The TACS Automatic Vintage Lens is designed by Japanese designer Yoshiaki (Yoshi) Motegi. The watch aims to appeal to the photographers soul in you as it is inspired by a camera (fish-eye) lens. The Lens watch will only be available via Kickstarter and will be limited to 500 pieces. At this very moment of writing there are 221 backers, the financial goal has been reached and there are 8 more days to go. When you are an amateur photographer, a pro photographer, a creative artist or someone who wants something different, hurry up! We decided to take a photographers view on the watch. After all, it is supposed to appeal to people with a photographic lifestyle and soul.
But first: about TACS and the Automatic Vintage Lens Project
TACS stands for Taste, Attractiveness, Creativity and Style. It is Yoshi Motegi’s vision to show his appreciation for his surroundings into the design of the TACS watches. The company positions itself as a lifestyle watch brand and mainly produces quartz watches in the USD 200 range. The Automatic Vintage Lens marks the next step in the company’s evolution, six years after the introduction of the brand at Baselworld. Its design is inspired by the look and feel of a camera. The watch is only made available via Kickstarter. If you do want to order immediately instead of reading this article first, then click here. If you decide to back the project, you will also get a tripod display to show your watch to yourself or others in your office, living room, bed room, family room, or any other place. A nice detail is that it can even be used as an ad-hoc tripod.
Unpacking the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens watch
A popular thing on some photography sites is to show the unpacking of the camera or the lens. Something that always amazed me. Who on earth would be interested in seeing the unpacking of something you want to buy in? Personally I want to see how it performs, not how you should get the camera or lens out of the box. So my apologies to those who love seeing a youtube video about the unpacking. There is none. To make it up, some photos are included. The package we received has an earthy, zen-look with the saying “Unique is simple. It is lifestyle”. When you open the box you see a leather cap covering the watch. Cool! A SD/CF-card ‘lookalike’ includes a card with information. When you back the project, you will get a wooden box. More details can be found on the website mentioned.
First impressions of the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens watch
I have to be honest; when the watch came in to make a some photos for a give-away action by Monochrome, I did not know what to think. I had not done any of my usual research so I did not see the link with photography. All I saw was a hefty watch with an other-than-usual intriguing dial and glass. It resembled the porthole of a ship rather than a camera lens to me, perhaps caused by the brass-type color of the case. The case, with its 47mm width and 16mm thickness, is made of gold-plated stainless steel with black plastic inserts on front and back. I agree with SJX’s statement that the case is typical for this price class and a bit heavy. However, the thickness harmonizes with the size of the bezel.
And then it started to make more sense….
After reading about the watch, the design started to make a lot more sense. Obviously first and foremost the design of dial and bezel, including the shape of the sapphire crystal glass that resemble or should resemble a camera lens. But also the crown inspired by the shutter release button, the eye next to the shutter inspired by the camera cord holder, the inscriptions on bezel and dial inspired by inscriptions on lenses, the leather cap inspired by lens cap, the card slot in the box inspired by card slots in a camera, the opening in the dial with its view on the movement inspired by the aperture opening of a lens.
A closer inspection of the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens watch
It is huge and heavy. No doubt about that. It is CaNikon in full frame or perhaps even medium format type in camera terminology. However, diameter and thickness are well balanced. That is why you use your DSLR instead of a small pocket camera. And…a watch weighs less than a camera anyway.
The case is made from gold-plated stainless steel with engraved serial numbers and model number. No information is available about the quality of the stainless steel and the gold used. Sapphire glass is used for watch face and back. Nice! The finishing is pleasing for a watch of this price point. Do not expect the finishing of higher-end watches (see this link for more information about the finishing of movements). Nevertheless the decoration is a bonus for a watch in this price class: an open-worked rotor, smoothened edges, Geneva stripes, and linear graining. All done by machines.
The leather strap is manufactured by Horween in Chicago, a company that also produces basketballs for the the NBA, and made of American Calf with vegetable tanning. The stitched strap is thick and smooth and breathes quality. It matches well with the watch.
What is inside the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens watch?
Photographers – or a certain group of photographers – love talking about sensor size, megapixels, pixel size, dynamic range, micro-contrast etceteras. Watch nuts love movements! So what is inside? The short answer: a gold-plated automatic Miyota 82S0 movement produced by the Japanese Citizen Watch Co. in China. The robust movement is visible from the back and also from the front. Just move it slightly and it starts to run immediately. The 21-jewel movement (the company talks about 20 jewels) has a power reserve of 40 hours. Accuracy is not up to par with other mechanical movements as a the specifications mention an accuracy of -20 to +40 seconds per day. But which photographer is interested in seconds other than in exposure metering? See the Miyota website for more information about Miyota movements, click here for more information about this very movement.
What photography lifestyle fits with the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens watch?
I had to think about this question. The first word that springs to my mind is the creative and artistic ones as well as the geeks. Probably not the casual photographer who is on a business trip. My bias was confirmed when I showed the watch to friends. Would I wear the watch on an assignment? Probably on a documentary or street photography trip. Would I wear it to Goodwood? Definitely not. Nevertheless the concept is fresh and different. And I applaud TACS for doing that.
Specifications of the Automatic Vintage Lens watch as reported by TACS
- Case: Stainless steel ‘cushion’ shaped, screwed-down rotating black bezel, see-through case-back, 47mm in diameter, 16mm thick, 10 ATM water resistance
- Movement: Miyota 82S0 movement with gold-plating, size: 11,5 ligne, height: 5.67mm, vibrations: 21.600 bph, 40-hour power reserve, accuracy: -20 to +40 seconds/day, no hacking seconds, 21 jewels.
- Production: a limited edition of 500 pieces available only via kickstarter. Prices vary from $3,299 HKD for super early birds (3 left of 150), $3,499 HKD for early birds (200 left of 200), $6,199 HKD for ‘double packers’ (2 watches; 9 left of 15). That totals to 380 watches.
Interested? You can support the project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1777279053/tacs-automatic-vintage-lens