Hands-On anOrdain Model 2 Large Enamel Field Watch

The Skinny

  • 39.5mm x 46mm x 11mm
  • Water Resistance 50 meters
  • Sellita SW210-1 w/ Incabloc shock system
  • Released 2022
  • £1850, or around $2300 US

Get On The Waiting List

Watches are going bonanza in 2022, and even small brands like anOrdain are now putting customers on waiting lists. No one likes this, especially when you’re waiting for some plastic thing made by robots in a factory like The MoonSwatch, or some cheapy from a small-batch microbrand that can’t get their Chinese suppliers to hustle due to said small batches, or a Rolex, the unavailability of which remains a constant source of frustration for the trading-desk bros.

With anOrdain, however, we have to be patient because Scotland’s anOrdain enamels their dials in-house, and enameling dials is an arduous task with a high fail rate. They can only make so many in a year. But there’s more. anOrdain has become a hot brand ever since today’s horological kingmaker (and my sometimes employer), Hodinkee, began showering anOrdain with affection. Everyone wants an anOrdain, the new hot watch, so you’ll have to wait for one.

AnOrdain Model 2 on the wrist

This raises the question as to whether an enamel dial in a time-only field watch is worth waiting for, and only you, dear reader, can answer that question. For some the allure may be getting what is currently a hot watch. For others the allure of an anOrdain Model 2 may be owning a field watch with an enamel dial, which is, as the kid’s say, not a thing. Until now.

AnOrdain Model 2 dial closeup
What looks like flecks is the enamel’s texture.

A Study In Juxtaposition

Enamel is an old-school watch dial treatment, associated with pocket watches and very high end dress watches. To find it on a field watch is entirely strange, but the juxtaposition is the hook. The only other watch like it that comes to mind is the early Rolex Explorer 1 (Ref. 1610, e.g.), a field watch with a lacquered dial and gilt accents. Lacquer is not enamel, but the depth and sheen is similar.

The new touches you’ll find on the 2022 iteration of the Model 2 include gold (let’s say gilt-ish) outlines around the numbers and markers, as well as the addition of a seconds track at the outside of the dial. I won’t force the notion that these touches intentionally reference vintage Rolex Explorers, but I will say that these touches push the Model 2 closer to an older Explorer. For me, that’s a good thing, because the juxtaposition of an alluring shiny dial with gilt accents in a utilitarian field watch has always been deeply appealing.

Rolex and AnOrdain enamel dials
The anOrdain Model 2 for 2022 shares with vintage Rolex Explorers an enamel dial with gold accents and a new minute track.

With that said, it would be wrong to assume that the anOrdain Model 2 looks like a Rolex Explorer (that should be obvious), but on my wrist it shares a similar allure and depth. You’d have to have spent time with a gorgeous example of a Rolex Explorer 1610 on your wrist to get why that is, and I’ve been so lucky. My friend Gary, who owns at great 1610, said that looking at his Explorer is like “falling into another universe,” and he is not prone to overstatement. The anOrdain I have here most definitely sucks me into another universe, which is a very big deal, a quasi-spiritual experience, and, in fact, exactly what I think drives the true enthusiast, and perhaps the whole watch industry.

AnOrdain Model 2 from the front

For this reason, I don’t even care that this watch runs a well-tuned Sellita movement, or that its casework is pretty exceptional, or that the crown guards are super cool, or that it comes on a lovely leather strap, or with a cool pouch. I don’t even care if it tells the time. All I really care about is that enamel dial, because anOrdain seems to have achieved enough command over this fussy old-school material to create another universe into which I seem to fall.

It Depends On The Angle

Enamel is weird stuff. It’s basically colored glass. Enamel does strange things to light. It doesn’t really shimmer, but it can shine at certain angles. Seen straight on, it has a depth unlike any other material, akin to looking into a calm body of water. From other angles enamel’s glossy surface shoots light back at you, again like water. There really is no other material quite like it.

AnOrdain Model 2 close up

Under a loupe magnifier, enamel is a trip. With anOrdain you can see what looks like fractals, or small flecks of the material that are lighter or darker, but always (in this case) green. You know when you go to a beach and the sand looks like one color from a distance, but when you sit down and pick up a handful of sand you see it’s made of a bunch of colors that average out to that one color? – anOrdain’s enamel here is kind of like that. I think that’s why it’s like looking into another universe, as there’s something organic and random and unknowable about anOrdain’s enamel. It’s why I stare at the night sky, or into my dog’s eyes.

If you ask me, that’s why this is a hot watch.

AnOrdain Model 2 enamel flecking
This image almost shows you the flecking deep within the enamel, which is tricky to capture.

The Mundane Stuff

It wears great. It’s 39mm and wears like a field watch should. I tend to like smaller watches, and there is a 36mm version, but that may be the wrong choice because with 39mm you get more enamel.

Legibility is totally great, though the handset is a little hard to make out – but the skeleton hands let more of the enamel through, so well played folks. Movement is Swiss and good and well tuned.

AnOrdain Model 2 with a green dial and a burgundy strap
AnOrdain - old crafts, new hands

Aforementioned exceptional case work is pretty unique. Take a look at the images here to see what I mean, especially the crown guards, but also the way the case at 9-o’clock mees the lugs. That’s decidedly not a Calatrava-style case (meaning the lugs don’t form a smooth surface with the side of the case) and for that anOrdain needs to be recognized, as it’s a rather original choice these days that nods to 19th century watch designs, which, in turn, is fitting to the enamel which was common back then.

AnOrdain Model 2 side profile
AnOrdain Model 2 lug detail
AnOrdain Model 2 side profile
AnOrdain Model 2 lug detail

The Value on Offer

A gorgeous enamel dial in a watch that’s not even a little uptight for around $2k – this is a kicking value. Probably anOrdain should double their prices, especially given the demand. It’ll be interesting to find out if in 20 years these green Model 2s are collectible and valuable. I have a hunch they may be. But that’s no reason to get one. You should get one because you may just fall into another universe.

Further Reading