Alexander Watches Nikos Chronograph A422 (Review) + Interview with founder

Today we are gonna look at another chronograph from a brand called Alexander watches. Previously I reviewed their Aigai Chronograph and that was a pretty good watch, but I had complaints about the pricing, now they lowered their prices to a very acceptable level. But today we are looking at their most expensive one, the Nikos Chronograph. I know that many of my readers won’t like the design, but as I like the odd design watches too, like the MB&F’s and even some Richard Milles and Hublots, I kind of am liking this one too. Why I wanted to review this one? Well…first of all, because I was impressed by the Aigai Chronograph which I reviewed a couple of months ago. Second, I liked the design from the pictures I saw on their page and also I just wanted to check what it means to get the most expensive watch from their collection. So I asked if they could send in the sample and get it reviewed. The review actually needed to be published about 2 months ago, but due to some health issues, I could not finish it in time, but on the bright side, it gave me a lot more time to test the watch before I lay out my thoughts on it. Before I review the watch, let’s have a small chat with the man behind Alexander watches, Barry Kaplan:

1.Introduce yourself

My name is Barry Kaplan. I am the CEO of Alexander Watches

2.What started your watch passion?

My late grandfather was a Swiss-trained watchmaker. I never met him, but my parents had many of his tools and equipment stored in the garage and in parts of the house. I have also always been enamored with time and space, even from a very early age. As one of my hobbies, I spend a lot of time researching current developments in the understanding of space-time and quantum mechanics.

3.What makes a good wristwatch to you?

Functionality, style and form-factor working in concert. A good watch for me is the sum of its parts. Often great movements are paired with less-than-stellar cases or dials or vice-versa. The true greats in watchmaking lore are those timepieces that combine great movements with beautiful cases and dials.

4.How much watches do you have in your personal collection? And maybe you could list them? 

I have about 15 watches including Zenith, Omega, Oris, Baume-et-Mercier, Frederique Constant, Seiko and Casio. Watch collecting tends to bring out snobbery. I will drink any good whisky, whether it is from Scotland or Japan, single malt or a blend. I feel the same about watches. A good watch is a good watch – price and movement provenance are important, but not deal-breakers. I have owned or worn many other brands, but for practicality, my watches are all modestly priced so that I don’t get upset should I inadvertently damage them.

5.Who is your ideal customer?

A customer who buys our watch and loves it (and Alexander’s top-notch service). She loves our product and service so much, she tells ten other people about her experience.

6.Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I love cars, astronomy, physics, music, sculpture, painting, philosophy, and literature. Inspiration comes from everywhere, especially nature – Poems are made by fools like me, But only G-d can make a tree (Joyce Kilmer). Since automotive culture is so similar to horological culture, I find that there is a distinct parallelism between the two industries and a lot of inspiration comes from the automotive world. Sculpture has had a huge influence on me. Growing up, Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture was awe-inspiring, especially “Bird in Space”. When I saw this masterpiece in person at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was gobsmacked. Sculpture still informs my design decisions today.

7.How do you see Alexander watch brand in future?

We want to take the brand into the mechanical realm. Right now only a few Alexander watch models are mechanical. We would like to introduce some contemporary-classic watches with unique features and some well-respected mechanical movements.

8.Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?

We have a new world-timer about 6 weeks from release; production samples of our Vathos2 diver will be received next week; and our first pilot’s watch will be ready soon.

I’m actually really excited to see the world timer and their take on a pilots watch. But now let’s get to the review of the Nikos Chronograph. So the watch arrived in the same Alexander watches blue box as the last one. I like the styling and all, but I think they should up the quality of the boxes as they are a bit flimsy. But I like that they kept them small, not like Omega that gives the impression that you are getting like 10 watches, not one, because the box is so big, that you can fit 10 watches in there. But enough about the box. Inside you will get the watch, warranty card, manual and some documents. The first impressions were, wow…it’s a big one. The watch is really big, not overly big, but pretty big. Biggest I’ve reviewed, but it kind of works with that interesting design in my opinion.

The case of the Nikos chronograph is made of stainless steel. The case is coated with black PVD with a satin brushed finish. The coating is pretty good on this one, there are no lighter or darker spots or anything and it holds up pretty well too. I have banged the watch on doorknobs and while biking, not a single scratch. On top of the case, we have this kind of Genta design inspired bezel, which kind of looks to have almost like a blue anodized metal look. I don’t know what they use for coating the bezel, so if someone knows, please write in the comments section. The bezel is held on with 6 screws which also gives that Hublot feel. You can really see that they had many inspirations from famous brands, but they kind of made it their own. So let’s talk size. This is a big watch, the diameter of the case is 46mm, lug to lug tip it measures at 55,6mm, the thickness is 16,7mm and lug width is around 26,4mm, but the strap is integrated. Yes the watch looks, feels and sounds big, and yes it is pretty heavy at 185 grams, but…. it is comfortable to wear, like really comfortable. The only time you notice it is on your wrist is when you look at the wrist or when you feel the weight. It wears so well on the wrist because of how the case is so big and the lugs go down on the edge, perfectly wrapping the wrist. Also, another thing why it is so damn comfortable on the wrist is the rubber strap, but about the strap, we will talk later. Yes, the watch could be a bit smaller, it could work at 44mm and even at 42mm size, but I think Alexander watches chose the 46mm because there is a niche in the big watch market. Their collection is made from watches of all kind of designs. They have classic dress watches, chronographs, sports divers and chronographs and they have the Nikos chronograph which is this oddball, in a good way. I just think they want to offer a watch for every taste. And that is a good strategy. The case back of the Nikos chronograph has an exhibition window. The case back is held on with 6 small screws. The crystal on the back is a flat Krysterna crystal, the same you will find on the dial side. We talked about the Krysterna crystal on the Aigai review, so go check that out if you are interested in what Krysterna crystal is. At the right side of the case, you will find two pushers and the crown. The crown is a push/pull and is super easy to pull out and operate. The crown is also signed with the Alexander watches logo. The pushers operate like a regular pushers do. The feel is very good when you push them in. Crown and pushers have a gloss black finish which contrasts very well with the satin brushed finish of the case.

Now we come to the dial, and that is a pretty busy dial. It has a lot of stuff and layers going on. The dial has 4 layers. On the outside edge, we have the tachymeter scale for the chronograph function. At 12 o’clock we have the Alexander logo. Around the dial, we have the applied, lume filled hour markers which have Arabic numerals and stripes as markers. On the second layer, you will find the subdials at 12 and 6 o’clock. The top one counts 30min for the chronograph and the one at 6 is a 12 hour counter. The skeletonized hands for those subdials are blued, just like the other hands, but I don’t know if they are done the proper way or are they lacquered. On the third layer, you will find the small seconds subdial which has this matte grey back where you can see through it the date and day wheels. The small second’s hand is also skeletonized but with lume on the end. On the fourth layer, you will find the day and date wheels. which have this silver almost like triangle frame going around the day and date window. The tapered shape blued hour and minute hands have lume on them as well. The second’s hand is just a stick hand with a small triangle with lume on the end. The lume on this watch is pretty good and lasts well over 3 hours. It was really hard to capture the dial on photos as it doesn’t translate so well as how impressive it looks in real life. I really like the design of it.

The movement inside the Nikos is the Valjoux/ETA 7750 and it is the lower grade one without any finishing or anything. Alexander Watches took the time to engrave the rotor and make it in same blue colour as the bezel. This time the engraving looks better and the rotor isn’t scratched up like it was on the other one. The Valjoux 7750 is a Swiss Made Manual/Self-Winding Automatic Chronograph movement. 25 jewels, 28,800 V.P.H and 40-hour power reserve. Overall this is a solid movement. Almost every big company in the watch industry uses this movement this way or higher grade modified one, as they have proven their reliability and quality over the years. There, of course, are some problems like the noisy rotor or that it is very thick movement. The rotor problem can be eliminated by adding a tiny bit of oil to the bearing of the rotor and it after that spins more quietly. But the thickness is what it is. This particular one ran at +3 to +4 seconds a day, which s very good. I will go more in-depth with this movement in another article in some time from now, so stay tuned.

Now we come to the integrated strap. This is the one thing that I don’t like about the Nikos chronograph. The integrated straps actually are my least favourite ones, as it makes the strap change a pain. In this case, you can’t get a replacement from Alexander watches or any other option of the strap, like leather or anything else. At least I didn’t find any chance to buy the straps separately. So what to do? Order a custom strap from a strap maker is the only option, it is a costly one, but this way, at least you can get a new strap. So I’m not a big of that. I would just make it 26mm wide and with a regular style attaching it to the watch. But if you can overcome that, it shouldn’t be a problem then. Anycase the strap that comes with the watch is very well made anyway. It is a black high-grade silicone strap, a pretty basic design. The silicone is very soft and really feels good. The quality is there. The strap is attached from what I can see with regular spring bars, so it must be that the screws on the strap are decorative. The tang buckle is made of stainless steel and has the same black PVD coating as the case. The silicone strap really makes a difference on such a big watch and now I understand why watch brands that make big and heavy watches like Richard Mille, Hublot and Panerai put their watches on silicone straps, it really makes the watch much more comfortable on the wrist and you immediately forget about the size of the case.

Overall I’m pretty impressed by the watch, I’ve been wearing it for 2 months now and I’m pretty pleased with it. I know that I’ve said I like smaller size watches now, but I appreciate the big size of this one and after wearing it for a couple of months you start to forget about the size and don’t even notice it. Do I suggest it? Well, it depends if you like the design, because the quality and the package you get is worth it I think. You get a nice solid Swiss made watch, original design, Swiss made automatic chronograph movement, exhibition case back and nice silicone strap. Also, look out for discounts, they occasionally have crazy discounts like 50% off the price.

Price: $1,465.00 @ alexanderwatch.com

Hands Sword-Style Hands with Luminous fill
Markers Individually Applied Arabic Numerals and Stick-Style Indices filled with SuperLuminova
Bezel Satin-Finish Bezel
Dimensions 3H-9H: 47mm; 6H-12H: 47mm
Case Back Hardened Mineral (Krysterna) Screw Down Exhibition Case Back
Crystal Hardened Mineral Crystal (Krysterna Front & Back)
Crown Push/Pull Serrated Crown with Function Pushers
Water Resistance 10 ATM Water Resistant (100 meters/330 feet)
Strap High Grade Silicon Rubber Strap (26mm wide)
Buckle Stainless Steel Tang Buckle with Alexander hallmarking
Movement Swiss Made Automatic Chronograph
Calibre ETA 7750
Complications Hour, Minutes, and Chronograph Seconds, Small Seconds, 30 Minute Counter, 12 Hour Counter, Day and Date Complication
Frequency 28,800 V.P.H
Jewels 25 Jewels
Power Reserve 40 Hours
Movement Details Brushed Stainless Steel

 

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