ALMA ARTES YOUR FIRST LUXURY WATCH
From sun dials to pins in candles, from dainty pieces to those bulky ones that feel like a bicep curl every moment you look at the time, devices that measure moments have been around for ever. They’ve evolved from being simple contraptions that just tell the hours, to wholly complex mechanisms that tell various time zones and predict tides. Zipping through the timeline, watches have blurred the line between essentials and accessories. That is why we now consider timepieces to be the perfect jewelry a man can wear.
But which one?
See, the watch market is flooded with options that vary not only in price, but image as well. If you go for a Rolex Submariner, you either have good taste, or don’t know enough about watches at all. If you wear a Daniel Wellington, you’re a cool kid, but only among those who don’t know any better. If you go for a Seiko 5, you know what’s up, but also possibly just bandwagoning with YouTube watch enthusiasts who champion these cheap mechanical movements.
With these dilemmas married with the overwhelming options, our minds can’t help but tick-tock and go coocoo. So again, which one?
Answer; none of the above. For we now have one that we can say with the utmost pride; Alma Artes. A brand of luxury watches that are designed with the essence and sensibility of our Nepalese culture. And the following is a justification of why their Heritage Chronograph should be your introduction into the world of luxury horology. Because books are judged by their covers, let’s begin with the aesthetics.
The watch arrives in a handsome box to remind you that this is a luxury product. The leather it’s bound with and the velvet interiors reinforce this idea with the watch resting majestically in the middle. Under the lid is a card that states the serial number and promises 2 years of warranty. Giving it company is a microfiber cloth with the branding to polish your new timepiece.
Moving the eyes down to the star of the show, the watch is an absolute work of art. The glimmer of the high polish case juxtaposed in the dark soft fabric is a sight to behold. We recommend a good 5 minute’s worth of admiration just as is. When we’re ready to pick it up, we need to appreciate how tastefully the color pallet has been laid out.
Silver and copper aren’t metals that readily go well, and thus need expertise to pull off. And Alma does it with ease. The black that dominates the face and the bezel simply emphasizes these tones with white adding details and interest.
At 12 of the clock, the Alma Artes logo peaks like a mountain top. Under it is a reminder of what model it is, being framed by the sharp hour and minute hands. On either side are two circles, the left one being your minute counter, the right being the 24-hour counter. We’ll come to these in a bit.
Under these is the calendar with a label that says the watch is water resistant up to 100 meters. Now, water resistance has an aura of misunderstanding around it. See, WR is actually how much static pressure a watch can withstand. But since realistic water pressure varies, a watch that says it’s good for 50 meters doesn’t mean you can dive down to the depths of 50 meters. All that it can do is survive in a shower and no more than that.
So can you go for a swim with the Heritage Chrono? Absolutely; it’s rated 100 meters, or 10 atmospheric pressure, so you’ll be fine. But should you go for a swim with the Heritage Chrono? Absolutely no.
That’s because the leather strap it comes with is too good and we’d hate to spoil it. It’s extremely supple to the touch and the cushion it’s stuffed with is plush. It feels good around the wrist like a good pair of sneakers and complements the black of the actual timepiece.
Now, if you still do insist on going for a dip with the watch, the straps are latched on with pin buckles that are accessible from the back. This means a hassle-free exchange of straps so that you can swap the leather for a nato or a rubber and hop off the dive board care free. Just don’t click the pushers while you’re under water.
And since we’re here at the back, the plate is another thing to admire for at least 5 minutes to soak in all the details. We like to think that this is where the watch gets the name as the plate show cases Swayambhunath. These are drilled in with 4 screws to make everything nice and secure.
Coming back to the chronograph we mentioned, a lot are unaware of what it actually does and panic when the second-hand does not move on their new watch. No, it’s not broke. It moves only when you command it to move, and is known as the chronohand. And the way you move it is by pressing the pusher that is to the north of the crown. This hand moves per second, and as it completes one revolution around the dial, the minute counter moves to indicate a minute has elapsed. Another revolution, and 2 minutes have gone by, and so on. In this way, think of the chronograph as a stopwatch.
To make it stop, simply press the same pusher again, and to reset it, press the one that’s south of the crown.
You can use this feature to calculate how long you’ve been waiting for your SO to finish their phone call so that you can resume the movie, how long it takes you to get to the grocery store, or time your rice as it cooks.
See, although this is a sports function, we recommend you to keep it far from the track and field due to the luxury factor. The case is a 3161 grade stainless steel, making it hard as nails, and the glass is a sapphire coated mineral crystal that’s immune to scratches, but babying it does go a long way.
The heart that beats inside is a Japanese Miyota OS21, which is a quartz movement. Watch snobs will shun it away and place mechanical movements over quartz for being battery Operated, but the thing is that quartz is far more accurate in time keeping than a set of springs and balances. In entry level price points that is. The way quartz movements work is that a battery sends currents to a quartz crystal which then vibrates at a rate of 32,768 times per second. These vibrations are then counted by a circuit that thus signals a motor to move the second-hand. This is a simple and overly an efficient way of telling time.
Sure, mechanical movements are a feat. They take more craftsmanship to pull off and thus are expensive to produce. They are powered by kinetic energy; a pendulum-like doohickey winds the mechanism as the watch moves with your wrist and gets the power from there, and keeps ticking as long as you keep wearing. And because of all of this, it’s complex and expensive, especially when you consider the pain when you have to service it.
Hence, as the Heritage Chrono opts for Japanese quartz, it’s easy to approach. You don’t have to rake your brain cells to understand it. You don’t have to be an encyclopedia to explain it. You don’t need a smoking pipe and chardonnay to appreciate it. You just wear it. And you just love it. And then, you open the doors into a world of luxury watches.
But regardless of how far down you venture into the rabbit hole, you’re sure to return to this watch because of its beauty and simplicity. Get one from their website www.almaartes.com, or Instagram @almaartes_watches for Nrs. 18,000/-. They have other models with different colors, tachymeter complications, and a range of cases in precious metals. All ship worldwide for free.
Case: 316L Stainless Steel
Case Thickness: 9.10mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Glass: Sapphire Coated Mineral Crystal
Water Resistance: 10 ATM
Movement: Japanese Miyota OS21
Reveiwed by Nirveek PPJ Shah