Alexander Shorokhoff is among my favorite's watch brand so it is not a surprise, that AS watches are regular guests in my reviews. For the moment beside the one I am going to present today, another one is still in the waiting list waiting for my free time to review it...
Today's watch is - in my opinion - one of the most interesting AS watches from the Avangarde collection, called Levels. AS logo is "Art on the wrist" so the basic idea is always that watch is not just a device showing the time but that watch should be a peace of art. It is quite often that Mr. Shorokhoff's ideas what an art part on the watch should look like are to kitschy for my taste but in the case of the Levels watches that is not the case.
First two versions of the Levels models (blue and white dial) were issued back in 2020. The blue version was awarded by the German Design Award in 2021. At the beginning of this year two additional versions were issued - brown and grey. I decided to buy the grey version.
Basic idea behind all four models is to have a dial in several layers - levels, so that the dial is really a full 3D dial. What exactly does that mean? There are four different heights in which dial elements are placed. On the ground floor - the first level - is the dial of the away time watch, on the second level the “Alexander Shorokhoff” - logo is placed. On the third level is the home time watch. It is important to point out that in fact both watches are on the same - ground level, but the "bezels" around both watches are on a different levels/heights. Finally, on the fourth level the "limited edition" sign is placed. That levels are hard to see from the front picture, so I tried to capture it from the top and left side of the watch.
Basic dial plate is guilloched style and then each "subdial" or better watch has also it's own unique details. The right watch is declared to be the "home time", while the "away time" is notified by the small Earth picture. Home time has a very elegant second hand, while away time has no second hand at all. Very interesting is the date window construction (date is placed only on a away time watch). Namely, at an elevated “bridge”, which is placed at the highest level, a magnifying glass is positioned. So this magnifying glass in not positioned directly into the sapphire front glass of the watch but beneath the front glass.
The final touch on the dial is a colored stripe what gives the watch the recognizable “Alexander Shorokhoff-design”. The big '60' on the home watch and the shape of all hands is again fully in line with the Avangarde collection.
The basic gray color of the dial is more brownish than grey and the combination with the rose gold color of the levels gives a phenomenal look of the watch in person. With all stated different levels and color combinations the watch is a real eye-catcher!
By this I can conclude the impressions on "artistic" part of the watch. Now it is time to focus on other technical and practical aspects of the watch.
First, watch is quite a big one. Diameter of the watch is 46,5mm without crowns. Since watch does not have any bezel and dial goes almost to the very edge of the case (diameter of dial itself is 43mm), the watch also optically looks big. Luckily lugs are 24mm, therefore the wide strap optically reduces the watch. But all in all the big wrist is a necessity for this watch. Since the height is despite all levels less than 13mm and L2L are 50,7mm plus the position of the crowns are on the diagonal, this watch still very wearable.
The size of the watch is quite logical to be honest. For achieving the dual time complication AS decided to use two independent automatic movements ETA 2671 which were refined and hand engraved by AS.
Even though 2671 movement is a small one it is hard to make watch smaller than 46mm if you want to place two movements side by side...
What about the user experience? Well, one thing really bothers me. The so called away dial is very hard to read. The date bridge - which is attractive by itself - sadly covers a big part of the watch and together with fact that the hands and the bridge are of the similar color all in all makes this watch hard to read whenever the minute hand is in the 25-35 min or 55-05 min intervals. Same problem when the hour hand is between 11-13 and 17-19. Since away time should represent the time where you are at the moment, so local time, that dial is usually much more important than the home time. So what I would suggest is to use home time dial as a local time and an away dial for a home time.
The next "problematic" thing is the date window. ETA 2671 is a small movement and a date ring does not allow a big date numbers. So the magnifying glass is a logical idea. However this magnifying glass under the sapphire glass circled with the bridge well above the date window allows date to be seen only when one looks the date directly above the watch. You can not check the date just with the blink of the eye but have to focus your watch to a very specific angle where date is finally revealed.
I am also surprised that the date is only used on the away time zone (of course both movements are identical and both allows date complication). At the end of the day it is quite possible that home date and away date are not the same and if you travel a lot sometimes you are confused whether at home the time (and date) is ahead or behind your local date. If you change the functions of home and away (as I suggested above) the date on only away time is even more inconvenient. But the reduction to just one date and one second hand was obviously done on purpose to clean the already busy dial.
Both time zones uses luminated hands, but luminova is not very good. Again the home dial has a much better night visibility than away dial, so another reason to change the dial purposes in practice.
Case is made of brushed and polished steel, all glasses are sapphire. Comes on a very good crocodile strap with signed pin buckle with the perfect color match to the watch dial (at least in my concrete case - grey dial version).
Every dial version of the watch is limited to 99 pieces. The first two versions issued are almost sold out now, but last pieces can still be found. Each watch is numbered on the backplate.
Watch comes in a standard AS box, which was already shown on my other reviews of AS watches, so no need to do it again.
What about the price? AS is not a cheap brand so also this watch is not cheap at all. Official EU price is 3590 EUR for all four models. With a bit of the luck I was able to get this watch for 3200 EUR. Still a lot but on the other hand considering all the hand work needed to assemble this kind of watch, a fair one.
I also have to add that this time I bought the watch in Slovakia in the www.watchexclusive.eu shop. Very good experience, if you intend to buy any of the AS watches, by all means check this store as well. It is an official AS dealer so you receive all stamps, warranty cards, etc.
Final verdict: A real eye catcher, which gives you a lot of fun to wear, but if you really need two time zones regularly or this functionality is a necessity for you, think twice which dial will you use for particular zone. Even more - in this case reconsider if this is really the right choice for you. Be aware that the design of the watch and an artistic impression dominates over the dual zone functionality of the watch.