The latest offering from Alcadus is a vintage-inspired racing watch that might just increase your heartrate. The VELOS–Greek for “arrow”–is a split-second flyback chronograph, and it comes, fittingly, in an assortment of motorsport liveries. Alcadus founder, Yook Hong, a long-time enthusiast, collector, and watch modder, himself, seems to have stumbled upon a winning combination in the VELOS: elegant design at an affordable price.
What is immediately arresting about the VELOS is its dial. A chronograph, by the very nature of its complication, requires a a certain amount of real estate to fulfil its functions, and yet there is a pared down minimalism to the VELOS that betrays an understanding of space and, that sometimes, less is more. The sub-dial layout is simple and classic and altogether elegant. While three of the VELOS colourways employ a vertically brushed dial, the Marlboro (or Panda, featured here) opts for matte white. The stark juxtaposition against the recessed black, combined with the prominent red chronograph hand, strikes just the right chord. Its applied markers provide architecture, and the angled chapter ring, while offering structure, is unobtrusive. I am particularly fond of the manner in which the chronograph hand aligns in a double arrow design when not in use. And while I am generally a fan of the date complication, I am glad to see that this design eschews it in favour of symmetry.
All hands on the VELOS are diamond cut to precision. In addition, the hour and minute hands are faceted and buffed to a high polish that, like the indices, do well to catch the light. And speaking of light, both the hands and indices are filled with BGW9 Swiss Super-LumiNova, with additional hints of C3 in the tips of the markers.
The case of the VELOS is 316L stainless steel. It measures 39mm in diameter and 45.5mm lug to lug. It has both a screw down crown and caseback. Including the crystal, it is 12.2mm thick and is water resistant to 100m. The watch is a mix of vertical and radial brushing, with polished highlights on the bezel and chamfered lugs. The case has also been treated with a scratch-resistant coating. The sapphire crystal, while flat, has a box-shaped bevelling that sits just proud of the bezel and offers beautiful distortions at the right angles. Onto this, five layers of anti-reflective coating have been applied.
The movement used in the VELOS is an interesting one. The ETA 251.294 FK is a quartz calibre, sometimes referred to as mecaquartz or as superquartz. It is a 27-jewel movement that provides both a flyback and a split-second function. Hidden beneath the red chronograph hand is a second white hand. With its two chronograph hands, you are able to record multiple time intervals. When the pusher at 2 is engaged, the hands travel simultaneously. However, if you engage the pusher at 10, the red upper hand will stop, allowing the lower white hand to continue forward. Press the pusher at 10 once more and the upper hand will catch up to its twin. This is also known as a rattrapante or a doppelchronograph. Farer uses the same movement in their split-second lineup: the Fairford, Ainsdale II, Elvington II, and Pendine II.
By way of a band, Alcadus offers a choice of six Italian leather straps. Each tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 16mm at the buckle, The all have polished, stainless steel hardware. On the buckle, the brand name is embossed in a bead-blasted field.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
45.5mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Caseback and Crown
100m Water Resistance
|Crystal & Dial||Bevelled “Box” Sapphire|
3 Sub-dials (Running Seconds, Tenths, and 30-Minute Register)
BGW9 and C3 Super-LumiNova
|Movement||Swiss ETA 251.294 FK|
Battery Life 3 Years
|Strap||Italian Leather with Stainless Steel Hardware|
Prior to launching the Alcadus brand, Yook Hong worked in marketing and product management. However, he began his watchmaking journey as an enthusiast and collector. The lure of boutique watches pulled him toward microbrands, but he was also active in the modding comunity. Hong began modding with the Seiko Urchin, but eventually expanded to the SKX and Turtle lines. His experience building watches for himself and others, coupled with his growing knowledge and familiarity with aftermarket parts, provided the initial inertia needed to start his own brand. His first watch, the Opus 39, reveals the clean lines and straightforward design that characterize the Alcadus aesthetic.
The ETA 251.294 is a marvel, offering functionality that if mechanical would cost into the thousands. However, despite its capabilities, it does not offer the same satisfaction in the depression of its pushers as you would get from a manual calibre.
The VELOS is a tidy package. I was impressed with the design the moment I opened the box. Days afterward, I found myself glancing at my wrist, and I wasn’t searching for the time. In many ways, it is reminiscent of the Seagull Sugess, but far more detailed in the rendering. The crystal, the lugs, the hands, the indices…all possess a refinement you would expect from a much more expensive watch. And, yes, there are echoes of other classics like the Heuer Carrera and the Zenith A273. But you would not be purchasing the VELOS for its original configuration. Like a poet who must work within the confines of a sonnet, Alcadus have produced their own turn on a classic.
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