Monochrome Watches
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The Arcanaut Arc II Havender with a Dial Made of… Mussel Shells

A finely ground layer of Scandinavian mussel shells, and it isn't a line from a cooking book.

| By Brice Goulard | 3 min read |

Look at this watch… It’s the new Havender model by a Scandinavian brand named Arcanaut, co-founded by James Thompson, a.k.a Black Badger. Look closely at its dial, and you’ll think that it’s a nice, rather undefinable lavender-toned composite material. In a way, you’d be right to think so, but there is more to know about it than its UV-resistant binding agent. The rest of this material, yet another experimentation straight out of Thompson’s imagination, is made thanks to locally sourced mussel shells. And clearly, that makes the new Arcanaut Arc II Havender quite a talking piece. 

As the brand claims, “Arcanaut is a pan-Scandinavian brand dedicated to incorporating new and unexpected materials into its designs“. Designer Anders Brandt (Denmark) and Chief of Materials Development James Thompson (Sweden), the co-founders, have decided to put their money where their mouths are. You might already know Thompson’s work under his pseudonym Black Badger, where he’s been experimenting and developing unprecedented luminescent materials. With Arcanaut, Thompson goes beyond lume and develops other kinds of composite materials and, with the help of Brandt, encases them into a watch. Following the D’Arc Matter Colours Collection, which involved ground up Scandinavian slate from an old fountain, it’s time now for yet another experimental surprise…

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With the Havender limited edition, the dial is still made from locally sourced components and materials, only this time Thompson took a ride to the coast to visit a nearby mussel farm that was, apparently, more than happy to supply the team with 10 kilograms of mussel shells for experimentation. Once the cleaning process was done, a surprisingly bright blue shell emerged, almost like mother-of-pearl. Put that into a grinder (sorry, I’m cutting a few corners here, but you get the point), and voilà, you end up with a rich blue powder ready to make a dial… At least, that’s what they imagined.

The result, however, wasn’t what they expected. Instead, the brand says that “the exciting pigment present in the shells wasn’t blue at all. Rather, a lavender powder.“. Mix this with an ultra-clear, UV-resistant binding agent, and you have blocks of millable material that can then become dials made from a finely ground layer of Scandinavian mussel shells. Thompson being Thompson, some luminous material had to be added in the shape of Lumicast indexes (made by RC Tritec AG). The dial is, on the other hand, all about showcasing the lavender colour and texture of this Havender material, with only two steel hands running over it and a discreetly milled minute track to read the time.

The rest of the Arcanaut Arc II Havender is identical to previous iterations of this watch, with a sleek, minimalistic case made of micro-blasted steel, with a rounded barrel shape and integrated lugs. The bezel is brushed and frames a sapphire crystal, while the back is closed and laser-engraved. The 100m water-resistance and black rubber strap give it a sporty spirit. Inside is a Swiss automatic movement, the Soprod A10, an alternative to ETA and Sellita.

A limited edition of 33 pieces, the Arcanaut Arc II Havender will be available from 7 PM (Europe time) on 30 November 2023 from the brand’s official website or its US retailer, Collective Horology. It will be priced at USD 3,950 (excl. taxes). You can now discover the watch here on the dedicated page.

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