Axios Ironclad

Axios Ironclad

Zelos Nova 38mm Ad - Zaltek Reviews

Manufacturer: Axios Watches | Price: $549 USD (£440 GBP, €505 EUR)

Today, I’ll be introducing the first watch from a new microbrand, Axios. You might be thinking, oh, for fucks sake… here we go again, yet another start up that’s made another dive watch using a sub style case. Well, before I go any further, to peak your interest, one of the founders of Axios, is none other than Elshan Tang, the owner of one of my favourite brands, Zelos. I thought that might grab your attention, it certainly got mine when I first heard of the brand last year. So, is this diver from Axios, named the Ironclad any good, or is it just another ‘copy & paste‘ job that we’ve all seen so many times?

Specifications

  • Dimensions: Diameter – 40.1mm, Thickness – 13.2mm, Lug to Lug – 46.4mm, Lug Width – 20mm
  • Movement: Sellita SW200-1, Automatic, 28,800vph, 26 Jewels, Hackable, Self Winding, 38hr Power Reserve
  • Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel with Scratch Resistant Coating, Polished Accents
  • Bracelet: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel, Solid Links & End-Links, Screw Pins, Milled Clasp
  • Crystal: Double Dome Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Ceramic Insert, Fully Lumed
  • Water Resistance: 500m / 50ATM / 1640ft
  • Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® C3 X1 & BGW9
  • Crown: Screw Down, Signed     
  • Caseback: Screw Down, Deep Stamped Ironclad Logo, Unique Serial Number
  • Warranty: 1 Year     Weight: 148g (Sized)      Where to Buy: Axios Watches
  • Options: Deep Blue, First Light, Horizon, Northern Sky, Ocean Gulf, (2x Meteorite Options (+$100))

Axios Watches - The Brand

Axios Watches Founders
"At Axios Watches, we are led by three guiding principles; redefine timeless designs, offer well built, high quality timepieces and exceed customer expectations. Founders Justin Chiam, Elshan Tang (owner of Zelos) and Stuart Ho share a strong passion for horology. The obsession of which has evolved over the years from admiration to collecting, trading and ultimately, into the creation of their own watches. Axios Watches was crowdfunded and launched with its inaugural collection, the Ironclad in 2019. Axios Watches is based in Singapore. Where does the name Axios come from? "Roman General Gnaeus Domitus Corbulo, on command from Emperor Nero to take his own life, loyally obeyed and fell on his own sword crying “Axios” ("I am Worthy")."

Case & Crown

The case of the Axios Ironclad has a diameter of 40.1mm. The lug to lug is 46.4mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at 13.2mm. Without taking the sapphire crystal into consideration, the watch has a thickness of just 11.8mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed but with the addition of polishing across the crown guards and sides of the case.

The Ironclad has a water resistance rating of 500m, thanks to the screw down caseback & crown. The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are excellent for my average 7″ wrist, due to the relatively short lug to lug distance of just over 46mm. The Ironclad does wear extremely very well on wrist and it is very comfortable, although, I do feel it could be better, especially with regards to the way the bracelet has been designed. More on that later in the review…

The signed crown is a beauty and looks great with the etched Axios logo. There is absolutely no wobble either when the crown is in use and you can also feel a very nice pop as you unscrew it. You can also see and feel the amount of work that has gone into the crown, making it feel very premium. The caseback has a deeply stamped Ironclad logo on it with the usual various specs around the edge, as well as a unique serial number, which is a nice touch. I’m sure there were 130 of each of the colourways made, with the exception of the meteorite versions. I’ve no idea on the total number of those.

Strap / Bracelet

The bracelet that’s fitted to the Ironclad is beautifully made and there is not much I can fault it on. It has everything you’d want in a nice premium bracelet. First and foremost, it’s very nicely manufactured with no squeaks or rattles to be found anywhere. It has solid links throughout, screw pins for adjusting and re-sizing and a perfectly signed, milled clasp with 6 micro-adjustment holes. Great job!

The only negative point I can find, well, it’s not really a negative as such, it’s more something I would have preferred to have seen, and that is the end links. I’d have much prefered a female end-link, so to give the bracelet a better articulated look & feel, and so it’d wear better on wrist, rather than extending the lug length slightly, as it does with a male link.

Movement / Accuracy

The chosen movement for the Ironclad is the Swiss made Sellita 200-1. A fantastic calibre that is a 28,800vph, 4Hz, smooth sweep, 26 jewel automatic movement with self winding, hacking and a very respectable 38 hour power reserve. Checking the accuracy after running the Ironclad for around 2 weeks, mainly on my wrist and only occassionally in my watch winder, I was more than happy with the results, with the Ironclad showing an average of just +4.9 seconds per day. 👍

Dial & Bezel

The Axios Ironclad has a 120 click unidirectional bezel with a fully lumed ceramic insert. It is of superb quality with everything lining up absolutely perfectly, just as it should. The bezel action itself is very nice indeed, smooth yet with no backplay. The text on the dial that’s printed are the words Automatic with the depth rating of 500m/1640ft just below, finished in white. The Axios logo is applied and is placed at the usual position of just under the 12 o’clock position.

The dial itself has a printed, cleanly executed minute track, right next to the brushed stainless steel chapter ring, giving the watch a subtle, yet still a very sporty aesthetic. I’m glad that Axios didn’t polish the chapter ring, as it would’ve just looked too blingy and wouldn’t have suited the watch in my opinion. The indicies on the dial are all applied, with the markers at 3, 9 & 12 made slightly larger and if you look closely they have an almost ramp style appearance, which I like.

As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are nicely done with their chunky yet still proportionate design. The seconds hand is great too, with it’s rectangular(ish) lumed section and tip reaching right out to the minute track when sweeping around the dial. As you can see in the images, there is also a perfectly executed, borderless date window at the 6 o’clock position that looks outstanding, with its chamfered edges and colour-matched date wheel. 100% perfection!

Lume

The lume on the Axios Ironclad is nothing less than fuckin’ outstanding! There are only a small handful of watches that I can think of that can match or even come close to this level. The actual formula that’s been used on the Ironclad, is a combination of Swiss Super Luminova® C3-X1 & BGW9 and it’s been applied 100% perfectly! Not only is it bright, (like a miniature 20th Century Fox searchlight), it also has fantastic stamina and lasts all night. (Similar to me and the wife! 🤣)

Conclusion

The Ironclad from Axios is a fantastic watch and I most definitely highly recommend it! The only reason I haven’t gave it a an all singing, all dancing 10 out of 10 score and a Gold Award is its design. It is obviously a homage, but with the best of the best materials that’s available have been used. If you like the design, then by all means, get one, as the build quality is right up there with the best I’ve seen. Even watches that I’ve had or reviewed, that have cost more than twice as much don’t have as good build quality as this Axios Ironclad does.

I didn’t get this Ironclad sent to me by Axios to review either, I actually put my money where my mouth is and backed their Kickstarter campaign back in September or whenever it was in 2019. Now that the watch is here though, I really appreciate the value for money that the Ironclad offers. It is, without question, beautifully made and I honestly can’t wait to see what the future brings and what designs Axios come up with for their next watch. 👍

Axios WatchesIf only all microbrands were built this well! A superb job, well done.

Design
7.5/10
Quality
10/10
Value
10/10
TOTAL
9.2/10
9.2/10 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
A large thanks to Justin, Elshan & Stuart from Axios for putting another substantial dent in my wallet.
 
To view the Axios website, or to join their mailing list to be informed of new models etc, visit Axios Watches.
 
Please follow Zaltek Reviews on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and feel free to join our Facebook group WatchChat, a very busy community for watch enthusiasts and collectors, with tons of images and in-depth discussions.
 
At Zaltek Reviews, we encourage the companies whose watches we’ve reviewed to comment on our articles. We invite any company representatives to respond in the comments section below. Thanks very much.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cliff Lee

    My axios ironclad first light is one of 150 made.

  2. Wyatt

    Great review Will, and terrific pictures. For a Kickstarter “debut”, if you can call it that, the whole execution was very well done, on time, and the product quality is excellent. The polished details, colour-matched date wheels, screwed bracelet links & the handsets paired with each individual colourway all point to a much more expensive and established brand. Of course, those of us who know of Elshan Tang via Zelos aren’t surprised, indeed his name on the campaign was what brought me back to KS.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.