Don’t really know why, but watches with monochromatic (and stealthy) black-on-black color scheme are all the rage these days. With its new A.B.Art Special OA All Black wrist watch the Swiss watchmaker jumps into the “Black is the new Black” bandwagon. While many analysts consider the “bandwagon” strategy dangerous in a sense that you risk getting into the trend that is just about to make a U-turn, the fairly limited number of watches that the Swiss-based brand plans to deliver minimizes the risk of them stacking with a bunch of unsold timekeepers.
Even simply judging by the available photos, it is clearly visible that the new model is based on the OA102 and OA103 family of watches that were officially presented in the beginning of the year during the Baselworld 2010 trade show.
Featuring the traditional for A.B.Art Bauhaus-style design, the watches were equipped with a refreshingly cool, “perforated” dial. As you can see on the picture below, the dial had 31 round holes which, together with a rotating disk with a small white dot on it, displayed current day of month.
Frankly speaking, I do not really understand why did A.B.Art’s designers decided to dump the idea and offer the special edition watch with a “normal” calendar window, which is now located at 3 o’clock and makes the dial look more than simply unbalanced. It almost ruins the idea with that huge white strip that takes enough dial’s real estate to show not one but whole three numerals on the calendar disk.
To my taste, it would be more logical to use the “perforated” dial of the OA102 model: this kind of date representation would make the watch even more enigmatic. And it would still be quite legible!
There was probably a concern that 31 Arabic numerals printed in white would somewhat detract from the watch’s simplistic beauty, cluttering the dial and drawing too much attention to themselves. However the problem could be overcame by printing the numerals in black SuperLuminova or some other dark luminescent substance, or simply using a glossy black paint just like they did with the logo and the “LIMITED EDITION” text right below it.
As usual, the ETA 2824-2 base automatic caliber, which, judging by the photos, is equipped with a PVD-coated winding rotor. The mechanism that comes without any more additional decoration is partly visible through a screw-down half-moon display back, which is perfectly flat.
Only 300 units will be ever made. a.b.art plans to sells them at a fairly affordable price of CHF 895 or only €695 if you happen to live outside of Switzerland.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 3/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
See also: a.b.art launches simplistic MM series
A.B.Art Special OA All Black automatic watch specification:
Price range: CHF 895 / €695 (MSRP)
Movement: ETA 2824-2 caliber, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case material: Black PVD-coated 316L stainless steel
Bezel material: Black PVD-coated 316L stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.50 mm
Case height: 9.60 mm
Hands: Steel, white Superluminova
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather with steel pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid, with semi-circular cutout with transparent crystal