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Pedral Artefact 20

Swedish avant-garde brand Pedral is due to release its second watch collection later this month and it’s safe to say that it’s a head-turner. The Artefact continues where the brand’s previous collection, the Okapi, left off, using its off-kilter dial geometry as its starting point, but taking things further by introducing an all-new case design. Founder, Kevin Pedral describes the Artefact as retro-futuristic with a nod to the understated minimalist elegance of Swedish design. It will be available in a choice of eight colours (including the Silver Symphony seen here) when it launches on Kickstarter on 13 April, priced from €299. Once the Kickstarter ends on 30 April, the price will increase to €639. 

The Case and Wearing Experience

The case and bracelet are made from 316L stainless steel and surface hardened to 800 Vickers, which should help stave off scratches for longer. The case diameter is 39.5mm, the lug-to-lug measurement is 47.5mm and the overall thickness is 11.2mm. I’d describe the mid-case as somewhere half-way between a regular round case and a rounded square, or ‘squirlcle’. It’s mostly brushed but features polished chamfers to the top and bottom edges and a cut-out for the partially recessed 6.5mm push-pull crown at 3 o’clock. The crown features an engraving of the Pedral logo, is well-proportioned, grippy and operates with confidence. 

The bezel is shaped like an offset squircle, with the ‘corners’ being at 12, 3, 6 and 9. The sides of the bezel are polished and the top face is vertically brushed. The sapphire crystal is flat with an anti-reflective coating and sits ever so slightly proud of the bezel.

Moving to the rear, we find a screw-down exhibition caseback which features circular brushing with engraved specifications and polished chamfered sides. Water resistance is as much as most people will ever need, at 100m. 

The case flows seamlessly into the stubby, downturned lugs and attractive integrated three-link bracelet. The bracelet is predominantly brushed and tapers from 22.5mm at the watch head, down to 18mm at the clasp.  The centre links feature polished chamfers to the top and bottom sides on the facing edge, and the outer links are chamfered to three edges. Removable links are attached by push-pins, and completing the bracelet is a twin trigger, butterfly-style clasp for a seamless look. The finishing is refined and comfort is generally good, but there are a couple of things to note. Firstly, there is no micro adjustment (although a clasp upgrade is one of the Kickstarter stretch goals). Secondly, there are no half links, so although the links are reasonably short, it’ll be a game of chance as to whether you can achieve the perfect fit. Also, I had issues with the articulation on the links on my review watch, which frequently got ‘stuck’ into position on numerous occasions. However, Kevin from Pedral has already confirmed to me that he’s working on resolving this issue for the production models. 

The watch sits well on the wrist and the dimensions are pretty versatile. It’s nice and slim and there is minimal protrusion from the caseback. Due to the Artefact’s quirky shape, it’s difficult to give an exact comparison in terms of the wearing experience, but I’d say it wears about the same as a similarly sized round watch. 

The Dial and Hands

Mimicking the bezel, the dial is a squircle shape tilted to 45 degrees, so it’s orientated more like a diamond. Maybe this makes it a Dircle? (answers on a postcard please!).

The dial is of a dual-layer construction. The centre section is stamped with a radial guilloché pattern which emanates from the pinion and increases in size towards the outer perimeter of the bottom layer of the dial. The upper/outer layer is radially brushed with railroad-style minute track. This is also where you’ll find the applied indices, which comprise short batons and Arabic numerals for the 12, 3, 6 and 9. 

At first glance you’d think the polished hour and minute hands are simple fence-post hands with a crease to the centre, but look closer and a unique detail is revealed. The tips feature skeletonised versions of the Pedral logo. It’s always nice to be rewarded with little ‘easter eggs’ as you get to know a watch, and I don’t think I’ve seen this kind of bespoke detail on a Microbrand watch before. The seconds hand is a simple baton style with a spear-shaped lumed tip. The indices and hands all feature blue Swiss BGW9 Super Lumi-Nova for enhanced legibility in low light. 

Whilst I love the combination of sunburst and guilloché textures on the dial, I still feel like the silver dial variant could do with a touch more contrast. It would have been nice to see more facets on the indices for enhanced light play or maybe a blued seconds hand or touch of colour on the perimeter markings; just something to lift it from being a sea of silver. To be fair to Pedral though, this a common complaint of mine for silver dialled watches from many brands. 

The Movement

As we’ve come to expect from microbrands at this price point, the typical options come from either Seiko or Citizen. Here we have the Miyota 9039 from Citizen. This is a premium Japanese movement which is ultra-reliable, has hacking seconds and a smooth sweep to the seconds hand thanks to the 28,600VPH beat rate.Accuracy is -10/+30 seconds per day and the power reserve is approx. 40 hours. The movement is visible through the exhibition caseback and the rotor has been customised with the Pedral branding. 

Final Thoughts

The Pedral Artefact is a mixed bag for me. I certainly see a lot of potential, but the microbrand watch market is hot right now and at the full retail price of €639 the Artefact is up against some stiff competition, and in all honesty, there are better options out there in terms of quality and execution. However, it’s safe to say that you’d be hard pushed to find something as unique as the Pedral, and once you factor in the Kickstarter prices I’m sure the Artefact will find its audience. I personally think that the somewhat surreal design lends itself more to bright dual-colour dials such as the Purple and Green or Navy Blue and Orange Dial. It’s a shame therefore that these colours will only be available as stretch goals, as I think they would have been the quickest to sell out. 

Whether this watch is right for you will ultimately boil down to how much you connect with the polarising design language and what Kevin is trying to accomplish here. This is a watch for mavericks or collectors looking to inject some fun into their collection. If that sounds like you, the Artefact is surely worth considering, especially at the Kickstarter price of €299! 

As regular readers will know, I always admire a brand trying to do things differently, so hats-off to Kevin for going his own way. I love the direction that Pedral watches is going in and I’ll closely follow the brands journey as the design language is charming, baffling and intriguing all at the same time. If you’re wearing a Pedral watch, you can be sure it will be a talking point, even in a room full of non-watch nerds and that can only be a good thing. 

Kevin is well-aware that the Artefact is never going to be a mass market watch, but it doesn’t need to be. People who love Marmite really love Marmite. Lovers of the iconic, sticky brown yeasty goo will rave about it till the cows come home. Others will taste it once and never let it darken their lips again. I think it’s the same here with the Artefact! So, I guess it boils down to you. Do you like Marmite?! Let us know in the comments below!


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1 comment

  1. M

    Very unique piece that I’d like to add to my collection will definitely get onto the kickstarter campaign!

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