Hey, guys and gals, ready to hear about another new watch brand that’s starting up? Wait, wait, don’t run away. What if I told you it was all American-made (not just built in the States)? Ok, ok, well, how about if it managed to recycle not just old pocket watch movements (that’s how you can get an American-made movement), but also the material used for the case? Well, then, hopefully we have your interest, as the new Arcane Watches look to be interesting.


Recycling old pocket watch movements seems to be the hot thing these days, as there are several brands doing it, as we have covered here in the past (see Vortic and R. Paige). Frankly, this is something I applaud. The old movements – whether from a pocket watch or just a vintage wrist watch – are not only visually stunning, they’ll still work quite well. Yes, they do require some more love and care, and you will be resetting them regularly to keep truly accurate. But hey, that’s part of the charm, along with manually winding it up each day.


For Arcane Watches, recycling just the movement was not enough. No, founder Sam Mostad also decided to make the case out of a recycled material – in this instance, it’s actually titanium that is recycled from old aircraft. While the source is interesting, as is the re-use, I rather like this material showing up. Not only does it impart the strength, but we also get the weight savings, which is a big benefit, as watches built around pocket watch movements tend to be bigger, which means heavier if the case is steel.


As one might expect from a brand building watches of this sort, Arcane Watches is also intending to offer some level of customization. Details are a bit sparse on this (the official launch party is not until July 16th in Bellevue, WA), but it appears that dial colors are definitely on the table. Frankly, I like the base look they have going here. For the dial, it honoring the vintage look with the numerals and such, but it takes things in a modern direction, with the almost flat look that we see in digital user interfaces today. The handset looks to be perfectly sized, and I even like the somewhat-quirky placement of the crown, as it still calls to mind the pocket watch roots.


I find the lugs on the Arcane Watch a bit interesting as well. This sort of flat-faced lug is not normally something I’m drawn to, as it can feel a bit boring. But what I focused in on is how it’s mounted on to the case. With the use of fasteners, this means that new lug designs could be designed in the future, impacting future iterations (Mostad is planning for three more generations of watches), as well as perhaps allowing current owners (once the watches are released) to alter that part of the appearance as well.


At this time, we do not have any idea about the pricing of the Arcane Watches, but I would presume that it would be inline to what we have seen from R. Paige and Vortic, as it is the similar sort of idea. Though, prices might be a bit higher due to the titanium cases. Once we have that information, we’ll be sure to share it out, as well as any other details around the customization. For now, I’ll put myself as intrigued by what Arcane Watches is offering, and if we can finangle a loaner in for review, we will of course do that and let you know our first-hand impressions. In the meantime, feel free to sound off on what you think about modern watches that feature vintage movements.


Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Arcane Watches Gen 1
  • Price: Starting at $3,700
  • Who we think it might be for: You like seeing old movements get new life, but had hoped for something lighter than the current crop of steel-cased watches
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: The look is interesting, for sure. Details are a bit too sparse at this point for me to make this call, though
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: An option for owners to have a “sterile” case – or smaller logo on the side – would be welcomed
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: If I’m picking just a single thing, it’s that mix of vintage and modern on the dial

Last Update: June 29, 2016