Introducing The Arctic Tool Watch, From Tool Watch Co.

The Arctic is the first watch to bear the unusually succinct name Tool Watch Co. and it’s hoping to leave an impression on, well, tool watch enthusiasts, for it’s novel take on the genre set to launch on November the 2nd. The watch has a handful of unique traits that, for better or worse, do in fact make an impression, and while much of the watch will likely fall into the ‘love it or hate it’ with little room in between, there are simply too many great options already available to not come out swinging. 

And come out swinging, Tool Watch Co. has with the Arctic, or Årctic, according to the dial, or it might also be the Årctic Explorer, which also appears on the dial. Whatever it’s called, it’s an ambitious undertaking, sporting a titanium case, a natural meteorite dial, and a running seconds hand modeled after an Arctic hunting tool, all for under $1,000. But is it a little too ambitious for its own good? Maybe.

Advertisement
$800

Introducing The Arctic Tool Watch, From Tool Watch Co.

Case
Titanium
Movement
Sellita SW200
Dial
Natural Meteorite
Lume
BWG9 Super Luminova
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Saffiano tanned leather
Water Resistance
20 ATM
Dimensions
38×46.3mm
Thickness
11.4mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw Down
Warranty
Price
$800

The Tool Watch Co. website refers to this watch as the Arctic, so that’s what we’ll go with here. It is a 38mm field watch sporting a fully brushed titanium case that appears and indeed feels a bit raw, a bit like it was just stamped from the billet and sent to the watchmaker to receive a movement. There’s a skin-diver-esque quality to the shape, which works well here, but a wide flat bezel looks like it’s ready and waiting for a rotating assembly and insert. Furthering the dive watch vibes are the circular hour plots on the dial, but more on those later. 

The case measures 46mm from lug to lug and just 11mm in total thickness, which includes a box sapphire crystal. Overall, pretty great dimensions and it feels it on the wrist. The rawness of the case will appeal to fans of no nonsense tool watches, but there is a polished vertical wall at the edge of the bezel that’s not all that noticeable at most angles, telling me the look and feel of the case as-is was the intent here. 

The likeness of a polar bear is laser etched onto the caseback, meant to symbolize the “harsh environment and enduring spirit of the Arctic”. A theme that is reiterated on the underside of the strap, which is pressed with “A tool watch inspired by lesser-known adventurers.” If you haven’t caught on, this watch is a bit on the nose with its toolish aspiration. From the above inscription, to the presentation of the case, to the word ‘explorer’ appearing on the dial, and to the literal name of the brand: Tool Watch Co. All of which leave little doubt as to the sporting nature of the watch. This is a tool watch. Ready for adventure.

The dial of the Arctic is made of natural meteorite, meaning each will be unique in appearance. The example I have in front of me looks like a frozen landscape, or the surface of Europa from afar, with pronounced ridges crossing paths throughout. This dial has been colored a cool dark blue, and taken together, it dampens the printing of the brand and verbiage below. The bottom half of the dial receives the brand name, Tool Watch Co, and the word ‘explorer’, as well as the movement inside, a Sellita SW200, an inclusion so odd that backers of the watch asked for it to be removed, and to Tool Watch Co.’s credit, they listened, and it will be removed from final production models. 

The hour markers as observed on this prototype present the biggest challenge for the Arctic, in my view. The circular lume plots are sized small enough to be sandwiched between the minute hashes right at the dial’s edge. This results in a lot of tension around the perimeter of the dial, not to mention they get caught in the distortion of the crystal if viewed from an angle. In my experience, this compromised the legibility to a noticeable degree, however it does provide the unique texture of the meteorite its own space for greater impact (sorry) visually. 

The hand set here is also unique, with a long wide hour hand joining an arrow-tipped minute hand in light blue. However, it’s the seconds hand that is the focal point here thanks to three small spikes hanging from the trailing edge. This is meant to evoke Arctic hunting tools of the past, and looks a bit like some captain Ahab would have had at the ready.

In true field tool watch fashion there is no date window in sight, and everything is perfectly symmetrical, save for the scattered pattern of the dial. The net result is a watch that feels a bit less practical than it’s been billed as, but the quirks here may amount to enough personality to fall on the charming end of the tool watch spectrum, rather than the no-nonsense work horse end. 

In my view, the Arctic is a few tweaks away from being a great tool watch, but the seeds of something interesting are certainly there. In addition to the blue dial seen here, which will cost $800, black and white options are also available, though the white dial is limited to just 10 examples and will be priced at $3,000. The black dial option will cost $1,000. 

Learn more about the Tool Watch Co. vision from their website right here, which includes thoughtful sections of their purpose and sustainability practices with each watch. Tool Watch Co.

Images from this post:
Related Reviews
Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent the past decade covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seikos to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for classic cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.
Categories: