Note: This model has been updated with the Alcadus Opus 39 V2. After you read this in-depth review, head here to read a brief look at the V2.
In his recent treatise on go anywhere, do anything (GADA) watches, my friend KC laid out 4 qualifications for the type: no external bezels or extraneous elements, approximately 40mm in diameter, a minimum of 100m water resistance, and minimal complications or clutter. Typical pilot watches lack the necessary water resistance, exceed the size limit, and are often offered in bronze (which I would argue is an extraneous element). The Alcadus OPUS 39 is not, however, a typical pilot watch.
The first model from the Malaysia-based brand certainly has many of the elements that define modern pilot watches: a flared crown, instrument panel hands, 12 o’clock triangle, a simple white-on-black dial option. But it also meets all the requirements for GADA consideration and further defines itself with a bit more class and less sterility than your typical pilot watch. But can the Alcadus OPUS 39 exist as a GADA watch, a pilot watch, and perhaps even a dress watch?
On the Wrist
The Acladus OPUS 39 doesn’t disappoint on the wrist. The modest proportions, milky lacquer dial, and blue accents all create a warmth and wearability that are welcome.
According to my rough calculations, the box sapphire accounts for approximately 117% of the thickness. Look at that thing. If you like a vintage dome, here it is. If you don’t, avert your gaze. As you can tell, it catches a lot of light.
One of the hallmarks of pilot watches and certainly of the OPUS 39 is the legibility, even on the white dial. With limited clutter and strong lines, reading at a glance is simple. The watch is comfortable on the wrist, especially on one of the included leather straps.
I have, in private conversation amongst intimate friends, suggested that brands more often use their logo as the 12 o’clock marker. So imagine how tickled I was to find the OPUS 39 doing just that. It’s a nice bonus that the Alcadus logo seems to imitate the classic triangle found on most pilot watches.
“Milky” truly is the best way to describe the white lacquer. There’s a porcelain quality that’s emphasized by the choice of blue print. The blued hands double down on this. The sharpness of the hands clashes a bit with elegance of the white dial, though this is less an issue with the black.
See the light catching the edge of the date window? And the utter lack of it anywhere else? That’s the black lacquer in full effect. A deep inky dial that gives you a little fun with light. While the same in design, the white-on-black of this dial is decidedly less delicate than the white and blue of the white dial. Instead, the black dial offers a more traditional pilot look.
The evenly applied lume on the Alcadus OPUS 39 is exceptional. It charges quickly, shines brightly, and fades slowly.
Case, Bracelet, and Strap Details
That’s two pure millimeters of premium box sapphire crystal. I love the profile it creates on the watch (specifically in this photo). But it’s a bit discordant: there’s nothing vintage about this watch and then–BAM!–there’s a super dome box sapphire.
A few things to note here: ample crown size with pronounced grooves for good grip; defined vertical brushing on the case side with super-crisp edges; drilled lugs; a nice curve to the case for a good fit on the wrist. What you can’t see is the extra coating added to increase the scratch-resistance four-fold over traditional stainless steel.
Lumed crowns are super neat and super useless. I love them.
I don’t really care about see through casebacks unless there’s a hand-filagreed triple-axis tourbillon and a swan neck balance made from an actual swan. And since I don’t have A. Lange & Söhne money, I don’t care about see-through casebacks. But at least this has a shiny custom rotor (not just a rotor with an etched logo) and some perlage on the movement plates.
The polishing on the fixed bezel and the screwdown crown pull this watch away from the utilitarian designs found on most pilot watches. And, along with the Biodome crystal, create confusion as to just where this watch sits stylistically.
The bracelet is a run-of-the-mill oyster with a branded flip-lock clasp. Perfectly functional and secure, and the clasp choice maintains the profile of the bracelet while allowing for microadjustements.
Every watch ships with a leather strap of the buyer’s choosing and they were some of my favorite stock straps I’ve handled. They are substantial but pliable, with a great custom buckle. I’m also a sucker for textured leather of any kind.
The Alcadus OPUS 39 is an exceptionally clean, well made watch that does little to offend. There’s a warmth that sets it apart from most modern pilot watches, which seem to place an outsize emphasis on sterility and/or historicity (See: Sinn and Laco). While the OPUS 39 struggles at times to define itself, perhaps it’s best conceived of as a go anywhere, do anything pilot watch that feels more at home in the airport lounge than in the cockpit. It’s something different.
The model reviewed is the original release, and a handful of the black and white models remain and are available for immediate delivery (the fully-lumed “Phantom” dial is no longer available). Alcadus, though, is relaunching the OPUS 39 with a closed caseback and a Miyota 9019 movement to reduce the price to around $400. The OPUS 39 V2 will launch on Kickstarter in May or June of 2021 and will introduce four additional colorways: pink, blue, teal, and grey.
A reminder that a new version of the Opus 39 has been released, which you can read about here.
Check out more pilot watch reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Alcadus website
Alcadus OPUS 39 Specs