Atto Verticale – Mechanical minimalism

By Frederik Drost
Atto Verticale – Mechanical minimalism

As is customary, I like to dive into watches that are not your “everyday” run of the mill watches. Atto Verticale fits that description and I have worn, inspected and tested one of their watches for a few weeks. The premise for this watch is a very minimalistic hand wound movement, fully displayed in a very interesting case, at a very affordable price. With the myriad of original watches available today at an affordable price, you want to be sure you’re getting what you imagine it could be. That’s where I come in.

I present to you, the Atto Verticale Tonneau!




First Impressions

The watch comes in one of the most original packaging designs I have seen in a while. I sometimes feel like brands are compensating for something when doing this, but this packaging is far from expensive, just a well thought out way of using cardboard.

I was immediately surprised by how light the watch is. Most of its weight is from the strap! The straps are also very easy to change due to the way they mimic nato straps. 

You immediately start to turn to the crown to see that hypnotizing balance wheel tick away. That never really gets old. So all in all, a very nice unboxing with no disappointments.


Overall Design

The tonneau version of their watches have a little more daring design then their round brother, which is partly why I chose to review that model. That case shape is well done on this watch, and I love the way they have layered the case and debossed a shape on the low side, giving it some depth when seen from different angles. I would have liked to see a thinner case on this watch, since the straps stick out from the bottom of the watch. 

The choice of sandblasted finishing in the case goes well with what they are trying to achieve. This is not a flashy and expensive watch, but are funky, quirky and original watch.

The dial is pretty quite simple here, yet complicated. It’s basically the movements held together by one bridge, featuring a roughly engraved pattern, and two arrow hands to show the time. No need for a seconds hand, we have the balance wheel to help us “feel” the movement. They did however add hours markers, but at the very bottom of the case, so as not to take the attention away from the movement. 

The back of the case features a sandblasted crystal, which is also a design choice i like. They didn’t want to much transparency, but you can still see the color of the strap through it, thus influencing the look of the watch depending on what strap you have on it (with a funky nato strap, this watch could stand out even more).

The crown looks like a typical flieger watch crown, slightly hidden between 2 crown guards at the 12 o’clock position. Without these guards, the watch would have looked duller, so i am very happy they added those to the case. My version has a blue tip on the crown, but they seem to have removed this feature on the newer models, which i am not sure if i prefer or not.

The 12 o’clock crown is something you rarely see (check out my review of the Bolido CORE), but in this case I believe it was also necessary to achieve a balanced and symmetrical dial. To show a hand-wound movement like this, they need to align everything in a line and that wouldn’t have worked well with a classic crown at the 3 o’clock.

As for the color choices, Atto Verticale went for less flashy colors, which i like! The hands matches the case color and the inside of the strap.

What could have been better

I would have liked to see a smaller strap (or one that tapers down) on the tonneau model, since the strap takes up a large amount of the width of the watch. This kind of hides the watch and makes it look insignificant, and the watch itself should always be the main attraction, which is why so many strap taper down. 


Quality

Bear in mind this watch goes for 294 Euros (326 USD), so you should expect the quality to be of that price range.

The case

The case is quite well made. The sandblasted finish looks good, the machining is good and there is perfect symmetry. It feels good to the touch, and looks good.

The dial and hands

The dial is simply put, the movement itself. The have decorated the bridge holding it together with curved striped engravings and blue screws (the jewels of the movement themselves are also very decorative). The engraving there is rough, but manages to make the watch look much better than had it been plain old metal surface. The blue screws are supposed to mimic the heat treated screws on high end watches, and surely fails but remains a cool detail.

The hands are a little disappointing up close. The embossed shiny look of the hands makes them look like cheap plastic. I would have like to see flat, brushed metal hands as a replacement for these ones.

The sapphire crystal

The crystal reflects as much light as you would imagine on a 300 euro watch. It’s good enough for you to read the time easily. The back of the case also features a sapphire crystal with a sandblasted finish which is also nicely applied.

The strap and buckle

The strap is also quite nice considering the price point. Tight stitching through a thick but bendable strap is all you can ask for. The sides are of course “laminated”, which you always see on lower end straps, but it remains a good strap in my opinion. The same goes for the canvas strap, which features nice metal holes for the buckle pin.

The strap buckles are actually very nice and mimics the case design of the watch with beveled angles and a sandblasted finish. Very satisfied with those! 

The movement

The movement is of unknown source, and i would have liked to know more about it. This is not reassuring, but making such a simple hand-wound movement is not that hard. I assume it’s chinese since they don’t state where it’s from, but you don’t buy this watch for it’s mechanical prowess, but for the design.

The price 

I think the price is fair

You can get a lot of cheap chinese quartz watches wrapped in branding for the price of an Atto Verticale, but not the same level of originality. You get what you pay for here, so it’s up to you if you like the concept and design of their watches.


Conclusion

The Atto Verticale watches are probably not the kind of watches that will grab the attention of most watch aficionados, but it can surely appeal to a broader audience seeking something funky, original, quirky and different. It’s unisex, colorful, mechanical and affordable, so i can definately see the appeal, even though they are not my cup of tea.

Looking away from the design and my subjective thoughts, i end up with a well made watch for the money. They did cut a few corners, but only to be able to lower the price, and i think they have hit the sweet spot, since most regular people won’t pay more than 300 Euros for a wristwatch.

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