A futuristic wolf of a watch: the modern and angular Namica OkamiTime+Tide
This won’t come as a surprise to you: micro and independent brands demarcate themselves from the big-name brands for their limitless creativity and, as I would confidently add, audacity. They can “afford” to do all of that because they are not weighed down by heritage and tradition. There is no typical design they must follow for fear of losing customers. They can start each new collection from scratch. And today we’re going to look at a brand that is very good at doing just that: Namica. Based in Japan, the brand is releasing its second Kickstarter collection, the Okami, in a few days and it promises to shake up horological tradition – because yes, their first model, the Shirahama, was something quite special too.
Whenever I watch a sci-fi movie, I hope that one of the characters will be wearing a futuristic watch. This, unfortunately, rarely happens. (I guess they are so advanced that the need to keep track of time by looking at a small device strapped to their wrist is obsolete… They must all have brain implants.) However, if such a thing were to ever happen, then I’m pretty sure the prop master would have created the Namica Okami. I’m saying so based on the not-so-contemporary look of the case and dial. The former comes with an intricate architecture of sharp angles and the latter looks like the face of a hi-tech machine.
The wide, fully brushed, and sharp angles of the case are reminiscent of Seiko’s Taro Tanaka Grammar of Design from the early 1960s, one tenet of which was that “all surfaces and angles from the case, dial, hands and indices had to be flat and geometrically perfect to best reflect light”. In the case of the Okami, we only see small touches of polishing on the lug ends and on the flanks of the fixed bezel. Other than that, everything is fully and delicately brushed, putting the emphasis on the sharp angles of the case.
Key visual elements of the Okami include its massive lugs that spill over its sides, as well as the perfect symmetry achieved by the “wings” found on either side of the case, which add small crown guards at the three o’clock and an extra surface at the six to make the case fully rest on the wrist. Measuring 39mm in diameter, 42mm lug-to-lug, 10.7mm thick and boasting a 22mm lug width, the Okami is offered in three dial colours and two case variants: hardened titanium (which the brand calls “A.T. Shield” – a Neon Genesis Evangelion reference, maybe?) or a black DLC.
The Okami’s dial also comes with many angles and flat surfaces. Just like the rehaut and fixed bezel, it has an octagonal shape where the top and bottom sides are longer than the other ones, giving the impression that the watch stretches sideways. The applied hour markers, complete with black surrounds, are slightly recessed within the rehaut and because of the width of the dial, those found on the right and left side of the dial are further away from the hands. The hour and minute hands have an almost skyscraper-like profile thanks to their imposing width and narrower tip, while the seconds hand has a more classic appearance with a hexagonal counterweight.
As mentioned earlier, the Okami comes in three dial colours, all three of which we’ve included in this review. First, we have the Neo Tokyo, which is characterized by a rich purple colour and a dramatic dégradé effect, as well as vertical brushing. The second version, the Kurayami, comes with a black dial, blacked-out hands, as well as a vertical brushing. (Namica mixed C3 SuperLuminova with black paint for this version, while the other two come with BGW9 or C3.) The third version, called Turbo Blue, showcases a matte, neon blue colour that really pops, especially when paired with the DLC case. The latter is, at least to me, the most visually striking of all three dials.
Given its inherently futuristic appearance, the dial of Namica Okami is otherwise clean and simple. Only the brand logo and word “Automatic” are printed on the dial, meaning that the intention is directed towards superlative legibility. The absence of additional words or markings works well here given the design and width of the watch head. A busier dial would have unnecessarily rendered the Okami less legible. After all, “Okami” means “Wolf” in Japanese and such creatures are known to be stealthy and deliberate.
The Namica Okami comes on a custom-made premium FKM rubber strap, infused with racing vibes – “custom” since the brand had a mould made specifically for it, which is something that adds a couple of thousand dollars to the total production costs. FKM rubber is known for being soft, pliable, and resistant to sweat, water, heat, and cold. It’s also light, which works perfectly well with the titanium case. With a width of 22mm at the lugs, it tapers ever so slightly towards the titanium buckle.
This Japanese horological wolf is powered by a premium Miyota 9039 caliber which beats at 4Hz and has a 42-hour power reserve. This is to me hands-down one of the best non-Swiss calibers one can find out there. In my experience, they tend to run better out of the box than many Sellitas, Rondas and Soprods… Or maybe I’m just super lucky.
Namica Okami pricing & availability
The Namica Okami will be made available via a Kickstarter campaign starting Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at 10 pm JST / midnight Feb 7 AEDT. Prices will start at U$429 / A$650. I recommend visiting the brand’s website here as well as the Kickstarter pre-launch here.
|39mm (D) x 10.7mm (T) x 42mm (L2L)
|Hardened titanium / DLC titanium
|Purple / Blue / Black
|FKM rubber strap
|Kickstarter launch on February 6, 2024
|U$429 / A$650