MICRO MONDAYS: The Artel Rotec Sky Series combines ’70s bravado with Art Deco chicFergus Nash
In our review of Artel Rotec’s previous V watch, Borna touched on how the high-tech exotic sports watch wasn’t a niche that every collector was comfortable with. That may be true, but when it comes to watches there will be an adoring audience for almost anything you can think of. Artel Rotec’s first futuristic release has certainly inspired its second, albeit with many more traditional values married to their fairly unique take on watch design. Trimming nearly a third off of the V’s price, the Artel Rotec Sky delivers a taste of Art Deco sleekness and 1970s bravado.
Tonneau cases are an interesting breed, resting far outside the realm of a standard circular watch and never quite fitting in with the famed square or rectangular legends either. The barrel-shaped silhouette embodies a largely stoic nature with just a hint of whimsy, and it’s that final accent of eccentricity that keeps bringing your eye back to it. The bezel has a rough vertical brush on its surface with a polished chamfered edge, and segmented case sides that are micro-blasted to complete the triple contrast of texture.
The shape of a tonneau case can tend to make it look deceptively large on-wrist, but the Artel Rotec Sky navigates this deftly with a set of contained dimensions. It measures 38mm across with a lug-to-lug length of 46.8mm, ensuring that it should fill out an average wrist nicely and not lose any presence. The sapphire crystal not only features an anti-reflective coating on the interior, but also an anti-fingerprint coating on the exterior which should keep your watch ready for Instagram at all times. It’s only 9.8mm thick, and the caseback features a sapphire window so that you can see the movement. Given that it’s not really the kind of watch you’d expect to take swimming, the 50m of water resistance is perfectly adequate.
For what initially appears as a fairly simple dial, the Artel Rotec Sky actually has a lot of detail going on. The Sky 4 and Sky 5 models are fairly conservative in silver and black finishes, but the depth still comes through with the Artel Rotec’s layering. The raised chapter ring around the dial’s perimeter bears printed numerals, while the ramp down to the base holds the minute markers. The base then features a raised platform with circular guilloché to form the traditional watch face, complete with applied hour markers with aggressive arrowhead profiles. The hands are skeletonised which reinforces the touch of modernity, and the printed Artel Rotec logo looks right at home.
The Sky 6 is the third variation of the range, and it makes use of a few simple changes that have an incredibly large effect. The most notable change of course is the silky green colour, transitioning between a pale apple and a deep forest tone depending on how the light hits it. The hour markers have been replaced with Breguet style numerals, instantly drenching the Artel Rotec Sky 6 in vintage charm.
Powering the Artel Rotec Sky series is their calibre AR068, which is modified from the famed ETA 2824. Whereas most companies who claim to customise their off-the-shelf movements merely replace the automatic winding rotor, Artel Rotec have also removed the date complication and increased the power reserve to a healthy 50 hours, beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour.
You can view this movement through the sapphire display caseback, along with the Artel Rotec rotor. Artel Rotec’s watches are made in collaboration with Swisstech, who originated in Hong Kong and now build their watches in a Botyre factory in Switzerland.
The Artel Rotec Sky Series pricing and availability:
The Artel Rotec Sky Series is now available from their website here. Each piece will be numbered on the caseback, although the production is not officially limited. Price: US$1,950
|Case Dimensions||38mm x 46.8mm x 9.8mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire with anti-reflective and anti-fingerprint coatings|
|Dial||Silver, black, green|
|Movement||AR068 (modified ETA 2824)|
|Power Reserve||50 hours|