The accessible microbrand market is flourishing, yet among those hundreds of value proposition models, one has to be extremely selective. Putting design aside, quality isn’t always on par with what you’d expect from a nice mechanical watch and, sometimes, established brands remain the best possible option. Yet, some newcomers are doing a great job to offer both great value for money and attention to detail. Among these is Akrone, a French brand with a growing collection. Today we take a closer look at the K-05 ‘Steve’ Automatic Chronograph.
Akrone was born in 2014, in Nantes (French Brittany… not the place you’d expect to see a watchmaking atelier) with the idea of producing original, well-designed mechanical watches at a fair price. The brand is now established and has launched multiple collections – a pilot’s watch, an elegant model and a recently a diver’s watch. Proof of the quality of the watches built by Akrone, the brand is supplying multiple French military forces – Navy, commandos, pilots and paratroopers.
While the brand has recently introduced a new collection, the C-02 Compressor 300m diver’s watch (which will be delivered in Sept. 2020), we’ve decided to take a closer look at Akrone’s chronograph model, a piece inspired by motorsport and racing… You know that we’re also petrolheads at MONOCHROME.
The Akrone K-05 is a classic automative-inspired automatic chronograph. It isn’t groundbreaking, it’s just a well-executed and well-designed chronograph with a fair price, solid mechanics and several touches that make it slightly different.
The 41mm case of the Akrone K-05 – here the ‘Steve’ model, but three other versions are available – is classically proportioned. Crafted from stainless steel, it shows nice polished and vertically brushed surfaces on the casebands. The lugs are stepped and the bezel is fixed and polished and also features vertically brushed sides. A nice detail is the rectangular pushers that integrate nicely with the overall design of the watch.
The watch is well-equipped, featuring a screw-down crown and caseback and sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating front and caseback. Water-resistant is 100m, a comfortable rating to ensure durability in most conditions. At 13.5mm in height, the watch isn’t specifically slim but remains in the norm for an automatic chronograph. The watches are assembled in Nantes, France and are tested for seven days. The result is pleasant, with a nice feeling of robustness and attention to detail.
Design-wise, the Akrone K-05 is a contemporary classic, right in the middle of the market populated with vintage-inspired watches and hyper-bold modern designs. The dial of the Steve version is executed in matte blue with contrasting silver sub-counters and packed with design details. For instance, the hands of the chronograph complication are highlighted in orange while those for timekeeping are rhodium-plated.
The dial has multiple inscriptions yet remains clear and legible. Only the crucial indications are contrasting, with a white seconds/minutes track on the periphery and applied indexes for the hours. The secondary indications are discreetly embossed on the surface of the dial preventing the display to be too cluttered. On the periphery, there’s a telemeter scale and, in the centre, a snailed tachymetre scale has been added. Finally, Akrone gives you the choice for the minutes/hours hands: openworked Alpha hands like those pictured here or simple batons.
Four versions of the Akrone K-05 Automatic Chronograph are available: Steve with blue/silver dial, Outlaw with anthracite dial, Panda with silver/black dial and Oldtimer with cream dial.
Powering this watch is the ETA 2894-2 modular chronograph (Top grade), a robust and well-known movement. Visible through the caseback with its darkened rotor and nice decoration, it beats at 4Hz and delivers 42 hours of power reserve. All the movements are adjusted in 5 positions and accuracy is rated at -10/+15s per day.
In the standard package, the Akrone K-05 is delivered on a 3-link polished and brushed stainless steel bracelet closed by a folding clasp. As an option, you can choose a leather strap with quilted stitching. This strap features reinforced curved end-links for better integration with the whole watch. A set of tools to adjust the bracelet is also included.
Price and availability
The Akrone K-05 Automatic Chronograph, whichever edition you choose, is priced at EUR 995 – a fair price for a well-constructed watch with automatic ETA movement. The watches are assembled to order, with a 10-day assembly period required, and come with a 3-year warranty. Orders can be made here, at www.akrone.fr.