Watches don’t need to be spherical. They are often sq., rectangular, or rectangular, and take their design inspiration from all method of issues. From the astonishing H.R. Giger-inspired Strom watches to the flight-inspired Graham watches, a timepiece is a clean canvas for the artistic to fill. That’s what Japanese watch model Tacs did with the AVL II — an automated watch that took its key design parts from basic cameras.

Now Tacs is again with the Nato-Lens, a second watch that recollects digicam design, solely this time it’s smaller, simpler to put on and reside with, and cheaper. That’s a tempting listing of advantages, and I’ve been sporting one forward of its official retail launch. What do I feel? It’s a geeky, playful trend accent that you just’ll wish to put on.

Not a digicam

It could appear like the lens of a digicam, however the Nato-Lens doesn’t take footage. It’s not a smartwatch both and doesn’t have any Bluetooth connectivity. What do you do with it? You put on it, and luxuriate in it. Because the identify suggests, the Nato-Lens is matched greatest with a material Nato strap. The black model right here is top quality too — thick, with a good weave, and stitched leather-based ideas. A metallic keeper is joined by a leather-free loop which has Tacs’ emblem embossed on it. The underside of the strap is produced from leather-based, making it extra comfy to put on for longer durations of time.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The watch’s physique is stainless-steel with a black end; the bezel rotates freely, and the crown adjusts the time. The squared off lugs kind the idea of the physique’s digicam lens look, which comes into its personal while you have a look at the Nato-Lens’ face straight on. The crystal is domed like a lens, and the face itself has a design that wouldn’t look misplaced on the entrance of any SLR digicam.

Try the case markings. A “00” sits on the high for the noon level, and “six” is written on the 6 o’clock level, whereas different design parts tell us the physique measures 44mm. The black and white coloration scheme is straightforward, stark, and simple to learn. The white tipped arms stand out, though they didn’t glow a lot at nighttime. The bezel, which is formed and textured like a digicam’s focus ring, twists simply however doesn’t present any perform.

Know-how and options

The Nato-Lens is water-proof to 50 meters, and is a quartz watch somewhat than an automated just like the AVL II. This implies it’s simpler to reside with frequently as there’s no have to set the time once more for those who don’t put on it for a number of weeks. Tacs has used the Miyota 2039 battery motion for the Nato-Lens, and it has saved good time in the course of the time I’ve worn it.

It’s a geeky, playful trend accent that you just’ll wish to put on.

Tacs will ship a second strap with pre-ordered Nato-Lens watches, and mine arrived with each a black Nato strap and a blue denim strap. The denim different feels nice, however is let down as a result of there are phrases like “Distinctive is Easy” plastered on it. That offers off a barely low cost really feel that’s not consultant of the watch itself. I shortly swapped it for the black Nato, which additionally fits the camera-look higher, because it jogged my memory of a digicam strap. A Horween leather-based strap, just like the one I attempted on the AVL II can be out there.

Nato-Lens or AVL II?

Outdoors of the camera-inspired design, the AVL II and the Nato-Lens are very totally different. The Nato-Lens is far more wearable as a result of 44mm physique. It slips beneath free cuffs in a manner the 47mm AVL-II doesn’t, and the extra compact physique will go well with extra wrists too. It’s nonetheless an enormous, masculine watch although.

Tacs Nato-Lens review
Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The worth is significantly decrease. The Nato-Lens is $220, whereas the AVL-II is $550. You do miss out on the automated motion, sapphire crystal, and a see-through case again by selecting the Nato-Lens. Put subsequent to one another, the monster AVL II actually does appear like it deserves the excessive price ticket — with the motion seen behind the domed crystal, and larger consideration to element. Nevertheless, it’s huge, heavy, and not likely an on a regular basis watch. As a result of the Nato-Lens is a lot extra manageable and significantly lighter, it’s ideally suited to on a regular basis put on.

Who’s the Tacs Nato-Lens for?

It’s the right instance of a crossover product, interesting to each the geeky digicam collector and watch collector equally. It’s not a novelty product, though it’s noticeably cheaper than the AVL II in operation and elegance, and it neatly avoids any tackiness (supplied you don’t go for the denim strap).

Watches are much less about telling the time, and extra about design and suitability as a trend accent at present, so selecting one which makes you’re feeling particular is essential. The Nato-Lens works like this. It’s a trend watch, simply with a geekier twist than one thing like a Swatch, whereas the AVL-II is a extra severe timepiece. The affordable value makes it extra interesting to informal watch or digicam followers too. For the worth, it’s doable to purchase one to put on as a substitute for your new smartwatch, and nonetheless pay lower than it’ll price to purchase the AVL II by itself.

The Nato-Lens watch in black stainless-steel or common stainless-steel is obtainable quickly from Tacs’s personal web site for $220.

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