Hands-on with the Äonic Automat, An Innovative Jump Hour Watch from Germany

German watchmaking has quite a reputation to uphold, a fact not lost on new brands entering the scene. Äonic is based in Berlin and founded by Jörg Wichmann, who spent most of his career in design. He launched the international fashion fair ‘Panorama Berlin’ in 2011, but was before already active with ‘Berlinomat,’ a presentation and marketing platform that highlighted the work of 180 designers. He had always been interested in watches, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to take the next step by creating a brand of his own.

What sets Wichmann apart from many others is that he had a clear vision and followed through on it, even when it turned out to be challenging. The result is Äonic’s first watch, the Automat. As the name already indicates, this timepiece is powered by an automatic movement. For this, Wichmann teamed up with German watch manufacturer Damasko, who modified their robust in-house caliber A 26 for the timepiece. The modifications are extensive because what powers typically three hands, now features a jump-hour display with on top a disc that makes a full rotation every hour. This display doubles as a minute indicator but also has a window showing the running seconds. The jump hour is not instant but takes the last 15 minutes to move to the next opening in the domed top segment of the watch, that is covered by an incredible shaped sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inside.

While there is a patent pending on the ‘Disc Play System,’ as Äonic calls its time indication, the Automat has much more to offer. The 41mm large case shows an ergonomic design that follows the shape of your wrist nicely. The lugs are fixed, but a strap system with velcro allows you to switch straps in seconds. While the buckle looks rather straightforward, closer examination shows that this is also a clever design, not only perfectly securing the strap but also ensuring that it goes through perfectly and effortlessly. Äonic supplies the Automat with two straps, each with its own buckle, and adds a beautifully made travel pouch as well.

The sapphire exhibition in the caseback shows the industrially finished Damasko movement, in which the blued screws play with the light, like sapphires in the rocks. Wichmann’s dedication to perfection can also be found in the material he used for the case. He preferred a special alloy that is hardened to 1,000 Vickers, making it over five times as strong as the 316L stainless steel that is commonly used in watchmaking. The black finish is a DLC coating. The Automat is further water resistant up to 100 meters/10 ATM, making that you can wear it quite carefree, which is perhaps not what you expected given its exotic looks.

Äonic delivers a watch that is on point at all levels. The brand innovates with the use of materials and the way that it tells time, which makes for a watch that is futuristic enough to grab your attention and holds it with its very high built quality, attention to detail, and wearing comfort. The Äonic Automat is limited to 100 pieces and priced at €4,450, or about $4,800 USD at the time of writing.

For more info, visit Äonic, here

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