Few risks are taken in modern watch design. New colorways of existing designs, retro re-releases and even simple bracelet changes seem to be what constitute new watch releases by larger brands. Microbrands are pushing the envelope more in terms of new watch designs and the Codek Spiral is a prime example.
Codek is certainly taking a risk with the Spiral. The first release from the brand is an ambitious one. An asymmetrical case with a highly textured dial is a risk for even an established brand. With that said, Codek has an opportunity with the Spiral to offer something that is truly different. The Spiral looks different, but is it actually innovative? Let’s find out.
Case & Dial Design
There is no mistaking that the Codek Spiral has a unique case design. The asymmetrical case is not quite a circle and it’s also not an oval. As the case expands slightly as you move toward the crown, it drastically cuts off and cuts back down. The appearance is that of a bezel that expands around the case but has a cutaway.
Codek made this design choice based on watch movement parts. Every shape chosen for the Spiral is derived from various movement parts. The case shape, the largest part of the watch, is taken from the hairspring of a mechanical watch movement. Often called the heart of a watch, the hairspring is what provides the smooth sweep watch enthusiasts love about mechanical.
The design elements taken from the hairspring extend to other parts of the watch. Underneath the flat sapphire crystal, the applied indices are also not completely symmetrical when split vertically. The markers, which get smaller as they go around the top and bottom hemispheres of the dial, are meant to convey the constant back-and-forth motion of the heartbeat of the movement.
The wave texture in the center of the dial, reminiscent of Omega “Bond” Seamasters, symbolizes the amplitude of the escapement. The texture is embossed, as opposed to printed, and can either become extremely deep or almost disappear depending on how the light catches it.
The pointed skeleton hands of the Spiral allow you to always have a glimpse of the dial texture through them while still providing perfect legibility due to the contrast of the dial and hand colors. The baton seconds hand has a splash of color on the tip.
The Spiral is available in midnight blue, seen here, and opaline white. The overall design of the Spiral is the same between each color; however the hands, markers, and text all contrast with the dial color.
No part of the Spiral contains any lume, pushing this watch slightly into dress watch territory. However, due to the design choices made with the Spiral, I think passing on any lume application was a missed opportunity. Applying lume to the minute hash marks or the spiral that flanks the markers would have played nicely with the design of the watch.
Aside from the markers, the rest of the dial is sparse in terms of writing. Codek’s logo is applied at 12 o’clock. Codek and Swiss Made are printed on the flanks of the dial at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions and fit well with the rest of the design choices. The way they fit between the markers is well executed and shows the care that went into the design.
The 38mm-wide case is complimented by a conservative 41mm lug-to-lug distance. The Spiral will fit well on almost any wrist and even with the slightly bulging side of the case, it doesn’t go too far into left field.
The nicely sized crown is shrouded by crown guards that fit well into the overall design. The crown guards compliment the cut-out of the case and help it appear almost entirely circular. The knurled crown is easy to grip and use to wind the Spiral, but to pull it out you might need to grip it perpendicularly to the crown guards due to their size.
The short lugs, which have a 20mm lug width, surprisingly contain drilled lug holes. I’m not complaining about the choice as I love drilled lug holes for strap changes; it was just something I was not expecting to see on a watch with this design. The lugs are slightly shrouded due to the shape of the bezel, which will make any straps fit nicely due to the lack of a large gap between the strap and watch.
The Spiral comes on a leather strap with your choice of vegetable -anned or Shell Cordovan leather in various shades of brown or black. The straps were supple and conformed well to my wrist out of the box. There is no bracelet option with the Spiral.
The only part of the Spiral that is polished is the exhibition caseback. The brushing on the case is well executed but I do wonder if the Spiral’s looks could have been elevated with some polished areas. I would have preferred the caseback also be brushed if the rest of watch was going to remain brushed.
Powering the Spiral is the ETA 2824-2. Codek has modified the movement to remove the date wheel as well as the date setting position. There is no phantom click when pulling out the crown to set the time on the watch, nor is there a phantom click at midnight. I’m happy to see Codek make this modification and I wish other brands would follow their lead when removing the date wheel.
The rest of the movement remains unchanged from a standard ETA 2824-2 except for a custom rotor with the Codek logo applied. The watch is easy to wind and set thanks to the large crown. This is a standard push/pull crown with 3 ATM of water resistance so avoid swimming with the Spiral.
The Spiral is a fun watch. It isn’t quite a dress watch and it isn’t quite a tool watch. It falls in a category all its own. The closest brother I could think of to the Spiral is the Hamilton Ventura. While the Ventura is strictly a dress watch, it still shares a funky case design that you don’t see every day.
When you put the Spiral on your wrist, it makes you smile. There is a 99% chance this is going to be different than anything else in your collection and is a nice change of pace from your circle-shaped watches.
The Spiral is executed well, has a solid movement, and is going to start a conversation with anyone who notices it. If you have an affinity for mechanical watch movements and their design, the Spiral is going to find a home in your collection without a doubt. It’s great to see a microbrand taking a risk with their design and it’s something the watch industry needs more of, especially when they execute it as well as this.
|Lug-to-lug Height||41mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Crystal||Flat Sapphire||Strap||Leather Strap|
|Water Resistance||30 meters||Lume||None|
More Images of the Codek Spiral
Check out the Codek website