iKi Watch, Melbourne’s Minimalist Start-up

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October 2016

No hand holding here. The new brand is looking to enter the simple and affordable watch market. How will they fare with the fierce competition?

iKi Watch, Melbourne's Minimalist Start-up

The “less is more” design philosophy is something that I’m a fan of generally. But it’s especially the case when watchmaking comes to mind. I personally like a great dress watch or a simple sports watch, and steer away from complications that many of us usually have no use for.

The way I look at it, the more complicated it is, the more can go wrong with it down the road. Call it risk aversive, but the added piece of mind from wearing an uncomplicated and minimalist watch is something I really value.

iKi Watch, Melbourne's Minimalist Start-up

Minimalist and affordable watches have really picked up in the watch industry, led by brands like Nomos, Daniel Wellington, Skagen, among many others. Needless to say, competition is fierce in that market segment, and guys like me are spoiled for choice, really.

So when I read that there is a new start up from Australia that makes simple and affordable watches with Swiss movements, I was equally excited and weary. On the one hand, more choice in the segment is better for conscientious consumers. On the other hand, I get that feeling that this market segment is also becoming saturated.

iKi Watch, Melbourne's Minimalist Start-up

But here we have the iKi Watch coming to us from Melbourne-based design studio iKi. Not sure how to pronounce the name, but I did learn that ‘iki’ is a Japanese aesthetic concept which basically means something that is stylish but not complicated.

With that guiding principle in mind, the company has produced a straightforward and highly refined wristwatch. The end product is the ‘A’ Series a clean looking timepiece that comes in either a gunmetal casing with a stainless steel dial and black leather strap, or a warmer rose gold casing, white face dial and brown leather strap.

The ‘A’ Series is definitely an everyday watch and strikes a balance between being casual and a bit formal, too. The dial is well laid out, and I’m a fan of the circular aperture for the date window.

iKi Watch, Melbourne's Minimalist Start-up

It’s well sized too, with a 38mm PVD coated stainless steel case. The watch is a bit on the thick side for my tastes – especially considering that it doesn’t have an automatic movement – and comes in at a thickness of 8.25mm. A slightly slimmer profile would have only added to its minimalist look.

The new watch can be had for AU$199.00, which is reasonable for the overall package. In an increasingly saturated space for minimalist and affordable watches, I’m curious just how much of a market share iKi Watch can scrape out.