For Sekoni Original’s entry into the watch world, they have created the Tidal Moonphase. The Singapore watch company sought to fill what they felt was a void in the watch market: a stylish yet affordable watch made from quality materials. Early Bird offer available now on Kickstarter for ~$134 USD.
“Sekoni Original was born from an identified gap in the watch industry – the lack of a product that sat perfectly in the overlap between design, quality and price. Whilst existing watches possessed as least one or more of those three key qualities, it is evident that the rest of the qualities would pale in comparison. We knew in starting Sekoni Original that we would not settle until achieving that very overlap.” -Sekoni Original
The Tidal Moonphase presents itself as a dress watch with a guilloche dial, roman markers, and big moonphase display in the middle. It’s a classy looking piece with a classy size, sitting a smidgen over 9mm tall on the wrist with a 39mm diameter.
The 316L stainless steel case has come to be expected, but we’re pleasantly surprised by the use of sapphire crystals on the top and bottom. An alarming number of microbrand watches in the crowdfunded arena are made to look like tool watches, but come equipped with mineral crystals because they are a few dollars cheaper. The Sekoni is by no means a tool, but it’s nice to know your crystal on your elegant timepiece isn’t going to get marked up by your cuff links.
One theme that is consistent in Sekoni Original’s marketing is balance.
They are proud of the layout of the dial and design of the case, but another area where balance is evident is that this watch is neither male nor female.
The Tidal Moonphase is a watch that looks as good on a guy’s wrist as it does on a woman’s. You can buy one style for yourself and another for your partner and interchange them. In fact, perhaps Sekoni will pick up on this idea and use it to their advantage by creating a couple’s package.
6 Dials and Straps Galore
The Tidal Moonphase is available in 6 color combinations: Salmon, White, or Midnight Blue in either a polished steel or rose gold case finish. The markers on each dial will correspond with the case.
Having a lot of strap options it always a good thing. It’s a fast and easy way to change the look and feel of your timepiece without having to buy another watch.
Sekoni has your strap addictions covered with 11 strap variations at launch. From smooth Italian leather to croc style, in a variety of colors. You can also get your Tidal Moonphase on stainless steel mesh with a finish to match the watch case. 20mm lug-width.
All straps and bracelets include quick release springbars to easily swap colors and styles. The leather straps have signed double folding clasps which tend to keep the straps in better condition and are far more convenient for daily wear than a standard tang buckle.
We often say that the caseback of a watch is like the artwork that comes with a music album. It’s real estate on the watch to give some specs, convey a message, and even display a work of art. Sekoni Original achieved this in an unconventional way by using an exhibition style caseback.
Exhibition casebacks are almost never found on quartz powered watches because most people think there isn’t much to look at, but this time it’s not being used for admiring the movement within.
On the inside of the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is an application that gives the caseback the beautiful waves and moon imagery that we see from the outside. The appearance of the glossy finish over the picture makes it unique when compared to most brands that simply have an engraving.
One can’t ignore the extra steps taken to accomplish this. What could simply be one component is now four: the caseback, the crystal, a gasket for the crystal, and the sticker-like application. Additionally, Sekoni Original says that each piece of artwork is “4 hair strengths” thick and placed in an oven for 6 hours to cure it.
Even as superfluous as the process sounds, the result is quite nice and makes the watch feel special… which is why we can’t understand overlooking something as important as how the caseback attaches to the watch…
We’ve been seeing a lot of the entry-level priced microbrands using extremely stubborn snap-on or friction style casebacks as of late. It’s a low cost option and brands think it makes for a clean design, but it’s miserable. To make things worse, the backs are often too tight with a tiny lip placed in a bad location for tool access.
No matter what your tool arsenal consists of, no matter how well you protect it with tape, and no matter how long you’ve been working with watches… you will inevitably damage the case and/or caseback when you try to open it – very frustrating!
All the effort in creating a beautiful image for the caseback is lost when using a snap-on style back, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. Thankfully the Ronda 708 has a 60 month battery life, so that means you won’t be chewing up your case for a few years.
As you know, KTT can’t do a proper review of a watch without getting a gut shot, so our beautiful rose gold model is now severely flawed on the back (of course the macro pics make it look worse than it is). For this reason, we would suggest sticking with the steel model. The rose gold is very nice, but if you scratch the regular steel model you can at least get it refinished.
Ronda 708 Quartz Moonphase
The Ronda caliber 708 is becoming a popular choice for affordable watches with a moonphase complication. It’s small and thin, yet packs a powerful punch with the ability to display a large moonphase indicator and date. On top of that, it has a very long battery life compared to similar movements.
The caliber 708 does have its downside: no quick set moonphase. It does have a quickset date which is more important, but for the times when you’ll be adjusting the indicator to match the full moon, you could be advancing the hands for a while. It will give you something to do besides checking your phone while waiting for dinner at a restaurant – even better, put your phone and watch down and talk to the person across from you.
The SO Kickstarter page shows the gold plated 708, but the movement in the prototype we examined was nickel plated. Although the caliber number is the same, and it’s essentially the same movement, there is a difference in jewel count between the two. Also, the gold plated movement is Swiss Made, whereas the nickel is Swiss Parts. You can learn all about the Ronda caliber 708 watch movement at calibercorner.com.
Personal Touch of a Microbrand
KeepTheTime receives pitches from new microbrands every day, but Seköni Original is the first watch company to include a full length hand-written letter personally composed by the brand founder himself. In a market that has everything from neophytes with no idea what they’re doing to conglomerates that have dominated the industry for decades, it’s refreshing to see true sincerity, passion, and appreciation from a founder. Thank you for the letter, Bryan!
If you’re looking for something to wear to the office or a moonphase that won’t be too harsh on your watch budget, then this is definitely a piece worth considering. Skip other quartz dress watches with less to offer at higher prices. It’s also cool to know that you’ll be taking part in the journey of a genuinely enthusiastic entrepreneur.
Despite the word “Tidal” in the model name and wave imagery on the back, this piece is only water resistant up to 50 meters. This is more water resistant than most dress watches on the market, but it makes you wonder if the concept would have been better served in the form of a unique moonphase dive watch – something that you can’t easily find, especially not in the affordable microbrand range.
As mentioned in the intro, SO was aiming for the intersection of affordability, stylishness, and a decent level of quality. We feel the Tidal Moonphase is a good start and meets all of their criteria. At the $135 USD early bird price and $265 USD retail price, we can say mission accomplished.
UPDATE: First Stretch Goal Reached
At the time of this review, Sekoni Original has surpassed their $30,000 campaign goal and reached their first stretch goal of $45,000. This means that every backer will receive a free mesh bracelet like the one pictured.