Arinis, deep love at first sight on the lake bed

Temps de lecture : 4 minutes

Like myself, a small thousand-year-old log, she is dreaming about seeing the sea. She has opened her heart and her dial to me, in the smooth depths of the Swiss largest lake. This diver is dreaming about salt and oceans…

Textual Strory: Joël A. Grandjean, JSH Magazine & Swiss-Watch-Passport.ch’s editor in chief
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This is Arinis, a brand-new diver’s watch from the historical brand Elka Watch Co. Named after Saint-Blaise, an area on the shores of the lake in which I have been slumbering for thousands of years. Elka Watch Co.

Civilisational love-affair


Yes, I am one of those wooden peaks planted in the civilisational history of the area. She was on Fabien Langenegger’s wrist, a researcher and diver who is a regular here. Her luminescence, also in green shades, caught my eye. It seems that in the open air, her index fingers are either white or Radium green.

Of course, like her and despite my thick density as a piece of wood stuck at the bottom of the lake, I am dreaming of seeing the sea!

Moreover, her water-resistance limit of 200 metres (656 feet, 20 atmospheres) is quite promising, given that the maximum depth of Lake Neuchâtel is said to be only 152 metres. And when she measures it, a delightful clicking sound radiates from its 120-position unidirectional toothed bezel, crossed by luminescent ceramic hour-markers. A kinetic ballet whose slow-motion movements are even more attractive.

Shapes and stylish

I have to admit that she’s beautifully balanced, with generous curves and a diameter of either 41 mm or 46.50 mm lug to lug. I even heard her heart beating, thanks to her Elka caliber with an oscillating rotor, a La Joux-Perret G100 beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, i.e. 4 hertz, featuring a stop second and a 68-hour power reserve. Elegantly dressed, it is rumoured to have sisters with dials in different colours, from matt black to shades of blue. Siblings fitted with other versions of straps, like the Venetian mesh or steel so characteristic of well-made and classy timepieces.

Finally, the very mention of the word “Tropic”, which refers to a kind of mythical bracelet with lozenge-shaped apertures reminiscent of the underwater horological epics of the past, is an invitation to take a swim in other latitudes.

Daughter of an inspired designer

When she last passed me by, I found myself admiring her 1.4404 stainless steel case, the bulge of her incredible sapphire crystal domed ‘box chevé’ style, the elegance of her design inspired by her creator, a product expert whose pedigree is full of iconic timepieces. She owes him her all. His name is Hakim El Kadiri and he has spent part of his life getting used to his nickname Elka. Yes, the same spelling as the brand name that Arinis wears on her dial, which means Eduard Louis Kiek from Amsterdam. These are the initials of a Dutch retailer who, as early as 1877, began manufacturing his own watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a town sadly deprived of a lake, but renowned for the depth of its artisanal and industrial know-how.

Unmentionable dreams: free skies and sea salts

I’m embarrassed, but sometimes I dream that Arinis will detach herself from Fabien Langenegger’s wrist and gently sink down into my surroundings. That she will let the graceful fish engraved on her bottom escape. I know, it’s selfish, as it would forever jeopardise her dream of being able to reach the sea. Other logs in the vicinity, no doubt jealous of our obvious affinity or annoyed at having been cut down to embellish the museum displays at the Laténium just up ahead, didn’t hesitate to point this out to me: this pretty diver is destined for the open air and the heights of universal elegance.

Hakim El Kadiri aka ‘Elka’. With a foundation in Mechanical Engineering, Hakim El Kadiri has spent the vast majority of his working life working in the product development side of the watch industry. “My work is not a job, it's a passion, I love what I do, I don't feel like going to work in the morning, I dream about my work, I live my work, I breathe my work, the part your work takes in your life is huge, if you are lucky enough to be passionate, you'll never think about working, you'll just enjoy your life and the balance of life you'll have!”.
Arinis Technical Specifications

200 meters / 20 bars / 656 feet

‘Manufacture’ caliber
“Elka” oscillating rotor. La Joux Perret G100 automatic movement
4 Hz / 28,800 vibrations per hour, stop seconds, 68-hour power reserve

2 dial types
Matte black or blue gradient (with or without date)

Brushed nickel, SuperLuminova-filled
2 SuperLuminova types
Under daylight: white or “old Radium” effect Luminescence: green

Ø 41 mm Thickness 11.85 mm 46.50 mm from lug to lug Case material stainless horological steel 1.4404

Decorated screw-down caseback
Screw-down caseback in 1.4404 stainless horological steel
Engraved “fish” pattern, referring to the fascinating artefacts found in the lake

Unidirectional rotating bezel
120 positions.
Ceramic inserts filled with SuperLuminova for easy graduation Visible numerals on the bezel, reminiscent of an early
iconic Elka Watch Co. model

Screwed, in stainless horological steel 1.4427

Domed sapphire crystal
‘Chevé’ box-type dome
Scratch-resistant, one-sided anti-reflective coating

Various types of wristbands
“Tropic” vulcanized rubber, black or dark blue 20/18 mm Rice grain” pattern steel bracelet, 20 mm
Milanese Mesh
Beige or blue Nato type wristband
Genuine leathers wristband

Deep down, where I’ve been for several millennia, I’m not just made of wood. Like the 22 Palaeolithic villages in the Trois-Lacs region that lie in these ancient areas and that researchers are constantly exploring, I too have a soul! Someday I too will fly off to the sun. And there I’ll be moving heaven and earth to see Arinis again. It’ll be a lot further than Saint-Blaise or Amsterdam…

A 'Le Gouvernail.com's picture taken during an interview on the Laténium premises in Saint-Blaise: on the left Hakim El Kadiri, nicknamed Elka, owner of the Elka Wach Co brand founded in 1877, and Fabien Langenegger, scientist, researcher and diver

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