Atowak Ettore Drift wandering hour watch review – Channel your race car desires

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Atowak Ettore Drift

CROWDFUNDING REVIEW – At some point in our lives, many of us have fantasized about driving a race car at breakneck speeds, whipping around an oval, or perhaps conquering a road course, effortlessly drifting around a tight curve, keeping the vehicle in perfect alignment for that expert exit at full throttle.  Put that thrill on your wrist with the new crowdfunded watch, the Atowak Ettore Drift.  Let’s see if it is as thrilling.

What is it?

First, let me explain that this is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign.  Therefore, you must be comfortable accepting the risks of pledging for an as yet, unproduced item.  Having said that, this campaign reached its $19,313 finding goal in ten minutes and as I write this, blew past $80,000 in funding. I had to change that number three times as I was writing!  I personally watched the funding amount go up more than nine thousand dollars as I typed this.

The Atowak Ettore Drift watch is an automatic movement mechanical watch with a wandering hour display.  An automatic watch requires no batteries as the movement of your wrist causes a weight inside the watch to rotate, winding the mechanism.  A wandering hour display means that there are no traditional clock hands.  This specialized four-arm movement features four, three-armed wheels.  Each arm has one hour printed on it as follows:

  1. 1-5-9
  2. 2-6-10
  3. 3-7-11
  4. 4-8-12

As each arm rotates into view, the individual wheel arm with the current hour rotates so it appears in the display.  As it rotates out of view, the next arm is rotating into view so the current hour is always visible in the display window.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box is…a box.  Quite a nice box, all covered in stitched leather.

Let’s take a peek inside that nice leather box.

  • Atowak Ettore Drift watch
  • Warranty card
  • Leather-covered display box

There was no manual of any kind, not that setting this watch is rocket science.  I expect that was because this is a pre-production model.

Hardware specs

  • Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic movement redesigned for wandering hour display, 24-jewel, 42-hour power reserve
  • Case: 316L stainless steel, 3ATM waterproof
  • Size: 46.5mm x 40.8mm x 13.5mm
  • Sapphire Crystal, 3D copper + aviation aluminum dial, Swiss luminous printing
  • Watch strap: interchangeable Italian leather watchband with built-in quick release spring bar
  • Watch strap width: 24mm x 20mm
  • Length of watch strap: 120mm x  80mm
  • Weight: 92g

Design and features

The Atowak Ettore Drift watch is not for the faint of heart – it’s big and thick.  It’s not what you’d call “delicate”.  But it’s not supposed to be – it’s all about being race-inspired and it does have that look.

In the photo above, the time displayed is 2:12.  For about half the hour, two different hour hands will be visible in the display.  Ignore the one that isn’t aligned with the minute display.  Then, read the hour of the hand aligned with the minute display and read the minutes at the end of the hour arm’s pointer.

Here’s a closer look from a couple of minutes later.

Note that the crown and stem – what you use to set the time and wind the watch if it has stopped – appears on the left side of the watch. That’s the opposite of most watches.  If you do need to manually wind the watch, the mechanism is designed so that if you turn the watch around and use your right hand, it winds in the typical direction. I think this would be a great watch for lefties given how it is configured.

The crown has a color highlight on it that matches the color scheme of the watch.

Here is a closer look at the wandering hour hands.  If you look closely, you can see that the current arm (2) also contains 6 & 10.  The previous arm (1) also contains 5 & 9. The hour and minute digits, as well as the race track tracing around the ATOWAK name, are coated in Swiss Super-LumiNova coating that glows after being exposed to light.

The Atowak Ettore Drift watch is built in an exhibition case, meaning that the movement is visible through the back of the watch. You can also see the tool-free spring bar releases for the straps – a very nice touch.

Taking a closer look at the movement, we can see the rotating weight that powers the movement as well as one of the synthetic rubies that make up the 24-jewel movement. The weight is engraved with the Atowak logo as is the bezel.

The strap is a nice, heavy Italian leather.  The inside is embossed with the Atowak logo.

The clasp end has two loops – one attached and one sliding. The clasp itself is engraved with the logo. That makes four logos on the watch in addition to the Atowak name.  Overkill?  Perhaps.

The Atowak Ettore Drift watch will be released in five different colors.

I was sent the dark green model.  They state that production will be limited to 500 units in each of the five colors and each watch will be individually numbered.  I searched and could not find any numbering on the watch they sent me.  This further cemented that this is a pre-production unit.

Here’s Atawok’s vision for the watch.

Setup

Setup involves pulling out the crown and turning the step until the time is correct.  Then, push in the crown and wind the watch to get the movement running.  Once running, daily wear should keep the watch running continuously.

Performance

For as big and bulky as the Atowak Ettore Drift watch is, it was surprisingly comfortable to wear. It keeps accurate time, and that’s what a watch is supposed to do.  One different thing is that without a second hand, there is no visible indicator that the watch is running unless you look inside the back case window at the mainspring.  Still, the wandering hour arms wandered, and time marched on.

Looking closely at the hour markings, they looked sloppy.  That trend continued when I looked at the minute markings.

Those blobs to the right of 10 & 15 and the blob on the 2 in 20 are inside the case, not reflections or dust on top of the crystal.  Again, since this watch was not numbered, I assume it is pre-production, and I would expect the production versions to look better. I’d also like to see a little more contrast in the hour markings.  That would make them much easier to read.

The luminous features are actually kind of cool.

Not only does the time glow, but the tracing feature said to be inspired by both a racetrack and the grill from a Bugatti also glows.  It does look cool at night. I did notice that the 00 at the two, 60 at the bottom, and 20 did not glow.  I’m not sure what to make of that other than more pre-production quality control issues.

What I like

  • Really interesting wandering hour design
  • Comfortable
  • Eye-catching design
  • Automatic movement

What I’d change

  • Quality was a little lacking, most likely due to this being a sample, not a production watch
  • Better hour marking contrast

Final thoughts

Atowak also released another watch, the Ettore Lite with the same Kickstarter campaign. Since I don’t have a sample of that one, I’ll let you check those out when you visit the campaign.

Dark green would be my fifth choice out of the five colors, but a reviewer gets what a review gets, and the color is growing on me a bit.  Still, with five color choices, there is something for almost everyone’s taste.

If you’re looking for a statement timepiece, the Ettore Drift is certainly worth considering. If you’re a watch person, and a racecar fanatic, this becomes an even more compelling choice.

If I had any concerns, they would by:

  1. The inherent risk of a Kickstarter campaign – but most do well and this looks very good
  2. The quality issues with the presumed pre-production unit that they delivered for review

Price: $549 on launch day, $599 thereafter with only limited quantities listed as of this writing – 500 in each color
Where to buy: Kickstarter – the campaign ends Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 10:43 AM EDT, shipping planned for November 2021
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Atowak.

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