Six months ago the Akerfalk Second Season arrived at my door. In a year of tumultuousness, shipping delays, and Covid-induced stock shortgages, the idea of a new watch from a Swedish microbrand reaching my Canadian address seemed far flung, but the Akerfalk arrived and here we are.
Joshua, WIAA frontrunner and watch enthusiast extraordinaire, reviewed the First Season nearly 2.5 years ago, as did I just a couple of months prior to that. Both reviews were complimentary of the minimalist Swedish timepiece, and I’m happy to say that my second go with the brand has proven to be an appropriate follow up.
The Same, but Different
Aesthetically, the Second Season plays on the strengths of the First, but also differentiates itself in three meaningful ways:
- First, the Second Season sizes down from 40mm to 36mm, making it a true unisex size. 40mm is far from large for today’s watch cases, but it’s fair to say that many women and people with smaller wrists find a 40mm case a bit big. After I dropped weight from 280lbs to 190lbs, my “preferred” 42mm case size became 38mm, with my “preferred range” anywhere from 36mm to 42mm on the high end (though I very much prefer 40 and under).
- Second, Akerfalk has made some slight design changes to the dial that differentiates it while also throwing a tasteful nod to the original. Gone are the dots that adorned every hour marker (alongside the Arabic numerals), and in their place is an alternating Arabic/dot dial. The model designation just about 6 o’clock has also been updated, replacing a classical script font with a more contemporary sans-serif choice.
- Like the dial, the lug size shrinks 10% to 18mm from 20mm. Again, this smaller size makes the watch more accessible without appreciably reducing its pool of buyers. It also keeps the proportions aligned and preserves its aesthetic identity.
These three changes are quite small and unlikely to be your “game changer”, but given the downsizing of the case, these small reductions go far preserving the feeling of minimalism of the first. Despite a 10% reduction in overall size, the Second Season feels just as spacious and open as the First.
Importantly, both the First and Second season are for sale alongside each other. The Second Season is not a replacement for the first; it is a complementary piece that offers wearers more options when picking their wrist companion of choice.
The Second Season Preserves its Charm
What made Akerfalk’s inaugural watch notable was that it was one of the few 24H dial watches available from a microbrand in 2019 that used a Swiss movement. Here we are staring down 2022 and still, 24H dial micros are uncommon.
Perhaps 24H dials are viewed as a novelty by some, but I personally don’t see them that way. I like the pacing a 24H dial brings to timekeeping, and I like being able to use my watch as a true allegory for progression throughout the day.
But, most importantly for this Akerfalk, I like how the dial and watch are put together. The watch is an excellent example of where less adds up to more. A few touches I appreciate:
- The domed K1 mineral crystal – Of course I’d prefer sapphire from a longevity point of view, but the aesthetic appeal of the domained mineral crystal is high and hard not to love.
- The dual-tone hands – Silver for hours, gold for minutes. I’m not sure if that’s a play on where you ought to prioritize your time, but I like to think of it as a subtle encouragement to value the present moment more than the ones to come.
- The caseback, which is nearly identical to the first season outside of revised finishing. The Second Season’s caseback is a satin/silk finish vs. polished one as seen on the original. The forest scene and descriptive copy remain more or less unchanged.
- The continued use of quick-release spring bars, which makes swapping the 18mm straps a trivial affair. Every casual or dress watch made today should come with a quick-release spring bar, if only because they preserve the integrity of your lugs (tell me you haven’t scratched a lug while changing a strap).
- The Horween leather remains as plush, pliable, and comfortable as ever. A definite step above the typical strap you’d find on a sub-$300 watch.
But It’s Not Perfect
While the Second Season is a great follow up to the first, there are a few things I’d change if I could:
- The water resistance rating + screw-down crown – Akerfalk claims 5 ATM / 50 M / 165 ft of water resistance rating, which is fine, but it’s odd that the WR rating is only 5 ATM given the use of a screw-down crown. I don’t mind screw-down crowns, but I prefer them to be used on applications that warrant it. You don’t need a screw-down to hit 5 ATM.
- The lack of any lume – Recognizing that it’s not uncommon for a dress watch to eschew lume in the name of style, that does not appear to be the need here. The printed hour markers could easily have been filled with lume, alongside a thin inlay for the hands, and you’d have a functional after-dark watch. As it sits, the Akerfalk makes it tough to tell time for ~12 of the 24 hours it reports opn.
- The mineral crystal is among the most reflective I’ve ever encountered – And while it has never prevented me from telling time, it has definitely made that goal more difficult to achieve (especially outside or in a brightly-lit space).
Consider that the above list is after spending nearly six months around my wrist – pretty minimal feedback, I’d say!
Final Thoughts on the Akerfalk Second Season
My style clearly aligns on the “less is more” motif, and in that way, Akerfalk’s entire range speaks to me. I like the clean, uncluttered lines and the focus on minimalism and simplicity. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Second Season is not a “stunner” in the traditional sense, but it is a fine looking watch and one that I think will complement just about every wrist.
Considering my criticisms lie with minor things and the crystal, it’s very fair of you to assume that, if you like how the Second Season looks, you’ll also like how it wears. The weight, size, and style all combined to create a timepiece that is at home on your wrist.
Given the cost of things in today’s world, the Akerfalk Second Season feels like an acceptable buy at its MSRP of $275 USD.