I've seen where Linde Werdelin has come from and I see where it is going. Quickly adapting to the market the small brand is a unique example of both flexibility and independence in an industry where such concepts are not as common as they might seem. Their major timepiece launch for 2012 is the Oktopus II, and I recently spent some time on a call with the brand's co-founder Jorn Werdelin to discuss the new watch.
The Oktopus II is not a singular piece but part of a new family. While conceptually the same, the II it is a very different watch compared to the original Linde Werdelin Oktopus timepiece. Starting with the II it is clear that the Oktopus range will be a more or less long-term member of the Linde Werdelin family. Almost none of the original watches from the brand are still made, but each is being carried on thematically in more interesting ways. What is still consistent among all their pieces is use of the special case design that allows for the LW wrist Instruments to be attached on the top. The case design looks as good as ever - and is in one of its more complex forms here.
Looking at the Oktopus II you see the first use of ceramic for the brand. Here the bezel is ceramic, as well as the case side on some models. This version of the Oktopus II is equipped with a specially produced movement module from Dubois-Depraz. On top of the base ETA is a really cool big-date indicator. This watch also represents the first time Linde Werdelin has worked with the well-known module maker Dubios-Depraz. If you have been following LW, you know that over the years they have offered watches with movements sourced or specially made from all sorts of suppliers. I understand that they will likely work more with DD in the future.
The movement in the watch is called the calibre 14580 automatic. The big date indicator is at 12 o'clock and uses very cool looking laser-cut discs. It is really well done and I love how the discs are a different color on each of the models. The dial is much improved over the original Oktopus with better looking numerals and a index ring that is reminiscent of some of the brand's earlier models. The face's mixture of shapes, colors, and textures is very pleasing, and still offers a bold legibility people have come to expect from a dive watch.
The new case design maintains a dive-worth water resistance of 300 meters, but is lower than the original Oktopus' "1,111 meters" of water resistance. That is OK, either will suffice for my purposes. The case is 44mm wide and 46mm tall. Still chunky at 15.25mm in thickness. On the back of the watch is a cool laser-cut engraving of a carton octopus you might have seen in some of the Linde Werdelin comics. This is also an homage to the LW "Tattoo" watches from a few years ago.
Dive watch purists will complain about the lack of rotating bezel. I agree, it would have been nice to have one given how common they are on diver's watches - especially since the original Oktopus had one. Linde Werdelin however simply wanted to be different. They said "screw it" we are gonna make a dive watch without a rotating bezel... and they did.
Another "I wanna be different" touch is the location of the brand logo on the dial. You can see how they cleverly integrated the Linde Werdelin logo into the 8 o'clock hour indicator - I thought that was nice. You also have to love the octopus style graphic engraved into the crown. Lots of screws on the case and bezel are going to be something you either love or hate. They looks pretty interesting to me - and I look forward to seeing the watch in person soon.
At launch there will be three limited edition versions of the Oktopus II Double Date watch. Each will be limited to 88 pieces. First is a titanium and ceramic model that will retail for 8,800 Swiss Francs. Then there is a DLC coated titanium and ceramic model (with yellow dial accents) that will retail for 9,400 Swiss Francs. Last is an 18k rose gold and titanium model that will retail for 18,500 Swiss Francs. Availability for the first Linde Werdelin Oktopus II models will start in late 2012.