There are many definitions of Kickstarter these days. They are not a store, as claim by them while wikipedia claim it’s an investment portal, hence the definitions of backers instead of customers, rewards instead of sales. Some even call it a marketing tool for established companies to promote new products, eventhough they do not need the funding to launch it. The reason I’m starting today’s review with this, is to remind our readers that sometimes project do get delayed, and sometimes not delivering to ones’ expectation. It’s a risk and that is why backers are getting their rewards much lower compared to a customer getting their sales at a retailed / premium price.
This is no different with today’s review I am writing for, which is one of the Nomadic Empires collection, the Khan Sunray Brown by Amir Watches. They launched the collection on 10th March via Kickstarter with a target goal of US$20,000 and within a day, they managed to hit triple the target set, and by end of the campaign they were successfully funded at US$148,437 with 595 backers in total. One of the 595 backers was myself, managing to pledge for the watch during its’ first 3 days reward price of US$179 (Super Early Bird Special) with the value of the watch expected to retailed at US$699.
Where did the design inspiration comes from ?
The Nomadic Empire collection is based on a heritage and tradition passed by Father to Son or generation to another generation for millennia. As the name of the collection suggests, this watch collection pays tribute to Nomadic Empires, the historical empires erected by the bow-wielding, horse-riding, nomadic peoples in the Eurasian steppe, from classical antiquity (Scythia) to the early modern era (Dzungars). For centuries, there have been nomadic civilisations that have travelled from land to land in a mobile lifestyle.
As a tribute to one of the great traditions of Kazakhstan, each timepiece from Nomadic Empires collection boasts an eye-catching Shanyrak design on its dial. The word Shanyrak refers to the cross piece structure positioned at the vertex of portable round tents/dwelling (known as Yurts) used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.At the center of the roof in the yurt is the Shanyrak, the main piece that holds everything together. This is the only piece of the yurt that is never replaced. The origins of Yurt can be traced back to 600 BC from the time of Scythians, a horse riding-nomadic nation who lived in the northern Black Sea and Central Asian region. The tradition of handing over of Shanyrak by family head to next generations is closely associated with ancient nomadic families and also used as a symbol of the families heritage.
Here’s a brief specifications :
- Case: Titanium 42 mm
- Movement: Miyota 8n24 skeleton
- Bezel: Titanium with indexes
- Glass: Domed Sapphire Crystal with Anti-Reflective Coating
- Caseback: Sapphire Crystal exhibition caseback, customized Oscillating Rotor
- Water Resistance: 10 AMT (up to 100 meters)
- Crown: embossed logo and cone shape for easy grip
- Lug width: 22mm
- Lug to Lug: 50mm
- Case Thickness: 10mm
What do I think about my Khan Sunray Brown ?
Well, that’s the model I got from the Kickstarter campaign and let’s start off from the packaging. Came in a DHL plastic wrapper and inside lies a suede-felt cover for the full grain leather wallet that houses the watch and additional mesh bracelet rose gold strap. First thing I realised is that they sent me the wrong leather strap choice I requested, but it’s not a big deal to me… However, it seems that other backers had the same issue too, so I’m guessing the team of Amir Watches need to recheck on this logistic matter again to avoid misalignment of request in future. My request was to swap the original assigned brown leather strap to the grey strap, but somehow it came in the original strap (not a big deal!). Moving on to the quality of the leather wallet, and I’m very impressed with the quality and workmanship of it, and most importantly, the usefulness of it as I can bring extra watches with it in my future travels.
Moving on to the watch itself… let’s start off with the case. Made from titanium, a preferential material in aerospace and automobile industries, known for its high durability, strength, and low density. Not only that, it’s very light in weight (~ 62 grams) as compare to stainless steel material. Surrounding the case, you can notice it’s a brushed finishing on its’ titanium case but I don’t see it being glossy on the bezel as mentioned on their Kickstarter campaign. On the front glass display, it’s a Domed Sapphire Crystal with Anti-Reflective Coating whereas the back of the case offers a Sapphire Crystal exhibition caseback with a customized Oscillating Rotor. The crown offers a crown shape for easy grip with an embossed logo but unfortunately, this is something I’m not happy with because on my watch, it is very difficult to pull the crown. As for the dial, it is said to be made from 2 layers (sandwich style) which offers a dimensional look, and underneath the bottom layer is filled with Super Luminova. The dial ring is angled at 45° to give it a depth feel of the watch.
At the center of the dial is where the heart of the watch is showcased which is the skeleton automatic 8n24 by Miyota. The Nomadic Empires timepieces tell the time in a unique way. Positioned at the centre of the dial, the rotating disc made with high grade aluminium indicates the seconds. The seconds hand has a unique design shaped like a Shanyrak, turning above the minutes and hours hand and the skeletonised Miyota 8n24 automatic movement. Diamond cut Red Hour Hand symbolises the Fire, an essential element of life and heart for Nomadic empires. Blue Minute hand symbolises the Sky. Both hands are filled with Super-Luminova at the tips for comfortable display of time in dark settings. I like how the brand takes feedback seriously from the backers during the Kickstarter campaign and they made a change to the hands which offers a longer minute hand and wider hour hand to increase visibility to telling time.
Overall, besides the minor hiccup in the strap arrangement and the poor crown setup, I feel that this is definitely a watch worthy of recommendation because of its’ price point with such high specifications & quality, and a true uniqueness in the design that brings a historical tradition onto ones’ wrist. I am sure that I’ve already gotten myself a super bargain deal for this watch, but for those who missed out on this, they are available on pre-order via their website and I’m sure you will not be disappointed with it.
Watch from Kazakstan for $699. Now I’ve seen all!