Back in 2010 I wrote about the revival of watch brand Arcadia here. I focused on their unique model called the AC01. This year they have released (among other things) a new AC01 called the Version 2. Both AC01 versions 1 and 2 are going to be discussed in this article. The watches feature the same case and movement, but have different dials and case finishes. There are also distinct strap options.
Earlier this year I sat down with Richard Baldwin, the CEO of Arcadia and a true watch lover. We discussed the brand, and a bit about what is involved in bringing a new high-end watch to market. The key for Arcadia is to be different. Like many watch brands either new or revived, being distinct from their competitors is key.
Arcadia's take on being different was to have a highly sculpted cushion-style case with a unique dial and movable lugs. In fact, the AC01 Version 1 looks more avant garde than the Version 2. The AC01 has the more bubble-style hands and wild dial. The AC01 Version 2 has a more angular minimalist dial. I believe it was offered to give people a more subtle way of enjoying the unique case.
The AC01 case design is pretty cool. It is mostly steel with some titanium and is 42mm wide (by 40mm tall). The cushion-style case shape and thickness allows it to look larger than it is. The long lugs move to wrap around your wrist for pretty excellent comfort. The wealth of screws on the lugs and on the dial/bezel make for a neo-industrial look.
On the sides of the case are protruding black strips that are actually pushers. That is a cool design feature if I ever saw one. On the left of the case, the entire section is pressed to adjust the GMT hand, while on the right of the case the upper and lower strips are used to control the chronograph. I rather enjoyed that. Inside the watch is a Dubois Depraz modified Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. The DD module adds a 12 hour chronograph, and GMT hand at 12 o'clock. There is also a date window at 6 o'clock.
The AC01 watches each come in a few style choices. The AC01 Version 2 for example currently comes with a red or yellow tinted dial. The Version 1 comes with different case finishes and some sections of the case available in black. On the models I got to see, the Version 1 watches have more technical textile straps, while the Version 2 models have nice alligator straps. My choice? To have the Arcadia AC01 Version 1 with the strap from the Version 2. Overall, these are pretty well made and very unique watches that will surely have a polarizing reaction from watch lovers. Prices are 9,795 Euros (7,995 British Pounds)