Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the watch brand startup scene is like an ever-expanding firmament unto itself. With new entrants popping up constantly, it's fun to discover new brands and follow your favorites as many aim to offer unique visions and strong values. One new such company that just caught our eye: United Kingdom-based Arken, which is debuting with a titanium dive watch called the Instrumentum — a watch that checks a lot of the right boxes for just $500.
Titanium is a major selling point here, as this premium material can be great for watches — most notably for its lightness — and the Instrumentum further ups its proposition with a fully titanium bracelet. Titanium also has its own type of luster that can be attractive, but if not treated it forms an oxide layer which can itself get scratches (meaning the metal looks scratched), and it's not clear if Arken is using any such treatment. As a tool watch, as the Instrumentum is clearly intended, a scratched up look might not be a big deal.
While the titanium construction is notable alone, the other specs and design also seem solid, as well. This is a dive watch with 300m of water-resistance, Super-LumiNova-coated hands and indices — and even a titanium diver's extension clasp for the bracelet. Many microbrands choose Miyota automatic movements to power their watches, and Arken went with one of the higher-end ones: the Miyota 9015. (The brand confusingly calls it a "high-beat" movement, which usually refers to a movement operating at a higher frequency than the 9015's typical 4Hz.)
The Instrumentum's wide bezel with its jagged, grippy edge suggests an aggressive stance, but a diameter of 40mm should temper and balance its presence visually and on the wrist. Titanium will make it even more easy-wearing, of course. Other design elements like the teardrop-shaped indices and somewhat funky (perhaps Vacheron Constantin Overseas-inspired) bracelet might polarize tastes, but don't feel over-the-top.
Arken is still in its early stages, so you'll have to sign up for the email to be alerted when the watch will be available for pre-order. The initial batch will be limited to 300 examples— but for $500, it seems like an interesting proposition.