Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv Review
My first impressions of the Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv were good -the watch was delivered for my weekend loan in a lovely leather watch roll. However, it turns out the production watches will not come in this but instead a black roll made of recycled plastic bottles. That is a great idea, and if it is as good as this roll, it will be very good indeed. Inside, the review loan package contained a steel watch and two extra straps.
Case and Crown
The Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv’s unique selling point is that it is a dive watch good for 200m of water resistance with a case just 8.5mm thick. That is some feat, and kudos to the brand for achieving that. For me, however, the case was a bit too thin for the 39mm diameter. The lugs are short and extremely narrow, and it just made the whole watch feel too light for me. The crystal is made of strong, scratch-resistant sapphire and the case back has a light engraving. One neat touch is that the case back is designed so that it always screws in straight – curing a common complaint about even expensive watches.
The movement is a Swiss Ronda – I don’t feel that Swiss quartz movements are worth a premium over their Japanese equivalents, so I feel that Larsen & Eriksen have perhaps put too much of the watch’s cost into this at the expense of the case. The finishing is adequate, but for me, it felt more like a £100 retail watch than the £300 that the brand says this watch will eventually retail for. The crown is a bit small for me – a common complaint with quartz – but the bezel action was good with a positive click.
Dial and Hands
The dial is not unattractive but did not inspire me either. There are no applied markers to add texture – just white lines radiating from a silver-coloured backdrop. Some kind of angled chapter ring or curve would have set off the Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv dial nicely, but there’s nothing to inspire me here.
The hands are easy to read against the dial thanks to some generous lume which activated after only a few moments in the sun. The absence of hour markers, however, means that orienting the watch in low light is difficult – especially if the bezel has been knocked off centre.
Straps and Bracelet
I was very disappointed in the bracelet, which is thin, rattly and fiddly to fasten with its complicated clasp. It is also very narrow, and overall it felt like the watch wasn’t adequately secured in place. The leather strap is better – it’s soft and supple and has a little bit of padding. I liked the square tip, which prevents it from getting caught on your cuff.
The star of the show, though, is the rubber strap. It is made of a lovely soft silicone material that feels great on the wrist and contrasts nicely with the watch head. If I were to back the Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv, then this is the strap I would choose.
Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv – Video Review
What I Liked
- The watch has its own unique design language and does not mirror an existing design.
- The rubber strap is superb.
- The brand’s carbon-neutral stance is admirable, as is their use of recycled materials.
What I Didn’t Like
- The watch feels almost too thin for a diver – it makes it feel flimsy rather than sleek.
- The supplied bracelet and clasp is very cheap feeling
- The Swiss movement makes the watch more expensive than the competition
Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv – the WRUK Verdict
I wish I could recommend the Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv, but it just was not for me. I found that it failed at some key test of a diver’s watch: low-light legibility, thanks to the absence of hour markers, and ruggedness, thanks to the flimsy bracelet and lack of weight.
There is a lot to like about the watch: the case back crew design I really clever, and making a watch this thin – even with a quartz movement – and managing to make it water-resistant to 200m is an impressive engineering feat. However, when I compare it to, say, a TAG Heuer Aquaracer Quartz, the Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv falls way short of the mark – even at its discounted price of £150.
The real competition for Larsen & Eriksen is a lot closer to home: the Nordgreen Infinity retails at the same price as the Aktiv: it is better built, with better bracelet options; its movement, whilst not Swiss, is just as accurate; and you can get it now without the risks of Kickstarter.
Buy a Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv
The Larsen & Eriksen Aktiv is funding now on Kickstarter at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/larseneriksen/aktiv