JS Watch Islandus review (click images for larger versions)
JS Watch - Islandus, 44 mm, ETA Top Grade - review - YouTube
About the company
JS watch is a Reykjavik based company, and proudly announces it self as the smallest watchmaker in the world. The company released its first watches in the year 2005, and is still operated by the original four original founders.According to their webpage their goal had been to create a timepiece that would withstand the test of time, and be passed from one generation to the next.
These four men are actually also the entire staff of the company, so that if you need to contact the company, you will always reach one of them.
The service I have got from JS watch has always been exceptional, and very personal. Their watches are assembled after they are ordered, and I have even heard that some people have been able to get a few photos of their own watches being put together, something I know that many of my fellow watch enthusiests could enjoy :)
Its also a great experience in it self to got to the store and meet the master watchmaker Gilbert and the rest of the team, their stories about their watches and designes really bring their watches to life when you go there.
Link to JS watch webpage
The packaging for the Islandus is very nice, there is a white box with a lid and the JS watch logo, when you remove the lid you can see the JS watch manual/warrenty card. In the manual there is also a servicing form, so you can keep track of the servicing as decades go by.
There is also this great friendly card welcoming you into the family, and a micro fiber cloth with the JS watch logo.
The actual watch box is from a shiny black with a white soft material on the inside.
The watch case
The Islandus watch is a high quality stainless steel watch (surgical grade stainless steel) with a top grade ETA 2824-2 movement that is adjusted within chronometer specifications.
There are various configurations available for the watch, including different strap types, different color dials, black-white or silver, with a choose between arabic or roman numerals, in addition to different hand styles and even a optional choice of flame blued hand, one hand or many.
The case of the watch is 44 mm in diameter excluding the crown, and only 11.5 mm heigh, making it one of the thinest ETA 2824 watches that I have worn, making it ideal for wearing with shirts and suits.
For a dress watch the Islandus is probably on the larger side, something that I view as a positive thing, but people with small wrists might also want to look at the 101, and Frisland models from the JS Watch.
The case of the watch as you can see, is highly polished, and simply flawless to look at.
The weight of this watch is 102 grams including the strap and deployment clasp.
The dial of this watch is the JS watch silver dial
The silver dial from JS watch, a two level dial with a date window above the 6 o´clock position. The edges of the date window are very clean, and the writing on the dial is very detailed.
This watch has moon type hour and minute hands, rhodium plated, with an extra optional flame blued seconds hand (a combination that I think works very well, of course one can also get the option of having all hands flame blued)
(According to the JS watch website, their flame blued hands are really flame blued hands and not painted or chemically treated. This is a very delicate process and up to 75% of the hands that go into the flame blue process need to be discarded, and only 1/4 hands survive and pass QC)
The flame blued second hand on this watch looks very good.
The watch has a slightly domed sapphire crystal at the front with internal AR coating.
(you can hopefully see the slight dome on the picture below)
Caseback & movement
The case back of the Islandus is really nice, and is a see through case back with sapphire crystal in the middle.
The case back surrounding the sapphire crystal is engraved with Automatic - JSwatch - Reykjavik - 25 jewels - ISLANDUS.
The engraving is deep and very detailed.
There was also an option to have the rotor on the movement engraved with a custom message, such as a name, date or something special.
(there is no custom engraving on this timepiece)
The clear case back gives you a view of the ETA 2824-2 with Rhodium plating, blue screws, perlage finish, and geneva stripes on the rotor. The top grade movement in the Islandus is adjusted to chronometer specifications and has been running close to a second off in 24 hours, very good for a mechanical watch.
A top grade movement means that you get a movement with better materials, better looking finish, better shock protection and a movement that has been adjusted to more positions than lower grade movements to name a few things.
The crown is a signed crown , and is about 6 mm in diameter.
The operation of the crown is in line with other 2824-2 movements, turn to crown to hand wind, pull it out one level to adjust the date, and pull out an additional level to adjust the time, and stop the seconds hand for an easy time adjustment down to the second (a hacking movment)
The strap on this model is a brown luisiana farm alligator strap with the optional deployment clasp.
This is a strap made specifically for JS watch, and is a handmade strap with what appears to be of very high quality.
The optional deployment clasp is easily sized without professional help
The lug width on the Islandus is 22 mm
On the wrist
The Islandus wears low on the wrist due to how thin the watch is, but the 44 mm diameter makes sure that the watch still have great wrist presence. The watch was noticed much more than I would have thought, since I often wear large dive watches, but the people around me noticed or at least commented more on the Islandus than most other watches that I have worn, my wife even said that it was a beautiful watch a couple of times, and she never comments on watches :)
Details and conclusion
One thing about the serial number on the Islandus is that is not indicating that this watch is number 356 out of a limited production of 1456. The first number means that this watch is watch #356 to be made in the Islandus series, and the 1456 means that this watch is watch # 1456 to be made by JS watch (the entire collection) both numbers are therefore running numbers.
The pros of the watch is that it is a very beautiful watch that has has an accurate top grade well decorated movement and great finish on the case and caseback, in addition to a small and personal watchmaking company, that is a pleasure to deal with.
The price of the Islandus watches from JS watch start at 2250, but those who export the watches from Iceland get a VAT refund, and can therefore deduct 20% from that price.
Extra options on the watch reviewed are the flame blued second hand, alligator strap (instead of ostrich), and the deployment clasp.
Here you can see another Islandus with the JS watch stainless steel strap (pictured in the store)