Arcanaut Arc II Havender: Accidental Discovery, (Relatively) Affordable Luxury
by Martin Green
Life is often predictable. Sometimes, you are researching something but get something else. It’s like trying to develop a superglue, yet making a glue that doesn’t stick all too well and accidently inventing the Post-it note.
At Arcanaut, they had a similar experience when they wanted to create a unique blue dial and decided to use Swedish blue mussels as a base.
While great in theory, when grinding them into a fine powder, they discovered that the pigment is more of a soft lavender. While they probably continued to experiment in their laboratory to find the desired blue color, they decided to use the lavender color instead.
They called it the Arc II Havender, combining ‘hav’the Swedish word with lavender.
Take a step back
Before going further into the dial, it is essential to know that Arcanaut – an abbreviation of “Arcane” (hidden knowledge) and “naut” (meaning traveler) – is a Danish brand based in Copenhagen. James Thompson, aka Black Badger, is their Head of Product Development.
Like many other Scandinavian brands, they are fully aware that Switzerland is the center of high-end watchmaking, but respectfully ignore that and walk to their own beat.
More often than not that results in mouth-watering watches that are just a little bit different. The Arcanaut is such a watch. It combines sharp corners with organic lines, which gives it a clean look that is different yet not odd.
This may sound a bit strange, but it is not difficult at all to create a watch that looks different from anything out there on the market. The problem is that they usually look so strange that nobody likes it.
This is where the Arcanaut makes a difference, as it is different in a way that makes you wonder why nobody else has ever done this before.
The design is clean and powerful. At Arcanaut, they even forgo a regular crown, as they considered this to conflict with the rest of the design. That’s why the Arc II has what they like to call a ‘pentablock’ crown. It works just as well but looks cooler. The beauty of it is that when using the crown, the experience of the watch also gets elevated, as it simply feels special.
With a diameter of 40.5mm is, the Arc II well-proportioned as it is neither too large nor too small. As it lacks traditional lugs, it sits nicely on the wrist.
The team at Arcanaut is clearly obsessed with getting all the details right. The ‘Pentablock’ rectangular crown that clips/locks into the case is just one example, the case itself is another. It is made out of 316L stainless steel milled on a CNC machine just outside of Copenhagen, as they like to have as much of the watch made and finished as locally as possible.
The case then gets a micro bead blasted finish, after which watchmakers highlight certain parts with a hand polish.
The sapphire crystal gets a double anti-reflective coating, one on top and one on the inside, to allow the dial to shine without the glare of the glass above. Arcanaut even made the effort to make the Arc II water resistant up to 10 ATM/100 meters, turning it into a bonafide sports watch.
Inside ticks a Soprod caliber A10. While not the most exciting movement available, it makes sense as it combines reliability with precision. This tried-and-tested movement ticks all the boxes without becoming an attraction by itself, and for a watch like the Arc II Havender, that is perfect.
When fully wound, the Soprod A10 offers a 42-hour power reserve and runs at 4 Hz/28,800 VpH.
Arcanaut forged the second’s hand, going for purity, and that was once again the right decision. They designed very expressive hands that also aid legibility while giving the Arc II Havender even more character.
The dial master
The dial is a significant part of the attraction of the Arc II Havender. It is made by James Thompson, who made quite a name for himself in the watch world under the name of Black Badger.
The Havender dial is made in a similar way as the D’Arc Matter, which is also part of the Arcanaut collection.
The ground mussel powder is mixed with an ultra-clear binding agent, which results in solid blocks of material that is then milled into a dial. The challenge in doing so is that only a particular layer of the Scandinavian mussel shell is used for the dials. This can only be done by hand and is extremely time-consuming.
This also made Arcanaut decide not to make the Arc II Havender part of its regular collection but to make a one-off series of just 33 pieces. While this can be seen as a pity because the color is truly beautiful and unique, the exclusivity it adds is also a welcome treat for those who indulge in this Danish delicacy.
For more information, please visit https://arcanaut.watch/products/arc-ii-havender
Quick Facts Arcanaut Arc II Havender
Case: 40.52 Micro-blasted 316L stainless steel case with brushed and hand-polished highlights, 10 ATM/100 meters water resistant
Movement: Soprod A10, 42-hour power reserve, 28,800 VpH/4Hz
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 33 pieces
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