Today, we’re going to do something a little different. Yes, it’s a watch review, but its one that we’ve had sent in from one of our readers. Matt Himmelstein is going to take us through his impressions of this solid-looking Kickstarter watch. Matt, take it away!
Anstead is a new watch brand that recently delivered their first product, the Oceanis, through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The specs on the watch are very solid, a Seiko NH36a automatic movement, sapphire crystal, day/date display, unidirectional bezel, screw down case back and crown, surgical grade stainless steel case, and 300 meter depth rating.
Shipped with the standard leather strap, it is not exactly a diver straight out of the box, but an optional silicone strap lets you take the watch diving without worrying about ruining the strap. The markings are done with superluminescent paint, providing a very readable watch in the dark. The creator is a Navy veteran who hopes to use this watch as a springboard to a larger line of watches.
The Kickstarter campaign introduced the watch at the “no brainer” cost of $250 for one or $225 each for two (the price jumped slightly after the first group was sold out). The goal was to set up the tooling and production line for standard production, and the Kickstarter campaign sold out of the full run (expanded during the campaign) of 185 watches.
I am a value buyer of watches, so this watch (I avidly browse Kickstarter campaigns) really hit the sweet spots for me. First off, the asking price was very reasonable. Even with the optional silicone strap, the total price was right around $300. I am a engineer, and I have a soft spot for automatic watches, to the point it is highly unlikely I would buy another quartz watch (except for a recent purchase of a heart rate monitor watch). I am also a diver, so the features of the watch are nice. Though to be honest, watches have stopped being the essential dive tool that they used to be.
The planned retail price of the watch is $399, so even with the campaign over, the watch is set at a low price point. The watch itself is very legible. The face is black and with white markings it works well. It is not flashy, making it wearable for business or casual days. The innermost ring of markings is for military time, which is nice, but the markings are so small, I can barely tell that they are numbered.
The hour and minute hands are simple but very readable. The second hand has a dot of lume with a red tip, but does not leap out against the background, especially as it moves over one of the other markings. I have no idea how much more it would cost to use the logo arrowhead at the tip of the second hand, or if this was ever considered, but something along those lines might have made it stand out a bit more.
Regardless, the simple second hand keeps the face from looking too busy, so you need to decide which end of the spectrum is more important to you. The branding on the watch is also understated, with the company name and logo in white and the model name in red. There is a logo on the crown, and the clasp is branded. The case is brushed stainless steel, and the bezel is marked for minutes and numbered at 15, 30 and 45, with lume at 0. The bezel itself has no play in it and is very tight. The strap is a light brown leather, with contrasting white stitching; the optional silicone strap is embossed with the brand name.
The leather strap is a bit stiff out of the box, but I expect it to soften over time. The watch has a nice heft and size to it (44 x 13.5mm), but is not overly chunky or oversized, at least not by today’s standards. I did not notice a single flaw with the watch, as one might expect with the first production model from a fledgling watchmaker. It fits under a dress shirt cuff (at least for me), so that helps with the versatility of the watch. The packaging is pretty basic, with the watch around a black pillow inside a simple box. Since I bought this for myself, the presentation of the box is not important, but it might be for others.
For me, I am extremely happy with the complete package. The price is great, the movement is solid, and the watch itself is well executed. The aspects I would change are all elements of preference, not errors or omissions on the part of the designer. As it comes, the design is very legible and the branding subtle, adding to the functionality of the watch. This model puts Anstead Watches on a solid footing for their first venture, and it would definitely give me the confidence to buy from them a second time.
* All pictures courtesy of Matt Himmelstein
Editor’s note: For those interested, the Kickstarter project page can be found here.