The Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy is the brand’s latest effort. Known for the unique time-telling design of their Inception V1.1, the Inception Prodigy keeps the cushion case that Lytt Labs is known for, but uses traditional hands to tell the time. It’s also priced substantially lower than the V1.1. Let’s see if the watch is any good!
Lytt Labs – the Brand
Lytt Labs is a Singapore-based watch microbrand that was founded in 2014 by local watch collector Edwin Seah. According to the brand, their focus is to “provide a unique and forward-thinking approach to watchmaking, ensuring that each piece is both thought-provoking and a conversation starter.”
Lytt Labs introduced their first model in 2017 – called the Inception V1.0 – which turned heads in the watch community due to its unconventional cushion case design, as well as its unique way of telling time. The Inception V1.1 was released a year later, with design enhancements as well as luminescence added to the watch. In 2019, the company released the Inception Prodigy – the model I’m reviewing today – which is positioned more as an entry-level offering to the Lytt Labs brand, while still delivering on many of the design ethos that the brand has become known for.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review!
Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy – Build Quality
Despite the affordable sub-S$500 price tag, the build quality of the Inception Prodigy is actually pretty good!
Firstly, the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy utilises sapphire crystal to protect its dial. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Furthermore, there’s also four layers of AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent the bulk of nasty reflections. Elsewhere, the WR rating of the watch is stated at 50M, which means that you don’t have to worry about the watch when running your hands under the tap, though you should still steer clear from the pool or the shower with it on the wrist.
The ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement powers the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. I’m a fan of the Seiko NH35 movement, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen at this price point). This is due to the fact that unlike the NH35, the Miyota 8 series movements are non-hacking, suffer from a stuttering second hand (some models), and in my own experience with the Miyota movements, are also more prone to accuracy problems.
The Inception Prodigy comes on a silicone strap, which I find complements the sporty, avant-garde look of the watch (more on that later) well. The silicone strap is really soft, and is immensely comfortable on the skin. I like the contrasting gold stitching too, which matches well with the rose gold case. There’s also a signed buckle, which is interestingly dual-pronged – something I have not seen before. I love its unconventional design though! However, the strap is bolted to the case, which makes it difficult to change the strap if the silicone strap is not for you.
Despite the low price point, the Inception Prodigy actually comes with pretty bright lume. Lytt Labs doesn’t state the lume used (though it does say that the lume is hand-applied), but judging from the strength and the colour I suspect it uses Swiss Superluminova C3 lume. I’m pretty impressed by the strength of the lume here – it’s stronger than the lume on some of the dive/pilot watches I reviewed previously!
Overall, I’m very impressed by the specifications of the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy. There’s sapphire crystal with quadruple layers of anti-reflective coating, a reliable Seiko NH35 movement, a very soft and comfortable silicone strap, as well as strong and long lasting lume. Given its price tag of less than S$500, I have to say that the build quality of the Inception Prodigy definitely punches above its price point!
Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy – Design
While the Inception Prodigy boasts great specifications for its price, its calling card is definitely still its avant-garde design.
There’s so much detail in the dial of the Inception Prodigy that I don’t even know where to start! There’s the intriguingly shaped hands, which for some reason remind me of a rabbit’s ears. I’m sure that wasn’t the design inspiration, but it’s certainly a shape that I have never seen in a watch before! Talking about unprecedented design, there’s also a brushed rotating seconds disc. It reminds me of the iconic Millennium Falcon spaceship from Star Wars, and certainly adds to the avant-garde, futuristic vibe of the watch. There’s also a black seconds track – in case you need to tell exactly what second it is – that is surrounded by a brushed metallic ring whereby the brand name is inscribed. I love the texture juxtaposition between the brushed surface of the metallic circle, as well as the matte surfaces of the black circles that surrounds it. I like the silver/black silver scheme too, which exudes a nice futuristic, almost sci-fi feel.
However, the most attractive part of the dial has to be the honeycomb texture. Again, it’s a unique design that I’ve never seen on any other watch before. There’s three colourways of the Inception Prodigy – Silver, Black, and Rose Gold (pictured in this review) – and my pick out of the lot would definitely be the Rose Gold variant due to its honey coloured honeycomb dial. It’s really, really beautiful, especially in the right lighting. There’s a warmth to it that is reminiscent of the Oris Divers 65 “Honey” by Revolution – two very different watches for sure, but their dials evoke the same warmth. I should also point out that there’s a secondary way to tell the seconds on the watch. Seconds can be measured either via the arrow on the disc-based hand or through a small window to a numeric indicator track which is printed underneath the seconds hand disc. In the above photo, you can see the numerals “45” visible in the cut out window of the seconds-disc, which indicates the seconds that have elapsed. I think that’s pretty cool. It’s probably not that functional (who actually needs to know the seconds?) but I definitely can appreciate the concept of having alternative ways of telling time.
I love that there’s significant depth to the dial too. Numerals are applied here – with the brand logo at 12 o’clock – and coupled with a metallic raised minute track, it gives the dial nice depth. For long-time readers of my watch review, you would know that I love depth and contrasting texture on my watches, and the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy certainly delivered on that front! I have to say that I love the rose gold/black/metallic silver colour scheme of the dial. There’s a warmth to it, there’s a futuristic sci-fi avant-garde feel to it, and it just looks cool on the wrist, for lack of better description.
Perhaps the most divisive aspect of the Inception Prodigy is its cushion shape case. If you have been wearing round watches all your life, it definitely takes some getting used to. Personally, I like the cushion shape of the Inception Prodigy, as I find it to reinforce the unconventional design of the watch. It’s a pretty intriguing take on a cushion case too. It’s not fully square, and features bevelled sides that gives the case a “softer” feel. Once again, I’ve personally not seen such a cushion shape design before, so kudos to Lytt Labs for constantly going outside the box in their design!
Due to the bevelled nature of the cushion case, the side profile of the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy is one of the sexiest that I’ve ever seen on a watch. Look at those curves – it reminds me of silhouette of a race car! The rose gold case features a black middle section as well, which complements the black silicone strap – as well as the overall black/rose gold colour scheme – very nicely. The crown is also very nicely sized, making hand-winding the watch a pleasure. While it’s unsigned, it features an interesting faceted design.
The faceted design extends to the caseback. It’s certainly very intriguing, and is once again an aesthetic touch that I’ve personally never seen on a watch before. The caseback itself is fairly simple, with some relevant information, as well as the brand logo, inscribed. There’s also a QR code inscribed at the back, which is unique to each watch and serves as the watch’s “serial number”. When scanned, the unique code is identified, taking the customer to a specific page allowing priority access to releases, events and promotions. I think this is pretty cool, and further reinforces the futuristic, sci-fi theme of the watch.
On the wrist, the Inception Prodigy’s 45mm case size ensures that this is one that you will definitely notice on the wrist. It has significant wrist presence, especially when considering its 14mm thickness. If you’re into small and slim watches, this would probably not be to your liking. That being said, I found the watch to wear well on my 7 inch wrists – better than I initially expected it to. This is due to its lugless design, which allows the watch to hug the wrist and wear smaller than its 45mm dimensions suggest.
Overall, I really like the design of the Inception Prodigy. It’s cushion case and avant-garde design invariably means that this will be a “love it or hate it” timepiece, but objectively speaking I have to give Lytt Labs props for its aesthetic creativity and the sheer amount of detail in the watch’s design. From the dial, to the case, and even the caseback, there’s a lot to appreciate!
Shootout – Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy vs SevenFriday P1B
Let’s face it – SevenFriday is probably the most iconic brand in the realm of square, avant-garde watches. The P1B is SevenFriday’s entry-level model (one of its most affordable), and thus I shall be comparing the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy to the SevenFriday P1B today!
In terms of build quality, the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy definitely beats the SevenFriday P1B. The Inception Prodigy features sapphire crystal, while the P1B uses a mere mineral crystal. It’s also arguable that the Seiko NH35 movement of the Inception Prodigy is more reliable and accurate than the Miyota 8 series movement of the P1B. Lastly, the Inception Prodigy also features strong lume – in contrast, the P1B is devoid of any lume.
In terms of design, it’s a much closer fight. Both watches clearly share similar design aesthetics – cushion case, “circle in square” design, black edges, etc. Both dials are incredibly layered, and eye-catching. The P1B has the iconic SevenFriday design – one look at the watch, and you know that it is a SevenFriday watch. I think the white/black colour scheme was executed masterfully on the P1B, as well as its usage of circular shapes on the dial. There’s even an open heart for those to marvel at the mechanical movement within. However, the Inception Prodigy is no slouch either, with several neat aesthetic touches that I’ve never seen before in other watches. In particular, I really love the golden honeycomb texture of the dial, which gives the watch a nice warmth. I sincerely think that both watches are great looking watches that I would definitely wear in a heartbeat.
From a value standpoint however, the Inception Prodigy clearly trump the SevenFriday P1B. Despite having the better specifications, and an equally compelling design, the Inception Prodigy is priced at less than a third of the price of the SevenFriday P1B! Personally, I find it ridiculous that the P1B is more than thrice the price of the Inception Prodigy. As such, I have to declare the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy as the winner of this shootout – it is undoubtedly the better buy.
Conclusion – so the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy “shiok” or not?
Hell yes. The Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy has great specifications, and an intriguing design. I love the amount of detail present in the watch – there’s an alternative way to read seconds on the watch, a golden honeycomb dial texture, a Millennial Falcon-like seconds disc, a bevelled cushion case, faceted crown and caseback, and even the incorporation of QR codes! It’s a smartly executed design that overall, allows for the unconventional, sci-fi feel of the watch to really shine. Unlike most of its competitors (SevenFriday, Eight Dynamics, Orodeus, etc), Lytt Labs is able to offer its avant-garde Inception Prodigy at a very affordable price. If you’re on a budget, yet still desire a conversation starter, the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy might be your best bet.
For those interested in any of Lytt Labs’ watches, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you 15% off all purchases on their web-store! After the discount and 15% cashback from Lytt Labs’ “Strap It On” program, the Inception Prodigy in Silver would cost just S$469, with the Rose Gold and Gunmetal versions costing a tad more. Well-built, well-designed, and well-priced, the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy is a great value proposition for those looking for something different!
View the full range of Lytt Labs watches here.
- Movement: Seiko Instruments caliber NH35 mechanical automatic
- 42 hours power reserve
- Case: 45mm wide by 45mm long, and 14mm thick
- PVD case, 316L stainless steel
- Sapphire crystal, quadruple anti-reflective treatment
- luminescent paint applied to dials by hand
- Individually stamped hour numbers
- Water resistant to 50m
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!