Remember back when wearing the iPod Nano as a Multi-Touch wrist watch was cool? That fad has since dwindled down, and shadowed by more impressive wrist gadgets. Nano users were facing some serious drawbacks wearing a non-waterproof $130 iPod that required charging every few days and button pressing to reveal the digital screen. Minimal, the design studio behind the LunaTik brand responsible for making amazing quality watchbands for Apple's tiny Multi-Touch music player turned digital watch, has sought out to make its own little iPod Nano replacement called the AnTik. It's LunaTik's iPod Nano clone, albeit a mechanical one at that. The Antik is an analog watch module that can be fitted into any of LunaTik's iPod Nano wrist accessories.
It just so happens that we've also got our hands on LunaTik's new Chicago Collection leather watchband to test the AnTik watch module out with. So be sure to catch the full review at six o'clock sharp!
LunaTik has a welcome tendency of making their iPod Nano, and now AnTik, watch bands stand out and have larger than normal sized footprint around a wearer's wrist. For someone who has large wrist or simply likes wearing watches that are nice and big, the LunaTik and the Chicago watch bands are well endowed to satisfy your need for large watch faces. We couldn't fine the exact specs as to just how big the LunaTik is, but suffice to say that it's equivalent to a 50mm diameter, give or take.
Before we go into talking about the AnTik, let's overview LunaTik's new Chicago Collection watchbands. LunaTik has always been about making premium products using premium materials, and that has certainly carried onward into the Chicago Collection along with a premium price tag of course. The $130 Chicago watchband is essentially a classier, and arguably the manlier version of the $80 LunaTik watchband which sports a silicone rubber strap. That impressive machined aluminum housing we highly applaud hasn't changed one bit. The fit and finish is absolutely superb. With the Chicago Collection you've got the choice of anodized matte black aluminum finished LunaTik housing coupled with a black, Chromoexcel pull-up leather strap; or a brighter matte silver finished LunaTik housing coupled with a brown, waxed nubuck leather strap. Both are eccentric looking, regardless.
The strap on the Chicago is wider than that of the silicone rubber strap found on the LunaTik, and sits flush width wise together with the aluminum watch/iPod Nano housing. The strap is made of thick, top-grain hide leather that has been handcrafted by the Horween Leather Company exclusively for LunaTik. This black leather in particular has a shiny sort of polished finish compared to the flat vintage-look of the brown Chicago leather strap.
I must say, while the modern machined aluminum housing remains the same, the leather strap completely changes the style that the original LunaTik set, and it just looks more mature. If that's something you're more into, the Chicago watchband is a cleaned fusion of industrial design and rustic elegance that's got a high level of craftsmanship to sit it apart from a lot of other iPod Nano watchbands.
If you ever had trouble fitting an iPod Nano watchband around your wrist, the Chicago strap's lengthy strap will fit virtually everyone no matter how big your wrist is. I've got relatively small wrists myself and find that I need to buckle the Chicago nearly all the way in for it to not slide around. The stainless steel hardware and neatly organized strap loops help you strap on quickly and effortlessly.
As comfort, I wouldn't say that the leather Chicago is as comfortable as the LunaTik's silicone rubber strap, but it's as comfortable as it's going to get; especially for this type of setup that combines metal and thick wide leather. I haven't had any trouble wearing this on my wrist as a daily watch, and being that it's waterproof when using the AnTik module, it's a pretty great leather watch strap to wear. I'd still prefer the original LunaTik over the Chicago for its sleeker design and softer, more comfortable wrist wear.
The interior lining on the Chicago strap is a black soft suede liner that seems to do its job at cutting down on the leather's harshness from rubbing down against your skin. Only time will tell how durable it really is for daily wearing and water treatment. Although I've got a feeling that you would be better off with the rubber silicone LunaTik version if you plan on swimming and getting yourself wet most of the time.
Overall the Chicago Collection iPod Nano watchbands really have nothing bad going for them other than the fact that they're expensive. $130 can get you another iPod Nano or LunaTik's Chicago leather conversion kit. As much as we like it, it's one of the most expensive offerings and we can't seem to justify spending that much on an iPod Nano watchband. Instead, we can highly recommend the original LunaTik as well as the TikTok kits if you're looking for one of the best performing watchband accessories. You may even find more affordable leather watchbands at the Apple store, albeit stripped of LunaTik's iconic aluminum housing.
Finally, the accessory for the accessory you've been waiting for. The AnTik is a Nano-shaped analog watch module constructed with a satin-finished aluminum casing covered with a hardened mineral crystal. The build quality isn't of a high-end timepiece, surely you wouldn't expect that out of a $80 watch module. Nonetheless though, it's quite good being that it's designed after the iPod Nano which to us feels better made. The only difference between the AnTik and the iPod Nano is that the AnTik's crystal watch face protrudes farther out. And of course small details like a non-functioning belt clip.
The best part of all is that the AnTik is water-resistant for up to 30 meters. Minimal's creative yet more costly solution is swapping between your non-water-resistant iPod Nano and the water-resistant AnTik when needed. The best of both worlds? We'll call it the costly way of doing things for the time being. The AnTik's dial is as simple as it gets, hence Minimal's naming. There's no backlight, date counter or even basic luminescent hands to tell time in dark situations. With that said however, the AnTik's bright orange hands and numerals are surprisingly legible and really pop on top of the black dial background. The orange bits are impressed into the black dial to create a neat shadow effect of depth. The AnTik is also available in silver or black aluminum casings and a few other watch face colors and styles that include black on black as well as green on black.
The AnTik features a 2-hand Quartz movement which means you end up losing the seconds hand. Obviously there's some limitation due to that, but what you end up gaining is a lot of simplicity. The AnTik watch is as simple as they come. To the right side is where you'll find the AnTik's knurled time adjustment crown that's made out of steel and nothing else. Obviously the advantage of using the AnTik is that it works like a regular watch and has an internal battery that should last for years.
The AnTik does look sharp there's no denying that. It's also designed with quality in mind just like all of Minimal's products. We're just not convinced that the AnTik serves as a proper daily watch. Speaking strictly about using the AnTik as a watch replacement, while it might be dead simple to use and operate with utter basicness, it isn't worthy of suggesting as a standalone watch. If you already purchased one of LunaTik's watchbands, then we think the AnTik is a nice little swappable add-on for times where you find yourself with a dead iPod Nano at hand. Otherwise, we cannot recommend it simply because there are better choices out there.