Hands-On with the Alkin Model One

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Simple, handsome, and modern. In a day of vintage throwbacks and over-the-top complexity, sometimes all you want are those three things—a good watch that is simple, handsome and modern. With the Model One, Alkin have achieved just that, and they’ve done so in an affordable package with a final retail price around $360 (and even less through Kickstarter).

Founded by British designer Charlie Fowler, Alkin seeks to make automatic watches “designed with simplicity, functionality and longevity firmly in mind.” To that end, the Model One mixes a sporty case with bold numerals to create a watch that at once exudes a distinct graphic charm and offers legibility of a pilot’s watch. Coming in at 42 millimeters wide, 50 millimeters lug-to-lug, and 13.25 millimeters thick, the case, which is available in brushed steel or matte black, features angular lugs and an offset crown that adds to its comfort. While the design is not atypical, it is well executed, with sharp lines and solid finishing. The domed sapphire crystal is a nice addition given the price as well.

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$360

Hands-On with the Alkin Model One

Case
PVD Steel
Movement
Seiko NH35A
Dial
Black
Lume
BGW9
Lens
Domed Sapphire
Strap
Leather
Water Resistance
100M
Dimensions
42 x 50mm
Thickness
13.25mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$360

Through the display case-back you’ll find a Seiko NH35A automatic movement. One of the standard workhorses of affordable watches, it features 24-jewels, hacking, hand-winding and a frequency of 21,600 bph. It’s not a heavily decorated movement, just featuring the Alkin logo on the rotor, but its lack of adornment is oddly suited to the understated design of the Model One.

The watch really comes alive through the dial and use of typography. The primary index consists of numerals in applied BGW9 lume, which glow very well. The markers at twelve, three, six, and nine are significantly larger than the rest, bringing aviator and explorer dials to mind. The slight bit of depth created by the appliqués goes a long way to upping the overall look and feel of the watch by adding texture and complexity. Around the edge of the dial is a minute/seconds track with larger applied white rectangles at intervals of five, alternating with thin printed lines. These markers actually stand a bit higher than the numerals, adding yet another layer of depth.

The typeface used is by a contemporary British designer as well, and while not aggressively unique or modern, like say the type on the Slim d’Hermes, it has a unique presence to it. It’s bold and highly legible, yet friendly and approachable. This keeps the watch from heading too far down the sporty/pilot road, keeping it as an everyday casual watch. I am particularly fond of the three numeral, which feels the most distinct of the set.

For hands, Alkin went with straight swords that have been mostly skeletonized. The cut-out area gives the hands a more dynamic look, and tempers how aggressive they might have been had they been complete. They are also coated with BGW9 Super-LumiNova and glow well. The seconds hand is a thin white stick, also lumed.

On the wrist, the Model One wears well, but it is on the large side. The case wears more like an aggressive sport watch than a casual watch, though the overall look leans more toward the latter. The matte PVD finish does help the watch appear a bit smaller and the four o’clock crown really does help with comfort. While I’d personally love to see it in 39 or 40 millimeter case, 42 isn’t too big either. It’s definitely masculine, and pairs well with the types of clothing I typically wear, especially in the winter.

The Model One is a solid inaugural watch from the young British brand. The dial in particular is very successful, mixing carefully chosen type with good proportions and a surprising use of texture. The potency of the lume was also great to see on a first watch, especially a non-diver. The case might be a bit large for me personally, but just as smaller watches become more common, a vacuum for larger watches is created so I’m sure plenty of people will be thrilled by the size. Case in point, the Model One surpassed its Kickstarter goal in under a week.

With a price tag under $300 while available through Kickstarter, the Alkin Model One is a very tempting, affordable, and fun everyday watch. As said, it’s just simple, handsome, and modern in a way that doesn’t require much questioning. It’s a watch that you can just put on and enjoy. Kickstarter Campaign

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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