This website was set up to promote British watch brands, and we are pleased to see another one: The Akura Wayfarer was designed in Scotland. Is it worth the £399 asking price?
Akura Wayfarer Review
We’ve been spoiled for choice for British Kickstarter watches this year, with Hamtun, Isotope and Newmark all bringing superb watches to market in 2019. The latest contender, from Dundee, is Akura, whose Wayfarer model is launching on Kickstarter any day now. They lent me two prototypes to see what I thought of them.
The Akura Wayfarer’s case is 41mm, and a great fit on my 7.5 inch wrist. It is just contoured enough to be comfortable (some bigger watches can be slab-like). On the side are two crowns: the one at 3 O’clock winds the accurate and reliable Miyota 9015 mechanism and the one at 4 O’clock rotates the internal bezel. Finishing is top-notch all-round. I particularly like the chamfered edges of the case. The engraving on the crowns is deep and crisp and the display caseback reveals a beautifully finished rotor.
If I have pick fault, it is that the Miyota movements are not very pretty, even when finished with perlage. The detail on the rotor counteracts this somewhat, and there is a hole in the centre to make it stand out, but I just can’t get excited about seeing these movements. A Miyota 9015 is a good choice for a balance between quality and price, being cheaper than a Swiss Sellita or ETA and not too far away in terms of accuracy.
Dial and Hands
Both colours of dial have the same design: an applied outer ring with hour markers cut into it, laid on top of a dial with a 3D wave design. The design brought to my mind my daily wearer, the Offshore Professional Field Engineer (although that dial bears comparison with some Corum Romulus models). It made me enjoy this watch more because of that familiarity. Legibility for both dials is excellent, with the white having crips black borders around the hands. The dial has great depth and looks and feels better than a £400 watch has any right to.
On the downside, I was unsure about the way the two-digit dates are stacked on the white-dial model. It looked odd to me, and I preferred the standard date wheel in the black watch. I believe the black model is an earlier prototype so if it bothers you it’s best to check which date wheel is going to be used in the production models before you back on Kickstarter. I am not sure I would use the internal bezel, which is printed with cardinal points for use as a compass (like the Pole Livid). A countdown or second timezone would be more useful to me.
Strap and Bracelet
The watch comes with either a leather strap or a metal bracelet. While the strap was acceptable in quality and thickness and looks good, I much prefer the AP-inspired bracelet. It’s well made, if a little thin, with a decent, thick clasp mechanism.
When off the wrist, the watch doesn’t sit flat as the bracelet does not fold all the way back on itself, and that helps it wear well for me as it does not hug the contours of my wrist too much. It could end up feeling like a bangle on smaller wrists, so if you have very small wrists it’s worth bearing in mind. All the engraved parts are nice and deep but I did initially think the bracelet links were a little thin. I soon grew used to it, and think it’s just because I tend to wear chunky diver’s watches.
Akura Wayfarer – Video Review
What I Liked
- The watch looks great and is very legible
- Build quality is excellent all-round, especially the dial
- I love the feel of the bracelet, which is a step above the identikit choices on many Kickstarter watches
What I Didn’t Like
- I would like an option for a second time zone or timer on the internal bezel as I wouldn’t use a compass
- The stacked double-digit dates look odd to me and are hard to read at a glance
- The Miyota movement is not the prettiest thing to view through an open case back
Akura Wayfarer – the WRUK Verdict
Overall, I am a big fan of the Akura Wayfarer. It took me a while: at the start of my week with the watches I was unconvinced, but by the end, familiarity persuaded me it is a great watch. What it does really well is to be inoffensive. It’s just the right size and weight that you know you are wearing a watch without it being uncomfortable. The bracelet sits neither too tight nor too loose. And most importantly of all, it is easy to tell the time at a glance – and isn’t that why we buy watches in the first place? My only concern is the price tag, which while reasonable for the specs might be a little more than Kickstarter backers expect to pay.
Buy an Akura Wayfarer
The Akura Wayfarer comes to Kickstarter very soon at £399. For updates and a heads up when it goes live, head over to Akura’s website https://akuratime.com/ and sign up to their mailing list. You may also enjoy this guide on buying a quality compass watch.