Introducing the MK II Cruxible

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Watches based on WWII mil-spec designs are, it seems, a dime a dozen these days, so what can be done to make such a watch stand out while still conforming to the decidedly unadorned genre? With their new 39-millimeter Cruxible, MK II answers that question with clever execution of stealthy details.

Take, for example, the way the Cruxible’s Super-LumiNova is pretty much invisible by day, while at night the 12, 3, 6 and 9 start to glow along with the hands. Or the black-on-black text on the dial that’s intentionally illegible at most angles, allowing the watch to appear sterile like a true military issued watch, while keeping the branding and water-resistance in place. Or the drilled “scroll lugs,” which MK II claims are based simultaneously on the Patek Phillipe Ref. 1463 and and the CWC G10 field watch. It’s an intriguing and appealing approach to making what would otherwise be a plain-jane watch into one that whispers, rather than yells, a very specific design language.

That language is derived from the legendary American issued A-11 wristwatches, which we covered in depth here at Worn & Wound earlier this year. American companies like Elgin and Bulova produced a majority of the A-11s for the US military during WWII, but MK II has—like most independent brands today—sourced their parts from outside the US.

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The movement is the proven Japanese NE15, an auto-winding mechanical unit with a date complication produced by Seiko. With a hearty 50 hours of power reserve and hacking—a must for synchronized military operations back in the 1940s—this movement is a solid choice for this watch.

The Cruxible is available with a date window at three o’clock or without. Those interested in a more accurate A-11 homage will want the no-date version. However, as date windows on military watches go, this one actually lands right where the ‘3’ would be, rather than too close to the center of the dial—a less than ideal location that spoils the symmetry of more than a few military-style watches (e.g., the IWC MK XVIII).

The case is brushed 316L stainless steel, and while the basic shape is reminiscent of the original A-11, it is, upon closer examination, rather unto itself. And that’s a good thing. Despite the fitting CWC military issue reference, the lugs echoing a Patek Phillipe chronograph is such an unexpected twist here that I can’t help but smile.

MK II emphasized the sharp connections between the various surfaces of the case with directional brushing. This is not a unique approach, but the quality of MKII’s casework sure is. While photos give you a sense of it, the incredibly sharp lines and ultra-clear brushing give their cases an affecting presence that has to be seen in person to fully appreciate it. Effectively, their cases almost glow. MK II tells us that the mid-case is beefed up to hold the oversize screw-down crown, which assures a full 100 meters of water resistance. Up front is a sapphire crystal and around back is a deeply domed screwed-in caseback with a design based on the waterproof version of the A-11.

All told, the Cruxible’s most interesting feature may be the way it nearly hides its most interesting features. At arms length it will be anonymous and appealingly plain. Upon closer inspection, the Cruxible will begin to whisper its little secrets.

The Cruxible ships on a your choice of either gray suede or a black mil-strap. All versions sell for a very reasonable $649. MK II

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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