Klokers Klok-01 (Review)

Today, I’m excited to go hands-on with the Klok-01. This watch caught my eye last summer. I was scrolling through kickstarter projects and saw this one. The busy dial, rotating discs, modular straps and other accesories. It seemed all very interesting.

Klokers is rather new brand. A new line of Swiss-made (Yes that’s right) watches that were launched as crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Campaign raised 605,000 euros off of a 50k goal, making their project a big success! The campaign contained two different watches built off of the same modular platform, the Klok-01 and the Klok-02. The first was a disk watch based on circular slide rules that used a unique Ronda quartz movement to rotate the disks counter-clockwise (more on this later). The second was a unique world-timer display and retrograde minutes, based off of the Soprod Mecatronic movement. Klokers was created by two guys Nicolas Boutherin and Richard Piras.

Richard Piras: “I’ve been working in the timepiece industry for 10 years now with the aim of pushing back the limits of a trade which has changed little over the space of three centuries. My job as an engineer saw me working on technological innovations in varied fields ranging from electric vehicles to the biomedical sector.”

Nicolas Boutherin: “Richard and I have one major point in common: enterprise. Innovation, creation and the new technologies is how I would sum up my professional life. What guides me? Pleasure and a determination to push back the boundaries. Although I am not an engineer like Richard, I have a technological background which I seek to use for the benefit of society. How can I change the way that items are used, to make people’s lives better? I came up with this watchmaking project by approaching it with a fresh set of eyes and adopting a new perspective. My goal was to remove all barriers between watchmaking and fashion. The idea was to build a polymorphous environment which takes account of uses and common practices in order to move beyond them and look to the future.”

Ok, off with that. let’s look at the Klok-01! Let’s start with the packaging. It is simple and looks very interesting. But if honest, I was waiting something more, that gives the wow. Of course packaging isn’t the main thing here, as the main wow is the watch. But packaging is one of the things that gives the customer, sort of “pleasure” unpacking it. That was the main thing that surprised me, as I was waiting some wooden box or something.

The case is simple, but complex in design. Measuring 44mm in diameter it’s a sizable all dial watch, but entirely lacks lugs, so it wears like 40mm. From above, there isn’t much to see. The dial is the main thing you see, running edge to edge, only revealing a tiny silver line of polished steel. On the right side at 3 is a thin crown. On the left side at 8 is a pusher with a red inlay that detaches the watch from the strap. No spring bars or screws, rather a simple to use, but likely complex to make a mechanism for swapping straps. When you flip the watch over, you see the case back. It features a milled out slot, in which you have a flange where you slide in the straps and other accessories.

Klokers concept for their modular timepieces is that you could attach them to pocket-watch chains, stands for home use, and perhaps more. Now they only have straps, pocket watch chain with a little pouch, but time will come, and more accessories hopefully will come.

The main attention is obviously the dial. Which has three rotating disks, it also is always rotating so it’s really interesting to look at. This is part of the magic and challenge of a disk watch. It is always moving, meaning that every possible arrangement of the dial has to be designed well and look good. With the Klok-01, they did this well. I like this dial, as it has that old retro look, When I was little I had these paper rotating disk things which you can use for mathematics.

Each disk has its own index. The outer is the hours, consisting of large numerals per hour, and then quarter hour marks in between, displaying the minute. The quarter hours eat up the empty space. This way, you can look at the watch and very quickly see if it’s about half past or a quarter till… it’s not to the minute precision, but is often what you need. The hour index is all blue type on a white surface, save “12” which is knocked out of a blue square.

The next ring is minutes. You have numerals every 5 and lines in between changing in scale every 15 minutes. For the first and third quarter hour, the lines display have minutes. For the second and fourth quarters, the lines display quarter minutes. Frankly, you don’t need these additional lines, but they do add some more texture to the dial. Here the numerals are presented in blue colour. Similarly to the “12” on the hours the “00” is knocked out of a blue block.

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The last disk is the seconds. This one is the most simple, with numerals every 5 in a small type in black, lines per second and half second. The half seconds here actually do something interesting. Since the watch is powered by a quartz movement, the second hand ticks once per second. Like most quartz watches like this, the seconds get out of position, but because there are more division lines, something always lines up. And it is also interesting to watch. As the dial is moving.

Looking at the dial you can see that it’s balanced and well designed. The typo gets smaller as the ring gets smaller, and it makes sense. The larger font is hours, than a bit smaller is minutes and smallest is seconds. The font is very crispy and easy to read.

The last par of the dial is the crystal. Made of plastic (they say transparent polymer), it’s domed and provides the reference line off which you read the time. Molded in is a wide internal magnifier of sorts, on which is a blue line that acts as the reference for the time. In the center of the dial/crystal is a blue cap that covers the central axis and completes the slide rule look. At first when I saw the pictures, I didn’t uite like the magnifier, but when I got the watch, I started get in love with it. It gave the watch a proper instrument look, and without it, it would be just too simple.

You need to get used to the dial to read time fast as from your regular analogue watch. But after you got it, it’s easy. They also reversed the direction of the movement. While you can assume that the disks are basically replacing the hands of the watch, they don’t turn clockwise. This makes total sense when you think about how a watch works. Imagine if the hands on your watch stood still and the dial turned underneath. The dial would turn caused to the counter-clockwise. On most disk watches, you have to reverse that in your head, which is like me doing things with my left hand (I’m right handed).

The watch straps are the other half of the modular system. They are single piece straps that once again have a simple aesthetic, but complex construction. They taper like two-piece straps, starting at 22, thinning to 18mm. They are made of decent red suede leather. It feels very soft. A bit hard at first and wasn’t sitting well on my hand, but after some time it wears in and sits nicely. On top of the strap is the corresponding male piece to the mechanism on the case back. It’s bolted on to the strap with a steel plate, that sits on the opposite side, against your wrist.

The strangest part of the construction is that one side is thicker than the other, building up where the lug would be. That’s because of the slide-in mechanism of the modular system. This and the metal plate actually push the watch off centre, making it wear more towards one side of the wrist. At first, I couldn’t get used to it, but when you get used to it, it’s ok. They have many colour choices for straps, and also they have double straps, they are a bit pricey, but the quality is worth it.

Apart from the off-centre issue, the watch wears very well. It’s 44mm, which is big, and all-dial watches tend to feel bigger still, but the watch just doesn’t look or feel oversized, because it lacks lugs. The proportions make a lot of sense, especially since there is actually quite a lot going on with the dial. Each index is fairly dense, and there isn’t much blank space.

Overall, the watch is very cool. The dial is the main reason I wanted to review this watch. And the idea of making an affordable watch with a dial that moves so much, that only luxury watches had in past. Ok, there are some bad things about it, like the modular system has a slight movement and the watch is moving in there slightly, but not a big problem. Also when you shake the watch a little bit, you can hear the disks shaking, but as I heard that’s normal. Other than that, it’s amazing! And if you need an interesting conversation piece, this is THE ONE! It costs not so much, and looks good, what do you need more for your watch collection?

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Price: 399,00 € @ klokers.com

THE CASING

-The klokers key: a pushbutton at 8 o’clock to unlock the watch head from its base
-Material: metal-polymer composite
-Dimensions: 44 mm wide x 11.5 mm deep
-Water tightness: waterproof, down to 5 m
-Glass: transparent polymer with built-in magnifying lens

MOVEMENT

-“Swiss Made”
-Driven by a high-tech movement (high precision Quartz movement)
-Displaying the rotary discs is made possible thanks to the use of extremely efficient Lavet-type bidirectional and energy efficient micro-motors

WARRANTY

Two-year warranty against all production defects

DETAILS & SPECS OF THE BRACELET

– Width: 22 mm
– Length: 245 mm
– Strap material: real leather; other materials are currently being considered (fabric, rubber, mix of materials).

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