The small Scottish brand known as anOrdain has made quite a name for itself over the past half-decade or so, mainly through its traditionally crafted vitreous enamel dials. Usually reserved for watches at a much higher price point, anOrdain has found a way to make them in-house, at a competitive level. Through our recent trip to Glasgow, visiting anOrdain’s atelier in an old carpet factory, we learned the details of how these unique dials are made by hand. The first watch to come out of this atelier was the Model 1, a refined elegant dress watch. A couple of years later, the Model 2 was introduced, which took the art of enamel dials in a different direction and presented it as a field watch. Just before the summer, we learned that the Model 2 was updated into the Model 2 MKII, which also launched a new size alongside the inaugural 36mm. And during my time in Glasgow, and a couple of weeks thereafter, I got to spend plenty of time with it!
A Field Watch of a different kind
The Model 2 has always been the more robust-looking watch within anOrdain’s portfolio. It’s designed as a proper field watch with a sturdy steel case and with clean and time-only display. With the introduction of the MKII, anOrdain also catered to the wishes of fans, collectors and enthusiasts for something a bit larger. Where the first generation of the Model 2 was only available in 36mm, this is now the Model 2 MKII Medium, which is joined by the 39.5mm wide Model 2 MKII Large. The design of either size is identical, and comes in a fully polished or fully brushed finish, depending on the dial colour. Despite its uniform finish, which sometimes hides details, the pleasant profile and design elements of the case stand out nicely.
At just 11mm in height and 43mm or 46mm from lug to lug it is also a very wearable watch, which will appeal to many people. The strong lugs have a slightly angled inner angle (reminiscent of the lyre lugs by Omega), and the caseband protrudes into a crown guard on the right-hand side. The back shows a solid caseback which can be decorated with an engraved map of your own preference, or a personal message. This also hides the reliable and very familiar hand-wound Sellita SW210 that powers the Model 2 MKII. Running at a rate of 28,800vph, this provides you with a power reserve of 38 hours.
Racing Green Enamel
Obviously, the vitreous enamel dial is the main attraction in any watch that comes from anOrdain’s Glasgow-based atelier, regardless of type and colour. The rich lustre of an enamel dial is simply unrivalled by other dial types, either made by hand or by machines. There’s a real sense of craftsmanship in any of them, either opaque or transparent, and that almost becomes tangible when handling the Model 1 and Model 2. With the Model 2 MKII, anOrdain decided to drop the transparent enamel dials and offer only opaque ones. And although the fumé style dials, which was an accidental creation, look amazing it makes sense to me to pair the field-watch looks of the Model 2 with opaque dials only.
When the Model 2 MKII was introduced a couple of months ago, a quartet of colours were announced: White, Grey Haar, Flax and Racing Green. While each looks good on its own, the Racing Green stood out to me when I visited anOrdain and got to see it in person for the first time ever. Part of the appeal to that particular colour is my love for cars and motorsports, often expressed through our Petrolhead Corner stories. The colour is very rich and deep and shows all the details enamel dials are loved for. The dimple towards the axis for the hands, the very fine orange peal structure only visible in some angles, the slight dip as it reaches the outer edge of the dial, it’s all just very lovely.
The Model 2 MKII also saw some other updates besides the introduction of a 39.5mm version. It now comes with a minute track on the outer edge, giving it a more sporty look, and an updated font design for the numerals. The prints are very crisp, and the index for each hour is enhanced by a fine contrasting outline. In this case, it matches the colour of the restyled hands, which have been fitted with a luminous tip for a bit of night-time visibility. The final details that make this a great dial are the subtle inclusion of the name of the brand, and the fact you’re looking at a vitreous enamel dial.
The waiting game
Like pretty much all watches made anOrdain, you have a bit of freedom of choice when it comes down to the straps. The Model 2 MKII Racing Green comes on a very nice and comfortable reddish-brown, grained leather strap but you can opt for suede, Shell Cordovan or Russian hatch bovine leather straps instead. Depending on the size of the Model 2 MKII, medium or large, the strap is 18mm or 20mm in width and fitted with a brushed steel pin buckle.
Any anOrdain is produced in limited quantities due to the atelier’s annual capacity, but I’m told about 200 Model 2 MKIIs will be made each year. If you want one though, you’re going to play the waiting game, as the entire collection is on a substantial waiting list. Prices start at GBP 1,825 without taxes for the medium size and GBP 1,995 without taxes for the large size. Options in terms of straps or caseback engraving do not affect the price.
My final thoughts
While the combination of a field watch and a delicate vitreous enamel dial might sound a tad contradictory at first, it works very well with the anOrdain Model 2 MKII. And I must admit, I grew quite fond of the Model 2 MKII Large with this Racing Green dial! It wears very comfortably, has excellent legibility and comes with a distinct personality that’s not comparable to anything else. That gorgeous vitreous enamel dial which is made almost entirely by hand only adds to the pleasure of handling such a watch. Size-wise, both work great although I am leaning more towards the Model 2 MKII Large as its dial is a bit more ‘open’.
And although some might write it off as a tad pricey considering it is a field watch with a simple time-only display and a manually wound movement but in reality, it’s much more than that. It’s an expression of individuality and one that shows great attention to detail from front to back. The craftsmanship that goes into each dial is profound, setting it miles apart from most other watch brands. And on top of that, I dare you to find a better watch with a true handmade heat-fired enamel dial by an independent watchmaker in the same price bracket! It’s something extremely scarce, if available at all.
For more information, please visit anOrdain.com
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.