Minimalism is a theme which we love and when it comes to minimalistic and simple watches, we have reviewed a fair few. Our last minimalistic watch which we reviewed was Gane Watches. Our review today is also the principle of minimalism and it is the TACS Automatic Twin Lens watch. The exact model we will be reviewing is the ATL Retro Gold.
Before we get into the review of the watch, let us find out a bit more about TACS Watches or TACS Image as they are also known. The brand was founded by Motegi San and his philosophy is to make watch design which are though provoking and unique. While the vision behind the brand is to create minimalistic watches, that does not mean that the watches have to be boring or dull. Instead TACS Watches takes element from our daily lifestyle, distil them into a concise form of expression and create unparalleled and unrivalled watches.
LUG WIDTH: 24mm
CASEBACK: Sapphire Crystal with Metalizing Coating
CROWN: 8mm Aluminium screw-down crown
MATERIAL: 316L Stainless Steel with Aluminium Ring
CRYSTAL: Sapphire crystal
WATER RESISTANCE: 10 ATM
MOVEMENT: 21 Jewels Citizen Miyota 8N24
POWER RESERVE: ~42 hours
ACCURACY: -20 to +40 sec per day
MADE IN: Japan
JEWELS: 21 pcs
FUNCTIONS: Hours, minutes, sweep second
WINDING: Automatic and hand winding
STRAP: Horween Calf Leather
STRAP WIDTH: 24mm
CLASP: 316L solid tang buckle
Firstly we have to mention the packing of the TACS Automatic Twin Lens. It is absolutely well made. The cover of the box is made from acrylic and has the TACS Watches logo and the model of the watch printed on it. Very personalised. You actually cannot see the watch from through the acrylic as it has a leather dial protector. After you remove the protector, you’ll be lost for words to describe the dial. There are so many things doing on yet it is simplistic. Overall, it is gorgeous.
There is no better place to start the in depth review for the TACS Automatic Twin Lens. Let’s start with the bezel. It is not your ordinary bezel with 120 clicks. The bezel used resemble the ring from the camera lens you use to zoom in and out. It is smooth and supple. We have never come across such a bezel before and we really like it. On the bezel, there are some writing, information about the movement and the diameter of the watch. The bezel has been given a teeth cut design. This would be useful if the bezel was fixed and had clicks when rotating but this is more for the aesthetic rather than usefulness.
The inspiration and design of the dial is from the 1920 Twin Lens camera, widely used by photojournalists and correspondents to document World War II in Europe thanks to its robust and periscopic design. When you scroll down, you will see the similarity between the Twin Lens camera and the dial on the TACS Automatic Twin Lens watch. To be honest, we are struggling to figure out how TACS watches have been able to fit this design in the dial. The camera lens used in the background are open and you can see the mechanics and jewels used in the movement of the watch. To bring you attention and focus to the two lens, they have own slightly domed glass, resembling the one used in camera lens. There are also two golden rings on the side. One the 1920’s camera, the rings would aid in turning the lens, but the purpose of the watch, they add more character to the watch. To fully complement the 1920 Twin Lens camera, leather pattern has been used in the background of the twin lens to fully resemble the actual camera. Overall, fantastic.
In terms of readability and time keeping purposes, is the TACS Automatic Twin Lens any good. There are two index on either side of the watch. From the 3 o’clock position, you have a 10 minutes index which starts from 15 and ends at 25 minutes. It is in a black colour with white writing. The numbers are legible and large enough. One the other side, you have an ‘hour index’. The index starts from 8 and end at 10 with one minute increment. This index has a gold background with black writing. Similar to the other index, it is legible without any issue.
Are the hands used any good? The style TACS watches have gone for is syringe design. The hands have a mixture of colours. Half of the hour and minute hand is black and the other gold. The second hand however is gold and white. Both the minute and second hand has been given a luminous coating. The hands are large enough to be able to read from busy dial. The mixture of colours helps to distinguish them from the open heart lens and features. Legibility and readability will not be an issue.
Overall, it is a busy dial if you examine each element one by one. But it has been designed in a way that you can read the dial and if you look at the dial as a whole, the features does not look too much. The colour used for the dial is spot on. The black and hold colour go perfectly together and the hint of white helps to break the theme in some places.
The casing is 46.5mm in diameter and 14.8mm is depth. It is a large casing for sure but it suits the watch. Given the features in the dial, you will need a large casing to fit all the features. The TACS Automatic Twin Lens is also quite heavy. Given the automatic movement and the 316L stainless steel, the watch is weighs 130g. Comfort wise, the watch sits well on the wrist. The slight curvature of the lugs helps to push the casing on the wrist. This does help a lot given that the bezel does lift casing a lot.
The back casing is open and the design at the back reflects the dial. TACS watches have not left the back casing bland but have rather elevated the it with the same stunning twin lens camera design at the back. They’ve also added some little extra features with 4 screws to hold the casing. We have reviewed a lot of watches and hands down this has to be best back casing. Some watches we reviewed can do wit this back casing as their dial. The colour theme is also followed in the back casing.
The lens used is sapphire crystal and it is flat. The reflection and glare is minimal and the dial is legible from all angles.
The crown has been given a teeth cut design, similar to the bezel and it is a screw down crown. The crown has been signed with TAC watches logo. Another interesting feature is the crown protector. It is a clever feature to protect the hand from constantly pressing against the quite large and bold crown. This definitely helps with comfort of wearing the watch.
There are various small feature and designs around the case. One feature is that there is an index on the right hand side, above the crown. The index is similar to the one used inside the dial, but this is a fantastic design. The index has also been engraved on the case. The BHP has also been marked under the outer casing index. Another feature is TACS watches logo engraved on the casing near the 6 o’clock position. Near the 11 o’clock position, there is a small plaque with “ATL000”. The small plaque is screwed down with two screws. We believe that the plaque is the watch production number?
A 21 Jewels Citizen Miyota 8N24 is powering the TACS Automatic Twin Lens. This movement is very reliable and well suited for skeleton watches. The movement itself is well priced in the market and retails around $99.
The power reserve is 42 hours and the time accuracy is -20～＋40 sec per day. This is fair time accuracy of the movement used and will do the job.
A custom rotor has been used for the movement but unfortunately it cannot be seen due to the immaculate design of the back casing.
The material used for the strap is Horween calf leather. The strap width is quick thick and the strap does need breaking into. However the strap is soft and supple as well as very comfortable on the wrist. There are more than enough holes for smaller wrist. There is also quick release pins for easy interchange of the strap if needed.
The buckle is quite large and has bee signed with the measurement of the strap.
Buy, Shortlist or Avoid?
First let’s us discuss the price of the TACS Automatic Twin Lens. The retail price is $599/£460/€550. The price is of the upper end of the market, but is it worth it? Yes. Simply yes! This is a buy for sure. The design of the watch speaks for itself and nothing has been missed by Tacs Watches. From the dial to the quirky features on the casing, everything on the ATL has been well thought. We have nothing else to say, expect this is a fantastic timepiece.