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Akerfalk is a microbrand from Sweden that heavily emphasizes Scandinavian minimalism in its designs. Priced at roughly $411 USD (£299), the Chronograph Panda features a Seiko VK-64 Meca Quartz movement, 24-hour subdial, and a 1-hour chronograph. Available in four colorways, the Panda is the only one to come with a mesh steel bracelet.

The Panda is made well, with no obvious blemishes on the dial, case, or caseback. The Panda colorway is safe and reserved; fans of the aesthetic will appreciate the simplicity of both the style and movement. However, if you want something more daring, you’ll want the Lake or Forrest colourways, which add a bold dose of colour to the dial.

Akerfalk has been in the space for several years now and offers free global shipping and a 2-year warranty. For those seeking a minimal piece with a mechanical chronograph, Akerfalk’s chrono is a good, albeit a touch pricey, option.




Full Review

Five years ago, we reviewed Akerfalk’s First Season, their inaugural entry into the world of minimalistic microbrand watches. Like the Chronograph we are reviewing today, the First Season was a Swedish take on contemporary minimalism.

In their design of the First Season, Akerfalk used a silver/gold color scheme for hands, along with a 24-hour dial configuration, establishing a clear brand aesthetic that they carried forward into their follow-up model, the Second Season

Unlike the First and Second models, the Chronograph’s dial is in the more common 12-hour configuration, with a small 24-hour subdial at the 3 o’clock position. But the hour and minute hands are still silver and gold, respectively, with a strip of lume embedded in their centre.

Available in four colourways – standard, Forrest, Lake, and Panda – Akerfalk’s Chronograph is a minimal take on sporty watches, with the Panda colorway the most sport of all of them.

Akerfalk provided me this watch at no-cost in December, 2023 for this review. I do not have a financial relationship with Akerfalk. To date, I have reviewed more than 200 watches; my personal collection sits at 44 timepieces (including several from when I went down the vintage Seiko and Timex rabbit holes).

Akerfalk Chronograph Panda Specifications


The Panda aesthetic can be hit or miss wherever it is used, and thankfully, it’s a hit here. Akerfalk has spent the better part of a decade making minimal work, and it looks good when deployed on this 42 mm chronograph.

Using a 42 mm case helps space the dial out, with a black outer ring contrasting against the light inner dial, printed hour markers, and black subdials.

Per the Panda profile, the use of colour is limited, and in this case, the chrono’s seconds hand, 24-hour subdial’s hand, and the chrono start/stop pusher are given the orange treatment, while the minute hand is a subtle gold.

The ample use of steel, black, and grey tones helps the orange stand out, but at a distance you’ll hardly notice since the orange tone is relatively light. This is especially true for the second hand, which can get lost against the light dial. This is a chronograph that leans more heavily towards form over function, but telling time is easy enough, and even easier if you give it more than a passing glance.

Low-light visibility is surprisingly good, with strong lume on the hour and minute hands as well as the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock hour markers.

As good as the Panda colourway looks, though, my pick of the bunch is definitely the Lake variant, where the orange hands pop off the blue-green dial.

On the Wrist

A 42 mm case is about the largest I can get away with, and the slim profile of the lugs and appropriately-sized pushers keep the Chronograph from feeling oversized.

The deployant clasp has a relatively thin profile – thinner than the typical version found on leather straps, at least – and tucks under a long-sleeve shirt easily. Also, I am pleased to report that I have only had a couple of arm-hair-pinching moments since I’ve started wearing the watch (always a risk with a mesh bracelet…)

Case, Crown, Odds, & Ends

The polished case is a safe accompaniment to the dial, and aside from the orange start/stop pusher, there isn’t much about the case to note. It does look handsome with the included steel mesh bracelet (with deployant clasp), though I think that the black leather strap included on the Forrest and Lake colorways would probably sell the racey aesthetic better.

The crown – which is a screw-down crown, by the way – is knurled and easy enough to manipulate. The pushers also engage with a satisfying tactile click when pressed.

But I have to ask: why use a screw-down crown if the intended water resistance is only 50 m / 165 ft? It’s not a bad inclusion, but seems unnecessary given the rest of the watch does not prioritize water resistance.

The steel mesh bracelet with deployant clasp feels robust and not-quite heavy; it is easy to open and close, and feels secure when you’ve clasped it shut. The stainless steel clasp is as good as any other that you’d find at this price point.

I’ve opted to use one of Akerfalk’s images of the caseback in place of my own since polished casebacks like this scratch very easily. One piece of recurring feedback I have for watch brands is that the casebacks can be more interesting than a feature dump.

Akerfalk is going in the right direction with their forest engraving, but they could take it a step further and make the caseback something really interesting! Appreciating that the VK-64 meca quartz movement isn’t anything visually worth writing home about, leaning into the brand’s natural aesthetic in a more significant way would up the wow factor.

Movement & Functions

The Seiko VK-64 Meca Quartz is the mechanical movement made for watch enthusiasts that want their wristwatch to feel like a mechanical watch, but don’t actually want to deal with the downsides of having a mechanical movement.

In the VK-64, a battery and quartz crystal are used to power the actual timekeeping. With a battery life in the 3-5 year range, and with accuracy in the ~15 seconds per day range, you shouldn’t need to adjust the watch too often.

The mechanical portion of the movement exclusively powers the chronograph function, giving the seconds hand a familiar “ticking” motion that we’ve come to associate with mechanical timepieces.

The VK-64 is generally reliable and not a bad choice at this price point.


With a safely minimal design, reliable and low-maintenance movement, and sensible sizing, Akerfalk’s Chronograph is a fine watch for the money.

The Panda’s biggest downside is that it’s too safe, too minimal, and one of many that took Marie Kondo’s lessons to heart when designing their dials. Even with Akerfalk’s signature silver/gold hand combination, the Panda is unlikely to stick with you. But, if that’s what you want your wristwatch to be, the Lake and Forrest colorways offer the same minimal aesthetic, but in a much more striking colour combination.

You can get yours directly from Akerfalk here.


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