The fashionable luxurious watch trade presents a extra numerous panorama of merchandise as we speak than at nearly another level in historical past, with watches to swimsuit almost each style and funds. Till now, nevertheless, I’ve by no means seen a contemporary watch I may rightfully describe as “psychedelic.” The wild, trippy world of psychedelia is an intriguing visible house to discover, however these qualities additionally make it troublesome to stability towards the sensible wants of watchmaking. Danish boutique model Arcanaut seems to have squared this design dilemma with the brand new Arcanaut ARC II Fordite, combining a cleanly Scandinavian minimalist kind with a very one-of-a-kind dial materials that pays tribute to American automotive historical past whereas presenting a dazzlingly chaotic array of colours and patterns. The tip end result is without doubt one of the most placing and visually compelling impartial releases in latest reminiscence, and one that continues to be balanced and impressively simple to put on.
The 41mm-wide 316L chrome steel case of the Arcanaut ARC II Fordite is smooth, futuristic, and restrained, counterbalancing the wild spectacle of the dial with a clear and adaptable kind. That is an ergonomic, impressively restrained design total, with a novel inverted lug construction, curving case profile, and a major case facet undercut that work collectively to supply a compact, balanced stance on the wrist. Though simplicity often is the key phrase to the ARC II Fordite’s case design, it’s not with out its personal delicate prospers, together with raised polished case facet edges that add dynamic highlights to the largely matte blasted case surfaces. The slender sloping bezel takes on a traditional radially brushed end for a contact of added distinction, however the actual visible standout right here is Arcanaut’s distinctive rectangular crown design. Fairly than screwing down for safety and water resistance, the three o’clock crown as a substitute clicks right into a specifically designed recess within the case facet, stopping undesirable rotation. A fingernail-shaped cutout on the underside of the crown permits the meeting to be pulled again out for winding and setting, however when not in use the complete crown design suits seamlessly into the case facet, echoing the design language of the semi-integrated lugs. Arcanaut retains the watch’s solely branding confined to the caseback, the place a printed illustration of the chaotic Fordite sample is surrounded by a hoop of normal textual content. The Arcanaut ARC II Fordite presents a solidly sporting 100 meters of water resistance.
With a completely pared-back structure and skeletonized palms, the Arcanaut ARC II Fordite’s dial exists primarily as a showcase for the Fordite materials itself. For many who are unfamiliar with Fordite, this isn’t a valuable stone or some unique natural compound. In its most elementary, unromantic sense, Fordite is nothing greater than atypical automotive paint. It’s a naturally occurring byproduct of automotive manufacturing facility portray. As automobiles are sprayed with paint on an meeting line, overspray and residual paint start to construct up on the spray cubicles and tools used within the course of, and over time layers of assorted paint colours solidify into blocks of rock-hard coloured materials. Like every pure gemstone, this will then be lower, formed, and polished to disclose a wild, typically unpredictable sample of colours. Every layer of paint right here represents one other automotive on the street and one other story within the lifetime of the manufacturing facility, whether or not the automotive was a humble financial system commuter or a roaring muscle machine. A latest dialog with James Thompson of Black Badger (the corporate that cuts and finishes the dials themselves) confirmed that Arcanaut’s Fordite materials is sourced from numerous automotive factories across the Detroit space, and dates from between the Seventies and the Nineteen Nineties. Fashionable multi-stage paint applied sciences and manufacturing strategies make Fordite a far scarcer materials in up to date auto meeting strains, so the vast majority of out there materials with any provenance dates again to this period on the newest. Though the identify suggests it comes strictly from Ford meeting strains, Fordite is a catchall time period, and the precise materials used within the dial of this watch probably got here from a Dodge or Plymouth meeting plant (for causes we’ll delve into later).
The dial of this explicit Arcanaut ARC II Fordite is a wild, psychedelic mixture of whites, blacks, silver, and vibrant pops of pink, inexperienced, blue, and even a tiny spot of yellow, all unfold by means of a effervescent chaotic mixture of amorphous shapes. Briefly, it’s probably the most dynamic dial layouts in latest reminiscence, and Arcanaut properly avoids any dial textual content, scales, or indices that may detract from this floor. The model’s broad skeletonized “Grand Paw” handset does add a set of orange-coated (non-luminous) tricks to support visibility towards this complicated backdrop, and this slight concession to utility does make the ARC II Fordite a extra usable design than preliminary impressions would possibly counsel. Given the character of the fabric, each instance of the ARC II Fordite will provide a very distinct dial structure, starting from parallel stripes of coloration to almost monochrome blocks with embedded nodules of contrasting hues. This dial hits a candy spot between complexity and overwhelming coloration, nevertheless. Whereas paint colours comparable to white, black, and silver are understandably nigh-on inconceivable to establish at a look, there are hints of a number of distinctive ‘70s-era Plymouth paint codes on this dial, together with Rallye Crimson, Lime Mild, Jamaica Blue Metallic, and a near-microscopic spot of Lemon Twist close to the 5 o’clock place. It’s naturally a dial that rewards deep scrutiny and contemplation, however regardless of the dreamlike swirls and colours it by no means veers into feeling overbearing. Very similar to one other Danish psychedelic designer, Verner Panton, Arcanaut weighs its vibrant spectacle towards a easy, streamlined total kind for an impressively balanced presentation (though this adventurous model will naturally spark divisions amongst fanatics).
Contained in the Arcanaut ARC II Fordite beats the Soprod A10 automated motion. It is a lesser-seen Swiss various to the ever present Sellita SW200 or ETA 2824, and it presents comparable if unspectacular efficiency. The A-10’s listed 42 hours of energy reserve at a 28,800 bph beat price is starting to really feel a bit lengthy within the tooth in comparison with newer, high-power-reserve motion choices, however this stays a dependable and simply serviced powerplant. And not using a operating seconds hand, nevertheless, we had been unable to find out total each day accuracy over the testing interval. Arcanaut completes the ARC II Fordite with a big selection of unpolluted, semi-integrated rubber straps in colours starting from traditional black and navy blue to brown and vibrant pink. Over the course of the assessment interval, I personally gravitated towards the white strap possibility, because it echoed the massive white patches of the dial whereas nonetheless offering a clear visible backdrop for the general design.
With its genuinely distinctive, psychedelic Fordite dial materials and a robustly constructed Scandinavian minimalist platform, the brand new Arcanaut ARC II Fordite delivers a particular, satisfying, and remarkably balanced on-wrist expertise (even when this kind of model is nearly inherently divisive). The Arcanaut ARC II Fordite is obtainable to preorder now by means of the model’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for the Arcanaut ARC II Fordite stands at $3,950 USD as of press time. For extra data, please go to the model’s web site.
>Mannequin: ARC II Fordite
>Value: $3,950 USD
>When reviewer would personally put on it: As a daring and psychedelic weekend put on, or as a delicate fanatic flex at automotive occasions.
>Good friend we’d advocate it to first: Lovers on the lookout for a very one-of-a-kind dial design; American automotive buffs on the lookout for a press release watch.
>Greatest attribute of watch: Glorious stability between minimal kind and wild, vibrant coloration, stable development, comfy straps.
>Worst attribute of watch: Common motion; low legibility.
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