slide rule watch

06: KLOKERS by Damien Vizcarra

In September 2015 I pre-ordered a KLOK-01 on Kickstarter from France-based Klokers watches.  After wearing mine for a few months, I am finally ready to write a review.  The timepiece is based on an interchangeable watch module that is meant to pair with a variety of accessories within an ecosystem.  The idea is to change straps, chains or pouch to suit your mood, and to buy more accessories of course.  I kept it simple and have decided to stick with the indigo blue leather strap to match the white + dark blue dial.  The dial design is a series of three concentric discs indicating hours, minutes, and seconds.  Whichever numbers fall within the vertical line from center to 12 o’clock tells you the current time.  The KLOK-01 does a better job than most other concentric dial watches since many of those have the timeline in weird counter-intuitive places, like at 9 o’clock.  The graphic face on this watch is inspired by an old school concentric slide rule.  I love it when products use visual metaphors tastefully. The result is a very technical, mathematical look that fits the watch since time itself is a unit of mathematical measurement.

The technical look carries onto the back side of the watch module, which uses a combination of surface finishes (brushed, polished, cast), exposed hardware, and precision markings (laser etched, machined).  The back side of the casing actually looks as good as the front and it feels secure when it is attached to the latch mechanism on the strap. It gives a really satisfying click when you attach the watch module to the latch.

I ordered my KLOK-01 early in the Kickstarter campaign, so I received a relatively low number, #43.  I think it’s a nice touch to make editioned versions of products. Aside from the fact that crowdfunding helps small companies launch products, investing early usually means getting the product before anyone else and at a lower price… win/win.

Visually, there is a lot more going on than the press photos lead you to understand, but it all comes together nicely.  The dials have perfectly even spacing between the concentric hour, minute and second discs, and the lines on the entire readout all match up as it rotates thanks to a Swiss-made Ronda quartz movement.  The vertical timeline marker is located on a magnifying lens that runs from the center to 12 o’clock. While the transparent lens doesn't actually magnify very much, it does give the watch face some additional optical depth.

The only real issue I have with this timepieces is its lack of heft.  The watch has good, substantial proportions which is 44mm in diameter. Couple this with the fact that it sits on top of the strap and you form an impression that it would be heavy.  Physical weight in this case would have equaled quality, so the fact that it is so lightweight relative to its scale almost makes it feel toy-like when you pick it up. Some metal parts feel plated (they describe it as metal-polymer composite) vs. all stainless steel or aluminum which is what I am accustomed to getting for a watch in this price point.  When metal parts are not cold to the touch, that usually means the part is plated.  This, along with the fact that the clear lens is a polymer vs. a mineral or sapphire crystal makes me concerned about its durability.

Overall, the KLOK-01 is a handsome and unique timepiece.  The dial is easy to read and people think it is an interesting piece because of all the numerals on the face.  This particular blue color combination works well, and my concerns about durability are mostly remedied by the fact that if you are as obsessive as I am about not scratching or dropping your watch, then you should be fine.