So who is OBAKU Watch?
The main person behind the brand is Christian Mikkelsen. He is a Danish Designer and he has been designing watches for more than 15 years. His watch designs are minimalistic and this is also reflected on OBAKU watches. The other person behind the brand is Lau Liengård Ruge. An industrial designer, he is the main man behind the OBAKU brand.
Why the name OBAKU?
The name comes from Zen philosophy that was founded in 1661 at the foot of Mount Obaku. The Zen is focused on incorporating a total balance in body and mind. The philosophy is also embedded in their logo, which is inspired by the Zen calligraphic circle of life, also known as the Enso, which in Japanese means ‘circle’.
Having reviewed many watches from Denmark such as Larsen Eriksen watches, we have seen that minimalism is a key part of their design. They follow a Bauhaus school of thought in terms of design and this is also seen on OBAKU watches.
Casing: 40mm by 4.9mm
Dial: Blue, Marine
Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Strap: Mesh Strap, Stainless Steel
Movement: 2 Hands. Miyota 9T22
It is a very very slim watch. We have had slim watches before, but the Trae Marine is ultra thin. When we were informed that the watch is ultra thin, we did not pay much attention, but how wrong were we! It definitely took us by surprise.
In terms of the packaging, it is basic, with a plain simple square box and nothing too surprising. We would love to see something more eye popping with the packaging. Maybe they wanted to lower our expectation, then boom, when you see the watch.
This has to be best place to start! The casing is 40mm in diameter and 4.9mm in width. The 40mm is large and for some reason it looks larger with the 4.9mm in width. The watch sits well on the wrist and it because of the lugs which helps to push the case down. The width is definitely intriguing and makes you wonder, how did they achieve this? To be honest, we do not have a clue.
The casing does have a convex shape and this helps to push the dial on the wrist and bring the dial more to light.
The crown on the watch is quite small compare to the size of the dial. It does go well with the casing as it brings more emphasis on the dial and does not steal the show. The crown has also being engraved with OBAKU’S logo.
The glass used is Sapphire crystal and it has been given an anti scratch coating. The visibility is great and reflection is at its minimal. To keep the ultra slim shape, the glass is not domed. This may have to do with the wooden rim around its dial.
The back casing is simple and it has been engraved with OBAKU’s logo.
Overall, we can see the minimalistic concept in making the casing. Its design is not exaggerated or over the top, its focus is solely on the minimalism theme.
One of the main focus from the dial is the wooden ring around the end. The wood sustainably harvested Sapele wood, the same wood family as mahogany. There is no casing around the wooden ring and it does make the watch stand out. The colour of the wood goes well with the marine colour.
Following the minimalistic theme, the index are plain simple batons. There are variations to distinguish between the different interval. Legibility of the index is fine as the contrast slightly against marine background.
The logo is centered at the 12 o’clock position and it is of a good size. It does not take too much space on the dial. One feature missing on the watch is the date window. There is enough space on the dial to place one and it would add a bit more character to the watch. However, this would also add to the thickness of the watch, and we understand that the super slim feature is very important to the design.
Following the same design of the index, the hands also have a baton design. The colour used for the hands is a lighter blue and visibility is great.
The glass has limited reflection and it is flat. A curvature would help to bring more focus to the dial, but as Obaku wanted an ultra slim watch, the flat glass is necessary.
The movement inside is a Miyota 9T22. It is reliable and this movement is mostly used in slim watches. The time accuracy expected is circa ±20 sec per month with a battery life of 3 years.
The mesh strap has been used and as you know we are not the biggest fan of mesh strap. However, due to the design of the watch and its slim feature, the mesh strap suits it. The buckle on the strap has been signed with Obaku’s logo. One feature we would love to see is the quick release pins. If you would like to change the mesh strap, you will need to unscrew 4 pins and this can be hassle.
Comfort wise, the mesh strap wraps well around the wrist and there is no issue when it comes to adjusting the length.
Buy, Shortlist or Avoid?
Now let us discuss the price. The RRP is £169/$233/ €195. It is not the most expensive minimalistic watch we have reviewed. We are impressed by its features however we feel there is something missing. The watch needs to be more bold in our opinion. The Ultra slim feature is great but a bold feature is missing. We would therefore shortlist the Obaku Trae- Marine. If you like the brand and want to know more, please do visit Obaku to see more of the models.