It is amazing how many brands are now producing entry-level models. Recently I have spoken to many personalities involved in the world of horology who believe that this is the most lucrative area of the market. Certainly consumers are more likely to make an impulse purchase on a $500 timepiece. Whereas more expensive watches may require a lot more deliberation. Online retailer Watchismo has capitalised on this theory by offering a huge range of affordable and attractive timepieces. They even released their own (Chinese) mechanical watch called the Xeriscope, which they launched on crowd funding website Kickstarter. The timepiece was competitively priced at $400 and has been a phenomenal commercial success.
A few months ago I became aware of a US based watchmaker called Lew & Huey. Subsequently Sujain Krishnan, (of The Melbourne Watch Company) recommended I communicate directly with the business owner Chris Vail. Through several discussions, Chris explained to me that after years of being undervalued in the sales industry he decided to fulfill his dreams and establish his own watch label. I always admire this sort of initiative, as it requires nerves of steel and an enormous amount of capital. Two years of hard work and four models later the company is starting to develop a solid reputation within the industry.
Although I feel all the models display a certain amount of merit, the one I chose to test was the Acionna. It was due to the generosity of Sujain Krishnan that I managed to get access to this stylish timepiece. Amazingly the owners of The Melbourne Watch Company and Lew & Huey have forged a solid friendship. This means they support each other where necessary and even hold samples for each other. Most brands I speak to are very territorial and would never engage in this sort of alliance. However because their watch designs are completely different this arrangement seems to be mutually beneficial.
When I first received the Acionna I was impressed with the overall quality and appearance. The white dial boldly contrasts with the distinctive silver indexes and numerals. I love characteristics like the inner rotating bezel, sapphire crystal lens and the chunky crowns. Aesthetically the timepiece is a perfect fusion of contemporary and retro styling. Dimensionally the watch measures 40mm x 48mm, which should appeal to wide variety buyers. Generally I found the watch sat comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any abrasion from the lugs. Ultimately this is down to the sporty case design and use of 316L stainless steel in production. For that reason I could imagine this watch would be a practical option for most occasions including diving and water sports.
Beneath the robust exterior lies a Japanese (Citizen) Miyota self-winding Calibre 9015. The movement comprises 24-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This mechanism is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Acionna features hours, minutes, seconds and date facility. The timepiece also has a power reserve of 42-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 200 metres.
The Acionna as tested has a durable 316L stainless steel bracelet with double-locking clasp. Priced competitively at $668.64.
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.lewandhuey.com