AVL Vintage 2 – A very unique homage watch

By Frederik Drost
AVL Vintage 2 – A very unique homage watch
TACS has managed to pull off quite a unique homage watch without ending up with a tachy and misplaced watch. It’s big, fun, original and well made… What more could you ask for?

Hello fellow watch freaks! Today i am back with a watch brand that i have already worked with in the past, when reviewing their Nato Lens model. TACS’s flagship model is the AVL Vintage 2, and I can finally share my opinions on this truly unique watch!

I present to you, the AVL Vintage 2!


Quick Pros & Cons

PROSCONS
– Unique and well thought out design– No lume
– Good quality for the money– Not easy to read the exact time
– Great strap
– Visible movement on the dial and case back




First impressions

TACS has managed to create a design that is highly influenced by camera lenses, and the packaging reflects this as well. The watch comes in a nice wooden box, engraved with the watch’s specs on the side and a nice little leather strap holding the box closed.

The watch itself is covered by a leather cap, protecting the crystal, which was inspired by the vintage caps used on older cameras for the same purpose. It’s a very cool detail that can only bring about a smile on the owner’s face.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the AVL Vintage 2 is truly an upgrade from it’s cheaper little brother, the Nato Lens. Better finish, better strap, feels more solid and doesn’t have that annoying rattling bezel! 

Truly a satisfying unboxing with zero disappointments! 


Overall design

There is one thing you can’t ignore with this watch: it’s a big watch! 46mm X 16mm is no joke, but it sits surprisingly well on my smaller 17cm wrists thanks to the short angled lugs. 

Getting inspiration from camera’s to create a watch is somewhat a risky move, and a difficult task that I think has paid off for TACS. People I know that inquired about the watch didn’t immediately see the connection, but when told, had an obvious “aha” moment. It’s first and foremost a watch, then a homage to the camera world.

I really love how they have integrated the classic watch marker and dial texts on this watch, while keeping true to the camera lens esthetic. The bezel has some useless, but fun information about the movement and size of the watch and the side of the case feature the model number and the beats per hour.

The model name is discreetly engraved on the top right lug, and the brand name is hidden between the 2 lower lugs next to an esthetic screw, tightened into the left lower lug. I don’t like when watch brands put their name everywhere on their watches, and TACS definitely tried to keep this watch understated in that regard.

The black on metal esthetic is very consistent on this watch, even on the case and case back thanks to the added layer of harshly brushed metal that sits right under the bezel and the case back. 

The dial has all sorts of small details, hidden under a beautiful sapphire crystal with an extra domed crystal underneath to mimic camera lenses. The crystal creates a unique and charming light distortion that is truly fun to play with. When turning the watch, the exterior of the dial distorts while the center skeletonized part remains in focus, which is a very interesting effect.

The dial has just enough information to get a sense of the time, with seemingly random minute markers (they are popular focal lengths). However, it is not easy to read the exact time, nor to read the time in dark areas, but this is a necessary sacrifice to achieve this look. I believe lumed hands would have thrown off the design.

Speaking of hands, TACS has also done something interesting with these too! The part of the hands residing over the open movement hard matt black, while the rest is brushed metal. This is more of a practical design choice since it makes it easier to read them as they don’t blend in with the dial underneath.

Another cool design element is the integration of a metal boucle in the strap, displaying information about the strap! However, when writing these words on my laptop, I can see that the boucle has already scratched my computer:) You have been warned! 


Quality

The case and crown

The case i very well executed with a nice brushed finish and a layer of harsher brushed darker metal that is perfectly aligned! There are no beveled edges on this case, but the edges are soft and up to par with this kind of price range (nothing luxurious, but looks great). The crown guard (or camera loop as TACS calls it) is very well done and truly feels like it’s part of the case.

The back of the case is also very well executed with the same layer of black metal and 4 screws holding everything in place. The sapphire crystal lets you see the generic, but beautiful Miyota movement.

The crown’s engraved pattern is polished and does a nice job of keeping your fingers locked on the it when turning it. The unscrewing and tightening of the crown is surprisingly smooth, to the point where i’m not even sure there are any ridges! 

The dial and bezel

The black parts of the dial have many ridges and elements that looks great, and the polished rings have a nice circular brushed finish. The hands are crisp and the black paint ends in a nice straight line. 

The bezel has engraved writings filled with paint, which is great, and beautiful engraved beat blasted grip pattern. To give it more depth, a polished beveled edge sits on top to reflect light back into your eyes.

The sliding bezel action is very smooth and there is no play, like the Nato Lens model had! Not only is this bezel very well executed, but you can use it to time things! 

The crystal

Ironicallu it was hard for my camera to get the right focus at this angle

Because of the domed shape of the crystal, it reflects the least amount of light possible for such a crystal, considering there is only AR coating on the inside. A nice blue tint can be seen at certain angles, which I personally enjoy!

The strap

The strap is made of horween leather and breaks in pretty fast. It’s thick, but easy to bend, but does feature coated sides which isn’t surprising for this price range. 

The strap boucle is very soft to the touch because it features much softer edges than the case. The little metal boucle that holds down the strap is a little too sharp for me and has a rougher brushed finish. This element sticks out because it really looks cool, but sadly also because it feels like they skipped a few steps there.

The movement

The Citizen Miyota 82S0 is a great little movement, and straight out of the box and wound up it recorded an amplitude of 307 degrees, a beat error of 0.1 ms and a 2 seconds loss a day ! I assume it will lose more seconds after a little wear and tear, but it sure is off to a great start. It beats at 21.600 beat / hour, which translates to 3Hz or 6 ticks at second.

I would recommend wearing this watch until the movement stops working and replace it with a brand new one. Servicing these kinds of movements would cost the same, and it can probably run fine for 10 years, sometimes more. 


Price 💲 

I think the price is fair

You can own this watch for 550 USD (507 Euros), which I believe is a very fair price! Considering all the different elements and engraved details, and the overall quality of the watch, i can’t see them selling this for less.


Conclusion

TACS’s has created a truly interesting and inspiring homage to camera lenses, without making the watch feel tacky or like a novelty watch. You don’t have to be a photographer or a vintage camera collector to enjoy this watch, because it is a watch in it’s own right. 

The funny thing about this watch is how it got me to notice how cool camera lenses look, and how practical their designs are. 

And the quality matches that of any old metal camera lens, so you shouldn’t be worried that you are buying an overpriced novelty watch. What you are buying is a well made conversation starter, a fun watch for those “not so serious” days, an homage to camera lenses and something that brings out a smile smile everytime you check the time.

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