Disclaimer: These watches were sent to me to review, and I was not incentivized in any way to write this. This is in no way sponsored by Alcadus or any other entity. All opinions here are my own. Since these watches were worn/used by other reviewers, please make note that the experience might differ from that of a brand new watch.
Alcadus is a micro-brand based in Malaysia, and they ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2019 that was not successful in reaching it’s funding goal. Let that not put you off, because these watches are far from the visual assault of rebranded diver knock-offs that try their luck on Kickstarter every few months. This is the Alcadus Opus, and delivers a ton of high quality specs in a package that might’ve just been a bit too expensive for the Kickstarter market at the time. But these watches are impressive in terms of build quality, finishing and value for money.
While they weren’t successful on Kickstarter, Alcadus went ahead with production anyway, and made a small batch of Opus watches that they sold directly via their website for around $630. I believe they are almost sold out of these units and are looking at a doing second run soon.
Let’s check it out!
The case measures 40mm in diameter, 45mm from lug-to-lug and 13.5mm in height, 10.5mm if you ignore the massive sapphire crystal on it. The case has a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, with decent finishing on both.
The vertically brushed mid-case section extends and curves down into a pair of drilled through lugs, that have a 20mm lug width.
There is a high polished bezel section that seats a towering 3mm tall box sapphire crystal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of distortion at the edges that negatively impacts the legibility of the dial outer track.
There is a 6.25mm screw-down crown at 3 o’clock position that is very well designed, and appears to be a modern take on a traditional conical flieger crown. It is signed with the brand’s logo and is also lumed. The crown design looks a lot like the design that Ming uses on their watches.
Flipping it over, you have a screw-down case-back with an exhibition window. This watch is rated for up-to 100m of water resistance, which is reasonable for an aviation inspired watch. But given the overall 13.5mm thickness, maybe they could’ve pushed this rating a bit further.
All three dials are quite different, but share a similar overall design layout. The general design aesthetic seems to be inspired by tool and pilot watches, like the Sinn 556 for example.
There are printed outer tracks on each of the watches. Some are easier to read than others, and the white dial is probably the easiest. This is my one and only real issue with this watch – the distortion caused by the crystal makes reading that outer track near impossible, unless you look at it diagonally.
You then have printed indices that are filled with lume. The quality of printing and the quality control on the indices is very good, even on the applied indices of the gray dial.
The 12 o’clock index is the brand’s logo, which also seems to pay homage to the 12 o’clock triangle seen on traditional fliegers. I thought this was very nicely done.
There is a date window at the 6 o’clock position, which is great, with color matched date wheels and font. The finishing around the window is very good, and these are just well executed all around.
The hands are different on each watch, with the most challenging to manufacture likely being the blued hands on the white dial version. But even this is executed and finished well for a $630 watch.
I would’ve preferred for the minute and seconds hand to be longer, and to touch the outer minute and seconds track. But that would be a bit pointless here since you can’t see it.
Overall, they did a very good job with the finishing, but the overall legibility could have been improved.
All three variants have somewhat different lume behavior. I enjoyed the Phantom Gray with the lumed dial, and thought that it was reasonably well executed.
But I heard from Alcadus that they’re not entirely happy with the lume performance on the gray variant so might not do another run of this one.
The lume on the other two watches is pretty good, but I found the Argent White to fade a bit quicker than the Jet Black.
All three watches use Grade X1 Swiss Super LumiNova, so they didn’t really hold back on the quality of lume used.
These watches use a well decorated ETA 2824-2 elaboré grade movement with a customized rotor. I was very impressed by both the choice of movement, and finishing grade given that this watch currently costs $630.
The movements themselves are moderately clean, with some amount of dust and dirt. At this price, I’m OK with taking a small hit on quality control if the movement being delivered is this good.
I didn’t measure the accuracy of each watch, but the elaboré grade 2824-2 movements should keep good time.
This watch does ship with a metal bracelet and an excellent leather strap. I didn’t bother unwrapping or sizing the bracelet because the straps were great. The bracelet looks well made, with no wiggle at the lugs, and a functional clasp with 3 micro-adjustment slots. The inner assembly of the pressed clasp is milled and has a perlage finishing. Impressive stuff for the money.
On The Wrist
I have mixed feelings about the wrist experience with these watches. The case is fundamentally well designed with a pretty flat case-back and lugs that extend beyond it. So the case does sit low on the wrist and wraps around nicely.
But the massive crystal makes me sometimes feel like it isn’t perfectly balanced, and has me worrying about knocking it into stuff. But this might just be me, and it is otherwise quite comfortable for a watch that measures an overall height of 13.5mm.
The diameter and lug-to-lug width work great on my 6.25″ wrist, and this watch weighs in at around 70g on the leather strap which is quite comfortable.
To wrap this up, I really like what this brand is doing. They figured out a way to deliver high quality components and good finishing in a package that is very reasonably priced. My only issue is with the legibility of the outer track caused by the crystal. That makes things a bit tricky here, specially in an aviation inspired watch, where legibility should be placed above all else.
If that doesn’t bother you, this watch checks of all the other boxes and delivers a solid value proposition at $630. I personally think the gray dial is the best looking dial of the three, but the blued hands on the lacquered white dial look fantastic too.
Thanks for reading!