Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wrapping it Up - 15 Days with the Arcadia Contemporary

So the referee has blown the final whistle - it is time to wrap-up my 15 (now 15 PLUS) days with the Arcadia Contemporary AC01-V2 Steel and Yellow.

Courtesy of Arcadia
More than anything else, I would have to say the finish of the case is second to none.  Obviously a lot of this is thanks to the Bunter SA connection - a key figure in Arcadia is one of the principle owners Claude Sanz - also the owner of Bunter SA.  For those who don't know, Bunter is at the forefront of case manufacturing - specializing in the gem setting of watch cases.

The case is unapologetically modern.  In fairness, there are more than a few "squared" cases out there, but this case is DIFFERENT!

First and foremost, there is a great sense of balance.  Owing to the size of the case, Arcadia has been able to actually provide a decent sized dial.  This dial doubles as a wonderful pallet for the designers - and they have taken advantage of that space by providing four clearly legible displays to complement the standard hours, minutes and seconds.  The center hand provides the "stop watch" function as you might expect.  But the additional counters are ones that I have truly come to appreciate over the past few weeks.  The "constant" or 60 second counter is at 3 o'clock, and runs non-stop as it should.  It is the "standard" second hand.  At 6 o'clock is a twelve hour counter.  And I have to say I LOVE THIS FEATURE!  Think about it this way, you will often be in situations where you actually want to time something longer than 30 minutes or an hour.  And the use of  3 numbers with indices between is perfect - it offers the feature without jamming a 12 number scale into too small a space.  But rest assured, you still have a 30 minute counter at 9 o'clock.  And then at 12 o'clock you have an adjustable (via the small opening on the left-hand side of the case) second time zone.
You will also notice the raised detail on the case side.  This is titanium added to create an almost art deco effect - which totally balances with the chronograph push pieces on the crown side  -
Although they look like simple decoration - they are in fact, sturdy, solid and PERFECTLY functioning push-pieces!  They are wonderful to look at, tactile to the touch, and they work flawlessly!

And if you have a look at the lugs, you will see that they are wonderfully conceived and executed in wonderful detail - but they also serve to articulate - to move with the strap!  The details in the lug work along with the four securing screws on the top of the case almost give this watch a "steam-punk" feel - in a really good way!

These lugs were a revelation - even better than Hanhart's with the Primus series (which were very, very good!), and they are complemented by a strap and clasp that are beyond reproach.
The strap is crocodile - but there are straps, and then there ARE STRAPS!  This one is the latter.  This image is actually from the UNDERSIDE of the strap - and for me, this serves to underscore the point.  Look at the attention to detail - the stitching is yellow ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  With Arcadia, you can see that the attention to detail.  The strap is thick, and wonderfully finished.  Beauty is more than skin deep - and proof positive that the concern is that the watch is perfectly finished even where you can't see it.  And isn't that the real test - how you act when nobody's looking?  This is a very honest, very well finished watch.
The clasp is a beautifully solid - the buttons work flawlessly, the clasp is secure.  And honestly - it is just really great!

The movement was flawless - the deviation averaged 5 seconds per day, and as with every chronograph I test, we had the cooking test -
Steaks, both medium and medium rare - and chips.  5 minutes for medium rare, 7.45 minutes for medium.

One of the best things about Arcadia - is that in many ways they are a re-born company.  Yes, there is great history to Arcadia - but not unlike Blancpain who were awakened by Mr. Biver, I can't help but sense that Arcadia is on the verge of something very big.

So for those of you who like the specs - here you are:


AC01-V2 Steel and Yellow
  • Material: TITANIUM/STEEL 316L
  • Dimensions: 42.00 x 40.00 x 14.60 mm
  • Bezel & case-back: Sapphire crystal
  • Strap: Porosus crocodile
  • Clasp: folding, with security
  • Movement: Dubois D├ępraz module (base ETA 2892-A2)
Functions
  • Time Display: center hours & minutes hands, small seconds hand at 3 o'clock
  • Chronograph: center seconds hand, 30-minutes counter at 9 o'clock, 12-hours counter at 6 o'clock
  • Date at 6 o'clock
  • Time zone: 24-hours index at 12 o'clock
    • Winding: automatic, two-way
    • Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
    • Power-Reserve: 40-44 hours
    • Case Diameter: 26.20 mm
    • Thickness: 6.80 mm
    • 1 pusher: GMT time-zone setting
    • 55 jewels (21+34)
Currently, Arcadia can be purchased at retail partners in Switzerland and the UK - but judging from the number of emails I've received regarding the Arcadia Contemporary - you may well be seeing them in North America and beyond in the coming months.

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