I must admit that I am a lucky guy. Married for thirty years with the same wife, and this wife never complains about my crazy passion over the watches. She even often collects the packages from different delivery services bringing me new watches over and over. Well, I decided quite while ago, that in thanks she deserves one special watch. And when Alexander Shorokhoff (AS) announced the launch of a new lady's model, called Shar, I have carefully shown her the announcement. She was quite interested in two out of four models, which were presented. At the end the final decision was to preorder the watch shown on the picture on the right. As usual, I preordered the watch in Poljot24.de shop owned by Julian Kampmann.
Why is this watch so special? Well, the name of the watch speaks for itself. Shar in Russian means sphere and this is exactly what this watch is. It is an almost perfect sphere shaped!
Watch was again designed and launched in limited edition of 30 watches of each model celebrating 30 years of company's existence. As said, when the announcement of Shar was issued, four models were announced. Green malachite dial with green strap and silver hands, light blue mother of pearl dial with blue strap and silver strap, silver engraved dial rhodium plated with blue hands and blue strap and a black river stone dial with silver hands and with a steel bracelet. It was also promised that bracelet will be also available as addition to other watches.
First the green version was launched. Surprisingly the next one was a gold plated version with engraved dial (similar to silver one) and black hands which was not even announced as a possibility.
Even though all versions were supposed to be launched before the end of the year, so far there were no signs of the remaining three versions. So Julian shocked me when this week he just sent me an email that my watch is here. But he also warned me, that the factory replaced blue strap with the black one due to the fact that blue straps are out of stock for a longer period of time. But in fact that is not the only difference. Firstly, hands are not the same as announced! The shape of the hands on the watch which was released is the same as in all other versions of the collection while in the announcement the silver rhodium plated dial version was the only version with the straight hands, so hour hand without the spades ending and hour hand without thickening end. Below is again the watch which was expected compared to the watch received. Pay attention to the hands.
Have you noticed any other difference? Of course, the dial engravings are totally different. But at least I think this is not a mistake but rather an added value to the watch. Each dial is hand engraved and subject to an inspiration of the guy who engraved the dial at the particular moment.
Even though my wife really likes the watch itself, she was quite upset about the black strap. It does not go well with a gentle watch which is more a jewelry than a watch. Black strap gives quite an opposite outlook. So my next task is to get her a bracelet and a better looking strap. Luckily, on our local forum we have a guy who makes a perfect watch straps and I already arranged with him to make some straps that would fit better to this watch. Problem solved.
Let me now give you some technical details about the watch. The most interesting are of course the dimensions of the watch. As said, watch is almost a perfect sphere. "Standard" diameter is 25mm, height is 28mm. So just a small difference. Upper third part is made of sapphire glass, the rest is stainless steel. Lugs are fixed in the lower third part and curved down so that the strap is placed on the base of the sphere. So the entire sphere sits above the strap level.
Inside is an automatic ETA 2671 movement with the date complication. Movement is excellent calibrated, it runs within +3sec to +5 sec daily. For a jewelry watch perfect. The entire dial is small, due to the shape of the watch it is almost impossible to measure it from the outside, my guess is that dial has some 22mm. Date window is of course very small (same problem has for example otherwise very big AS Level watch), you need a good eyesight or glasses to see it. The rhodium plated dial around the date window hides the date even more. So in general date is hardly noticeable and even harder to read.
What I like in this version is how the logo of the company is also well hidden. It is hard to find the logo on the dial at all! It is hidden at the top of the dial. As you can see, the logo is applied on top of the dial, so no engraved into the dial.
This picture also shows how deep inside the case the dial lies. The dial is submerged deep down (what is of course logical - it has to be put on the movement), yet it is still interesting to see how deep inside the dial is.
I am sure that your main question here is, how can this watch be worn at all. How can anybody wear a watch with 28mm height? To be honest, I even have some experience with such a huge heights - Spinnaker Piccard first version has a similar height. I have worn that watch and the feeling was strange. Yet that watch was not a spheric shaped, it just had a huge dome sapphire glass above the (also thick) case. And I have a big wrist!
So, how this little ball fits to a lady's wrist? Let's have a look.
Odd? Maybe, if you know that it's the watch. But you can see a tons of different bracelets on a women wrist, often with some balls or different high objects. So at the end of the day seeing another ball on the lady's wrist is not so strange. When this watch will be put on a bracelet, it will become a true jewelry bracelet and almost unnoticeable. Uncomfortable? Hard to believe, but NO. My wife says, that watch is perfect, she almost does not know that she has it on the wrist. I did not try to wear it :) so we have to believe her. But since she does not wear watch on a daily basis, I believe her. If the watch would be uncomfortable, the one who does not wear the watch every day would notice that even faster, right?
Backplate structure is due to the spheric design also quite unusual. As you can see, the backplate is screwed in by the screw in the middle of the backplate (or better say back dome ??). Very unusual approach, I have never seen something like this before.
Even though this is a lady's watch from the Unique series, AS did not pay any attention to the box of the watch. Watch is delivered in a standard AS box, which is nice but... I would for sure pay more attention to the package and the fact that this is a unique watch designed for women. For example, why also the box is not (at least semi) spheric? Or maybe have a different color of the box instead of black one. Light blue or some other light, femine color. And above all a smaller one. For the company which gives a lot of attention to the design and promote itself with the "Art on the wrist" slogan, I would expect that.
What about the price? Well, to be quite honest, I believe it is more than fair. Recommended price for a EU market is 1750 EUR (price slightly differs depending on the VAT around the EU countries). For a such of dare concept, with rhodium plated hand engraved dial, automatic Swiss movement, limited edition watch this price is one of the best within the AS collection. AS in general is not a cheap brand at all, so I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when this price was announced.
So, my final verdict is - excellent job, Alexander Shorokhoff. Even though you upset my wife with the black strap, even though you could do better with the box, the entire concept of the watch, construction and the final production deserves high grade and prevail all the stated flaws. So, if you want to give something special to your wife or girlfriend or to yourself (if you are a woman), consider AS Shar as a good choice.
I have to give a big thanks to Julian Kampmann for his support. Important disclaimer, I have no other connections to AS or Poljot24.de except being a loyal regular customer!
For the end, let me share some photos where merge of my hobby and my wife's hobby is seen. Enjoy.
P.S.: Sorry for some bad pictures. This watch is one of the most difficult to shot. So many reflections, light refractions. It requires a professional photographer and a studio.
PPS: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I wish you all a lot of new watches in the forthcoming year.