Younger brands can have a tough time attempting to carve out their own identity in a crowded marketplace. But Scotland’s anOrdain very quickly established themselves as connoisseurs of enamel, with the first batch of their debut model selling out quickly. The Model 1, launched in 2018, was a modern take on the field watch with the deep and rich enamel dial being the undoubted star of the show (check out our review of the Model 1 here). The Model 2 Fumé, which features a new case design, doubles down on that with the introduction of what anOrdain describe as the first fumé dial using enamel.
Hands-On: anOrdain Model 2 Fumé
The distinctive fumé dial of the Model 2 came about, in part, by chance. When anOrdain’s enamellers were experimenting with enamelling onto a silver base instead of brass, they found that the firing had caused the silver to warp slightly. When sanded down, that warp created a more translucent color at the center of the dial than towards the perimeter, a visual effect which is referred to as fumé in many other watches. Seeing such a stunning effect, the enamel team set about experimenting and refining the process to “consistently” recreate it (I write “consistently” because due to the nature of this enameling process, no two dials will ever be exactly the same).
Not content with only a fumé effect, anOrdain has coupled it with a variety of eye catching colors. None of them are particularly subtle, including the green seen here. Other colors include purple and smoked orange. Each variant is likely to behave differently, but the green model drifts from vivid emerald to something much darker depending on light, and inevitably my mind wanders to the Glashütte Original Vintage Sixties as a watch that gives off a similar vibe.
If you know anOrdain’s first model, then the hands and indices of the Model 2 will feel familiar. anOrdain list a typographer as part of their small staff, and although the original inspiration for the brand’s typefaces came from Ordinance Survey maps (the UK’s national mapping agency), the hollow hour indices printed on the Model 2 dial take on an Art Deco look. The tips of the intricate hour and minute hands are lumed, though this is a very small area and nothing else on the dial has any lume to act as a reference point. Although the hands and numerals are borrowed directly from the Model 1, they do feel perfectly at home here on a much more ornamented dial.
The movement inside the watch is the Sellita SW210-1. This is a manual wind caliber almost identical in construction to the ETA 2801-2, giving 42 hours of power reserve and beating at 28,800 bph. Those beats per hour, however, aren’t noticeable as there is no seconds hand — something I really haven’t noticed the absence of. You also won’t be able to observe the oscillation of the balance wheel through the rear either as this model features a fairly plain stainless steel case back. One benefit a handwind movement often has over an automatic counterpart is the thinness that can be achieved. However, the Model 2 comes in at 11m thick. I appreciate that part of that is necessary due to the enamel dial, and part will be a deliberate choice of case profile, but part of me is left wondering whether a couple of millimeters could have been shaved off somewhere.
Despite being enamoured by the dial at first sight, I find the case is interesting enough to keep that flame burning. The stainless steel case is completely brushed and in silhouette even reminds me of the Monnin cases once used by Heuer et al. in the late 1970s and ‘80s. That’s an interesting characteristic for a watch with a 36mm diameter to inherit. In addition to the integrated and sweeping crown guard at 3:00, I really like the slightly concealed bulge that protrudes from the 9:00 side of the case. Viewing the dial straight on you wouldn’t notice this at all, but the case walls spanning from the top lug to the bottom are then distended by the circular mid-case in a strange and organic way.
I can’t pretend the watch looks larger on the wrist than its specs would suggest, but the attributes above give the Model 2 a sense of beefiness or solidity I wasn’t necessarily expecting. It feels neither as light nor as slim as I would expect a 36mm hand-winder to be, but that’s no bad thing.
In addition to five different dial colors, anOrdain let you choose between eight strap options including shell cordovan, suede, or Milanese mesh. The black cordovan is a good enough pairing in this case as matching or complementing the punchy dial may be a tough task. I often find that cordovan straps can take a little time to wear in and give a good fit on the wrist, but once they do and regular usage also takes off a little of the gloss, I generally prefer to keep the straps on the watch because cordovan only gets better with wear. That said, the strap is fitted with quick-release spring bars to assist in swapping out straps should you want to, and it helps avoid damaging the brushed finish of the lugs.
Priced at £1,500 excluding VAT (a bit under $2,00o for those of us in the States), the fumé dial represents a significant price increase over the “standard” Model 2. But the skills involved, the amount of experimentation needed, and the incredible end result are all valid contributors to that number. I struggle to think of another watch with a dial that comes close to being as special as this, especially under $2,000. Now, I don’t know if I could personally pull off the bold green dial day-in, day-out, but one of the other dial colors might be more my pace. Nevertheless, if the aesthetic speaks to you, then the Model 2 is a very serious contender. anOrdain