Hands-On With The Titanium Aevig Thule Watches — Bringing Back The Spirit Of The ’70s With A Modern Twist
There is a special niche in the watch universe for watches with TV dials. Throughout history, we have seen quite a few iconic watches that featured them. I have covered quite a few in the Buying Guide series of articles and found that I have a massive soft spot for a well-executed TV dial. That’s why I was happy to see the two TV-dial Thule models from Dutch brand Aevig land on my desk. The first was the three-hand Thule Automatic and the second was the Thule GMT, which were both recently introduced. The watches combine ’70s-inspired looks with a modern titanium execution, and it’s a combination that works very well. Time to dive into the world of modern TV dials.
When I think of TV dials, there are a couple of watches that immediately come to mind. The first is the Omega Speedmaster TV Dial ref. ST176.0014 that I absolutely adore. I picked it as one of the best Omega designs from the 1970s in an article that I wrote on the topic. Another great example is the Heuer Silverstone ref. 110.313. Especially with a brown fumé dial, the watch looks absolutely amazing! Seeing the watches again just made me realize I have to add them to a list of vintage wants.
Aevig design inspiration
When Lex and I talked to Chip Yuen of Dutch brand Aevig, we were pleasantly surprised that he takes inspiration from basically everywhere and incorporates it in his watches. Yuen is not limited by a certain style that he has to uphold, and first and foremost, he creates watches that he likes. With a background in arts, design, and filmmaking, you know the inspiration comes from a wide variety of influences. The current Aevig collection is the perfect testament to that. Ever since Yuen founded Aevig, he has created a great variety of different watches that find their inspiration in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
The difference in design is perfectly exemplified by putting the Aevig Thor that Lex reviewed next to the Aevig Thule models that I will focus on in this review. The Thor is a classic dress watch with a really nice linen dial that takes inspiration from the great dress watches from the ’50s and ’60s. The Thule models look completely different as they are vintage-inspired sports watches that find their roots in the 1970s, as I already mentioned. You could argue whether a brand needs a specific design signature, but the fact that Aevig doesn’t have that has a certain charm to it. I like the idea of a brand that is not restricted by its own ambitions.
The Aevig Thule series
The Aevig Thyïlea or, more commonly spelled, Thule series gets its name from the past. Ancient cartographers used the name to indicate the northernmost land in the inhabited world. It is commonly considered to be what nowadays we call Norway. But there are other interpretations that assume it was Orkney, Shetland, or simply the whole of Scandinavia. I will be using the Thule name for the review. On the dial of the watches, however, you will actually find the Thyïlea name.
The current Thule collection consists of two different models that come in two different executions. The first is the Thule Automatic sports watch that comes with either a brown or a blue dial. The second is the Thule GMT, which also features the same brown and blue dial colors. Additionally, the GMT model has a 24-hour scale printed in white and a GMT hand. The hand is orange on the blue-dial version and light blue or turquoise on the brown-dial version. Further, the Thule GMT models feature the ‘GMT’ wording on the dial in the same color as the GMT hand. Overall, I think Yuen picked the colors for the GMT versions as I would have, although I might have tried a couple of different options for the secondary color on the brown-dial version.
Full titanium construction
Both the Thule Automatic and the Thule GMT come with the same titanium case. It measures a very comfortable 39mm in width and 48.5 mm in length. Both watches are equally 11.5mm thick and water-resistant to 100 meters. Further, the models both feature a titanium bracelet that tapers nicely from 20mm to 18mm. It features a push-button deployant clasp with a fold-over safety lock. The Thule GMT comes with the option of either a satin-brushed or a matte bead-blasted titanium finish. Both options look great in combination with the color of the Grade 2 titanium.
As a result of the material, the watches are very light. It’s something I had to get used to, as most of the ’70s TV-dial watches are quite often pretty heavy chunks of steel. But the Aevig Thule watches are light and easy to wear. When it comes to the discussion of whether I like titanium better than steel, I generally find myself in Camp Steel. That doesn’t mean, however, I will never buy a titanium watch. I actually have one in the form of the Speedmaster X-33, and it wears like a charm. On top of that, my current favorite Grand Seiko SBGA413 also comes in titanium only, and I would certainly not let that be a deal-breaker. If anything, the titanium matches the stunning pink dial perfectly.
The Thule Automatic
If we zoom in a little closer on the Thule Automatic, you will see that the dial design is simple at first glance. But don’t be fooled because it has all kinds of intricacies. The applied hour markers are integrated into the rehaut that holds the minute track. I like the style of the hands that work well with the hour markers. Both are filled with Super-LumiNova C3 for lower-light conditions. The watch is equipped with a flat sapphire crystal with an AR coating on the inside. Lastly, the date window is nicely integrated into the dial without being too intrusive. It features a white date disc with black printing for some needed contrast.
Inside the case, Yuen chose to equip the Thule Automatic with the automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement. It’s a well-known movement that we see used a lot in more and more watches from smaller brands. The movement operates at 28,800vph, has 26 jewels, and features 38 hours of power reserve. The watch has a list price of €799, but the special pre-order discount results in a temporary price of €649. What you get in return is a lot of watch for the money. Both technically and in terms of materials, this is a great offering.
The Thule GMT
If we then shift our focus to the Thule GMT, the biggest change is in the movement with the accompanying GMT hand. The dial of the GMT models also has the additional GMT wording underneath the Thyïlea name. The thing I am not a fan of is that it is placed off-center to the right. It looks quirky, but I would have preferred it centered underneath the model name. We had the blue-dial version of the watch that features a very nice and slim GMT hand that assures perfect readability.
The movement that makes it possible is the automatic Sellita SW330-2. It’s a movement that lets you set the GMT hand independently from the time. The caliber operates at 28,800vph, has 25 jewels, and features a 56-hour power reserve. When you unscrew the crown, the first position lets you set the date and the GMT hand. If you pull it out to the second position, you can set the local time, and the time in the second time zone will automatically change with it. The list price for the Thule GMT is €1,149, but just like for the three-hand version, Aevig is offering a special pre-order price. The discount brings it down to just €919.
Having more watches from Aevig in the office gave us a perfect overview of the versatile brand that Chip Yuen has created. In my opinion, the mix of styles and designs perfectly shows how Yuen looks at the world of watches. And I like that a lot because he is not limited by anything and he gets his influences from a lot of different places. When it comes to the Thule models specifically, they are for a very distinct crowd. You have to love and understand the history of TV-dial watches to appreciate what Yuen has created. It’s definitely an acquired taste. But if you like a nice TV-dial watch, this could be the perfect affordable, somewhat-quirky addition to your collection.
Throughout the time we had these watches in the office, I found that both titanium Thule models wore like a charm. Because the Thule is very light, you sometimes forget you are wearing a watch. But once your eyes catch a glimpse of it, you are reminded of that ’70s statement you have on your wrist. When it comes to value for money, it is hard to fault the watches. When it comes to materials and movement, Aevig offers a lot of bang for the buck. So if you have a thing for TV-dial watches, this could be the perfect watch for you.
If you’d like to find out more, visit the official Aevig website, and let us know what you think of the Thule models in the comments.