I have been interested in what moVas have been creating since I first came across them a few years back.  They’ve had a variety of interesting designs, though most have been along the same sort of military / dive-inspired sorts of watches (with a few wilder forays in their Exotica lineup).  Their latest watch, the moVas Empire 1, takes things in a distinctly more architectural direction.

In fact, this is a literal thing, as the brand states the design for the watch is pulled from the HSCB building in Hong Kong.  I’ll leave it to those more familiar with the building to call out whether or not the interpretation rings true.  For me, I’m just digging on the look.

First off, let’s talk about the 37mm titanium case.  With a 40mm lug-to-lug dimension, this is a tidily compact watch.  Past that, this case is so unlike anything that has come from moVas (at least to my memory), I just plain like it.  You’ve got a simple silhouette that is spiced up with some curves and machining, and then you of course have those mechanical fasteners right up front as well (which also, btw, seem like a nightmare for a neatnik to keep clean).

So, this is a very compact watch (under 8mm thick) so one might wonder what movement makes it all possible.  Well, given that moVas stands for “Movements of Asia”, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a Seagull movement ticking away, the caliber 2661.  All the specs for the movement are listed below.  I’ve not experienced this particular movement, so I can’t speak as to reliability on it.

On the dial side, you’ve got things that are transparent and slightly skeletonize, which makes for an interesting look.  I’m a fan of when numerals look to float a bit, and that is definitely going on here.  I’m less a fan of seeing all the dates on a date wheel, but such is life. At least it’s made up for with a lumed outline on the date window, no?

At a pre-order price of $2,300, the moVas Empire 1 is certainly not an impulse buy.  If you do pick up one of the (50) examples being created, though, you’ll have a unique look that none of your buddies are going to have.  And hey, with that titanium and sapphire, this is a tough, lightweight watch that will hold up to whatever you can throw at it.  movaswatches.com

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: moVas Empire 1
  • Price: $2,300 (pre-order) / $2,550 (MSRP)
  • Who we think it might be for:  You want something different from the norm, but have not dug the squared-circle aesthetic moVas has espoused in the past (though, it shows up in that crown a bit)
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? Tough call – I like the look, but the transparent dial might end up in the “dislike” column after some time with it
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be:  Perhaps a much less translucent (or even solid) dial option?
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch:  It’s got to be that case.

Tech Specs from moVas

  • Case: Grade 2 Aeronautical Grade titanium with multi- finishing (tri-toned), shot peened midcase, brushed and polished top and bottom plate. Case is 37mm across excluding crown, 42mm with crown. 40mm lug hole- lug hole. 7.8mm height.
  • Caseback: Exhibition caseback in Grade 2 Aeronautical Grade titanium and 1mm thick colourless sapphire with deep etching, shot peened recessed surface and polished raised numerals/ characters. Numbered 01-50.
  • Crown: Screw-down crown to set time and day/ date in polished and blasted black zirconium. First click to set date (anti-clockwise). Second click to set time.
  • Glass: 1mm thick double domed american sourced scratch resistant colourless sapphire. Single Anti Reflective coating applied internally. 1mm thick flat american sourced scratch resistant colourless sapphire for caseback.
  • Movement: Produced by Tianjin Seagull Watch Co. Ltd. Caliber 2661. 26 Jewels, beating at 28800bph, 45H Power Reserve,  featuring customised skeleton date disc at 6H. Customised skeleton rotor in deep blasted and black PVD and signed in gold filled etching. Main plates perlaged and rhodium plating. Antishock protection system on balance wheel. Hackable.
  • Dial: Skeleton embossed  in semi-gloss matt black, Gloss black rounded square motif rehaut with C1 white printed lume.
  • Hands: Faceted 3 sided Brass hands plated silver, polished sides and brushed centre with C3 Superluminova lume.
  • Strap/ Bracelet:  Genuine lizard strap in black and grey stitching. Double sided  and dark grey/ black nitrite rubber strap. Watch accepts 24mm wide straps.
  • Buckle:  moVas Super Buckle in full titanium, brushed/ polished and blasted etching. Deep engraved logo on top.
  • Water Resistance: 10atm.
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours, fully wound.
  • Warranty: 2 year.

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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