There aren’t many contemporary dress watches on the affordable end of the spectrum that are truly worth purchasing. The ones with any appeal are usually modern interpretations of historical designs–Hamilton and Tissot certainly have a few, as does Orient. But most of these reissues often miss the mark with a detail or two that leave one feeling cold–a misplaced date window or an inflated case size, just to name a few. And the brands that do get it right, namely the Max Bill line from Junghans, are generally priced higher than comparable brands. But what if I were to tell you that there’s finally a watch out there with all the right vintage details, boasting rugged German construction, and at an easy-to-swallow price just north of $500? Well, lucky day, because I’m about to do just that. Say hello to the Archimede 1950’s.
Archimede, as our faithful readers may already know, is a bit of a fan-favorite here at Worn&Wound. Few brands offer the price-to-value ratio that Archimede does, and the ones that do often stick to producing homage watches. Thankfully, Archimede’s catalogue focuses on mostly original designs, and with the added bonus of being an ICKLER brand you know you’re getting top-notch casework and quality control. But the one thing that Archimede has always lacked is an exciting dress watch. The 1950’s line remedies that.
As the name suggests, Archimede’s goal was to create a watch that pulls together the best design cues from timepieces dating back to the 50s, and doing so without offending modern sensibilities. The 1950’s line is the result of those efforts. At 39mm with a lug-to-lug of 44mm, it is a perfectly sized modern dress watch that will work on a number of wrists. Sure, the 1950’s is obviously larger than watches from that era, but the tempered lug-to-lug goes a long way in making the case appear smaller.
The 1950’s is also relatively thin–thanks in part to the movement (more on that later)–and at 9.8mm it’ll slide right under a shirt cuff. It should be noted that a good chunk of the girth comes from the gorgeous domed plexi crystal, and as such the 1950’s looks even thinner than its given dimensions when viewed in profile. The stainless steel case, designed and produced in-house by ICKLER in Pforzheim, features both polished and brushed surfaces, and the crown is signed with the Archimede “A.” The screw down case back is equipped with a mineral crystal viewing window and, as one might expect on a dress watch, the water resistance comes in at 3atm.
But the real standout on the 1950’s is the face. Staying true to watches of that era, both the dial and the hands are gently curved to match the glass. The effect is downright stunning, especially when viewed at an angle. The dial comes in two options: black with white markers and silver hands, and silver with black markers and blued (galvanic) hands. Of the two options, I’m immediately drawn to the black dial–it’s minimalism at its best. And yes, there is a date window, but the application is so well thought out in terms of both placement and color (matching date wheels!) that I simply cannot complain (though I’d certainly welcome a hand-cranker sans date in the future).
And now let’s get to what I’m sure will be a huge point of contention for some–the Miyota 9015. Sure, purists might balk at a German watch sporting a Japanese movement, but to that I say pft. Let’s be frank, the Miyota 9015 is just as good as its Swiss equivalent, and there are a number of good reasons why it is now the go-to movement for countless micros: it’s solid, attainable, and it does a damn good job at doing its job–keeping time. All of my watches equipped with the 9015 have been as good or, dare I say, better than my watches powered by any of the ETA 28XX series of movements. And is a German body with a Swiss heart really that much more palatable? I know I wouldn’t want to pay extra just to get a Swiss-made movement of a similar caliber, so I’m glad Archimede went the Miyota route.
But the other thing to consider is thickness. It’s obvious that Archimede was going for a thinner automatic dress watch, and when it comes to high-beat off-the-shelf automatic movements, the Miyota 9015 is certainly one of the slimmest (3.9mm versus the 4.6mm of a 2824). And though the ETA 2892 (3.6mm) is another option for a thin movement, it also comes with a significant surcharge that would place the 1950’s line in a much more competitive bracket.
So all in all, the 1950’s is a big win for Archimede, and I’m looking forward to the expansion of the line. As of right now, the watch is available with three strap options: brown and black calfskin, and a beautiful milanese mesh band.
To order, head over to the Archimede e-store.