It was literally only a few weeks ago that we showed you the first project by Klokers, the Klok-01. The design really struck us and the public at large, being one of the more unique pieces to come out in some time, with the project reaching its Kickstarter goal in 8 minutes! If that’s not proof that they did something right, not sure what is. The project continued to rake in the money, now with over $500k in support… Well, what we didn’t know was that right on the heels of the Klok-01 they’d be releasing a watch that both in terms of function and design might be the coolest quartz watches on the market today; the Klok-02. Using the Soprod SOP 813 mechatronic movement, they created a jump-hour world timer with retrograde hands that’s not to be missed. The Klok-02 is built on the same platform as the first watch, bearing a familial similarity, but offering a different overall look. The case has the same lugless, 43mm design that utilizes their proprietary push-button strap/accessories tech. A detail that starts to make more sense once you see that they are coming out with a family of watches, letting you hot swap between various watch “heads” with ease. The differences are immediately clear though, with the big domed crystal being split in half, showing a layered dial on one side, and a mysterious textured black surface on the other. Starting with the top, looking into the dial, you are met with two layers and retrograde indexes. The top layer is used to hide the hands, giving a floating effect, while also presenting the brand name and a simple minute index. Beneath that is an arcing index with numerals at intervals of five, and a hand with a circular tip to indicate the minute. Above that is a retrograde seconds index on a white surface, indicating the second with simple hash marks and an arrow pointer. There are a few things I really like about the design here. First is the simplicity of it. Like the Klok-01, there is something technical about the aesthetic, reminding one of meters and measuring tools; a clean precision. Second is the use of gray/silver and white, giving a very neutral but still attractive palette. The last is simply the use of retrograde hands, which create a different sense of motion than 360 degree hands. The use of two different arcs also create a cool relationship between the seconds and minutes, as they wont line up in typical fashion. The real magic, however, lies in the shrouded area below. Here you find a keyhole shaped aperture showing a double-disk numeral in a hole, like a big-date, as well as a slot with an abbreviated word. At a glance this might seem to be a day-date, but in fact it’s a jump-hour with a city code. By pushing the button off of what would be 4 o’clock, one can jump the hour ahead and change the city, thus traversing timezones effectively creating a worldtimer. Well of sorts, just in that a typical world timer shows home-time as well as a second time, with the ability to jump to other timezones. That said, what Klokers created here is a far simpler to understand, and frankly more attractive, traveling jump-hour watch. The use of a textured composite material here adds so much character to the watch. It looks modern, but through a vintage lens, like a sci-fi device from a 60’s comic book. The texture and keyhole shape also immediately bring to mind vintage cameras, another mechanical favorite most watch enthusiasts can agree on. The fact that the texture is on the surface literally gives the watch a tactile quality, which is not something you typically see especially on a crystal, making you not just want to wear the watch, but handle it. The movement that makes this possible is the Soprod SOP 813, which is a fully customizable movement with multiple bi-directional motors. By customizable, what I mean is that the functions of the movement are essentially programmed per the brand’s desires. So, here it’s a world timing jump hour, tailored to Klokers specs. A couple of years ago, Victorinox used the same or a similar movement to create a chronograph that converted from a 3-hand watch with big date to a chrono with 1/100th seconds counter where the big-date was. In yet another example, Gavox used a different movement in the series to create the massively functional Aurora. To say this is the future of quartz might be bold, but I happen to think it’s reality. If there is one major benefit to quartz over mechanical (besides accuracy) it’s that complex functions can be built in without creating watches that cost an arm and a leg. In the case of the Klok-02, they designed a watch that probably could be made as a bespoke mechanical piece by a haute brand… but it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy, so only a few would be able to enjoy it. The most similar watch is the Nomos Weltzeit, having a push button world timer but no retrograde, which while obtainable in the scheme of the watch industry is still is north of $5k. The Klok-02 has a more modest price of 985 euros or about $1,120. While more than your typical quartz, the value is clear, and I honestly think watches with these movements have created a sort of “luxury quartz” space where a larger price tag is appropriate. With the Klok-01, Klokers demonstrated they had a different vision for a watch brand and some real design and engineering chops. With the Klok-02, they confirmed this notion and went even further to illustrate that this isn’t a one off project. This is a real brand with some real players behind it that is clearly going to be worth keeping an eye on.
The Klok-2 is available for pre-order via Klokers still running Kickstarter campaign for the next 17 days. Through the campaign, one can be purchased for 499 euros or about $567, which is nearly a 50% discount.