Here at WRUK we love watch designers who are willing to take a risk, be it the marmite looks of the ZOID Mastermind or the unusual choice of materials in the Leafwood wooden watch. That is why, when Alexander Loh from Arcturus Watches got in touch and sent us some images of the Arcturus LC-1, our interest was truly piqued. Our editor, Mike, insisted on covering this one personally.
Coming Soon: The Arcturus LC-1 – An Art Deco wristwatch
Watch enthusiasts can be a fickle and conservative bunch, but the recent success of SevenFriday and the successful Kickstarter funding of the ZOID Mastermind has encouraged me that bold designs can do well – perhaps even thrive – in the crowdfunded environment. The beauty of Kickstarter et al is that it allows designers an almost risk-free opportunity to float their idea in front of the paying public and it means that the filter of company executives that prevents new designs from proliferating is removed.
I live in a late 1920s house, and ever since we removed a radiator cover in a bedroom to reveal an original fireplace I have been interested in art deco design. There is something about the brutal design aesthetics that inspires me – like steampunk, the vision of the future from those in the past is somehow more attractive than the clean lines of the actual post-2000 world. With the LC-1 (LC stands for Singapore – the “Lion City”), Arcturus have taken art-deco elements, materials and design cues and thrown them together into a design that shouldn’t work – but somehow does.
About the Arcturus LC-1
What do we have then? First off, the LC-1 is in a heavily Richard Mille-inspired stainless steel case which comes in either a polished or PVD bronze finish. Gently curved, ribbed sides attach to a 22mm leather strap. The dial itself features a sandblasted or mother of pearl layer, sandwiched between a layer of luminescent material and applied elements. The 3D, layered look is most attractive and the mother of pearl should add a welcome sheen to proceedings on the top end models.
At 12 O’Clock is a date window and a power reserve indicator. At 6 O clock is a 24-hour indicator which can either be a regular needle in a dial or a sun and moon (at this price point, not a true moon phase). A double domed sapphire crystal magnifies the dial and protects it from most scratches. The case back has a partially open design that is inspired by Singapore’s criss-crossing Helix bridge.
What I like about the Arcturus LC-1 is:
- The bold, art-deco design is stunning
- The overall look, which doesn’t resemble anything else on the market
- The date window at 12 makes the dial look very balanced
- The way the complications have been incorporating without the dial just looking like a series of circles!
What I am unsure about:
- The case back. I think it has the worst elements of a closed and open case. I would have preferred a choice between a solid case back engraved with the Helix bridge design, or a full window that shows off the movement. I would especially like to see a “half-hunter” design where the case back could be opened like a pocket watch to reveal a glass case back that showed the movement in all its glory.
- I hope that the straps are high quality, Many microbrands use low-end straps and from the pictures, it is hard to tell whether the Arcturus LC-1 will have a quality strap or a more generic offering. A signed deployant buckle would be a nice touch, especially if it also shared the Art Deco aesthetic.
- I love the look of the bronze model, but would much rather have had a choice of either plated rose-gold or a full bronze case. I have grave concerns about how the PVD finish will look, as although it is my preferred look, it can look very cheap “in the metal” and any scratches or wear could look very unattractive.
Overall thoughts on the Arcturus LC-1
Until I have worn one, I cannot say for sure whether the Arcturus LC-1 lives up to its promise. That is one of the biggest drawbacks of Kickstarter watches, and that is why WRUK are hoping to loan one of the watches for a Week on the Wrist feature in the near future to help our readers decide for themselves whether to back the campaign. There is no greater compliment than putting your money where your mouth is, and I am seriously considering buying myself a 24-hour hand/mother of pearl/bronze model if my concerns over the PVD finish can been allayed.
Buy an Arcturus LC-1
The Arcturus LC-1 is being launched in the Chinese New Year period.
the Kickstarter prices will be:-
- Sandblasted dial, 24 hour hand – 399USD
- Mother of Pearl dial, 24 hour hand – 499USD
- Mother of Pearl dial with Sun & Moon – 599USD
Preorder your Arcturus LC-1 at Kickstarter from February 8th. You can follow progress at the Arcturus Facebook page or website.