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Arc-Tic Retro Watch

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

Based in downtown Reykjavik, Arc-Tic is a brand that might have escaped your attention. A small lifestyle label associated with JS Watches, Arc-Tic aim to bring their customers watches that evoke a very Scandinavian sense of laid-back cool. But where the mainland Scandinavians are better known for their bleak, austere, minimalism, there is a playful splash of colour to most of Arc-Tic’s output. The Arc-Tic Retro, which we’ll take a look at here, is a simple three-hander that comes with a spare NATO strap based on the Icelandic flag as standard. That’s pretty cute, for sure, but how does the rest of this affordable ticker fare when placed under scrutiny?

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

I guess the thing with Arc-Tic, as with many quartz-powered brands in this price bracket, is that their wares are undeniably wearable. The design is clear as a mountain stream and crisp as an icy wind. With nothing but a red hyphen and a red central seconds hand in terms of colour to enliven the dial, the Arc-Tic Retro watch stands-out in its starkness. The use of a polished case, rhodium hour markers, rhodium logo, and rhodium hands means this was catches the light and attention with its lustrous façade.

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

The 42mm 316L stainless steel case is relatively slim at 8mm tall. This is a very modern profile for a watch of this genre and will no doubt find favour with fans of similar brands. There’s also a smaller version available at 36mm wide and 8mm tall. Both sizes are available with either black or white dials. The dial design is basic, but comes to life thanks to the generously-sized hour markers. The hands have a traditional form and appear to be nicely stamped. The absence of luminant materials on this watch is notable. Given that Iceland is known for experiencing long periods of darkness, I had imagined that any watch made in that part of the world would place a premium on night-time legibility. That said, when it’s dark for that long at a time, there’s little opportunity for the lume to charge sufficiently. It’s probably permissible to assume a true Icelander would be carrying a torch at that time of the year, so maybe it’s not so much of a problem. Beneficially, though, the absence of lume means that the watch face remains uncluttered and pure.

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

The Arc-Tic Retro watch is powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement and is water resistant to 50m. What really excited me about this watch, and really convinced me that is was a worthwhile addition to this price-bracket, was the beautifully decorated case back. It appears as if the design has been laser-engraved in order to ensure a sharp, detailed result.

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

A map of Iceland overlaid by the Arc-Tic logo and surrounded by compass points and degree markings separates this component from many of its peers. Considering closed case backs are rarely seen (especially if the watch is being worn on a NATO strap), some discount their importance. This is a valid opinion for sure, but as a watchmaker, I’m used to taking pleasure in the often unseen details that go into the design of a watch. It’s akin to perlaging the dial-side of a movement – no one but a watchmaker will ever see that part of your watch, but the fact the care and attention has gone into its decoration is a source of much personal satisfaction. A smartly decorated case back can elevate a muted design into a secret treasure in my mind. Simple as the Arc-Tic Retro watch may be, it is most certainly not lazy.

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Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

And there is also the option of wearing the watch on an easily-removed leather band. The Arc-Tic Retro watches come with a genuine calfskin strap and a spring bar tool for simple attachment and removal. The pin buckle on the leather strap is highly polished and engraved with the Arc-Tic logo. It’s not the flashiest buckle in the world, but it’s nice to see the logo there – another signifier that the designers care about each part of their creation. The crown is emblazoned with a stylised “A” and is a well-balanced size and shape for the case.

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

Arc-Tic Retro Watch Watch Releases

The packaging is also very cool: Styled like a small pocket-book, with a debossed compass in gold, it looks a little like the kind of bible you’d find in a hotel room. In the box, you receive your choice of watch (the white-dialled versions come on a tan leather strap with white stitching; the black versions come on a black leather strap with red stitching), a spare NATO in the colours of the Icelandic flag, and a double-sided spring bar tool. The retail price of the Arc-Tic Retro watch is around €213. The watch is available from several stores around Iceland and from their online store. arc-tic.com

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Comments

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  • ??????

    I wanted to start to criticize it as another minimalistic quartz watch with tons of kickstarter & indiegogo clones, but… Its cool! And the packaging is cool! Even its name is fun – good as a gift for anyone starting watch habit.

    • resonator resonator

      It’s not too bad. I love the packaging. It’s a simple piece. Just looks cheap as heck. Should have rethought that logo.

  • Let me see…hmm…this or the Daniel Wellington? Both are excellent timepieces with a long heritage and easy to read dials. This also looks like it could go from Geysir to frostbite without missing a beat. I could leave this to my grandchildren’s children.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      I recommend the JS Watch mailing list.
      They have a very well-developed sense of humo(u)r

      • resonator resonator

        Right? I love that companies PR and marketing guru(s). You are talking about the makers of the Frisland, right? Love the guy using the loupe to clean his putter. Now THAT’s dedication!

    • resonator resonator

      You could, but why would you? Also – these coin batteries will likely be replaced over the decades with much more powerful cells at a fraction the size, so I doubt that in say 50 years, that watch will be serviceable. Why don’t you buy yourself a 6497 kit, assemble it yourself and then REALY have something to pass down.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” The design is as clear as a mountain stream and as crisp as an icy wind ” lol.. Well done for making this rather run of the mill nothing special watch sound reasonably attractive. I would wear it. The face is as clear as the view from a mountain top on a clear day.

    • Rob Nudds

      Thanks. Thought that might tickle you :p

  • SuperStrapper

    Rather dull. And the handset must have come from a smaller watch, because it doesn’t fit or match this dial.

    • resonator resonator

      Either that or the indices are freakishly long. Can’t make up my mind..

  • “Arc-Tic is a brand that might have escaped your attention”

    With designs like these, I can’t imagine why someone might think that. So bold and original.

    • Here is a better example of well-understood sarcasm.

  • DanW94

    I guess if we can play the “but you can get this similar watch for xxx amount instead” game with mechanical watches, we can do it with quartz also…..This Casio dress quartz is a mere 25 dollars…

    • resonator resonator

      I know. This site used to really have it’s content act together.

      • Ariel Adams

        The joys of offering more content range… Its funny because while this product isn’t interesting to mechanical watch lovers, it does represent what most watch buyers are getting and I am sorry, but this is way more “fun” that something like a Daniel Wellington or a Casio dress watch for that matter in my humble opinion. But if you don’t find actual stuff you like anymore on the site in addition to things you don’t, then please do send a note.

        • resonator resonator

          I hear ya’ Ariel. (although the last sentence is confusing.) I’ll continue to check everyday, and I usually find something at least twice a week that keeps me coming back. It’s just that this site used to be held in the same light and respect as say worldtempus, chrono24, etc. The content bar seemed higher as did the authorship of many contributors. It just has a different feel to it now. There’s a market for non-luxury watches, I get that. There’s also a great magazine called About Time that covers them sufficiently. Don’t just don’t turn into About Time. I don’t mind covering watches the everyday fiend can enjoy. To the contrary; I wish you’d cover far more “microbrands” in the $300-$1200 zone. There are many deserving “assemblers” and case/dial designers out there. For that matter, there are some amazing quartz offerings to be had, that are more deserving of your attention as well. Anywho, I still love your site and will remain a loyal reader and advocate. I won’t always appreciate the articles such as this one, but will wade through them none-the-less to see where your heads are at. My in-house movement releases in just a few months, and I’ve got my fingers crossed you’ll give it a shout out. And even if you don’t care about my 100% (well 99% I don’t make hairsprings yet) in-house, Nevada made watches, I get that. Because it’s not something your audience really cares about all that much I’m guessing. But there’s a certain segment that does: guys like me who live at 10x and eat/sleep/breathe independent horology. Heck Ariel, I’d have not become a maker if I hadn’t started reading your articles from the links at Uncrated about 5 years ago. I largely contribute following my passion to the early exposure I had as a kid to horology, and then later when I discovered Breguet and MB&F through your site. I’m here for life. Or until you boot me because you don’t like me.

    • Cannot detect sarcasm or satire.

      Hands, indices and lugs are completely different. Aesthetics have value, even if they’re tougher to quantify than movement finishing and precious metal content.

      • DanW94

        Yeah, it was an attempt at sarcasm. Just a rift on the “comparable watches” bit when we detect an overpriced watch and offer an alternative. I thought it’d funny offering a 25 dollar quartz. A miss on that post 🙁

        • egznyc

          It’s not a miss on your part. It’s appreciated. Always nice to see alternatives, even when I’m not interested in any of them. Makes me feel better about my own watch purchase decisions 😉

    • Wimal

      Another Quartz dress watch that has similarities to the Arctic is the Orient Capital V1;
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC6RU2PP3a4
      This watch costs about $80 plus another $20 for an replacement tan color stitched leather strap to replace the original. Though I don’t need the day and date, they don’t really clutter the watch face.

    • resonator resonator

      – and you’d have yourself a better looking, timeless-appeal style watch.

  • Reminds me a bit of the Moser style, with the simple dial and pear/sword hands. Need a glossary for all these different hand styles, but I digress.

    Anyways, the hands are too short. Could have copied a Moser’s proportions and left well enough alone. Oh well…

    • egznyc

      Actually, you might have a great gift idea for a horologist, and someone who wants to make it: a poster showing examples of various watch hand styles along with discreetly printed names of those hand styles. But please, only choose properly sized hand sets!

      • resonator resonator

        That poster does exist in fact. I have one hanging on my wall now. It’s from an old hand maker from Switzerland, and is basically a poster showing not only every style they ever produced, but also a little history on all the known different hand styles and their origins around the border. If this is something you’d be interested in for a horologist in your life, let me know. I would be willing to reproduce a few in full scale/color.

        • egznyc

          I could certainly be interested – for myself. As I am the only horologist in my life. I do proselytize but no one has had that “come to [input your horological deity of choice here] moment” yet.

    • ANTONIO

      And while they were at it they could have charged €45,000 for the watch like Moser does for its mall/dept. store kickstarter watches 🙂

      I do agree that the hands could be longer and they should also offer a blue version but watches like these are refreshing they take you back to planet Earth from the stratosphere regarding price.

    • resonator resonator

      I thought the same when I saw the hands. Ha! Imagine if they would have done a radial burst finish on the dial.

  • CortexUK

    Call me when it hits €2.13.

  • Well I like the back. Otherwise, this looks like a mall/dept. store watch or one found on Kickstarter. Next.

    • resonator resonator

      Lol. That’s something Mark! The designers gotcha! Oh hey – nice work on the new collection too! Love the black DLC.

      • Actually my black cases use PVD, not DLC. Cheers.

        • resonator resonator

          You sputtering yourself?

          • No, my case maker has the plating done before they are delivered to me here in Hawaii were I have a professional watchmaker do the assembly for me.

          • resonator resonator

            So your main function is chief designer and engineer? I’m assuming business wuwu too.

          • Yep – I design the cases, dials and hands for my watches (and the “Infinity Straps” for my new Ka La Sport watches). I make engineering drawings for the manufacturers of my custom components. So I’m very far from being one of those guys who has a watch manufacturer print his name on a stock design watch and then calling it his own. Nothing wrong with people who “phone it in” I guess, but that’s not my bag. Oh yeah, I do laser engrave my own Hawaiian Koa wood dial overlays, so I do make some parts – but to a limited degree.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    For those curious:
    213.00 EUR = 234.512 USD
    Euro – US Dollar
    1 EUR = 1.10100 USD
    1 USD = 0.908268 EUR
    Mid-market rates: 2015-12-15 02:37 UTC

    • resonator resonator

      I’m thinking that’s going to invert within the month, no?

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