Typically, when a watch arrives, I know exactly what to expect. I open the USPS, FEDEX, UPS, etc… package open and find, as advertised on a website or press release, the watch I am to review or examine. Well, the Aevig Valkyr was a watch I had only seen in a few quick shots on instagram, but knowing the brand and liking what I saw, I was eager for them to arrive. Well, when I opened the box, I am pretty certain I let out an audible gasp of delight as the two watches inside were just so cool.
They were what I expected and a lot more. It’s not that they are perfect in every way, not at all. They just were so fun and different, with a look that was immediately appealing. I strapped on one and it clicked. The funky case design, with it’s 70’s inspired lines, the use of muted colors and the sporty dial just hit some spot I’m not even sure I knew I had. And I think it all just comes down to a sense of style. These just resonated with who I am and the things I like.
But, we’re not all like me (good riddance), so for the rest of you, the Aevig Valkyr offers a different, playful spin on the vintage styled watch. It speaks to the past, but very much is a unique Aevig design, like the Corvid and Huldra we’ve looked at before. And like those watches, the Valkyr is also good value, featuring a Miyota 9015, ceramic bezel and non-stock parts, yet coming in at around $440 (w/o VAT). The Valkyrs are currently available for pre-order, shipping in April of 2015.
Aevig Valkyr Review
Case: Steel or Bronze
Water Res.: 100m
Dimensions: 39 x 47mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 5.5 x 3 mm
The blunt, blocky case of the Valkyr steals the spotlight. Available in steel or bronze, it measures 39 x 47.6 x 14mm making it small/medium, but chunky. The design is unique and quirky, playing off of 70’s barrel cases, but with sharp and brutal geometry. The result though is a lot of fun. It reminds me of the VW thing, which by correctly mixing cute an ugly ended up with a lot of charm. That’s not to say this watch is cute (don’t worry guys, it’s masculine) or ugly, it’s just kind of odd, but in a way that works.
Looking at it from above, it’s basically a slab-barrel, with a flat top and side, and lugs made by cutting the shape at a steep angle. From the side you can see that the lugs protrude just past the bottom of the case, allowing them to wrap around your wrist more naturally. The side, especially on the steel, also shows off the subtle play in finishing. Tempering the harsh geometry are polished bevels on the outer edges, which contrast the brushed sides and top. Though it’s not super fancy, it’s a nice touch that does add to the overall look and feel.
Another very cool and unique feature of the Valkyr is the use of a colored ceramic bezel insert. This simple and genius move adds an unexpected accent to the watch as a whole. The inserts are then well tuned complimentary colors that play off of the dials, the case material and the straps. In the instances of the samples/prototypes, they went with a beautiful dran olive green on the bronze and an inky blue on the steel. The effect is different from a dial color or a color on a dive bezel, as it’s flat and exposed, perhaps making it more present. I love this conceptually as this basic module can be used to create a lot of interesting combos.
The sapphire on the Valkyr is worthy of note as well. It’s a tall double dome crystal with
wide beveled edge. This gives it a bit of a box acrylic look. Honestly, you don’t often see such sculpted crystals on watches in this price range, and it definitely adds to perceived value.
On the right side is a 5.5 x 3mm screw-down crown, aiding in the 100m water resistance. The design of the crown is nothing special unto itself. It’s long, but narrow with grooved sides. What’s cool about it is that the Aevig “aperture” logo on the side has been filled in with dark red paint, almost giving it the look of a wax seal. Flipping the watch over, you have a very simple screw-down case-back with an etching of a more elaborate version of their logo.
The use of steel and bronze in two models is a nice idea. Both work perfectly with the design, getting across a sporty and somewhat rugged feel, but in different ways. The steel is cleaner and shows off the finishing more. The bronze, is warmer and softer looking. The patina makes it look older, which works with the overall design. I also always like it when I see bronze out of a dive context.
The Aevig Valkyr’s dial has a simple throw-back design that once again uses color to create some personality. There is a main surface with one color, which changes depending on the version selected. On top of that is a primary hour index of applied markers with thin strips of BGW9 lume running down their centers. The applied markers immediately give a feeling of vintage sports watches. These markers come in either a rose gold or polished steel finish, depending on the case material.
Around the central surface is a white chapter ring with an index of outlined squares and thin lines in black. This ring is the same on all of the dials. It adds a sporty feeling to the dial, balancing out potentially dressy overtones from the applied markers. It also creates a nice visual break between the colored bezel and darker central surface. I was expecting the squares to be lume filled, which they are not. Slight disappointment, but hardly a deal breaker.
On the dial, just under 12 is an applied Aevig “aperture” logo that like the crown is filled in with a dark red, under which “AEVIG” is written out. Just above 6 it reads “automatic” in white, lower-case letters and just below that, in bright yellow it reads “valkyr” also in lower case. The bright yellow is a nice shock of color as all of the others colors are very muted and on the dark side.
The hour and minute hands have a thin sword design with a slight crease down their centers, creating a 3-dimensional effect. They are either in rose gold or steel, as per the markers, and both filled with a diamond-shaped area of BGW9 lume. They are a nice mix of elegant and sporty. The second hand feels straight off of a vintage watch, with a deep, dull red color that looks great.
The version we had were the bronze case with black dial and olive bezel, and steel case with light brown dial and blue bezel. The combos are interesting and work very well together. The black dial makes the rose gold markers jump out, while the olive green accentuates the bronze case, bringing out the patina. The brown on the steel model is a pale and almost faded, for a softer, more vintage look. The dark blue bezel looks great with brown and the steel of the case. I like the pale color perhaps a bit more than the stark black, which might feel a bit too modern. A more charcoal tone might have been a happy medium.
Straps and Wearability
The Valkyrs come mounted on 20mm big-hole rally straps. They are thickly padded, and have a tapering design. The steel model came on a black strap while the bronze was on a brown, though both would have worked on either. The rally strap is an interesting choice and perhaps the most glaring shout-out to sport watches in the design. They are pretty aggressive in nature, while the watch, despite its angular geometry, is fairly casual. That said, the looked cool, but so would just about any leather strap, or perhaps a NATO, or a tropical rubber… take your pick.
The Valkyr wears unexpectedly well. From the looks, I though it might be a bit unwieldy, but in actuality, it fits perfectly and is comfortable. The 39mm case is big enough to have a strong appearance, perhaps seeming larger due to the case design, but small enough to sit properly. The lug-to-lug is totally within bounds and the height adds some mass back into it. It’s one of those watches you can put on and forget you’re wearing it, in a good way.
That said, the design stands out, so the watch has a lot of presence. The design is a lot of fun and different enough from other things to really stand out, while not itself being loud. It’s definitely a casual watch, but it’s not lacking in refinement either. You can dress it up or down depending on the strap, and while I wouldn’t wear it to a wedding, I think you could pull it off with a suit if you have the right personality and accessories. But for my typical day-to-day get-up of jeans, casual button downs and leather boots or shoes, it fit right in, in either color. Whats really great about the concept is that all of the different colors and tones can be played off of, and they each supply a nice wide palette, so they go with just about everything.
Stop what you’re doing and go buy this watch!!! Just kidding, but I really do like the hell out of Aevig Valkyr. It’s one of the more interesting takes on a retro watch I’ve seen in sometime, having a ton of personality and a lot of style too. While the design might not call out to everyone, nor should it really, for those who, like me, enjoy things that are a bit eccentric, but not loud or garish, it’s a great watch to wear.
Coming in around $440 (without VAT) with a Miyota 9015, ceramic bezel, completely unique design and case components and a gorgeous crystal, it’s also a good value and probably as inexpensive as it could be. Considering it’s great looking, original and versatile (something I think is very important for practical reasons) it seems like a sure thing. The only downside I can see is that the watch wont be out until April of 2015, but they can be pre-ordered now. Regardless, another cool watch from this young brand, confirming they are one to keep an eye on.