After I graduated from University I practiced as a freelance illustrator. I also worked for a prestigious Illustration agency and represented 50 very talented artists. My main responsibility was to deal with advertising agencies in the North of England. This period of my life was well before the digital age so everything had to be presented as a hard copy. Ultimately artists had to mount their work and deliver it in person (or by courier) directly to the client. These days this task can be achieved electronically and simply at the click of a button. As convenient as this is I still like the touch of something real and that is why mechanical watches have always fascinated me.
A few weeks ago an innovative Romanian watchmaker called Augustin Matei approached me. Interestingly he studied religious painting at the College of Theology in Bucharest. After he graduated he painted churches and worked as an interior designer for Ikea. Ultimately his passion for design led him to establish his own unique brand. Although his production is limited the results are very effective and highly professional. The timepiece of his that really caught my attention was the fabulous Admiral.
Initially when Augustin Matei contacted me I requested that he ship over one of his watches for review. However because all his timepieces are made to order this wasn’t feasible. Dimensionally the Admiral displays classical proportions and measures 43mm x 12.8mm. In this instance I am not sure if it is meant for men or women. However I feel the proportions of this watch would appeal to the unisex market. Although I have not personally worn this timepiece I have tested other similar sized models. Therefore I would imagine it would feel comfortable and lightweight on the wrist.
Visually the Admiral has the same high quality appearance normally found in much more expensive brands. When I spoke to Augustin Matei about the concept he explained it was a tribute to Viscount Horatio Nelson. What makes this watch extra special is the miniature enamel painting. This meticulous illustration is beautifully executed and depicts Nelsons fleet. Other features include a coin edge bezel, aluminum chapter ring and delicate hour minute hands. Overall the composition is sophisticated and the attention to detail is first rate.
At the heart of the watch is an Asian made 6497 hand-winding movement. This mechanism comprises 17-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. For future models Augustin Matei intends to equip all his timepieces with a more superior Swiss made Unitas caliber. Functionally the Admiral features hours, minutes and seconds. The watch also has a power reserve of approximately 40-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.