February 23, 2018
Where most micro brand watches in this price range would be running on a Seiko or Miyota built automatic movement or, dare I say it, quartz, the Armis makes use of the Swiss made ETA 2824-2, a movement well known for its durability, accuracy, and ease of servicing. I won’t go on and on about the ETA 2824-2 here, as it has been well covered many times over, but suffice to say the 25 jewel Swiss movement is a welcome addition in a watch with the Armis’ price.
Rather than just dropping stock ETA movements into the Armis, Haldor intends to also carefully regulate each caliber used in their production Armis watches. They’ve gone so far as to guarantee out of the box accuracy of +4 seconds per day, which I have to imagine will be somewhat hard to deliver but is an admirable task. While the pre-production Armis I reviewed kept reasonable time at plus 7-10 seconds per day, it clearly wasn’t adjusted to such an extreme degree. To keep the tool watch theme going, the Armis also has a Faraday cage installed to protect the movement from magnetic fields of up to 4,800 ampere per meter. Once again, the brand did more and probably spent more for perceived utility with magnetic resistance, which shows Haldor are not messing around then they call the Armis a tool watch.
In the Indiegogo page for the Haldor Armis, a fair amount of space concerns the Armis bracelet, a 22mm at the lugs, H-link style tank of a bracelet which adds a not insignificant 140 grams to the already heavy 110 gram watch. Heavy individual screwed links with hex screws (Haldor include tools in the box) make for easy adjustment of the bracelet. Once again, the H-link design pushes the Sinn or Tutima feel in the Armis. The bracelet features a push button operated clasp and has a hidden, fold out diver’s extension which is very solidly built.
Unfortunately, as much time as Haldor clearly spent in designing the bracelet, they seem to have forgotten the fact that a really good bracelet must also be adjustable to fit anyone, within reason. The Armis bracelet has no half links or micro adjustments, which will likely leave many wanting for a comfortable fit that is very necessary with a watch of this weight. I simply couldn’t get the Haldor sized comfortably on the bracelet, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. When I did try to wear the Armis on the bracelet, it was a bit loose and slid around annoyingly. The inside edges of the clasp are also a bit sharp, which didn’t help either. Sadly, I think I’ll have to wear a different watch for Zumba.
Though Haldor also include a more than capable Italian rubber diver’s strap with a very cool Panerai-style buckle with the same coating as the case, it feels like a consolation prize since the bracelet simply didn’t fit me well enough to wear. So, though I prefer the looks of the watch on the bracelet, I wore it mostly on the rubber strap, which I found comfortable and also pretty good looking. Switching to the rubber strap was however a royal pain because the lug bars utilized in the Armis barely fit into the holes in the lug ends of the rubber strap. It was only after a lengthy string of nautically-themed epithets that I finally smushed the bars through the rubber to be able to actually wear the watch. As a note, the brand has assured me the production models will have thinner lug bars but they don’t intend to add any type of micro adjustment to the bracelet. Although it’s hard to hold issues like these against a young brand like Haldor, fit needs to be of paramount importance in watch design as a good watch is no good if you can’t comfortably wear it.
Viewed together, I like the Armis. A watch like the Haldor Armis makes me imagine a neoprene and velcro clad operator is tactically swimming under moonlit ocean waves toward a heavily defended beach. In reality, it’s probably been a long time since the US military has issued anything but Casio G-Shocks for their shadowy operators. Still, the allure of the purpose oriented tool watch remains. Even if the most austere environment my Armis will face is a long line at the local taqueria, I simply like knowing it is capable of operating at extreme pressures. Clearly, watch enthusiasts agree and Haldor has lined up to provide reasonably priced watches like the Armis to meet the demand.
Though there are some small problems, such as the fit of the bracelet and difficulty in strap changes, the Haldor Armis’ flaws are easily forgiven considering the very impressive pre-sale price offered on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. I can think of no watch in this price range which is similarly appointed. While I understand many are polarized on using crowdfunding for micro brand watches, this medium allows for smaller makers with less capital to get in on the watch design game. The value present in the Haldor Armis is impressive given its water resistance, Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement, proprietary case and bracelet design, and sapphire crystal. If you’re a German tool watch-interested watch enthusiast who isn’t ready to shell out $2k for a similarly appointed watch from a larger brand, a micro brand model like the Haldor Armis might make the perfect tactical diver choice at around 30% of the cost of one of its more famous older cousins. The Haldor Armis 2000m diver is available for pre-order via Indiegogo and Kickstarter for $590, assuming the funding goal is met. haldorwatches.com
>Model: Armis 2000m
>Price: $590 as a pre-order on Indiegogo & Kickstarter
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes. Doesn’t everyone feel tacti-cool sometimes?
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The fan of over-engineered German dive watch style who also has budget constraints.
>Best characteristic of watch: The Armis has a large without being huge case, which is also coated for durability.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Despite how cool the bracelet looks, there is no micro adjustment and inner surfaces are a bit sharp. While the rubber is nice, it’s very hard to fit to the watch.