Today we are gonna take a look at a brand that I knew existed, and wanted to review for some time. They make interesting oversized watches, but the most appealing thing to me is that they assemble and make as much of the watch as possible in Estonia (Baltic States). And that country is on the upper side of Latvia where I live. And we all in the Baltic States are kind of very proud of what we produce, design and make. So I wanted to review one of AEGAON watches to spread the word out there. But first let’s talk to AEGAON founder Janno Roodi:
1.) Introduce yourself?
My name is Janno Roodi (40) and I am the founder of AEGAON. I design our watches, but I don’t see myself as a designer. Designers have studies behind them and I have an understanding, that they follow certain design rules. I have never studied design, I just do what I like, the way I like it. I am a father of 2 awesome children. I have been self employed most of my life. Before AEGAON I designed and made custom furniture to restaurants and private customers for Estonian and Scandinavian market. I still sometimes do that, if I have the time for it and if the project seems interesting enough.
AEGAON comes from an Estonian saying “aega on”, which translates to “take your time”, in the context of “there is still time, no need to hurry”. Many of our customers like the fact, that their watch, that usually shows them how much or little time they have left for something “important”, is actually telling them, to take their time.
“Tabula Rasa” means “blank slate” in Latin. In a philosophical sense, it bears the idea that all people start off blank and build their character through perception and experience – an equal chance to shape ones life and future. “Tabula Rasa” is also a title of a classical music composition by our world famous composer, Mr. Arvo Pärt, who celebrated his 80-th anniversary at the time when our “Tabula Rasa” came out. So all together, it was a perfect name for our minimal and classic design.
3.) What started your watch passion?
I have always had a thing for oversized watches. But with AEGAON it all started when I was watching Elvis Presley’s video “Always On My Mind” on Youtube and noticed a huge watch on his wrist. No information about it could be found on the internet, so basically I went on designing and making one for myself, the way I thought my watch should look like –it was nothing like Elvis’s watch of course. Later it became AEGAON’s first watch “Peacemaker65”. At first I just made it for myself, but then even strangers started to approach me, asking what watch is this and where did I get it. So here we are today, 5 years later, with basically only two designs – Peacemaker and Tabula Rasa and selling around the world via online.
4.) What makes a good wristwatch to you?
Hard to say. I design watches the way I would like them. I don’t like to follow trends, as they come and go. Mostly I don’t even know what the current trends are. So basically to me, a watch must look timeless and yet different from all the others.
I don’t like to wear what everyone is wearing, walking down the street. The watch must have character, as far as the design is concerned. The other thing of course is quality. Whatever amount I pay for it, I expect it to last. So a fair amount of stainless steel, a precise movement that can withstand at least some reasonable beating, scratch proof sapphire optics – that’s what I want and that’s what we do in AEGAON. To me, a watch is an accessory first of all. If I need to know what the time is, I can always ask someone or take out my phone. Men don’t have many options for jewelry. A watch would be my first and only personal choice.
5.) How much watches do you have in your personal collection?
I only have AEGAON “Peacemaker65” Damascus steel edition. We made a couple of those some time ago, with the help of Estonias nr.1 knife smith, who works mostly with Damascus steel. I also have “Tabula Rasa”, that has some crazy PVD tone mix coating. Every peace of Damascus steel has a non-recurring pattern to it, so does the crazy PVD. Basically I only have AEGAON watches, that nobody else has.
6.) Who is your ideal customer?
Open minded, polite, friendly, understanding, patient.
7.) Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
As I have been in the furniture making business for over 10 years now, then I still like to get involved with some of the more interesting projects. Other than that, I don’t have much free time. I do like to travel, go to concerts here in Estonia and travel to other countries for them if necessary. The last one was Nick Cave in Luxembourg – I’ve always wanted to see him, so now I finally did. But I also like to spend time and fool around with my kids, read books and so on.
I don’t have any special places or things for inspiration. I guess it just comes from everything around me and eventually forms into an idea in my mind. The problem I have with ideas is that they tend to haunt me until I realize them.
8.) How do you see AEGAON watch brand in future?
It would be nice if we could offer people alternative to the conventional 50 and 100 years from now. Since we already are the first Estonian watch company, then it would be nice if we could be the oldest at some point too. We are in this business for the long run, so if our children would be willing to take over AEGAON at some point, that would be enough for me.
9.) Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?
We don’t exactly have a need for any new designs at the moment. We just now released “Tabula Rasa 38” for women and “Peacemaker53”. But I have some ideas on the table and in my head, so it’s just a matter of time. Just keep an aye on our website once in a while.
Watch that we will be reviewing today is the AEGAON Tabula Rasa quartz model on the brown leather strap. Which is their most popular model.
So the watch came in a nice looking black leather box with white stitching. with AEGAON branding. You open the box and there sits the watch. Under the watch, you will find instructions and warranty. The packaging is very minimal. But the watch surprised me because the pictures on the site really don’t give justice to it. The quality is really nice and it has a nice weight to it. Also, the strap is really good quality. I was expecting just a decent one, as usually, brands don’t even bother by putting on a decent trap or at least something interesting.
The case of the watch is made from 316L stainless steel. The case is round with short, straight lugs. The diameter is 44mm which on paper actually sounds big, but due to short lugs and how the crown is positioned, it wears more like 42mm. Thickness is 12,2mm, lug tip to lug tip is 52mm and lug width is 24mm. The proportions of the watch are really spot on. AEGAON puts this watch in oversized watch category, but in my opinion, it is far from the oversized watch territory. It really wears good and feels comfortable. At 10 o’clock you will find a push/pull crown which looks pretty cool and has the “A” of AEAGON machined on. The finishing all over watch is brushed and is done really good. It isn’t rough but is just spot on. The case back is screw down and some specifications and name of the watch engraved. The watch has decorative screws on lugs, so at first, I thought they are for the strap change, but the watch has regular spring bars. I kind of dig the look, it gives it that muscular, industrial look. On top of the dial sits a flat AR coated sapphire crystal. Water resistance sadly is only 50m (5ATM). I would’ve loved it to be at least 100m water resistant and the crown could also be a screw down one.
The dial is very simple. Eastern Europe seems to really love minimal watch dials, especially the Baltics. The dial is in white colour and has black applied hour markers. At 3 o’clock you have a small date window. The AEGAON logo is in black colour at 12 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are skeletonized square one in black colour. The second’s hand is orange and stick shaped. Overall the dial is very minimalistic but good looking. I would add some more details or some writings on the dial, as it would fill the free space which the dial has a lot. But I get it why it is done, because as the Tabula Rasa means: a blank slate, it kind of goes with the minimal design. Another thing that I would add is lume. I like the skeletonized hands, but I would better prefer the lume. As this watch is tough looking and would really be good for going hiking or something like that.
The movement inside is Swiss made Ronda 715 quartz which is another great workhorse. It is precise, the battery lasts 2,5 to 3 years. And the won’t be any problems with that. I also have to mention that there is an automatic version of the same watch which features another good workhorse, but this time from Japan, the Miyota 8215 automatic movement.
The strap that comes with the watch is really good. The leather feels like buffalo leather, but isn’t And I also like the stitching, I usually hate stitching on straps, but this one I like a lot. I won’t even put my other straps on this one and keep as it is. The back of the strap is lined with very soft material and feels comfortable to wear. It is also very soft leather so it will wrap your wrist nicely and take shape on the first day. So you won’t need the break-in period. The buckle is pretty good, it is tang style one with AEGAON logo engraved on it.
Overall the watch is pretty solid one. It has nice muscular, industrial design. I like some details like the screws on the sides of the lugs and how the crown looks. You get Swiss Ronda movement with quartz version or Japan Miyota 8215 in the automatic version. It also features sapphire glass. Quite a good package. But as I said, for the watch to be perfect in my mind, it needs lume on hands and somehow they need to make that dial more interesting. I still like the looks, but would be cool if they added some text or colour. Also adding the screw down crown would be good as in that way the water resistance could be 100m at least.
Case Dimensions: 44MM
Case Material: brushed stainless steel
Optics: sapphire crystal / antireflective coating on one side
Water Resistant: 5ATM
Strap: brown leather with light brown stitching
Strap width: 24mm
Strap length: 210mm
Type: electronic quartz movement
Swiss Movement: “Ronda 715”
Jewels: 5 pcs
Battery style: 371
Warranty: 2 years
Watch Origin: designed and finished in Estonia (EU)