The Model One is the first watch by Charlie Fowler under his Alkin brand. Based out of Bristol, England, it represents a very serious jab into the ever growing aviator watch market. What exactly is an aviator watch? Depending on your point of view, an aviator watch is typically a large, highly legible watch with excellent lume for nighttime use and an oversized crown for easy operation with or without gloves. The epitome of aviator watch design has to be the German flieger watch, the German word for flight. These fliegers were originally worn by the German Luftwaffe during WWII. Their signature design feature is the triangular 12 o’clock marker. Today many watch companies offer fliegers, such as Stowa, Dievas, Damasko, IWC and many more. This type of watch has evolved over time with various configurations, sometimes adding features such as extra bezel markings, a chronograph complication, a power reserve indicator, a date window, a slide rule or dual time GMT capability. The aviator watch is a great type of tool watch.
For the Model One (a perfect name for the brand’s first watch), Alkin has decided to incorporate all typical aviation watch features while sourcing components and assembly from Asia and Europe. QC is done by Alkin. Case dimensions are perfect for this type of watch; 42mm in diameter, 50mm lug to lug, a wider 22mm lug width with a total thickness of roughly 13.25mm (as spec’d) or 13.7mm (as I have measured). The case is offered in brushed stainless steel 316L or with a black, bead blasted PVD finish with either a white on black face or a black on white face. PVD, or physical vapor deposition, describes numerous methods of vacuum deposition for a variety of coatings suitable in many different applications. For the true aviation look, I think the all black non reflective PVD face is best, but all of the four variations of this watch come across extremely well.
The face of this watch has outstanding legibility; eight small Arabic numerals and four larger Arabic numerals, 48 small minute markers, 12 large minute markers. This watch face does not have a triangle at 12 o’clock because no one in the 21st century needs to quickly determine where the top of their watch face is. A skeletonized obelisk hour and minute handset and a simple baton second hand, all with blacked out bases, are the perfect appropriate size for this watch face. The all lower case brand name is printed on the upper half of the face and “AUTOMATIC” on the lower half of the face. All of the relevant portions of the Model One watch face are covered with Superluminova BGW9, which works very well when charged. In summary, I could not ask for a better aviator watch face.
The watch has a slightly domed a/r sapphire crystal with a beveled edge that blends in well with the beveled bezel and the smooth, flat, vertical sides of the case. Sharply edged, tapered, turned down lugs and an engraved screw down exhibition case back mesh well with a 3.5mm by 6.5mm, very solid, easy to grip, machined and signed screw down 4 o’clock crown. This watch has a very respectable 10 ATM w/r rating and a Alkin engraved rotor. Even the 3.5mm thick, German made, vegetable tanned, deep brown supple leather strap tapers perfectly from 22mm to 20mm. It includes a slender and signed black PVD finished buckle and tang. With one fixed and one loose strap loop and seven well positioned oval strap holes, this strap is perfect for my 7 inch wrist. It should comfortably fit the wrists of most people looking for this type of watch.
Powering the Alkin Model One is the ubiquitous Seiko (SII) NH35A automatic, hacking and hand winding movement from TMI/Seiko, and it works exactly as one would expect. With a 41 hour power reserve, 21,600 bph, 24 jewels and Diashock shock system, this movement has become THE standard automatic movement for the affordable microbrand watch industry. It would be nice for Alkin to offer this watch, in the future, with an optional upgraded automatic movement with at least a 50 hour power reserve. For 250 pounds, or about $326 US dollars, this is a standout aviator watch from a new Microbrand that deserves serious consideration. Alkinwatches.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.