Essentials: TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II – Dark Metal Watch

Essentials is a revamped series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, bite-sized posts.

It took me a long time to get into watches, but the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II – Dark Metal Watch deserves credit for being the gateway drug to what I hope doesn’t become an addiction. Despite that I’m often surrounded by folks who geek out about watches, I’ve never been too interested in anything beyond my Apple Watch. That changed when I realized watches could be functional and fashionable accessories. While folks are keen on wearing a Leica around their necks, they’re also sometimes keen on sporting a watch on their wrist too. And if you want to combine the two, then the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II – Dark Metal Watch could be for you.

The Spirit of Analog in an Automatic

TACS created this series of watch as an ode to the analog camera lens. During my testing of the Automatic Vintage Lens II, everyone who took a closer look at it realized the inspiration. When you zoom in on the details the light bulb tends to go off. Where the 12 hour hand should be is an infinity focus marker. The face clearly labels a few important spots like the 9 o’clock position, the 15-minute position, and the 28-minute marker. On top of that is the bezel that rotates, though in this situation, rotating the bezel doesn’t make sense. The interior face is painted blue. This will be all too familiar to the photographer that sees the sun reflect off the optics in their camera lenses.

The hands are supposed to glow in the dark, but I couldn’t get mine to do that, unfortunately. The watch is also heavy, at least to me (Reviews Editor Paul Ip didn’t find it heavy). But if you wear it for a photo walk and constantly bring a camera to your face, it’s going to create a bit of fatigue. I recommend not wearing it when you’re trying to photo walk. The Automatic Vintage Lens should adorn your wrist when you want to tell everyone about your love of photography–but not when you need your camera with you. Weird, right? Amazingly enough, situations like this come up often. For me, it’s during business meetings.

I thoroughly enjoy the idea of the Automatic Vintage Lens, though customization will make the experience far better. A swap of the strap to leather is an ideal fix. Often, I wear this watch on my right wrist while my Apple Watch stays on the left. My Apple Watch allows me to do pretty much everything that I need: see the time in other cities, tell me how active I’ve been for the day, tell the time, etc. The Automatic doesn’t have any major complications. That secures its place as a novelty item. It’s beautiful, and bound to start a conversation with other folks who enjoy the finer things in life. This is for the same folks who reach for a Leica, yet aren’t swimming in money. They just enjoy the experience. And you’ll get the same thing here.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.