simplicity and wearability. It’s also packing a Miyota 9015, a domed sapphire crystal and a 5-link steel bracelet, making the $450 price tag reasonable.
The barrel shaped case of the Huldra measures 42 x 46 x 12.5mm (to the top of the domed sapphire), for a very easy to wear mid-sized diver. This is the kind of watch that hugs your wrist like it was sculpted just for you. The profile of the center case curves very elegantly, creating room for your wrist to flex. This adds to the comfort and belies the 12.5 thickness, not that 12.5mm is particularly thick. Similarly, the top surface is essentially entirely domed, giving it a smooth and graceful flow. Sitting atop the case is a nicely proportioned bezel with a thin, but easily graspable edge. This angles up to meet the edge of the sapphire for a pleasant transition.
The dial of the Huldra is very simple, but has a bold presence and good readability. There are currently 3 color ways available, blue, black and orange, each with their own personality. We got to spend time with the blue dial/blue bezel combo, which is perhaps the most mellow of the choices. One thing to note immediately is that the blue of the sample shown here is going to change. I haven’t seen the final color, but Chip described it as being muted compared to the current deep cobalt blue. I like the current blue, but I could see how a more subdued tone would bring out the vintage styling more, and match better with the cream colored lume throughout.
The most unique feature of the watch is the marker design. Instead of the typical circular marker, or even the occasional square, Aevig went with hexagons as their primary form. At 3, 6 and 9 are then long triangles, which add a more aggressive element, and increase legibility. At 12 is a larger hexagon that double as the brand’s logo, which is a sort of hybrid a/camera aperture form. As such, the markers all tie into Aevig’s branding. The hexagons have a different effect on the dial too, one that creates an orderly layout. The hexagons are rotated either to have a flat side up or a point (never partial rotated), so there is a pleasant harmony throughout.
The last detail of note is the 5-link, solid end-link bracelet that accompanies the watch. The bracelet mixes polished and brushed links for a little bit of decoration, emphasizing the bracelet as a dressier choice. It looks great on the watch, and I was glad to see they went with something different than an Oyster-style. The 5-link design also flexes nicely, contouring to your wrist. The prototype bracelet shown here differs slightly in that the final product will be 1mm thicker and have better finishing all around.
In the end of the day, the Huldra is just a simple and easy dive watch to wear. With 200m water resistance, it’s useable for sporty needs, but not trying to be an epic dive watch. It’s really an aesthetic piece with a stylized vintage appeal. It’s also, at least in blue, pleasantly dressy in a way that vintage dive watches tend to be. It’s reserved, fairly svelte, just masculine enough and while not a substitute for a dress watch, has enough formal qualities to look smart at work. And from a purely value based judgment, the price makes sense.
Looking at a new brand like Aevig is really exciting. The watches we got to see have a lot of potential and I think for the right person will immediately click. Then, looking forward, they have a gorgeous dual-crown diver planned and designs for a really funky 70’s inspired chronograph. Needless to say, this is a brand to keep an eye on.
– Zach Weiss