With nouveau vintage miltary watches, we certainly have all manner of choice.  There are those brands who take the merest whiff of inspiration from some Army or Air Force watch that they ran across, and there are brands with a long history of actually producing true MilSpec watches (ie, those worn in active duty), with a pedigree (and, often, price tag) to match.  Then we come to the brands that are doing something special – without a military contract history, but still producing something that is robust and true to the spirit of what inspires it.  Bill Yao over at MKII has been doing that for years, starting out as a watch modding company.  These days, it’s his own designs we take delight in, and the latest was just recently announced – the MKII Cruxible.

What we have here in the MKII Cruxible is the result of 6 years of research and development, all around the A-11 military spec watch.  This is a design that came to fruition in WWII, and it’s not necessarily a design that we see today.  Though, looking at the watch, it’s certainly recognizable as a military-inspired piece.  Of course, if you know MKII, they don’t just take the design and leave it as-is.  No, they improve upon it.

While the case of the MKII Cruxible started with the A-11 spec, the brand has improved it for serviceability, and to accommodate a screw down crown.  That crown?  Inspired from a few different military watches of the 50s, MKII went with a oversized (and very grippy-looking) crown.  Now, let’s move on to the dial.  On one hand, it’s super-legible, with the white on black scheme.  It almost looks like a sterile dial, no?  A closer look reveals that the MKII logo, and the depth rating, are printed on the matte dial in a glossy black, giving you the info if you need it, but otherwise hiding it.

Surprisingly (at least to modern sensibilities) the A-11 spec did not call for the watch to be luminous at all.  That’s certainly not the case on the MKII Cruxible, thought they didn’t totally disregard history.  The hands are lumed, of course, and then they have the compass points lumed (12, 3, 6, and 9) which makes for an interesting look, and certainly allows you to tell the time in the dark.  Well, unless you opt for the date option – in that case, the date window takes the place of the 3.  The white date disc is certainly period correct, but I would not have minded if MKII had saw fit to update that to blend in a little more with the dial.

Enclosing all of this on the MKII Cruxible we’ve got a sapphire crystal up front (certainly an upgrade from the original spec), and around back you’ve got a solid case back with simple markings on it.  Hiding away under that caseback is a SII NE15C, which is a Seiko movement (hailing back to the brands start as a Seiko mod parts company, as well as providing robust accuracy).  All of this presents together as a tight, modern interpretation of the A-11 MilSpec watch, and at $649, I’m not going to be surprised to see these moving in quick order.  MKII produces some very nice watches, and the MKII Cruxible looks to be another solid addition to the catalog.  mkiiwatches.com

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: MKII Cruxible
  • Price: $649
  • Who we think it might be for: You like vintage military looks done up with modern upgrades
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? If I were on the hunt for a three-hander, for sure.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be:  Flip to a dark date wheel
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: For an MKII watch, it’s all about the details and how they come together to form the whole
Tech Specs from MKII
  • CASE WIDTH:  39.00 mm
  • CROWN:  Screw-Down
  • CASE LENGTH:  48.50 mm
  • CRYSTAL:  Sapphire
  • CASE THICKNESS:  13.55 mm

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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