Earlier this year Manchester Watch Works wrapped up a successful funding campaign on their Tatoskok dive watch, a retro-inspired divers watch based on the popular Miyota 9015 movement. For a watch priced below $260 (during funding) they manged to provide a strong features list: sapphire crystal, 120 click bezel, 200M water resistance and drilled lugs. Manchester seems to be refining and learning from the process as they go with their first project canceled and the second unsuccessful having not reached its funding goal. The Tatoskok was their third go at it and now they are back for their fourth campaign with The Armada.
Manchester again is going with the divers style for this release. Rather than aiming for a retro style they have attempted to blend style elements from old and new. There are some familiar looking areas to the watch but it does not stand out as a straight homage to any one watch. They have again kept the price low (under $250 USD) and managed to provide some good specs: 41mm 316L case, 200M water resistance, AR coated Sapphire crystal and a screw down crown.
The dial of the Armada has a layered look that really makes it pop. It gives an extra level of interest and depth to the look of the watch. The markers on the dial are either rectangles or dots, depending on your choice and comes in black only with either matching black bezel or a blue bezel. The dial printing is simple and not cluttered or distracting. As a nice touch there is an extra bit of color on the crown: a red ring near the case for the black dial and blue matching the dial on that model. The hands are simple stick hands but look good on the watch, but one wonders if they should have been a little thicker to improve legibility, especially if the watch were actually used for diving. The watch will be available on a black leather strap or a steel h-link bracelet depending on which pledge level is chosen.
What the brand is really hoping will sells this watch is the movement. Rather than going for a Miyota 9015 or 8215, or even the Seiko NH35 Manchester is instead going quartz. Fear not however as rather than a cheap battery powered quartz movement they are going solar, using the Seiko VS37 solar powered movement. Manchester claims that if the funding is successful they will be the “first micro brand solar powered watch”. Whether or not that is true it is still nice to see a brand trying something different. The great thing about solar powered movements is the longevity of the charge; they make great grab-and-go pieces. The Armada could be put in a drawer for the winter and come out in spring and still be ticking and ready to go.
Overall the Armada is a slick looking watch with some pretty nice perks for its low price. The brand has an established success in the Tatoskok and seems to have learned from their previous campaigns. The funding campaign ends Friday, July 3rd, 2015 and still has a bit of a ways to go. If you are interested head over to their Kickstarter campaign page and pick one up for as low as $187 USD on the strap or $224 on the bracelet. You can also see the brand on their Facebook page for more info as well.