Best known for its idiosyncratic designs, TACS has launched a new watch design that it says is inspired by the architecture of the iconic Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, Japan. Let’s see if it’s any good.
TACS Architecture – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the TACS Architecture below:
TACS – the Brand
I previously covered the brand story of TACS in my previous review of the film-inspired AVL II. You can read the article here if you haven’t already done so. I also reviewed the newer ATL here, and the Mask Player Automatic here.
TACS Architecture – Build Quality
The specifications of the TACS Architecture are satisfactory for its price.
Firstly, the TACS Architecture features a double domed K1 glass. While not as durable as sapphire crystal, domed K1 glass is still substantially more scratch-resistant than regular mineral glass. The Architecture also has a water resistance rating of 100M, making it robust enough for a variety of everyday activities that don’t involve prolonged submersion in water.
The TACS Architecture is powered by the Miyota 82S0 movement. The 82S0 beats at 21,600 bph, hand-winds, has about 42 hours of power reserve, but does not hack, and is visible through the watch’s exhibition’s caseback. There’s also basic Geneva striping decoration, as well as a custom rotor – nice touches which aren’t always present at this price point.
The TACS Architecture comes default on an Italian leather strap, which is slightly nicer than the usual “Genuine Leather” straps one often sees at this price point. It feels soft and premium on the skin, and comes with quick-release buckles for easy interchangeability.
There’s even Swiss Superluminova applied to the TACS Architecture. The brand doesn’t state which specific kind, but the green hue indicates that it should be C3.
All in all, the TACS Architecture has decent specifications. My only knock is the lack of a sapphire crystal, which would have definitely been appreciated.
TACS Architecture – Design
However, the strength of the Architecture – as with most TACS watches – is in its design.
The main draw of the Architecture is in its open-heart design. There are two – one at 7 o’clock which showcases the balance wheel, and one at 3 o’clock which highlights the clutch wheel. The former is captivating (I’m a fan of open hearts), but the latter is definitely much more unusual. Furthermore, the open hearts, dual-layered dial, and applied indices give the watch a sense of depth that adds to its allure.
Another interesting aspect is the “floating” dial, where the dial is slightly smaller than the case and anchored at four positions. The result is a transparent outer “track”, which is another unusual aesthetic feature that I found really intriguing.
The Architecture is also available in three colourways – concrete, limestone, and raspberry. The first two are probably more thematically in line with the watch’s construction inspiration, but I found the raspberry variant to be the most unusual and therefore the most appealing. I suppose it meant to appeal to the fairer sex, but its unusual shade of pink – very different from my Grand Seiko Shunbun or Kurono Toki – elevated it above the rest and really captured my attention.
The rest of the Architecture is more toned down, with a simple brushed case and bezel. There’s no contrast in textures – such as polished bevelled edges – but I actually think it’s the right decision as it keeps the spotlight on the striking dial.
Although the TACS Architecture has a case diameter of 41mm, it is actually very wearable on my 6.75-inch wrist as it has a short lug-to-lug length of just 47mm. However, it is still a tad thick at 14mm tall – this isn’t one that will slide easily under a shirt cuff.
Overall, the design of the TACS Architecture is unusual and captivating – a breath of fresh air in this affordable sub-S$500 microbrand space. The Architecture (especially this raspberry variant) will definitely be a head turner for sure.
Shootout – TACS Architecture vs TACS Mask Player Automatic
If you’re in the market for an unusual but affordable watch, a great alternative would actually be the brand’s Mask Player Automatic, which I reviewed here.
In terms of specifications, both watches are similar – they both lack sapphire crystal, and are powered by the Miyota 8 series movement. The Architecture does have a slight edge as it has Swiss Superluminova, though if lume isn’t necessary then that is unlikely to make a difference.
From an aesthetic standpoint, both watches feature a unique design. The Mask Player Automatic is great for those who appreciate an alternative mode of time-telling, while the Architecture would fit the tastes of someone who prefers traditional time-telling, but in a refreshing package. Personally, I lean more towards the Architecture – it’s practical, more versatile, and yet still different enough to be a conversational starter on the wrist.
However, the Architecture is a tad more expensive than the Mask Player Automatic, so if budget is a big concern for you the latter may be more up your alley.
Conclusion – so the TACS Architecture “shiok” or not?
I absolutely love the TACS Architecture. It’s idiosyncratic but in just the right amount. I love the various unusual details of the dial, as well as the striking raspberry-pink colourway. I wish it had a sapphire crystal, but at the sub-S$500 price point, I can still close an eye and overlook the omission (after all, that’s par for the course with Seiko watches at this price point too, and I own multiple). In the crowded affordable microbrand segment, the TACS Architecture really stands out.
Those interested in purchasing the TACS Architecture can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 15% off all TACS watches store-wide. After the discount, the Architecture can be had for just US$365/~S$499, making it an affordable way to have some fun on the wrist.
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.