For many, the appeal of microbrand watches revolves around an ability to be courageous in design — often far more than the titans of the industry, whose creativity can be stifled by generations of repetitive model iterations and consumer expectations. Batavi Watches, based out of Amsterdam, is a young boutique brand free from the shackles of precedent. Expanding upon the success of its flagship offering, a smart-looking GMT called the “Kosmopoliet,” it has recently pivoted into the sports-watch market with the introduction of its novel “Architect” series. Without past models upon which to draw inspiration, Batavi turned to the skyscrapers and high-rises that litter the land to glean design cues that could be implemented into its next timepiece. Unafraid to take risks, the result is a bevy of brutalist beauties that are distinct, daring, and downright fun.
The Architect is a sports watch, through and through. Each reference features a compact 47mm lug-to-lug measurement, with a wrist-friendly diameter of 39mm. Considered by many to be the most flexible of case sizes, this wearable width is further complemented by a thickness of just 10.6mm. A slim profile, in many cases, is a sports-watch calling card. Another classic design choice is the inclusion of an integrated bracelet. With a lug-width of 20mm, Batavi has managed to effectively match a stainless steel bracelet that tapers heavily from the case to the clasp. In order to navigate the oft-frustrating lack of strap options for watches equipped with such a bracelet, this watch features a sensible quick-release system and includes leather strap options, making a variety of looks far more attainable.
The case of each Architect model is all angles and edges, in the best of ways. This industrial design language is not only reminiscent of certain architectural facades but also the I-beams and supporting materials that engineers use to ensure structural integrity. The 3 o’clock crown is signed with a “B” for the Batavi namesake, and screws down to ensure 100 meters of water resistance. Sapphire crystals adorn both the front and back of the timepiece. The double-dome adds depth to the dials, while the rear crystal allows the wearer to peek at the inner workings of the automatic Miyota 9039 movement. This tried and tested Japanese powerhouse ensures that the Architect series will maintain a reliable 42 hours of power reserve. In keeping with the “sports” theme, the hour and minute hands are filled with Super-LumiNova, as are small plots at each hour marker on the chapter ring. While it may not be the ideal torch for spelunking, it will prove more than sufficient for day-to-day use.
Where the Architect series truly shines is in its use of eye-catching dial materials. Available in three separate iterations, each dial corresponds to a specific type of substance that is often employed in architecture; there is steel, copper, and wood. The “Blue Steel” dial is the most subdued of the options. The matte navy hue provides a stark contrast against the polished applied stainless steel indices, which have a depth similar to that of exposed bolts. The “Copper Dome” dial provides an interesting dichotomy between the totally different metals used in unison. A nice touch is the inclusion of a concentric pattern formed in relief that emanates from the nucleus of the dial. This detail adds a visually appealing texture to the light salmon sheen of the copper, while simultaneously tying together the underlying geometric theme.
The “Walnut Wood” is the third of the available options, and there is some historical precedent for the use of various woods to make a more exotic watch dial. Predominantly seen in the 1970s and 80s (and even then, quite sparingly), wood dials were generally relegated to dress watches that could be elevated by the inclusion of avant-garde materials. On the Architect, the strong vertical grain of the walnut gives off a distinctly retro vibe. The use of wood and stainless steel makes for a physically and conceptually appealing mixed-medium piece that is almost a unicorn in the current economy.
Batavi is a company that is true to its mission, fusing vintage aesthetics with traditional Dutch minimalism, and this is apparent in the Architect series. By producing a capable timepiece that fits in perfectly among its fellow sports-watch brethren without becoming just another sheep in the flock, the brand has mixed materials and put its own twist on tradition. Like the previous release, the Architect series will be available as a Kickstarter campaign. This crowdfunding venture begins on April 2nd at 5pm GMT+1 Amsterdam time. Each watch comes with a decorative box and quick-release leather strap adapter for the early-bird price of $400 USD. (Full retail price will set you back $650 USD). So, whether you reside on a remote rural ranch or in a concrete jungle, when it comes to building your watch collection, the Batavi Architect is a serious piece to consider.
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