Kaal Watch Multiverse – Hands-on pReview
Singapore, the microbrand paradise, is the home of a new, very interesting brand, Kaal Watches. Founded by three well-known figures of the microbrand scene, Alvin Lye of Azimuth Watch Works, Jessie Yeo of Trifoglio Italia and watch blogger Alvin Lew, Kaal Watches is driven by the desire to innovate, to leave the beaten path, to take risks in being different.
Their debut collection is the perfect materialization of this approach, the Multiverse with a look that reminds me of high-end independent brands, such as MB&F or DeBethune, with prices way into the six digits, rather than a watch that you can pre-order for $380.
The name of the brand is from Sanskrit, kaal meaning time, but in my opinion, telling the time is a secondary role when it comes to the Multiverse, which is more like an intricate jewelry or a small work of art.
It takes courage to start a new brand with such a polarizing design. The Kaal Multiverse is the ultimate conversation starter, some will like it, others will hate it, but for sure it won’t be ignored. We are galaxies away from the watches that are put together from off-the-shelf components and I asked Alvin Lew about how the Multiverse saw the light of day. The project started in 2017 and it took them three years to produce the prototype because finding a manufacturer capable to meet their expectations was not easy. As he wrote, it is definitely easy to find a watch manufacturer but to find the right one is tough. And the challenges for Kaal did not stop there, now with the prototypes out, they have to find the buyers who won’t be afraid to wear a watch that is so different, they have to change people’s mindsets.
While I spent some time with one of the prototypes, featured in this review, I was thinking a lot about the role of such a watch in a collection. I’m quite convinced that the Multiverse won’t be the first purchase for someone new to microbrands, but for collectors, who already satisfied their carve for a diver, for a dress watch, a chronograph, etc., they will get to a point where they can step out from their comfort zone and try something unique. I suppose if you got this far in the review, you are probably a seasoned collector, looking for something to spice up your existing collection. The Kaal Multiverse won’t disappoint.
You can choose between three dials/celestial bodies: Gaea – the Earth, Sol – the Sun and Artemis – the Moon. The prototype I had the pleasure to try out is the Artemis model, with a hemisphere at the center of the dial representing the Moon with its many craters under a double domed sapphire crystal.
At first, I was a bit puzzled, I was not quite sure how to read the time, but as soon as I started playing with the crown, it was easy to figure it out. There is a seconds hand, a minute hand and the hours are rotating on a disk under the Moon. The dark hours’ disk has a sparkling effect, reminding the night sky, while the numerals are painted with lume.
The transversal metallic bridge holding down the Moon, the fonts used on the dial and the shape of the case with the massive domed crystal, gave me the impression that I’m wearing an alien gadget, we are fully immersed here in a Sci-Fi movie.
The real fun starts when it gets dark and the lume that covers the chapter ring and the numerals on the hours’ disk starts to kick in and lights up the central hemisphere. Now I’m ready to be teleported.
I’m very impressed by the smart approach used on the back of the watch, inspired by a solar system where the central sun is actually the see-through part where you can get a peek at the Seiko NH 35. Great idea and it just adds to the long list of pleasant surprises the Multiverse will bring to its owner.
There is only one thing I wish it was different, the domed crystal reflects the light and since reading the time is not as straightforward as with a tool watch, the glare won’t help in this situation, more or better AR coating would be great. But let’s be honest, you won’t use the Multiverse for tracking lap times, this is a piece of jewelry for your wrist, and if you really want it, you can tell the time too, but I would wear it even if there was no movement inside, just for the look.
The prototype from this review is already on its way to the next reviewer. I had a lot of fun with it, I just wish we were not in lockdown and I could have shown it to my watch collector friends, this is a watch that is made to be shared.
Are you in the market for something different, something unique? You can preorder the Kaal Multiverse at https://kaalwatch.com/ for $380 instead of the regular $699, with delivery expected in February 2021.
- Movement: Seiko NH35: automatic movement, 40 hours power reserve, 21,600 vibrations per hour
- Case Diameter: 42mm
- Case Thickness: 19mm including crystal dome
- Lug to Lug: 47mm
- Lug width: 22mm
- Crystal: Double dome sapphire glass with AR coating
- Water Resistance : 30m / 3atm
- Crown: Push/Pull
- Case: Stainless steel 316L. Each case is serially numbered.
- Inner Dial: Choice of Gaea, Sol or Artemis (Earth, Sun or Moon)
- Luminous: Swiss Superluminova C3
- Strap: Horween genuine leather (Choice of Black or Brown) with white stitching