I just finished writing down my personal hands-on experience with one of my latest purchases, being the 'Mamut' from Arkai. Arkai is a small company based in Denmark and caught my attention with their latest release of a skeletonized watch with a lot of resemblance to the the AP's that are selling for crazy amounts of money these days.
I hope you enjoy the article and feel free to share your thoughts, questions etc down below !
Thank you and kind regards, Michael.
Hello everyone, happy to see you join the Trapped In Time Watches experience again.
As always, sit back, relax and Take.Your.Time.
Today we’ll be taking a look at a watch from the in-Denmark-based company, Arkai.
Arkai is a fashion based company, mainly looking for the right balance between style and affordability. The latest and most ambitious line-up in their watch portfolio is the ‘Mamut collection’.
Unboxing and first impressions
I came across the Arkai brand by coincidence I must say. During some browsing on facebook, an ad came by from a webshop which was dedicated to mens fashion, called Trendhim.
Normally I’m not really keen on clicking these pop-up ads, but this time something caught my eye.
It was the launch of a new line-up in their ‘watch portfolio’, called the Arkai ‘Mamut collection’.
The render showed a skeleton watch with some intriguing design aspects and a fancy looking, integrated bracelet, with an overall design language that could be compared with the AP’s royal oak (I’m talking about design language of course, not the execution of it !).
I went over to the website and took a closer look at this timepiece.
Somewhat pleasantly surprised by the specifications, I pondered if it would be worth it to get an inexpensive watch from an unknown brand with the risk of getting eventually receiving a badly made and to expensive watch at the end.
I contacted the customer support and came in contact with Geninna, a very helpful lady who replied to my questions and concerns regarding the quality and specs of this watch and offered me a substantial discount for showing my interest in reviewing their timepiece.
‘note: thank you to Trendhim for the discount, however, this will not affect the way I evaluate this watch
The Mamut comes in 3 colorways, black, silver and gold. I chose the Silver one, which proves to be quite popular as it’s already out of stock.
The package arrived just 3 days later (Denmark to Belgium). At first I thought my wife had ordered some new kitchen appliances (pun intended) as the mailman came to the door with a reasonably big box.
However, the senders address implied otherwise… this was my watch…
The package was well secured with a lot of hard paper, no wonder the watch came in mint condition.
The unboxing experience is pleasant, having several ‘layers’ to it. After removing a branded cardboard box, you find a premium looking watchbox in a high gloss wooden finish.
Opening the box will give you an overview of the watch and it’s complementary attributes.
The watch, a manual, unsinged warranty card, micro fiber cloth and Arkai hangtag… everything is present.
The first impression is a bit overwhelming. The watch was already set at the correct time, even though it was still fully wrapped in plastic. I checked with the customer support and they confirmed that this is part of their last minute checkup before sending the watch. A very nice touch.
The watch itself has a lot of presence when seeing it in the box. It’s a big boy, but looks very sophisticated with that skeleton setup.
Let’s see what this Mamut has to offer.
The Mamut didn’t steal its name… this is a huge watch.
Weighing in at 220g for the whole package.
Case diameter: 42mm (47mm with crown),
Lug-to-lug distance: 56mm.
This all seems reasonably for a big watch… however.
Due to the integrated bracelet design which has fixed male end links, this watch doesn’t wear as ‘compact’ as the specs would suggest.
When measuring the eventual end link – to – end link distance, overall dimensions come down to 60 mm.
The case is made of 316L stainless steel and features a vertical applied brushed finishing on both the top and side, with polished chamfered edges. The integrated and fixed end links flow in a sharp and angular way from the case down and make up for an interesting design.
The signed crown can be found at the 3 ‘O clock position and features a push-pull system.
On top of the case, we can find a fixed 316L stainless steel bezel. The bezel has the same vertical brushed finishing, with polished chamfered edges, complementing the design of the case.
The bezel features cut-outs at the even timestamps (2-4-6 etc…) with screws which should resemble a diver’s helmet. Within the bezel we find the main show of this watch, the skeletonized ‘dial’.
The skeleton dial offers an insight of all the underlying mechanisms. When taking a closer look at this setup, you can appreciate the attention to detail and design that went into this watch.
The gold accents, jewels and frame on which the movement is fixed make up for a very attractive layout.
On the outer edge of the dial you can see the chapter ring with a minute track printed on it.
As this watch doesn’t have a physical dial to place the indices, Arkai incorporated the the indices in/on the chapter ring.
This was done by machining the chapter ring and the indices in one piece and makes up for an interesting design where the indices pertrude out of the chapter ring and create the illusion that they float above the skeletonized dial. The indices have a decent amount of lume applied for better readability in the dark.
The handset on this watch suits the overall design language, with sword hands for the hour/minute hands and an arrow second hand. All of them are lumed.
The dial is topped off with a flat sapphire crystal which will offer good scratch resistance.
The Mamut features a see-through 316L stainless steel screw down case back, aiding to achieve 10AM of water resistance.
The heart of this skeleton watch is a Chinese ‘PTS 7500’ caliber. A ready to use mechanical skeleton movement with 28.800 bph, 75 Hours of power reserve and an accuracy of +/- 30seconds per day. More than half decent specs for the kind of money in my opinion.
The bracelet on the Mamut features an integrated bracelet, inspired by the Royal Oak, with brushed links and polished ‘center links’ .
The bracelet tapers down from 28mm at the lugs to 22mm at the clasp.
As mentioned before, the end links are male and tend to protrude quite a lot from the case/lugs.
The bracelet has a fully milled, signed butterfly clasp with pushers, but no micro-adjustments.
On the wrist
Once the watch was sized up for my 13.8 cm wrist (removing links with pin-collar system), I was ready to put the Mamut on my wrist. The website states that the watch is comfortably to wear for wrist sizes as low as 14 cm’s. However, this is not really the case in my honest opinion. It’s just too big.
It was quite the risk to buy a watch this big with my small wrist size, but I was hoping to pull it off.
The main reason that I’m not able to rock this cool watch is the due to the fact that the end links for this integrated bracelet have a ‘male setup’. This implies that the first link of the bracelet doesn’t naturally follow the flow of my slender wrist, making the watch wear even bigger and leaving a big ‘gap’ in between my wrist and the case/lugs.
Even though this watch is too big for me, I wanted to wear it for some time to get a feel for the visual aspect of it. It’s gigantic on my wrist… BUT, you know what, I actually like the way it looks.
Don’t get me wrong, this watch is not made for my wrist, but if the lugs would be a bit shorter/smaller, in combination with a female setup for the end links, I really think this watch could work on smaller wrists as the dial dimensions are not that extravagant when comparing them to the complete measurements.
Speaking of the skeleton dial; they did a good job on that one. The overall design language looks premium and special, yet it isn’t too ‘in your face’. This is my first skeletonized watch and I often found myself staring at the balance wheel, I love it.
I thought the layout of the indices would cause problems in terms of legibility, but I didn’t have any issues reading the time during the day.
In general, I’m quite pleased with the overall quality and finish of this watch. The only thing I would have liked to see is a bit more attention to the indices. Some of them do show some small defects when looking up close (uneven applied lume and jagged edges). Again, these only came to my attention when taking close-up pictures. As this watch did not match my wrist size, I decided to give it to my father in law. It’s his first mechanical watch and was completely over the moon when he opened the box and got this timepiece on his wrist.
He has quite big wrists and I must say; the watch looks awesome on him.
This Mamut from Arkai has a lot going on. A bold, but well executed design with that good looking Skeletonized setup, a decent mechanical movement and a level of quality/finish that should be expected at this price point.
The way this watch is made does not allow it to fit comfortable/correct on smaller wrist sizes which is something you’ll need to take into consideration when buying this watch.
Bigger wrists ? No problem! This timepiece will look killer !
That being said:
I think Arkai made a very good attempt at (re)creating an iconic skeletonized watch and succeeded in offering decent design, specifications and overall quality at an affordable price tag.
However, I really think that Arkai should take another look at the size of the lugs and redesign the end links to a female setup as I think that these adjustments could take this watch to the next level (even if you have smaller wrists)
Michael from Trapped In Time Watches
Check out the Trendhim website if you're interested in this cool timepiece.