April 9, 2011
by Ariel Adams
I love unique watches. That isn’t to say I love “wild” watches that barely function in any utilitarian manner, but rather that I like unique watches that perform well but look different enough you might need a double take. This is the case with this Angular Momentum AXIS/XXXIII Champlevé Lumineuse watch. The vital emphasis on the dial is the very rich amount of high quality luminant. Basically, this watch dial is all about lume decoration. It goes without saying that the level of darkness visibility with this watch is stunning. The luminant is applied in with small cut-aways that create the markers on the dial. It is simple and effective.
The actual compound for the luminant is a special material called “Émail Lumineuse.” This is compound that is exclusive to Angular Momentum, and is a combo of enamel and something like luminova – not sure the exact luminant that is mixed with the enamel. I believe that this mixture helps with longevity as older types of luminant tend to crack or fade with age. The Émail Lumineuse is applied over a brushed steel dial and large cone shaped hands. Notice how the hands glow a pale green, while the dial itself is a soothing aqua blue color. Without sounding cheesy, I will state that this watch dial “really shines at night” both figuratively and physically. Further, despite how different the watch dial looks (it is certainly a style I haven’t seen before), you’ll appreciate how legible it is. Angular Momentum says that the lume can glow for 35 hours if charged under a bright light for 10 minutes. I haven’t quite tested it, but can attest to the fact that the watch is almost always easy to read in the dark and stays brighter that any other luminant applied watch that I have.
The watch case is in steel with a mixture of polished and satin surfaces – and 42mm wide. The thin bezel makes it feel large and nice on your wrist. The curved lugs on the case and the alligator strap help hug the case to your wrist and it does not move around much. The screw-down crown is easy to use and the Angular Momentum logo is applied into the side. The case is a standard for Angular Momentum that they use often, and it has an attractive conservative look that works well for many types of designs. The true forte of Angular Momentum is in making exquisite looking dials, and they have a few cases to play with that they use for their many watches.
Inside the watch is a Swiss mechanical automatic movement. There is no seconds hands, so Angular Momentum could have gotten away with using a quartz, but of course they chose an automatic movement. The company would not likely ever use a quartz movement in any watch – they are certainly purists. You can hear the escapement operating with a quick ticking through the case – reminding you that you are wearing a mechanical movement. This does not bother me, but it should be noted for those people who sit with their watch in a quit room, and who may be bothered by this. This is a fact with some mechanical watches – that you can hear the movement operating. Atop the face is a 3mm thick sapphire crystal, which is a nice thickness indeed for the crystal. The watch is further water resistant to 100 meters. Thus you could technically go underwater a bit with it, but I would probably not do so with the alligator strap. Now that I think of it, this would make a cool sport watch with rubber diver’s strap. What do you think?
Unless you turn the watch over you wouldn’t know that it is an Angular Momentum watch – unless you are familiar with the logo. For some people this is a positive quality, especially for those who like “sterile dials,” but others want the name of the brand on the face. So this is an “up” or “down” depending on how you look at it. This also means that there is no engraving of the brand on the strap buckle. Also, the dial is quite minimalistic. I happen to like that look, but it might be interesting to have Angular Momentum experiment with different designs. Actually, now that I mention it, I recall that this specific watch is sometimes done differently – even though it has the same model name. Meaning you could see the watch with a slightly different dial. So look around if you are interested – as there are a few looks available. This AXIS?XXXIII (33) timepiece from Angular Momentum is a great addition to your collection, and is a watch that will certainly get looks from people. I mean it not only looks totally different on the dial, but in the light it is ectoplasmic green, and in the dark it glows – plus, where else have you seen hands like that? Price for the watch is about 2,600 euros being hand assembled from one of today’s most interesting watch makers.
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