How I Got Started
So, some of the first switches I ever bought for a custom keyboard were Everglide Oreos. Okay, fine those don’t have anything to do with Akko, but I promise we’re getting there, and it’s not like I’m going to start my first post out by lying to you. After those I realized I missed out on some really cheap switches called KTT Wine Reds, and while we might get to those later, they set me on a hunt for more KTT switches. There weren’t many of these being sold in the US at the time, I had just conveniently missed some KTT Roses as well, because of course I did. So I did some research trying to find more of these, especially since it seemed to be a newer brand of switches. I found two things: 1. KTT switches often come in pretty colors and I immediately bought Sea Salt Lemons and Grapefruits, and 2. Another brand I hadn’t heard of, Akko, sold their own KTT switches.
Okay cool, now I know where to find more of these KTT switches, I'll just search for Akko's website, and...uh where does it say if they are made by KTT? I see Gateron, I know them. I see TIC, I don't know them as well, but I don't see KTT anywhere. I guess all the switches that don't say they are made by those two manufacturers must be KTT. Let's look for some reviews or information about these switches. Okay, so the first result is a Reddit post talking about how someone doesn't know much about these switches, and nobody really uses them, that's not helpful. The next thing I see is a chart with a bunch of information on it. That's great! - Hey, none of these switches are the same ones they sell on their website!? This is going to be harder than I thought.
So I kept doing some intensive Google searching and didn’t find a whole lot of information. The next logical thing was to ask in the Switch Collectors Discord channel that I had recently found, - Results inconclusive - Some people said they had different versions of their switches, which explains why the chart I found wasn't helpful. It was for the earlier V1 switches. Some people told me those were made by Huano, some people said they were probably Gateron since Akko had worked with them to sell their own custom Gateron switches. Well after a while it seemed like the first group was right, the V1 switches were made by Huano, but those are the ones that everyone knew as being overall poor quality switches, and I wasn't interested in those. I guess I needed to be looking for information on V2 switches.
Haha nope! The stuff on their site wasn't V2 either. This was confusing, but also interesting. It turns out that the Switch Collectors Discord was even less sure about the V2 switches. Were they made by Huano again since it was just called V2? Most of the colors matched, except they got rid of purple for some reason, so that seemed likely. Some people thought they were Gateron switches, but that was pretty unlikely since Gateron ALWAYS has their name on their switch housings and these didn't (I know now there are Rantopad switches, and Drop Holy Panda X, but the HPX didn't exist yet and the Rantopads looked like a one-time exception at the time). Well, now I needed to figure this out, who made the switches on their site? And who made these V2 switches?
So the next step was to ask Akko directly, and I joined their Discord server. They answered relatively quickly, those V2 switches were made by KTT, and so are their newest switches which are part of the Custom Switch (CS) Series. When I came back to tell the Switch Collectors the good news, that I had solved the mystery, it turns out someone had figured this out like 2 months prior, and just somehow not noticed that was what I was looking for while I asked all these questions over the weekend. Thanks, Jova :) but at least I had extra confirmation I was right.
These switches I was looking for had turned out to be the CS Rose Red, Ocean Blue, and Matcha Green made by KTT. They were also followed by three more CS switches, the Vintage White, Radiant Red, and Lavender Purple.
Then Akko teased some new dustproof switches on Twitter, with the only information provided being that they would be called “Princess” and “Demon”. I initially assumed they were KTT, since that is who had made most of their recent switches, but there were a good handful of differences in design. KTT didn’t have dustproof stems and only had 1 or 2 older switches with traditional Cherry-style housings as opposed to their winglatch-style housings. It was eventually figured out that these were TTC, mostly due to the similar style of dustproof stems, and Akko later confirmed this. So when they teased their next two dustproof switches, I assumed they were made by TTC too— man is it fun to be wrong. Those eventually turned out to be more KTT switches (their first dustproof offerings) and they were quickly joined by four more switches to go alongside the,. This was the Jelly series of switches.
Those Jelly switches were very interesting when they first came out. Collectors always like to see new things, and this was KTT's first attempt at dustproof stems, as well as a return to traditional Cherry style housings, which would hopefully help with frankenswitching. When we finally got them, they were really well-performing switches, and for the price, they were hard to beat.
Since then Akko has come out with a few more switches that seem to fit in the Jelly series, with a Silver switch for reduced travel, a Sakura Pink linear, and a dustproof version of their CS Lavender Purple. They have also dipped their feet into the idea of selling prelubed switches, and interestingly decided to pick one from each of their recent series to start with for their offerings. As of writing Akko has a prelubed Matcha Green, Lavender Purple, and Jelly White, likely with more on the way. While most of us were still waiting to get a hold of some of those, Akko released a fully updated chart with information on all their most recent switches and leaked a few new ones too.
Going back to the winglatch housings that KTT is still probably known best for, we have the Wine Red, Wine White, and Crystal switches. Now, these aren't out yet as of writing, but it is somewhat likely those Wine Reds are a spiritual successor to the KTT Wine Reds that threw me into this rabbit hole in the first place, so that's really cool. They are also likely to be pre-lubed only, at least according to a Taobao listing someone found. Also of note is that around the same time as the original KTT Wine Red switch there was also a KTT Wine White. This was linear, unlike the new one which is supposed to be tactile, but other than that we have surprisingly little information on those original Wine Whites. The next most interesting thing is the Akko Crystal will be KTT's first attempt at a fully transparent switch. Finally, on the same post they announced these new switches, Akko teased a new silent switch to be coming soon. If this is made by KTT as nearly all of their most recent switches have been, this will also be another first for the manufacturer.
Going through all of this really feels like Akko and KTT have had a great partnership since starting out with those V2 switches a couple years ago, and Akko seems to be happy to continue to push KTT into new realms, so far without a miss.
This article goes out to my wife, who wouldn't let me make a big conspiracy based cork board, imlr/switch.riiport who encouraged me to write down my thoughts somewhere they might be useful to others, and Theremin6oat for listening to my research/theories and sometimes even encouraging them.