Today, I can confidently say that sports watches are hot, and thanks to Instagram and other social media, the integrated bracelet sports watch seems to have the most clout. The popularity of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus lines and prompted many other luxury brands to create a similar line of watches.
Smaller, more affordable watch brands are of course following troupe. Riding this popularity wave is smart, especially since most of us will never be able to afford the watches that started this trend.
Jacob Veil is one of those brands. Their design approach is similar to D1 Milano’s, which I reviewed here, but with better attention to details and more bang for your buck. D1 Milano is quite successful, so there is no reason why Jacob Veil shouldn’t rise as well.
I present to you, the Jacob Veil Ark Midnight Blue!
Pros & Cons
|Design that tries to separate itself from its inspiration||Heavy and rather big|
|Great lume application||No half-links|
|Simply a badass watch|
As I am writing this review, they have yet to launch the Kickstarter (first week of March) and I will update this review with a link to it when it’s live.
That means i will be reviewing a prototype and that the production model will have further improvements (even though this watch is already quite amazing). Here are some of the improvements that the owner has in the pipeline:
- They will improve the edges of the bracelet, the clasp and the center links, to smoothen them out. I can see why that would be a priority since the center links do have a pretty sharp edge. These edges do not touch the skin, however, and the prototype is still very comfortable to wear.
- The final model will have a different name on the case back, but I won’t spoil that for you 🙂
There is no doubt that Jacob Veil has drawn inspiration from the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Most watches designed today have some elements that another icon has worn with pride, but the key here is to create something that has its own identity, and I believe Jacob Veil managed to do that.
I almost feel bad for even comparing it, because watches like these can get hate from haters for even looking a bit like some iconic watches. But haters will hate, and lovers will love. And I actually love this watch.
The bezel features 12 sides, unlike the 8 sides of the Royal Oak, all with polished chamfered edges and an engraved ridge running along the sides of it. There are actually plenty of beveled edges on this watch, going from the sides of the bracelet to the case, and the crown guard as well.
Interestingly enough, they decided to let the polished beveled edge on the case flank thin out near the middle, which looks really cool and is hard to do!
The crown guards are not only practical but give the watch a very sporty and aggressive look. The minimum use of mirror polish finish also helps to further this look.
The dial is as sporty as can be. The choice of a line engraved matt dial compliments this watch, just as it compliments the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The midnight blue is subtle and prevents the watch from looking too tacky and has a green hue in the right light. It’s right in the middle between green and blue.
The brushed hour’s markers have also been cut in a downward angle, giving them more personality and depth, while creating the illusion of a circle in the right light.
The skeleton hands are quite basic, but the second’s hand features a small cut on each tip, resembling the one on the brand’s logo! And speaking of the logo, what a stunner! Not only is it applied, but well rounded and polished with the middle “line” being cold colored!
Last, but not least, I would like to thank Jacob Veil for using date wheels with the same background color as the dial! I never liked white date wheel on blue dials, it just ruins them.
All in all, the watch draws inspiration from the right sources, without blatantly copying them, while giving us those small details that we all love on our watches. Jacob Veil certainly has the potential to become a bigger brand for the mainstream audience.
Overall, the quality matches the price tag, especially considering the amount of polished chamfered edges, unique details, and the precision of the construction.
The case and bezel
The brushed (or satin) finish on the case and bezel match the bracelet and is rather fine. All the lines are parallel to each other, although it can be hard to tell because they are not very deep. This light satin can almost give off a grainy beat-blasted vibe in a certain light, which is not necessarily bad (my Breitling Headwind has the same), but don’t expect deep brushed finishes on this watch.
The mirror-polished edges are well done, and the edges between the 2 finishes are a bit dull, which is pretty normal considering the price of the watch.
The bezel lines up perfectly with the case side, which has 2 angles mirroring the bezel. Everything is centered and aligned to the dial and everything else, except for the end-links attached to the case, which seems to be a bit unaligned (nothing that you can see when looking at it on your wrist).
The crown is perfectly centered between the crown guards and perfectly aligned with the case flank. The finishing is a bit duller, almost beat-blasted, but with very well defined teeth and machined teeth, giving you a great grip when turning it.
The logo on the side of the crown is deeply engraved, and rather subtle, which is just perfect in my book.
The threading is slightly uneven and “grainy”, which is to be expected in this price range but doesn’t feel bad when unscrewing the crown. Unscrewing this crown is super easy and setting the date and time is easy and you feel the click immediately. The manual winding is a classic Miyota style, with very low resistance and a “grainy” sound to it.
The dial and hands
Everything is perfectly aligned on this dial, and nicely proportioned and most things are to the standard of what you would expect from a watch in this price range.
The matt dial features well cut-out ridges with rounded bulges that still manages to play with the light a bit.
The brushed finish on the hour’s markers and hands looks much rougher than the case and bracelet and is not always aligned to the direction of the markers (the hands do, however). This is of course under my loupe, but in real life, this is not a problem for me.
The lume is very well executed and nicely applied to the markers and hands! It also shines very well and long thanks to my all-time favorite paint, the BGW9.
The printing is quite crisp, whether is the rehaut with the minute track or the dial side printing. The date wheel has a few dates with some grainy texture, but nothing serious.
The applied logo is just wonderfully executed with a nice rounded shape, perfect mirror polish and stand out nicely on this dial.
The date is almost perfectly centered, maybe a smidge too high, but I have seen worse on so many watches, and is the one thing most brands get wrong anyway.
The flat sapphire crystal covering the dial sits perfectly parallel to the case and slightly over it, raised by a beveld edge running around it. Not the best anti-reflective coating i have seen in this price range, but nor is it the worst. And since the dial is so legible, there isn’t much to complain about here.
The bracelet is quite good and with the improvements on the productio model, there isn’t going to be buch to complain about.
The bracelet is rattly, like every metal bracelet in this price range, but also fluid and conforms perfectly to the wrist. It plays well with the light and sports a good mix of shapr edges and softer polished chamferred edges.
The underside has only rounded edges, so no pinching the skin or your arm hairs.
The twin trigger butterfly deployant clasp is rather good for this price range and feels solid and well-made. It’s also mirror polished in most places and the overlapping link with the logo and the small triggers creates a good illusion of the bracelet being one piece.
All the improvements on the bracelet are welcome, but i would’t be dissatisfied with the current prototype bracelet, and that is really good news!
This watch is powered by the infamous Miytoa 9015 which is the upgraded version of the 8215 from 2009. It’s known to be a workhorse movement and comes with hacking (stopping seconds when setting the time), 28.800 beat / hr (4Hz or 8 ticks/sec.) and a good shock absorber.
Marc & Sons, a brand that i truly respect and trust, has this to say about it :
The caliber 9015, which was presented for the first time in 2009, is a revolutionary development of the 8215 caliber. Equipped with a ball bearing rotor, a second stop and a date with a quick-change circuit, this new plant works very precisely with 28,800 half oscillations per hour. The range deviation is indicated as -10 to +30 seconds per day. According to experience, however, the work runs much more precisely, in some cases with a deviation in the single-digit second range. Furthermore, the movement has a shock absorber, a Swiss anchoring inhibitor and a manual hoist. The reserve is 42 hours. The movement is a technical masterpiece due to its low overall height of only 3.9 mm.
Mine holds time very well and loses at most around 20 / 25 seconds a day, and this prototype has been sent around the world for a while now.
The custom gold-colored rotor makes the movement a bit more special when seen from the display case back.
On the wrist
The Jacob Veil Ark is not a small watch, nor a light one. On my 17cm wrists it truly stand out and has enormous wrist presence. But that doesn’t make in uncomfortable, unless you like wearing watches you can’t feel on your wrist.
There is a lot of top weight, so i wear this one a bit tighter, yet it is still not disagreeable. I did find some discomfort when typing on my laptop, because i rest my wrist on it, but many watches including my high-end ones tend to do that. That’s why i have Nato Straps.
It’s chunky and big on me, but manages to hug my wrist perfectly leaving very little empty space when my wrist is flat. Not a watch for very small wrist, but a perfect one for the medium to large wrists if you like that masculine and sporty look.
What could be better?
Here are the things i would like to have seen on this watch, that i think wouldn’t have altered the price too much.
- The markers have a quite rough brushed finish, and in general that is a hard tithing to pull of nicely for anyone. Maybe mirror polish is the way to go, or putting a little more effort in to those.
- I would LOVE to see and integrated leather strap option! They look soo good on these type of watches.
- A full titanium option (with and increased price of course) could be in order, for those who wants to shave off a lot of weight.
Jacob Veil is fresh off the boat brand, trying to ride the steels sports watch craze while offering a unique yet kind of reckognizable design and good bang for your buck. In trying, they have succeded and offers more value than leading brands in this genre and price range.
The Ark is a big, sporty watch with an aggressive and masculine look that made me feel slightly cooler when wearing it. This is definitely not the watch your girlfriend will want to wear, and that might be a good thing. It will fit perfectly with your street-wear attire or your urban workwear, but have a back-up watch for when the suits come out.