Mokume-gane is a traditional Japanese metalworking technique where different metals are fused together in order to create a billet with a layered look, which is then worked into whatever shape is needed. This 17th Century technique was developed for ornate Samurai swords that were decorative status symbols. Now, this layered look is being used as a watch case in the H2O Kalmar 2 Mokume Gane Watches, available for pre-order on their web site.I have looked at a few H2O watches here on the site, though I have not had the chance to check one out first hand. It is pretty safe to say that I like what the brand is doing. Sure, a lot of their divers are over-buit (6,000 meters anyone?), but in general they are bold looking divers with a solid reputation from what I have seen elsewhere on the web. The line-up of watches using this case is impressive, with 24 separate options available. You can get a hard core traditional diver, like the 6,000m rated WT6 (above), or the more understated B18M3 (below), with a simple V-cut bezel and a mere 3,000 meters depth rating, or something in between.
Regardless of the options, all the watches feature sapphire crystals (ranging from flat to double domed), screw down case backs, unidirectional bezels, lots of lume, and Swiss ETA 2824 movements. The case material itself is a sandwich construction of 316L stainless steel and bronze, 42.5mm in diameter. You can get the bezel in metal or with a black ceramic insert. All the watches come on a leather strap with a buckle of the same Mokune gene metal construction.
These watches are certainly coming in at a premium for the typical H2O watch, with pre-orders on all the H2O Kalmar 2 Mokume Gane Watches at $2,499 excluding VAT (versus a more typical pre-order price of under $1,000 for the brand). The list price is $4,759 (but this does include VAT), so the pre-order is definitely worth taking advantage of. There has been a pretty rapid democratization of some formerly exclusive watch materials, with ceramic bezels, and carbon fiber cases getting down to the sub-$1,000 price range, but I don’t see this material getting that low for a while. So if you want to get something unique in a tool watch, this may be your ticket. h2o-watch.com
- Brand & Model: H2O Kalmar 2 Mokume Gane Watches
- Price: $2,499, pre-order, excluding VAT
- Who we think it might be for: You want a really distinctive case material
- Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes!
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Color matching the date wheel (or removing it).
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The blue dial immediately drew my attention.
Tech Specs from H2O Watches:
- Movement: ETA 2824
- Functions: Three hander with 120 click locking unidirectional bezel and date
- Case: 316L stainless steel and bronze Mokume gane construction
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal
- Water resistance: 3,000 to 6,000 meters
- Lug width: Not specified
- Straps: Leather strap with Mokume gane buckle
- Diameter: 42.5
- Thickness: 15.8 to 19.3mm