British Watchmaker Arken Launch Instrumentum Tool Watch, Making Titanium Accessible - Oracle Time
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British Watchmaker Arken Launch Instrumentum Tool Watch, Making Titanium Accessible

Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020

If you want aspirational watchmaking, you can look at Rolex, Patek Philippe or any number of the big name brands, but that’s not the kind of watchmaking that British microbrand Arken are interested in. Their watches are not designed to be kept in a safe until you take it out for a fancy party once in a blue moon. No, their watches are heart and soul daily beaters, especially the Instrumentum which has just become available for pre-order.

As its name somewhat suggests, the Instrumentum is a tool watch. A rugged, durable timepiece that can weather the bumps and knocks of daily life without any trouble. To that end, the 40mm case is made from grade 2 titanium, a light weight and highly corrosion resistant material. At the top end of titanium watches, brands tend to use grade 5 material because it has more innate strength than grade 2, however it’s also more expensive and Arken have alleviated the disparity by treating the metal to boost its natural properties.

Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020

The result of which is that this is a titanium watch with a compact thickness of 11.5mm, a lug-to-lug of 46mm plus 300m water resistance for under £400. It also has an integrated titanium bracelet and a full titanium bezel, making it incredibly versatile. That alone is solid value for money and we haven’t even talked about the design or styling yet.

Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020
Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020

Let’s be honest, it’s not going to be a watch for everyone. The thick bezel with wide teeth is rugged to say the least and when you take the flat black dial and large lumed indices into consideration the overall impression is somewhere between industrial and classic diver. Subtle it is not. But in a year when bright green dials have been all the rage, who cares about subtle? In fact, why not go the whole way and give it three completely different shaped hands? Oh wait, they have. And personally, I like the watch all the more for it.

Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020

Inside the titanium case is the Japanese Miyota Calibre 9015 Hi Beat automatic movement. It’s an off the shelf piece with a 42-hour power reserve and it’s fine. Arken have stated that their objective is one day to have every part of their watches produced in the UK, although their commitment to accessibility takes precedence at the moment. Which makes sense, as a young microbrand you don’t want to price yourself out of business before you’ve begun. Plus, we’re always hearing how you should support local industries with your purchases and Arken are a worthy consideration.

Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020
Arken Instrumentum Ref. 1020

Its unapologetic design might put some people off but if you take the plunge, you’ll be rewarded with a solid daily beater that can keep pace with you through all of life’s activities. And if you order by 17:00 today, September 17, you can get it at the pre-order price of £359.99, after which it goes up to a full retail cost of £429.99, that’s a £70 saving.

Price & Specs:

Model: Arken Instrumentum
Reference: 1020
Case/Dial: 40mm, titanium case, black dial
Water Resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Miyota 9015 hi-beat automatic movement, 24 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Titanium bracelet
Price/availability: £429.99 (£359.99 only until 17:00 BST 17th September), limited to 300 pieces

More details at Arken.

About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Junior Content Producer for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. While a relative newcomer to the magazine, he's nonetheless a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better.

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