The first thing Taiwanese watchmaker elegantsis (the name is intentionally un-capitalized) wants you to know about the new JSK Series is that it is a joint project with US-based JSK Moto, a custom motorcycle design company. JSK makes some outlandishly cool custom motorcycles, so it’s no wonder why elegantsis chose them as inspiration for these high-octane statement pieces. Currently on Kickstarter (as we already told in a previous article), the JSK series boasts of “craftsmanship, strength, and style.” Indeed, this line of watches features some interesting design features and impressive mechanicals. Three collections of JSK Series watches are advertised on the Kickstarter page (in descending order): Rarity, Classic, and Basic.
I appreciate how, even with the intense design theme, elegantsis didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with the dial layout. We have the traditional three hands, a date display, and some basic text at the 9 o’clock position. The sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating. All 3 collections in the series boast a center band that resembles a cross-drilled rotor, just like you would find on a motorcycle. The outer chapter ring features minute markers that are reminiscent of speedometers and tachymeters. SuperLuminova has been applied to the rectangular markers, while the 3, 8, and 10 o’clock hour markers appear to be hex nuts, continuing the mechanical theme.
A prominent date display sits at the 6 o’clock position, with future dates visible all the way up to the arrow marker at 3 o’clock. I don’t know about you, but the way some of these future dates are partially obstructed by other elements seems a little sloppy to me – I would prefer that they are all completely visible.
Of course, such an aggressive design wouldn’t look good on a dainty 38-millimeter case, so elegantsis created a huge 47.5-millimeter case for the JSK Series, with a correspondingly large crown at 3 o’clock. The stainless-steel case is waterproof to a respectable 100 meters. The bulky crown’s design is evidently meant to evoke the aesthetic of a motorcycle gas cap, which is a great touch. The matte black bezel is surprisingly understated, with white numerals and 4 small rectangular indentations.
Here is an interesting choice by elegantsis: The Rarity and Classic collections use a Swiss automatic movement. That’s right, instead of the obvious choice of a Chinese or Japanese movement, they opted to go halfway around the world for a Sellita SW 200-1. The use of such a well-known European movement definitely lends a unique vibe to the JSK watches – in that case, prices start at US$569.
The Basic Collection (the one you can see in the article) makes do with the NH35 movement, Seiko’s workhorse that features hacking and manual winding but not much else – and in fact, that’s all you really need on a daily basis. You can be sure that this is a reliable an accurate movement, but it doesn’t hold the cachet of the Swiss movement in the more upscale versions of the watch. In terms of decoration, it’s a very basic engine, yet considering the price this watch is offered to (US$269 with the Seiko movement), there’s nothing to complain either.
All JSK Series watches come with a rubber strap featuring two accent strips running the length of the band. The Rarity and Classic collections also include a vegetable-tanned Italian leather strap. The leather band on the Rarity watches is a two-colored affair, with white on either end and the accent color (Red for the Rhodium Omega and Black for the Cobalt Storm) on the inside. The Classic Collection also sports a two-tone band, only this time with a half leather, half canvas theme that I find quite appealing, and appeared to be comfortable on the wrist.
Rarity collection: Comes in a fantastic little hard-shelled military-style box with a multitool, rubber strap, spring bar tool, wrench key fob, extra spring bars, and a 2-year warranty card. The price is $699, and after the first run of 500, they are not slated to go on sale later.
Classic collection: Includes the key fob, rubber strap, and warranty card in its military box. Super Early Bird price of US$569, with a retail price of US$1010.
Basic collection: You will still get the cool little military box with the Basic watches, but with just the watch and the warranty card inside. The super early bird price is US$269; retail price will be $US520. All options are detailed on the Kickstarter page here.
You can tell that elegantsis has put a lot of work into the JSK Series. The appeal lies in the oversized, mechanical themed design. While there are a few questionable design elements, the JSK series keeps it real with a solid list of specifications: sapphire crystal, Swiss-made movement, and the custom motorcycle heritage. With a variety of buying options that all include the macho motorcycle styling, I expect the JSK will appeal to a wide range of buyers, who will be sure to appreciate the aggressive looks and solid mechanical components.
If you feel the JSK series timepieces appeal to your particular sense of style, and you want to help fund the project, you can head over to their Kickstarter page here.
This article is written by Matthew Catellier, who covers “Value Propositions” for Monochrome, and also publishes affordable timepieces on his own website Watch Review Blog.