As I mentioned in an earlier article entitled Styling Element of Choosing a Watch, Part 2 - External Cues, every gentleman should have at least one watch with a black leather strap. If you are still on the lookout for something under PhP 10,000 that doesn't look like a clone of something else, consider this Skagen model as it has a couple of things that make it stand out from the pack.
Before who jump to the few characteristics that set this watch apart from the rest, let's take a quick look at the company behind the brand.
While the words "Skagen" is easy to see on the watch, the full name is actually "Skagen Denmark." For those of you who look at this as a sign of European heritage, well, let's just say that it doesn't quite tell the whole story.
[Don't worry, you're forgiven.]
When I first saw the brand, I thought that the "g" had to be pronounced. And since none of the salesmen and women corrected me, it stuck. To my surprise, it is actually pronounced "skeɪ-ən," with the "g" being silent.
It was founded by two enterprising Danes who go by the names of Henrik and Charlotte Jorst. The brand was actually named after a town in the northernmost peninsula of Denmark. As the second part of the name implies, it adopts Danish designs which, to me at least, are clean, minimalist, and functional.
[So far, so good.]
While the founders and brand name are Danish, the company itself was established in the United States back in 1989. Starting out in New York City, they officially began selling watches under the Skagen name in 1992 after manufacturing watches for another brand. Apart from watches the company also sells handbags and jewelry.
The company was eventually purchased by another watch company called Fossil back in 2012, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the American brand.
[Told you it would be brief.]
Smooth All Around
One of the trademarks of Skagen watches is that they are smooth all around. If you turn it over and around, you will hardly find something to snag on your clothing.
In fact, it is so sleek that the crown doesn't have any notches on it. And without friction, it can challenging to set the time with smooth or sweaty hands.
Fortunately for me, this is a quartz watch. So after the salesman set the time and date, it didn't need to be adjusted anymore. The mechanism is quite good that it seems to know when the 30th and 31st of the month comes around because I haven't bothered with it yet.
Thin Outside, Thick Inside
One of the things that makes this watch different from the typical one is the adoption of a saucer-like design for its case. This makes it thinner at the edges and thicker in the center. The design gives the illusion that the 10-millimeter thick case is less than it actually is.
With a 40-millimeter diameter face, it comes in at the higher range of watches suitable for long-sleeved shirts. The nice thing about it is that even if your cuff is slightly pinched the smooth metal case and flat glass make it easy to slide clothing over it.
Three Circles in One
The color of the face matches the strap, which in this instance is black. I saw a brown version on line and it is consistent with having the same face and strap color and shade.
Within the face are three smaller dials arranged in an inverted triangle located near the 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions.
The rightmost dial indicates the day, from 1 to 31 using a tiny silver arm. The bottom one indicates whether it is in the morning or night through a 24-hour indicator and tiny red arm. Finally, the dial on the left indicates the day with another tiny silver dial.
Over these dials are the bigger hour and minute hands done in silver. There is also a silver second hand that is tipped in red. Raised silver bars mark the hours all around the face to complete the look.
The contrast of silver and black make it easy to read the time, even if it is at an angle. However, the letters and numbers of the smaller dials will need more than a glance as they can be a bit of a challenge to read.
While having multiple dials on the face is something many watch brands have done, one of the things that make this watch unique is the way the bezel is designed. Instead of a single ring, this model has one that appears to be made of multiple parts.
Instead of having the bezel screwed on like majority of the watches out there, the left and right sides look like they were folded over the glass. Turning the watch over just serves to confirm this since there is nothing to indicate that is more than one single piece.
The uniqueness continues with the top and bottom of the face as the metal forms a "W" at the 12 o'clock positions and an "M" on the 6 o'clock one. The tips of these letters extend and spread out to accommodate the 20-millimeter wide leather strap in the middle.
The intricate bezel serves to set the stage for what may probably be the the most unique aspect of this watch - the strap.
Unlike typical watches that have the leather rolling around the band's spring lock, the strap actually molds itself around the case, leaving absolutely no space between the leather and metal. It provides the appearance of a single, seamless timepiece.
Another nice thing about the leather strap is that it forms a natural curve. To put it differently, the watch can not be laid flat on a table. In fact, the watch is able to stand on strap by itself because of its stiffness. On one's wrist, it appears to have a wrap around in a circle.
[On smaller wrists, it leaves some wiggle space without the danger of falling off.]
During the height of my watch bingeing, I have only seen one other timepiece that had a similar strap. And since that one carried the price of a condominium, I am very pleased that the Skagen is relatively alone in its price range.
Being quite unique does have a disadvantage in the sense that once the original strap is worn out, I will end up replacing it with a run-of-the-mill one that does not wrap around the case.
[Yup, just like my Times Waterbury Red, I will face the problem of a non-original strap.]
While I may give off the impression that I selected this watch myself, that would be far from the truth. It is my lovely wife who deserves all the credit for this one. Knowing that I needed one with a black strap, she spent quite a lot of her free time combing watch stores for just the right timepiece for me.
To say that I'm happy is a bit of an understatement. The uniqueness of the face and rarity of the strap make it perfect for my small collection of affordable watches. And it is for these reasons that make me slightly more careful because having to replace it with another model might feel like stepping down a notch.
Well, that's it for me. I've got one more watch for you to consider. Instead of quartz, it is the Orient Bambino version 4, the second mechanical watch in my small collection.