Several years ago while strolling around at the Baselworld watch trade show in Switzerland, I stumbled upon the booth of a brand that was new to me named Alexander Shorokhoff. It turned out that while I wasn't familiar with the name, Alexander Shorokhoff as a brand has been around since the early 1990s. The watches really spoke to me in terms of quality and design, especially models in the Avantgarde collection. The people at the booth that year had limited English skills so I couldn't learn that much, but I kept the brand on my personal radar to continue to watch as I knew it was only a matter of time until they started to show up in America.
It took a few years but I think you can now get Alexander Shorokhoff in the USA. aBlogtoWatch friend Ray Grenon, and proprietor of Grenon's of Newport in Rhode Island reached out, letting us know that they were now carrying the brand. Grenon's is one of those rare watch stores in the US that carries cooler small brands in addition to some of the big boys. Ray proudly carries brands such Louis Moinet, Cyclos, Magellan, Louis Chevrolet, Alexander Shorokhoff (and a lot more) next to more popular brands such as Tissot, TAG Heuer, Cartier, and Oris. If you live near a store like Grenon's of Newport or such that takes a chance on smaller more unique brands, we can't help but encourage you patronize them, otherwise it would be the same dozen or so brands everywhere. So having said that, allow us to review a cool, rare watch from a small indie brand.
You may be challenged to even find this specific watch on the Alexander Shorokhoff website. It is in the Avantgarde collection, but you won't find it in the Automatik Chronograph area. In fact, this dial design is offered in a few similar versions. From what I can tell, this almost exact combination can be ordered with a manually wound movement, automatic movement, or lefty style automatic movement. Each of these watches has a different movement and unique personality. A personality that I've come to really like. If you want to find this model you'll need to look in the LINKSHANDER UHR section under Avantgrade watches - which I totally would have missed.
What initially drew my attention to these watches was the large indicators on the dial that nevertheless seemed to offer a clean, airy look. The black dial is lined with a railroad track style minute indicator with applied polished hour markers. There are large "60, 20, and 40" minute indicators in an attractive thin typeface. The hands are all the right sizes and the two large chronograph sub dials are big, but not too big. The perfectly contrasting elements, proper proportions, and honest avant-garde character made it an instant winner in my book. For the price, the dial detailing is really impressive, save for one quirk.
I'll get to that quirk right away. It isn't a deal breaker, but it is odd, and the one negative thing I have to say about the Avantgarde Lefthander's Chronograph timepiece. What is it? Well the hour and minute hands have no lume. No, Alexander Shorokhoff isn't required to offer lume to make the watch great, but the hour indicators and large minute indicators DO in fact have lume. So you have a sort of "night tease" as part of the dial display is coated in SuperLumiNova, but the necessary parts (i.e. the hands) aren't. Otherwise I love the shape and design of the hands. The hands are even in white, so lume painting them wouldn't change the design at all.
In fact, the hands are so nice that even when they are white over the white sub dials they are quite legible. Yet there is no lume. I can't explain that, though it does seem like the type of thing that an obviously detail-oriented brand like Alexander Shorokhoff will address in the future. By the way, if you are wondering, Mr. Alexander Shorokhoff is indeed Russian even though the brand is German. Shorokoff moved to Germany about 20 or so years ago when he began his eponymous brand. The Russian and Germanic elements combine in a uniquely satisfying way. Before living in Germany, Alexander worked for the Russian watchmaker Poljot.