I’ve been a fan of budget watches since I picked up my first Casio. It was from Argos (a UK based catalogue store) and cost me less than £30. It tells the time, stands out, and is solid as a Toyota Hilux. It won’t break, and this is something I really like in a watch. But what’s the next move for a watch enthusiast who doesn’t want to break the bank?
There are plenty of cheap watches on the market, but few of them have the build quality or materials that we actually strive for on our wrists. But if you dig deep enough into the market, you’ll find little companies who are selling incredible time pieces for little money.
Bulgarian company Attara Design is one of these, and after a successful kickstarter back in 2014, they produced their first meXanica Rebel watch. This is the watch we’ve been sent and I’ve been wearing it since it arrived. The body is made of stainless steel but it’s coated in a dark and super-resistant, non-scratching coating. The movement is Japanese quartz by Myota and this specific watch has a quick-change leather NATO strap, sealed with rubber. The face is covered with sapphire glass, which is also incredibly resistant to abuse.
On the wrist it’s light, with the whole watch being quite subtle. The overall structure is small, but a thin bezel allows for a larger face (dial diameter is 36mm). This watch has been designed with inspiration from motorcycle and plane gauge clusters, blended with a modern take on a WWII era watch. It’s more than easy to read with long hands and white numbers that contrast with the darker background. They glow in the dark.
For the first few days I felt it like it protruded quite a lot from my wrist, and this type of strap doesn’t help that feeling, but soon I got used to it. The matte surface of the body took my interest with the even matte black coating looking almost plastic in some lights, but it’s cold to the touch and feels indestructible.
The same material carries down the side, with the screw down crown being the same colour but nicely distinguished from the body due to its size. The body isn’t thick, it’s the strap that runs underneath it that gives it the extra size. The case itself is 40mm and 8mm thick. The strap is simply gorgeous, and can quickly be removed and replaced with another colour.
This watch isn’t for sale any longer, but another Kickstarter is now running for the company’s Rebel II. This will have an anti-reflective coating and slight changes to the dial. And guess what? With a pledge of £59 ($77 approx.), you’ll receive the watch. An extra £15 ($19 approx) will see it gain a Swiss Ronda movement with a jewel, too. There’s not much better you can buy for under £60. Go now, and you’ll receive the watch in March 2020.