Here’s the details: S?l?s, an Irish-based microbrand, has a watch with a micro-rotor movement, an aventurine dial, with salmon leather straps. It’s on Kickstarter right now, for about $437 USD. But what makes it really special?
The movement is unique. Micro-rotor movements are the domain of nice Swiss watches. Like many things, there is a Chinese equivalent, but this is the first time we’ve seen it.
The movement here is made by Hangzhou, who are one of China’s larger movement manufacturers. The finishing is nice, and the movement looks, and feels, special.
One of the beautiful things about the micro-rotor movement is that the rotor isn’t covering the movement like it does in a traditional automatic. You can see the decorated plates, gears, and connect with the mechanical tradition at work here.
The Dial and hands
The face of any watch is its dial. You look at this most, and S?l?s is no slouch here. The dial is an aventurine, a dial that glistens subtly with points of light. This is made by mixing small bits of glass into an enamel, fired on top of the copper or brass dial plate.
On top of this, there are applied hour indices, the S?l?s name, and a ring around the seconds subdial.
The date wheel is a color-matched black background with white text. The whole affair sits behind a flat sapphire crystal.
The hands are three dimensional dauphine, perfectly long enough to almost reach the edge of the dial. The seconds hand extends to the metal ring that defines the seconds sub dial.
Strap and clasp
The strap on the sample I have in hand is a beautiful Horween leather with unfinished sides. I like unfinished sides for leather, because it allows me to see the authenticity of the leather – it’s one piece, it’s real. And in this case, it was luxuriously supple. The strap has subtle blue stitching, which matches well with the rest of the watch.
It’s very important to note that this isn’t the strap you may receive if you back this watch. Instead, you may get a salmon leather strap, which I’m sure also looks nice. I liked the Horween.
The clasp is signed S?l?s, and does a neat trick of taking the excess tail of the strap and routing it to the inside of the wrist, unlike other deployant clasps we’ve seen. This is largely influenced by an Omega clasp.
In practice, the clasp has two metal ears to capture the strap, and while it worked and was comfortable to wear, it did mark up the strap, and wouldn’t be my first choice. I like the idea of the putting the tail of the strap on the inside of the wrist, but dislike the idea of marking up the strap.
S?l?s chose to make this in 38mm, what I consider to be the perfect size. Lugs are a common 20mm, making them compatible with a wide range of straps. The height is just 9.7mm thin. For just $437 USD, you could have one of these beautiful Irish dress watches. Find them on kickstarter or solaswatches.com.
- Brand & Model: S?l?s Starlight
- Price: Earlybird pricing starts at $437
- Who we think it might be for: You want a dress watch in a modern size, with a unique dial and movement.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I love the dial and strap. The hands were 100% the right choice
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would keep the Horween strap, and modify the clasp (remove those two ear tabs that mark the strap.)
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The S?l?s Starlight is one of those rare watches where every choice was made correctly – the right movement, the right dial, the right hands.
Tech Specs from S?l?s
- Case size: 38mm, 44mm lug to lug
- Height: 9.7mm
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Crystal: sapphire, on both front and back, with anti-reflective coating.
- Strap: Horween leather or Salmon leather.
- Movement: Hangzhou 5000A micro-rotor, 28,800vph, with ?42 hours of power reserve