MICRO MONDAYS: The Makina Raum is a statement piece that dares to be differentFergus Nash
In some ways, the boom of microbrands in the past few years has reignited the golden age of suppliers from the 1950s. Leaf through a catalogue, pick out your parts, print your logo on the dial, and with a bit of luck you can have a successful Kickstarter project to launch your watch. But that is everything that Makina endeavours not to be. With entirely custom-manufactured components for every design element, Makina Watches promise to be a beacon of individuality, and the brand new Raum is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
In short, it’s a watch that dares to be different. The case borrows elements of some 1960s diver lyre-lug designs, and moulds them into an octagonal effect by flattening the case sides to a strict 42mm diameter. Though chunky at 13.4mm, the 48mm lug-to-lug measurement ensures a compact fit on the average wist, which is also helped along by the way the strap is placed.
If you hadn’t noticed already, the placement of the crown isn’t exactly conventional. Keeping the watch utterly symmetrical, the crown is located at 6 o’clock above the strap, meaning that the strap’s spring bar holes are quite low within the thick lugs, in turn allowing the leather or silicon rubber strap to drape over your wrist’s curves more easily.
Bringing it around to the Raum’s dial, and the firearm cues extend past the tank-inspired case sides. At first, the space-grey dial looks like a sci-fi set design of a spaceship’s escape pod, but upon closer inspection it’s actually reminiscent of a revolver’s chamber. Six “barrels” are sunken into the dial and display the applied Arabic hour markers in a bold typeface. Additional engraving completes the evocation, with notches and nodules towards the dial’s edges. The gold-toned alpha hands add a breath of life to the dial, although without minute markers this isn’t a watch for precise legibility. Instead, the Makina ethos is to put design first, and with practically every watch enthusiast owning a smartphone with superior accuracy, you can hardly fault that logic.
Powering the Makina Raum is the only component not to be designed in-house, and their first use of a Swiss calibre in the Sellita SW200-1. The renowned movement is a solid choice, with a 28,800vph beat rate, 38 hours of power reserve, seconds-hacking, and hand-winding. It has been used by countless brands in countless watches and has certainly proved its worth as a value-oriented movement with plenty of well-earned respect. Its brassy-gold finish can be seen through the Makina-etched sapphire caseback that echoes the design of the dial, and is surrounded by the specifications of the watch. With only 50m of water resistance you should be careful not to submerge the Raum, however, these are allowable concessions for such a unique case design.
In founder Danilo Villanueva’s own words, “this is not a business”. It’s a rather counter-intuitive phrase — who wouldn’t want their company to sell watches? But of course, the meaning runs a lot deeper. For Makina, the joy of designing and producing watches is the sole purpose for existing. At first it sounds like a generic marketing tactic, but the more you examine this unique watch the more you realise it’s true.
The Makina Raum is available for pre-order on the Makina website here, and will only be produced in limited quantities. The final price has yet to be finalised, but the $599USD pre-order price will be at least $100USD cheaper than its official release. Those early-bird prices offer strong value for this undeniable statement piece that’ll appeal to anyone who likes to think outside the box.