Klokers KLOK-01 Black Minimal (Review) – Klokers Reborn!

Today we are gonna talk about a brand that I just love! Klokers is probably one of my most favourite watch brand overall as the design and everything is so cool! My OG readers probably remember that I made a review of the KLOK-01 back in the day (4 years ago) and I still own the original KLOK-01. They were one of the first watch brands to utilize the Kickstarter successfully and one of the first brand to raise nearly € 650,000 in 2015 and more than € 500,000 in 2017. The brand was on top of the microbrand market with its innovative design of time inspired by a calculus ruler from the ’70s. Its community was strong, growing, engaged, and active on the world wide web. Just when I thought that they are really doing great! But on July 4, I received an email that shook me and made me a little sad titled: “Klokers, it’s over!”

Basically from what I understand the company was entangled in a legal-financial knot. With two entities – a French parent company and a Swiss production subsidiary – the risk increased, and they ended up with bank debt that asphyxiated the business. The situation is due to a major event dating from June 2017. Their case supplier for the KLOK-01 and KLOK-02 delivered whole batches on which serious sealing problems appeared: 100% on the KLOK-02 and 50% on the KLOK-01! After investigation, they realized that manufacturer had completely changed tools and did not warn Klokers. The net loss for the company amounted to more than 1.5 million euros. All cash was spent there. From that moment, in December 2017 the dominos started falling and Klokers went bankrupt in July 2019. I actually remember that moment as I waited for the watch for 9 months and I remember that the employee told me that they have a lot of problems with the manufacturing. Thus many of the Kickstarter backers actually didn’t receive a watch at all, only a half of the watches were delivered despite them selling them on their website too. Anycase the original Klokers story ended in 2019.

But fast forward to June 2020 Klokers announced its comeback with a new team and new owner. Drawing upon their know-how and their extensive expertise in the fields of industry, product design, brands and the digital sector, a number of entrepreneurs joined forces in a new business named “Kinaöök” with the aim of promoting the Klokers spirit in France and abroad: “The relationship with all of the suppliers was greatly strengthened, based around the timepiece manufacturer Mercier, guaranteeing all the excellence and quality of Swiss Made timepieces.” And when I received an email titled “Klokers is back” I was super happy and immediatelly contacted the company and they sent me their newest watch the KLOK-01 which is redesigned in a more minimal style. Right now Klokers has the KLOK-01 44mm and KLOK-08 39mm in their collection and they have a ton of colours, strap and accessories options.

So the watch I chose to review is the KLOK-01 Minimal with the black dial on a millanese bracelet. Klokers also sent me the Bussetto & Klip accessory to also review so that will have a seperate article a little later. The watch came in a nice square cardboard box. The box is kept very simple, yet gives a nice pleasant unboxing experience. Inside you will find the watch head, bracelet, instructions and warranty card. Right out of the box I can see that the new KLOK-01 is a bit heavier and the crystal sits much higher. Also some design changes to the strap attachment mechanism behind the watch and the case itself now is not waterproof, but water resistant. But sadly there is a small qc problem with my example that I saw right out of the box and it is that the crystal isn’t pressed in straight, it sights slightly turned to the right side. You canb see it when looking straight at the watch that the line with which you read time isn’t sitting straight. Yes, that is a bummer, but it doesn’t worry me as my watchmaker will straighten it out + if the watch comes from Klokers with any defect, you can easily use the warranty and they will take care of this.

So the case of the KLOK-01 is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well manufactured, it is basically the same case, but with minor changes to the strap securing mechanism and how the water resistance is achieved. The case I would say is made better than the first Klokers watches had on them, but that is understandable. The case is mainly polsihed and only on the caseback we have a satin brushed finishing. The finishing is done pretty good. At 3 o’clock we have the same push-pull crown which is pretty big and slim, but yet very easy to grap and change time. The crown is signed with “K” and it is pretty deeply engraved in the crown, much better than on the first one. On the left side at 8 is a pusher/button 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 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. The case is basically the same size only difference is the thickness. The case of the KLOK-01 is 44mm in diameter and the thickness is 12,5mm (11,5mm on the original one). The watch may seem big on paper, but due to lack of the lugs, it wears much smaller than it is. For me it feels like a 40mm watch easily. On top of the watch we have a transparent polymer with built-in magnifying lens(x1,4). I would love to see a sapphire crystal one day on these as the polymer one scratches super easily. The watch on the back says it is water resistant, but by no means it is a watch to go swimming with it, it can resist some light hand wash or rain, but nothing more.

The dial, well… for the Minimal version of KLOK-01 inspiration were the old reflex cameras or should I say the old lenses and you can actually see it when looking at the dial that if you have seen old vintage photo lenses, they look familiar. The dial layout is like on any other KLOK-01 model with three discs for hours, minutes and seconds. And you read the time by the line that goes from 12 o’clock to the middle of the dial. The outer disc is for the hours, middle disc is for the minutes and the smallest disc is for the seconds and it is constantly moving. The dial is much more minimalistic than on the original one, which is now called with a new name “Heritage”. The dial on minimal as the name of the watch suggests is very minimal. The rime reading isn’t easy on these watches, but after a week or so you get used to it, but just remember, this watch is more as a fashion accessorie as a precision timepiece. You just won’t be able to read time super correctly second by second. One thing that I actually spotted while wearing the watch, the rattle of the discs is smaller than on the original one. On the original one the discs rattle a lot while wearing the watch or shaking it a little, but on the new one they made the discs to rattle less, although they still rattle it isn’t so annoying.

Movement inside the KLOK-01 is just a simple Swiss Made Ronda quartz movement that has some work done to it so it moves the discs correctly. I actually remember that it was another thing that made the first batches of original KLOK-01 watches. The movement wasn’t able to push the discs forward as they were too heavy for the movement. But on later models of teh original ones and the new KLOK-01 watches it works reliably and never had problems with this. The battery on these lasts around 16 months, but a small lifehack is to push out the crown in the last position when you are not using the watch so you can get 2-3 more lifetime from the battery. I actually lasted 4 years with one battery. The Ronda movement itself is very simple, widely used and very reliable quartz movement, you just can’t go wrong with this movement if we talk quartz.

The bracelet that Klokers sent me comes with a mesh bracelet. 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. The mesh bracelet feels like a very good one. The mesh doesn’t feel like the cheap one you can get on eBay, but it actually feels very good with rounded edges and it is very bendy so it sits on the wrist very comfortably. The strap has the standart locking mechanism that you get with mesh bracelets. On the locking mechanism you have a Klokers logo etched on top. 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 Klokers offers various straps and accessories with the watches, so if you buy one of their timepieces, I would get atleast 2-3 extra straps within some time so you have spares for future. Yes, they are pricey, but the quality is exceptional, and trust me I know this because I have tested the leather, suede, nato straps and now the mesh bracelet.

Overall the watch is really cool, just like I was expecting the Klokers to be! It is unique, cool looking timepice that everyone is asking me about when I wear it. Yes, the idea isn;t anything new using the discs, but to bring it in good looking, well made and functional package isn’t easy. Yes, it still has some small problems, but as I say to everyone there just isn’t a perfect watch, even the Rolex the perfectionists they are, have some small problems from time to time with watches that come right from the factory. We are people and we make mistakes, thats what makes us people. So did Klokers really came back? Yes, they are back and with much better quality timepieces with the same design and new dials. Can I suggest buying a Klokers? Yes, 100%, buy it! It is an amazing watch and thanks for reading this review!

Price: 555€ @ www.klokers.com

General Info

  • Adjustable mesh strap
  • Brushed stainless steel, Grey
  • Dimensions : 20 mm width , 230 mm length (excluding the buckle)
  • Pin buckle: stainless steel; engraved buckle

Fixing system

  • Klokers key in brushed stainless steel 316L, hypoallergenic treatment, engraved Klokers
  • Compatible with all Klok01 and Klok08 watch heads

Général

  • Dimensions : diameter 44 mm, thickness 11,5 mm
  • 316L stainless steel case
  • Glass: transparent polymer with built-in magnifying lens(x1,4)
  • Push-button at 8 to unlock the watch head from its base
  • Water resistant
  • 3 year warranty against any manufacturing defect.

Movement

  • Ronda (high-precision quartz movement)
  • Swiss Made : watch assembled in Switzerland
  • 1.55 V battery (lasts for approximately 16 mois)

Patents
The fixing system and the time display are both patented.

  • The fixing system (WIPO patent:
    WO 2016/001598
  • Time display (WIPO patent):
    WO 2017/042456

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