INTRODUCING: Is the Batavi Architect the sharpest microbrand take on the integrated bracelet sports watch?Thor Svaboe
Gerald Genta-inspired? Perhaps, but still very much its own style and formal elegance. The Batavi Architect is the latest upcoming release from the Dutch microbrand behind the popping fresh Kosmopoliet GMT, a colourful take on a vintage skin diver with a GMT function. This time the influence is from the laid-back cool of the 70s, in their new Batavi Architect. The shape is slim and recognisable, but sharpened up and with three rather unusual dial combinations.
To put all homage discussions to rest I’ll start with the most fascinating version and, yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is real wood. This is a very, very (very) difficult material to master for watchmaking, and yet the Batavi team has created what is probably the first watch I’ve seen where it works, juxtapositioned against the very sharp angles of the steel case.
I still have recollections of spam on my Instagram message feed from purveyors of those lumpy quartz watches made entirely from wood including the bracelet. But that stigma has evaporated here like a splash of seawater on the deck of a yacht. Because this will no doubt recall those maritime associations, even if it is the rich brown of pure walnut, not teak decking.
It works surprisingly well as a contrast to the steel case, but why wood? The Batavi Architect has three dials, symbolizing the building materials (aha..rchitect!) wood, copper and steel. This is one of the reasons I love microbrands, that ability to find a quirky idea and go with it – a serious piece of lateral thinking that would not have slipped through the net with a Big Brand design committee. The case itself is an angular, more industrial take on one of my personal grails, the GP Laureato, with razor-sharp edges, and a fully brushed H-link bracelet that is taperingly svelte. The size is a pretty near perfect 39mm x 47mm lug to lug, and the best part is the thickness. The blue dial version has a rich navy that works oh-so well against the polished details, classic in its formality, while the salmon-coloured version is an intricate tease. The centre is laid like a tiled three-dimensional circle, with what is an already striking pink-coppery tone, bringing the Architect up a serious notch on the value scale.
The Batavi Architect is seriously slim at 10.6mm with a solid Myiota 9039 movement. The case design hails from the brutalist school of mid-century architecture, without a single curved detail, that gives it a severe, technical visage. This gives the blue version a formality that wants to be suited up, while offering a perfect contrast to the more whimsical beauty of the copper and wood.
The AR-coated sapphire covering the delightful wooden or metal dial has chunky applied indices, a double baton at 12, batons at the quadrants and round lume-filled hour indices. Slim sword hands make for a tidy dial, and a watch that changes image through the three dial colours. The automatic Myiota 9039 movement is a solid 42 hour automatic that helps the Architect stay within a very good price range for its design. I applaud Batavi for the charming and evocative dial choices, instead of going the safe, monochrome route. Coupled with the all brushed clean-cut case, the design is strong enough to make this a serious value proposition. From $420 USD
The Batavi Architect is coming to Kickstarter soon, check it out here.