November 28, 2018
by Ariel Adams
Not long ago QlockTwo (by Beigert & Funk) introduced a slightly larger version of their wristwatch with the QlockTwo W39. This added a 39mm wide version of the timepiece to the existing QlockTwo W35 which is 35mm wide. While the case is square, and thus wears larger than a circular case, 35mm wide is pretty small for me. So I really welcomed the introduction of the W39 when QlockTwo announced it some time ago. After wearing the QlockTwo W39 I have to admit that the innovative “digital text” manner in which you read the time is a real charmer, and helps this watch be both a good conversation piece as well as distinctive in the world of collectible wristwatches.
QlockTwo got popular not because of their wristwatches, but because of their various clocks. With different styles and materials, QlockTwo wall or desk clocks are fun ways to tell the time in your home or office. I knew someone who had about 10 different QlockTwo clocks in various rooms of his house. He was indeed a super fan. Though this man didn’t have (or know about) the QlockTwo wristwatches.
This particular QlockTwo W39 watch comes in the natural steel case with the black rubber strap. Different case finishing options and straps are available. The dial is a matching silver color to the case, and overall is a nice neutral look for this or any other QlockTwo timepiece. Other dial colors currently available seem to include gold-tone as well as black.
The entire point of this artistic horological exercise QlockTwo by Beigert & Funk is to use LED lights to selectively display words which make up a statement that indicates the current time. Pressing the pusher on the right side of the case activates the LED lights for a moment and they light up words that create a sentence which states the current time. The stencil-style font used for the letters is fitting, and the ease of reading the time in such a manner becomes apparent the first few times you use it.
One thing I wish the watch had was some ability to automatically activate the backlight by raising your wrist. As it stands, you need two hands in order to tell the time – which is an ergonomic issue compared to dials that don’t require you to activate the screen. It is unavoidable however to have the LED lights switched off most of the time since otherwise the QlockTwo W39 wouldn’t have very much battery life to boast of. Having said that, I really wish there was a motion sensor of some type that allowed the dial to become illuminated without having to push the activation button on the side of the case.
It actually isn’t too difficult to adjust the time or use the quartz movement using the one pusher. On the rear of the case is a small legend which assists you with remembering how to adjust the time and settings. In addition to the quartz movement telling the time, it also offers a digital display (using the 110 characters on the dial as pixels) with the running seconds, calendar day, and battery power level. I felt that was pretty cool and also useful. Also when you read the time on the dial, it spells out the time to the nearest five-minute mark. There are four dots around the dial which are used to count up for additional minutes. So if the dial says “It is a quarter past six” with three dots – then the time is 6:18.
Once you press down on the pusher to see the time, additional pushes scroll through the other data, such as the current date or the running seconds. You get the feeling that a lot of good effort was put into the ergonomics while the QlockTwo watch was being designed. I should also note that aside from the larger case – I am not aware of differences the 39mm wide version of the QlockTwo watch has compared with the 35mm wide version. Battery life is said to be about one year on average.
As a high-end quartz watch with a just over $1,000 price point, the QlockTwo W39 exists in a strange space for collectors. This is more money than most people typically spend on a quartz watch, but this isn’t just any quartz watch given its novel design and exclusive system. For the money, I feel that the steel case finishing is pretty good. The case is water-resistant to 50m, but the crystal on top of the plate for the characters is not sapphire. I’m not sure the specific material QlockTwo uses for the crystal and it might be mineral. Square-cut sapphire crystal is on the more expensive side so that might be why QlockTwo didn’t opt for that material over the dial.
If QlockTwo by Biegert & Funk sounds German, that is because it is. The brand proudly proclaims that the QlockTwo watches are “handmade in Germany by Biegert & Funk.” I don’t believe that all of the components are produced in Germany, but suffice it to say that some are and that the watch is assembled in Germany – which is uncommon for quartz watches and likely does help increase the watch’s value proposition.
Style-wise we have an interesting square-case look with a dial that is far more “designy” and modern as opposed to traditional or horological. If that is what QlockTwo was going for, then I consider it a success. That does, however, mean that styling the watch for most fashion-conscious people will be a bit more on the challenging side. You need to be a bit more math- or engineering-minded to appreciate the effectiveness of the dials. Or you could just be German… The brand does, however, try to offer the various QlockTwo watches with a range of straps and bracelets, as well as colors as I mentioned before. These aren’t tool watches, but they are functionally-minded art watches. This means you need to understand the design ethos QlockTwo is going for, but once you feel the watch is right for you I think you’ll be presented with a comfortable wearing experience and a truly pleasant way of reading the time. Retail price for this particular “fine steel” and black rubber version of the QlockTwo W39 is $1,240 USD. Learn more or order at QlockTwo here.
>Brand: QlockTwo by Biegert & Funk
>Model: W39 (in natural brushed steel and black rubber)
>Price: $1,240 USD as tested
>Size: 39mm wide square
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When in the presence of design, architecture, or modern art lovers.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who loves digital timepieces but wants something with a bit more of an artistic appeal so as to fit into more formal or social settings as opposed to something sporty.
>Best characteristic of watch: The pleasant way of reading the time on QlockTwo wall clocks translates itself rather effectively onto the wrist. Nice quality overall and a distinctive look that isn’t matched by anyone else.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Reading the time requires pressing the pusher on the side of the case, which limits overall utility when two hands aren’t available. Although well-made and original, the price is still higher than most consumers are accustomed to spending on a digital quartz timepiece.