Highway To The Hypnotic Grid-Lock Zone: Introducing The New Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3
Editor’s note: We take a break from covering the Only Watch Auction 2021 and present the new New Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3. Here’s our preview and a quick Gut Reaction Review (Grr…). For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Anyone who has read my reviews will attest that I have a soft spot for the watches from Alexander Shorokhoff. Their avant-garde styling, and the ability to seamlessly blend traditional with contemporary is simply mind-blowing (especially when you consider the exclusivity and the pricing).
The new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 — Karo in German means checks (pattern) — is no different; it takes a conventional circular watch case, and a sort of older (NOS) Poljot movement, but introduces a modern skeletonised movement with check patterns and a hearty dose of colour to present the watch collecting community with a limited edition timepiece that ends up being both fun and a serious piece of watchmaking art.
Talking about the timepiece itself, the new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 is a 43.5 x 14.4mm stainless steel cased watch with brushed and polished surfaces and a cambered sapphire crystal on top. Water-resistant to 50m, it also features a display case-back that exhibits the impressively decorated movement (and more on that in a bit).
Retailing for 1’990 Euro or 3’100 AUD, the 39-pieces only LE watch features a 22mm lug interhorn spacing and comes on a dial-matching fabric covered leather strap with checkered pattern and an engraved solid stainless steel pin buckle.
It is the combination of this checkered pattern strap and the checkered pattern dial that aesthetically defines the new Karo 3.
The dial features three — hence the number ‘3’ in the nomenclature — different layers of metal from which the dial has been produced and three bridges on the upper movement plate.
Silver-coloured, yellow-gold-plated and rose-gold-plated grid lines create a harmonious skeletonized appearance that lends to the dial a somewhat three-dimensional characteristic.
Legibility on skeletonised dials can be an issue, but the brand has fortunately managed to avoid that trap by introducing silver hour appliqué markers and contrasting blued hands to the mix. There is minimal text on the dial, with ‘Limited Edition’ and the trademark ’60’ at 12’o clock and a small printed ‘Made In Germany’ at 6’o clock that also facilitates in making the dial more readable.
The other interesting aspect of the new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 is the (rather unique) movement used (and its treatment).
Reference AS.C01-KRO1S features the manual winding calibre 3133.AS that is essentially a Russian Poljot 3133 movement that has been extensively hand-refined.
This 31mm diameter and 7.38mm thick movement features beats at the low frequency of 3Hz (21’600 A/h), comprises 23 jewels, offers a 42 hours — 36 hours with stop function activated — power reserve, should have an accuracy of -10 to +40 seconds per day, and the powers the functions of centralised hours and minutes, chronograph hands and the stopwatch function.
For those who may not know a lot about the calibre Poljot 3133, it took form in Russia in the 1970s and is a cam controlled coulisse lever system movement (rather than being a more common column-wheel chronograph movement).
It began life as Cal 188 from Venus that led to the development of Valjoux 7700 that in turn ended up as Valjoux 7734. All these movements combined forces to form the Poljot 3133.
In regards to Valjoux 7734, long-time watch connoisseurs might recollect its use in certain Breitling, Tudor and Heuer models of the past.
Despite the calibre Poljot 3133 being inspired or derived from its Swiss counterparts, it makes some changes in the form of beating at a higher frequency (3.0Hz compared to 2.5Hz of 7734) and also includes more jewels (23 compared to 17).
Even compared to other modern mass-produced Swiss movements it is a bit different: the Sellita SW210-1 for instance is a 26mm diameter and 3.35mm thick movement featuring 19 jewels and beats at the frequency of 4Hz.
It is also different than ‘Eastern’ movements such as the Seagull ST1903 that features 20 jewels and offers a~40-hour power reserve, though they both beat at the same 3Hz frequency. The Miyota calibre 8N33 is again different, coming in smaller at 26mm x 4.47mm and featuring 17 jewels.
The point I am try to make here is that the Poljot 3133 is rather unique, and if you look at the market today, not many brands offer it, and rarely are they refined to the standards of the Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3.
So besides the fact that this is not a very common movement these days and features a sense of exclusivity, the added good news for those interested in the new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 is that AS has further decorated it with by part hand-engravings and blued screws. The 3 bridges on the upper movement plate have a filigree hand-finished sunray engraving. Overall, a skilled engraver needs several days to elaborately skeletonise and engrave this movement.
That’s All Folks!
The clear-cut straight lines, the play of heights, the craftsmanship, the avant-garde styling, the rare combination of a skeletonised manual-wind chronograph, all make this AS offering a very hard-to-resist timepiece.
The dial is a city of its own; the grid-lock chequered pattern are the hypnotic highways to horological heights, that are raised above the inner workings of the ‘city’, visible through a skeletonised display. Thankfully being a manual-wind timepiece, the wearer helps turn the cogs of motion, electing to bring this city to life.
To find out more about the new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 and other AS timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are ©2021 Copyright Alexander Shorokhoff Uhrenmanufaktur GmbH. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.