There are a lot of kickstarter watch projects where the creator has a dream of designing a watch, and then connects with a manufacturer in China to produce the watch. Well, element watches adds a twist to that formula, in that the watch manufacturer back in China is owned by the designer’s father. The Orbital by element watch is the company’s second bite at the kickstarter apple, and in my opinion it is a more attractive watch than the (unsuccessful) first project.
Beating away at the heart of the watch is a Miyota 8215 mechanical movement, an excellent choice for an entry level automatic. It gives a little more prestige over a Chinese movement, while saving cost (and ensuring supply) against an ETA. The case is an interesting and somewhat complicated item, consisting of multiple pieces that are held together with the functional and visible screws. The whole watch caries a 10 atmosphere (300 feet) depth rating, so it is rated for recreational scuba diving, and any other water activity. The case is fashioned from a round puck, with the bezel and caseback, over which another piece is added, with a bridge for the crown protector and the lugs for the bracelet. From the look of this second part, there is a fair bit of machining that is probably much easier (and cheaper) to achieve if it is made in two parts. So you get a lot of detail and a beefy design, while keeping the project costs to below $500.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter project is about 3/4 of the way to their $16,000 (Canadian) goal. The watch is available for $385 CAD in stainless steel or $415 CAD in DLC stainless steel. US buyers save about $25 with the exchange rate, and shipping is included. In addition to the two options for the case itself, the watch has three color options, with red, yellow or white coloring on the bezel markings for 1-15 minutes and on the second hand. Fitting the look of a dive watch, the bezel is unidirectional and the crown screws down; both the front crystal and the caseback are sapphire.
- Brand & Model: Orbital by element watch
- Price: $385 – $415 CAD
- Who we think it might be for: A value or entry level buyer of automatic who wants an interesting diver.
- Would I buy or recommend it just on the photos?: Yes, I think it is a nice looking watch and a good value.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The crown protector looks like it might make adjustments difficult.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Uncluttered dial design with interesting elements in the case.
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