Watch Review: Nitron Robotron II

Tin wind-up robots were a huge part of my childhood. I remember spending countless hours setting up my robots on my kitchen floor. Winding them up as their invasion marched on throughout my kitchen as the smell of my mom’s cooking lofted through the air. Those were simpler and cherished times. When I saw Nitron’s initial pictures of the Robotron II, I knew I needed to get one in ASAP. I missed out on their original Robotron watch so I was happy that I didn’t miss out the second time around. I was surprised by the size of this when I opened up the box for the first time. The RII case is an impressive 50mm robotic beast. We are talking some major wrist presence here. The stainless steel case is 13mm thick and features a lug space of 24mm. Obviously the unique and quirky dial is the star of the show but the case has some unique details that are definitely worth mentioning. For starters, the two toned case, a combination of brushed blue and high polished stainless. The contrast created by the blue and stainless steel is very appealing to me and this color combo is what drew me to this particular model.It’s worth noting that the RII comes in several different color combinations if the blue/SS doesn’t appeal to you. The lugs are relatively short and curved allowing the watch to wear slightly smaller than it’s measurements imply. I was surprised just how well and comfortable the Robotron wears on my wrist (7 1/4”)

The blue/SS contrast is consistently carried throughout the design of the case. The blue push/pull crown is nicely protected by a brushed stainless steel crown guard. The large design of the crown allows for easy grip and easy operation which is always a must in my opinion. No one likes a difficult to grip/undersized-poorly designed crown. A crown is one of those important details on a watch that is not only a major focal point but it’s the most important functional detail of the case because of it’s responsibilities as the watch winder, time setter and if applicable, it functions as the date setter. The large grooved crown functions without any difficulty whatsoever. I like the groove details that are cut into the crown guard. I respect the fact that the screw details on the crown guard are actually functional and that they are not just for decoration purposes. In my opinion, functional details will always win over decorative details. These screw details are consistently found throughout the case, are also located on the lugs and on the fixed bezel. A played out detail in the watch industry right now is the exhibition case back. I honestly don’t need to see another NH35 movement. I can say however that I was happy to see what Nitron did with the sapphire crystal case back on the RII. Printed on the inside of the crystal is the Robotron robot himself. I believe it’s the next best thing to having a solid case back with an engraved picture on it. Not only does the case back feature info/specs about the watch but it also allows a view into the NH35 movement for those of you who enjoy peaking at the movement in motion.

The dial of the RII is the star of this horological themed show. This dial is made up of multiple layers/sandwich style that make this robotic themed dial so much fun to look at! The dial is huge so legibility isn’t an issue even with how busy this dial is. There are several dial/color variations available of the Robotron II. You can see the other variations on Nitron’s website: https://www.nitronwatches.com. The dial and bezel work together in unison in terms of telling the time. The bezel functions as the seconds/minutes numerical display and the dial features a combination of numerals and applied markers for the hours. This unique dial features a traditional 3 hand and date window at the 6H layout. The semi-skeletonized hour and minute hands have lume coated sections, as does the arrow tip of the second hand. It’s worth noting that the applied markers are also coated with lume. The date window featured a white wheel with black printed numerals. It’s definitely one of those dials that you stare at and never even notice the time.

It’s obvious though what the “star of the show” is on the dial and that star is Robotron himself. The robot’s face is definitely the focal point of this watch and Nitron added some great details to Robotron’s face. First of all, the bottom layer of this dial is a beautiful sunburst orange. The blue layer/Robotron layer is sandwiched on top of the orange sunburst layer. This sandwiching allows the blue to really standout. I like how the orange looks like rust. The appearance of rust adds to the robo theme of this watch like it’s a battle damaged droid that’s seen it’s fair share of galactic battles. Also adding to the battle damaged effect is the distressing/scratched details on Robotron’s face. I love the textured details of his face. From his textured eyes to his “polished grill”, each detail just adds to the cool quirkiness of this dial. On the serious side of this watch, Nitron did a real nice job of matching the both orange strap and blue buckle to the blue/orange on the dial and the bezel. There’s a cohesive feel throughout the entire Robotron watch that I can truly appreciate. Speaking of the strap, the wide leather strap is actually well constructed throughout. The stitching is neat and uniform. Giving the strap that finished feel is the brushed pin style buckle that is signed with ‘Nitron’. The strap itself is attached to the case with spring style lug bars/pins.

Obviously this large novelty watch isn’t for everyone. Each color variation is limited to just 28 pieces. For those watch enthusiasts you who love classic robots then this is definitely a watch you need to experience. It’s unique, it’s quirky but it’s also well made. I have to say that the only disappointment for me personally is that Nitron missed an excellent lume opportunity here with the Robotron II. The eyes and electrical charged antenna should have been coated with lume in my opinion. These added lume applications would have taken this cool dial to the next level. There are so many little details on this watch that I kept discovering new ones every time I wore this watch. Two of the smallest details on the dial are probably my favorite of those details that I didn’t notice right away. I am referring to the “Frankenstein-esqe” bolts on Robotron’s neck. Not only are they cool throwback to Frankenstein but they also match the details found on the bezel, lugs and crown guard. This is probably my favorite of Nitron’s releases and it’s not just because of the robot theme. It’s my favorite because there are so many thought out details that give the Robotron a complete cohesive feel. Some examples of this is: the non crown side of the case features the same engraved design as the crown guards; all of the blue details on the watch had the same brushed finish and all of the silver details have the same polished finish.

Some novelty watches are just that, a novelty. Often they are poorly made and don’t hold up to every day wear and tear, but that is not the case with the Robotron II. Yes it’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek styled watch but it’s more than that. Thanks to Nitron’s attention to detail, the watch is designed well underneath it’s childhood memory-inducing fun. The Robotron II watch definitely deserves attention from those watch loving robot obsessed fans out there. Thank you all for reading. Thank you to Nitron.

Specifications:

NH35 Seiko Automatic Movement

316L Blue and Stainless Steel case

50mm Ø

13mm thickness

24mm lugs width

Superluminova decorated dial

Date window at 6 o’clock

Calf leather strap

Power reserve of up to 40 hours

Sapphire crystal watch glass

10ATM, 100 meter

Exclusively Limited to 28 pieces

Watch Review: EVOX DV3

About EVOX:

“Where heroes are made of, to fight, to conquer, to celebrate victory. To embrace victory, every timepiece is exquisitely designed and engineered to meet the demands of total defence of our homeland. We make sure our watches stay accurate and strong on your wrist. Our timepiece go through stringent test and quality control as in war, dependency and accuracy is of utmost importance to every combatant.”

Today we are looking at the third version of the EVOX DV series. The first two models were more on the “tactical” side of design where as the DV3 is more on the “dress” side of design. The polished and brushed stainless case has a more refined/dressy appearance than the two previous DV releases. The DV3 can be that watch that can be on your wrist at work and then easily transition to your outdoor adventures.

The dial features a combination of military time and lumed markers. I’m not sure how to feel about the random layout of the numerals on this dial. I think that it would have more symmetrical pleasing if EVOX eliminated the date window at 4 o’clock and added all of the military numerals around the dial. EVOX did get the hands perfect on the DV3 though. The shape and size of the 3 hands are proportionally correct to the dial itself which add to the over legibility of this watch. Legibility that is good in environments with ample lighting and in dark/lowlight environments. In those dark environments, it’s the application of superluminova on the hands and on the hour markers that allow the DV3 to retain that legibility. The shape/design of the DV3 hands are a design highlight of this dial. I like how the hour hand and second hands complement each other with the arrow shape design. The minute hand is outlined in yellow that not only adds a welcome detail of color but also helps in the overall legibility of the DV3.

EVOX kept the dial relatively simple, especially with the text on the dial. The basic 3 lines of text consists of EVOX, automatic and 300m. The DV3 is fitted with a fixed blue chapter ring. On the chapter ring there are printed white minute markers with numerals that are in 15 minute increments.

The DV3 comes in a generous 47mm x 10mm case that features a lug width of 24mm and a 54mm lug to lug length. The DV3 comes in on the larger side of measurements, but the thinner case allows the watch to hug the wrist comfortably without completely overwhelming the wrist especially for those case size conscious folks. The shorter curved lugs also assist in the DV3’s wrist hugging ability. As you can see in the pictures, the DV3 has two crowns. The crown at the 4H position is the one responsible for manually winding, setting the time and for setting the date. The other crown is the helium release valve. Both of the crowns are screw down and both function without any issues. The crowns are both easy to grip and to operate. That same ease of grip and operation is carried over to the uni-directional rotating bezel. The bezel operation is smooth and isn’t plagued by extra play/backspin.

The DV3 comes on a soft calf leather strap but I prefer it on the silicone strap. I work in healthcare and I try not to wear leather straps to work because of the constant hand washing. Leather and canvas are bacteria sponges in my opinion. Both straps are comfortable that conform nicely to the wrist. The straps come with a stainless steel pin buckle that is engraved with EVOX. Doesn’t everyone enjoy the ease of a quick strap change!?! Well EVOX has those of you who do, because the DV3’s straps are equipped with quick release spring bars. I guess quick release straps are the next best way to change a strap when I can’t have my preferred drilled lugs.

The DV3 is definitely the classy version of the DV series of watches and it also the most refined. Each of the DV watches are well made, but the DV3 is definitely the best in terms of finish. I like that EVOX went with a solid stainless steel case back with a cool etched picture. Once you have seen one NH35 movement, you basically have seen them all. I’m pretty much over the whole exhibition case back thing anyway. The DV3 is priced at $504. I think that the DV3 is appropriately priced for what you get Vs what other watches are out there at this price point. One can also appreciate the combo of reliable and affordable. A detail that I like about this dial is how it changes different shades of blue depending upon the lighting that you are in. The deep blue tones are quite beautiful.

EVOX’s devotion to improving is very apparent with this latest release. I know this is obvious but it’s really respectable when a company continues to strive to improve instead of becoming content with staying as is. The DV3 is an affordable diver that is built to be a strong daily beater. It held up well during my time hiking and climbing in the woods, sub-zero temperatures in the snow & ice, and on my wrist at work. The NH35 kept +18 seconds accuracy during my review process which above average for this movement range of -20~+40 seconds per day. Everything on the DV3 functions as it should this includes the bezel & the crowns. The lume is evenly applied on the hands & the markers and glows with some good longevity with a good charge from a strong light source. I would have liked to have seen a ceramic bezel inlay with lume treated numerals to take the details on the DV3 a step further. I would recommend the DV3 to those looking for an affordable diver that isn’t just another clone. The DV3 has some nice details including the small name plaques on either side of the case, the etched diver on the case back, the dual crowns, the unique case shape and the handset. You can see this version and the other variations on EVOX’s website: https://evoxtime.com

Thank you for reading. Thank you to EVOX.

Specifications:

MovementAutomatic NH35

Power Reserve Up to 40 hours

Water Resistant50 ATM, 500 meters

Limited Edition68 pieces

Watch Sapphire Crystal

Crown Screw-in, engraved with the EVOX logo

Case 316L Stainless Steel with Uni-directional rotating bezel

Dial Superluminova Index and Hands

Special Feature Helium Release Valve

Diameter 47mmCase

Thickness 10mm (With Bezel)

Lug Width 24mm

Lug to Lug 54mm

Strap Quick Release Calf Leather Strap (Silicone Strap Sold Separately)

Watch Review: Crepas Hydrographer 1942

It was back in the simpler days during the late 1990s when a certain dive watch enthusiast discovered a rare dive watch that dated back to the 1940’s. A watch that resonated with this dive enthusiast who was driven by passion and an idea, to resurrect this forgotten treasure of the deep. That idea then turned into a quest in 2008, a quest to raise it from the deep. It wasn’t until in 2018 when every thing finally aligned for OceanicTime to raise this treasure from the graveyard of the dive watches of yesteryear, the Hydrographic Survey Watch. Their mission, along with Crepas, was to modernize Britain’s “most legendary dive watch.” A dive watch that has been long in retirement since it’s active duty during World War II. This relic has been resting quietly in a museum, until being called to serve once again. It was to be the inspiration for Oceanictime’s vision. Unfortunately the desk of this veteran watch is quite unsuitable for every day wearing due to its shear size and weight of the solid Silver construction not to mention the well-oversized canteen style crown. Owning and wearing the original watch is no easy task they are extremely rare This military diver originally made by Longines, is technically referred to as the Hydrographic Survey Watch. It’s original mission was for the British Royal Navy frogmen that manned human-torpedoes missions during the Second World War. These frogmen wore the Hydrographic Survey Watch on their missions.

A bit of detail with the Oceanictime signature on the top of the case between the lugs

Fast forward to modern days and we have a much more wearable version thanks to Oceanictime and Crepas. The appropriately named Hydrographer comes in a 45mm x 15mm thick, stainless steel case. The blasted finish on the Hydrographer was my perfection of choice between the 3 available options. The Hydrographer is also available in a polished case and in a brushed case. The matte finish of the blasted version was the one that spoke out to me the most. The Hydrographer case is simple in design yet it is absolutely beautiful. Inside the case, ticking and beating away is a Swiss ETASA 2892-A2 movement. A trialed and proved rugged movement, ideal for this style of watch. The Hydrographer has an unique and an appropriate water resistance of 1942m. The precise 1942m is a nod to the Hydrographic Survey Watch of 1942.(1942m is signed on the bottom of the case between the lugs)

I was pleasantly surprised by the sterile bezel. When I first saw the pics of the Hydrographer I assumed that the bezel was fixed so when I had the watch in my possession, I was completely caught off guard when I discovered that it rotates. The two notches cut into the bezel allows for easy grip for unidirectional rotation. The bezel sits so evenly and tight against the case that it looks like it is a solid part of the case itself. I love discovering “hidden details” like that and thankfully it’s not the only one. The case back also has a little hidden detail which is perfectly centered on the case back. Unconventionally placed in the center of the case back is an automatic helium escape valve. I love this unique placement for the release valve. This placement helps to keep the side of the case clean, allowing the Hydrographer to maintain that sterile aesthetic. The case back features very minimal engraved text which continues with the consistency of design and history.

The “broad arrow” is a direct military nod to the original Hydrographic Survey Watch

In my opinion, the oversized crown is the design highlight of this case. It not only pays homage to the canteen crown of the 1940’s Longines watch that the British Navy used for the hydrographic survey, but it is modernized for more functional use. In my opinion the Hydrographic Survey Watch was the British answer to the Italian Navy’s Panerai watches. I actually prefer the more manageable version of the crown on the Hydrographer as opposed to the chained canteen of its predecessor/inspiration. Obviously the Hydrographer’s crown is extremely easy to grip but thankfully it functions flawlessly/smoothly when manually winding it & when setting the time. The edges of the crown assist with it’s operation no matter what environment you may be in. During my review I was fortunate enough to test this out in cold environments filled with snow, ice, rain, dirt, etc…. so I can tell you with complete certainty that it functioned without flaw no matter what the weather may be. The wired lug style on the Hydrographer is a nice nod historical but again the historical nod comes with a modern take. Thankfully the modern take on the Hydrographer doesn’t have solid wire lugs. In the past the solid continuous wire lug would prohibit you from completing a strap change. The modern design instead has lugs designed with a spring bar. The Hydrographer does come with a nice calf leather and a nice nylon strap. Jacob straps did an excellent job on the straps. The craftsmanship is great quality and so are the materials they use. To add to the personal experience, the straps are made to size and order. Like a lot of watch lovers, I always have to change my straps up. (as you can see in the pictures in this review.) My personal favorite combo is the Vario Crazy Horse leather coal black Zulu strap. For those of you who love changing the “shoes” on your watches, the Hydrographer has a lug space of 22mm. Be warned, the Hydrographer loves to change it shoes.

Below the gorgeous raised 5.50 mm thick sapphire crystal is the equally gorgeous matte black dial. The dial is simplistically clean like the case itself. The first charm of the Hydrographer is it’s historical inspiration and the second charm is it’s simplistic design. The Hydrographer is a prime example of when less is more. The simplistic dial consists of 12, 3, 6, with rectangular painted markers located at the in between hours. I like the faux patina color of the hour markers and of the three hands. The cathedral style hour and minute hands complete the appealing vintage aesthetic of the Hydrographer. I like how the polished metal portions of the hands catch the light. You can see examples of this in some of my pictures throughout this review. The hour markers and hour & minute hands are coated with Swiss Superluminova “Old Radium”. Crepas is always dedicated to consistency of details in each of their watches. It’s one of the things I respect about them. The “Old Radium” details hold consistent with the overall 1940’s design aesthetic of this watch. I should mention though that the lume glows brightly green when charged up allowing the Hydrographer to be equally legible in both light and dark environments. The white printed text on the Hydrographer’s dial is perfectly simple. Located below the 12H position is the Crepas propeller logo and name, & located above the 6H position is the model name. This dial is simplistic and beautiful.

The Hydrographer is a very special watch that came to light because of one man’s passion for deep dive watches. A lot of us share that passion for those dive watches that can go deeper than any human can! We also share that passion for the history of dive watches, that without we would have no modern dive watches like we do today. I am glad that Lex Martine brought this project from dream to a reality. It’s a simplistic dive watch that has so much unique personality. It has that quality that Crepas is known for and the execution of detail that has allowed them to be successful for the past 10 years. Everything on the Hydrographer functions with excellent precision. There isn’t any “sloppy” watch making or quality control on this watch. The bead-blasted finished on this case is some of the best I have ever experienced. Crepas recently finished a second batch of Hydrographers, so once this batch is gone they are gone forever.

I highly recommend this watch to those who not only appreciate the history of dive watches but also to those who appreciate something different than just another off the shelf clone diver. It wears comfortable in all settings and environments. I was pleasantly surprised by how this watch doesn’t wear top-heavy. It is definitely on my top 20 favorite dive watches of all time list for numerous reasons. Some of the obvious reasons are because of the quality, design and execution, but on a personal level it’s because of Lex’s passion for dive watches. Quick story: When I was working 12 hour night shift on an oncology unit while I was going to school full time, I would go on Oceanic’s website. I would drool over the awesome dive watches that he would feature on there. It definitely helped bring a much needed smile to my face. I would always get excited to see the new posts of watches I would have never heard about if it wasn’t for Oceanictime. I know how excited Lex was about this project and his excitement/passion/love can be seen throughout this piece!

The Hydrographer 1942 is available for purchase for 850€ at: https://www.crepaswatches.com/styled-2/photos-12/index.html

I am sure many of you know who Lex Martine of http://oceanictime.blogspot.com is and if it wasn’t for Lex, the Hydrographer would never have seen the light of day.

Why did you choose this design?

“It is a watch that I wanted to modernize and reproduce for a decade. When my 10yr anniversary (oceanictime) came along in 2018 it seemed the perfect timing.”

Why did you decide to commission the Hydrographer to Crepas?

“I had known CREPAS Watches since day one and always felt that if anyone could pull it off (the Hydrographer) it would be them”

Was it an easy process designing this watch?

“We spent months and months hashing out the best possible design. Although the design is so polarizing, it is one of my proudest collaborative projects.

Was Crepas aware of the was responsible for influencing the Hydrographer project!

“Actually even Crepas were unaware of the watch they were super excited and really put their hearts and minds into it. Nothing else like it really exists on the market.”

Thank you all for reading! Thank you to Lex Martine and Crepas.

Specs:

Measures
– Diameter of the bezel: 45mm
– Diameter of the case: 45mm
– Thickness without crystal: 15mm
– Length: 52mm
– Thickness of the crystal: 5,50mm
– Diameter of the crystal: 33,00mm
– Space between lugs: 22mm
– Diameter of the crown: 8,75mm
– Thickness of the bezel: 4mm
– Thickness of the case back cover: 5,50mm 

Materials
– Case, bezel, crown and case cover made of surgical stainless steel 316L
– Crystal made of sapphire
– Gaskets made of Viton and Tefzel
– Calf leather strap and nylon strap
– Hands and dial with Swiss Superluminova “Old Radium”

Features
– Swiss ETASA 2892-A2
– Water resistant 194 atmos. / 1942 meters/ 6400 ft. Screwed crown and case back cover
– Sandblasted, brushed or polished case finishing
– Crown position at 3 or 9 o’clock
– Inside AR coated anti scratch crystal
– Turnable bezel
– Automatic helium valve at case back cover
– Made to measure leather strap by Jacobstraps
– SWISS MADE

Watch Review: BOLDR Freediver

A BIT ABOUT BOLDR SUPPLY CO:

“BOLDR Supply Company is an outfitter brand for the adventurers of the world. Based out of Singapore, we manufacture watches and gear that’s super-tough, stylish, functional, and built to be used and abused every day. Because watches are worn on wrists and your wrists follow you everywhere, you’ll need a companion that can handle any environment on your path. Strap on a BOLDR and step out of your comfort zone, comfortably.”

I can’t deny my love of the unique and different designed watches. Inspired by imagination! That is something that I believe in since I was young. It is something that my grandmother and mom encouraged and instilled within me as early as I can remember. I also have a deep love for dive watches. A style of watches that is a little harder to be unique but still maintain that important function that makes it a reliable tool. Today we will be exploring the newest BOLDR dive watch release, the Freediver. When I received the watch and first laid eyes upon it, the amount of blasted finished stainless steel is what immediately stole my attention. It just screamed utilitarian! The Freediver was designed with that utilitarian mindset. BOLDR went with the more mainstream “manageable” 40mm x 14mm and 48mm lug to lug. I am definitely at the point in my watch loving life where size doesn’t really matter but I am at the point where design and quality matter. I completely understand that people have size preferences and there should always be options available for every watch enthusiasts preference.

BOLDR’s utilitarian mindset with the Freediver is apparent by what is happening “under the hood”. The Freediver is protected not only from shocks via the parashock protection to the 9015 automatic movement but it also anti-magnetic protected. Even if you are using your watch strictly as a desk diver, there is plenty of everyday accidental abuse that you want your watch protected against. We all know the feeling from that first classic door frame/door knob bang. It’s nice to have some of that extra peace of mind from the added parashock provided protection. Those of us who are exposed to magnetic fields at work have that extra peace of mind thanks to the anti-magnetic protection. The Freediver has water resistance protection of 300 meters which exceeds the ISO 6425 100 meter depth-rating recommendation. The Freediver’s dial and bezel also meets the ISO standards and I will go further in detail on those a bit later in this review.

The Freediver is equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel. The green ceramic inlay finishes off the bezel design brilliantly. The bezel has 120 precise clicks, each of which line up with the corresponding dial markers. It’s an important detail to make sure that there is precision in alignment but it is also important that the actual function is smooth and precise. The Freediver’s bezel is easy to grip because BOLDR designed the edges with ease of function in mind. Their line of Odyssey watches are built for adventure; therefore, it not only has to handle the adventure but it has to function during the adventure. Otherwise you are just carrying deadweight on your wrist. There is no extra play or back spin on the Freediver’s bezel. Another noteworthy detail of the bezel is that it sits tight and evenly against the case itself. Thankfully BOLDR is consistent with their design because their attention to precision is carried over to the oversized crown. The edges of the crown are designed for easy grip and easy grip translates into ease of function. I had no issues unscrewing/screwing the crown. There is none of that annoying wobble that plagues some crowns. This crown lines up when screwing it down without any error of mis-threading. It functions as it should when manually winding the watch and when setting the time and date.

The case has some nice noteworthy high polished details that can be found on the lugs and on the crown guards. I like that the majority of this case has a matte blasted finish with those little polished areas. This combination creates a beautiful contrast but still allows the Freediver to retain it’s utilitarian appearance. BOLDR is known for their awesome case back designs and the Freediver does not disappoint. This might be my favorite one thus far. The Freediver features the mighty Kraken. A fearsome beast that ties in nicely to the green textured dial. The Kraken looks absolutely awesome and the added trident detail really makes the picture complete. The Freediver comes on a matching blasted stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet features quick release spring bars for easy change and more importantly clean release without scratching mishaps. The solid 316L stainless steel bracelet features a folding deployment style clasp with micro adjustment. The micro adjustment allows you to fine to the bracelet to get that preferred fit. I like my bracelets with a loose fit so the micro adjustment allowed me to get my desired fit. The bracelets look is finished off with the BOLDR logo. As for the function, the release buttons and clasp releases, unfolds/folds back into place without any issues. The solid end links fit flush against the case and are integrated into the lugs with precision. I really like the lugs are angular designed and shaped, it gives the Freediver some beautiful profile lines.

What’s a watch without it’s dial? Well without the dial it’s just a bracelet. The Freediver features a beautiful ombré textured, matte green dial. The color and texture is a welcome addition because I find myself always gravitating towards what I know & love. Matte black dials are my go to, so breaking from that comfort zone does make me hesitant but when that break works out, it’s definitely refreshing. The raised white numerals allow the Freediver to have optimal daytime legibility. The team at BOLDR knows that we love good lume on a dive watch so they made sure not to disappoint because they gave the Freediver a generous serving of Swiss Superluminova. I am so glad for the BOLDR team’s attention to functional details. Those details can be found on the Freediver’s custom matte hands. The hands are perfectly proportioned to the dial. Ensuring that optimal legibility, the hands are coated with Swiss Superluminova. The second hand is designed with an orange rectangular tip that is also coated with lume for that optimal legibility in low lighting situations.

One of my other favorite details on this dial is the chapter ring with the printed white minutes/seconds track. Having it raised from the dial surface creates a nice layering effect that allows for increased legibility/decreases over-crowding the dial. I also like how BOLDR used the matte rivets as markers in addition to the raised numerals. It’s a nice looking detail, simple but adds to the overall aesthetics of the Freediver’s dial. BOLDR kept the text minimalistic on the dial, limiting it to simple 3 lines above the 6H position and the BOLDR name & logo under the 12H position. A detail that I could have done without but I know some people prefer it, there is a date window located at the 6H position.

BOLDR growth is apparent with each release that I have experienced. The team at BOLDR is dialed in and extremely focused. The Freediver is an extremely well executed watch in terms of design and quality that translates into use in the field. In my opinion that is most important. How a watch handles itself when it is relied upon and how it holds up during that “hour of need” is what separates a successful release from a failed release. I’m not talking financial success, as I have before a watch can be a great seller but fail when it comes to functional quality. A successful watch is measured in quality, design and function, this is why I consider the Freediver to be a success. The Freediver is available on BOLDR’s website https://www.boldrsupply.co/collections/odyssey-freediver for $649 usd. You get a lot of watch for your money. More importantly you get a quality driven watch for your money. Every thing on the Freediver functions as it should whenever and wherever you need it to. During my review, the Freediver functioned perfectly in below zero temperatures, in snow and ice, hiking through the woods (and to grandmother’s house) and in my work environment. The Freediver was dropped several times on solid ice, down the side of a rock filled cliff, into mud and it didn’t miss a beat. I was surprised how well the case held up, no scratches and no dents.

If you are looking for an affordable dive watch, that is well made, that isn’t just another rehashed design that has been seen a thousand times before, then the Freediver is a great place to start looking. I would definitely recommend this watch for those who are most comfortable in the below 42mm case area looking for a more unique dive watch experience. Those who are bored with the same old, same old. BOLDR produces watches for those who like adventure, whether your adventure is at the desk or out in the field, the BOLDR adventure team comes from all areas of the globe, from all areas of life experiences. It’s a welcoming and tight knit “family” all sharing a deep love for watch based adventure.

Thank you all for reading! Thank you to the BOLDR team.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case: 40mm 316L stainless steel
  • Movement: Cal. 9015 Automatic
    • 28800 bph
    • 42 hours power reserve
    • Parashock
    • Made in Japan
  • Water Resistance: 300m (990ft) / 30ATM
  • Crown: Crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
  • Dial & Hands: Ombre texture or Meteorite dial and custom matte hands with Swiss Superluminova
  • Bezel: 120-click unidirectional ceramic bezel with Swiss Superluminova
  • Sapphire crystal with AR-coating
  • Bracelet: Custom 316L Stainless Steel
    • Quick-release spring bar
    • Micro-adjustment clasp
    • Screw-pins links
  • Case Thickness: 14mm
  • Lug size: 20mm
  • Lug to lug: 48mm
  • Case Back: Single-piece screw down caseback with embossed artwork

Watch Review: Crepas Megamatic

About Crepas:

The Compañía Relojera Especializada para Actividades Subacuáticas (Specialised Watch Company for Underwater Activities) develops professional diving watches. Our watches are inspired by models from the past which have represented significant progress, using the latest technologies and advances of the watch industry. Each design must be as functional and ergonomic as possible, and can be used both for water sports and also as a normal watch. Sizes do not exceed 45 mm which means they fit most wrists. Our production is subject to a strict quality control standard at each manufacturing step, including the design and packaging of the watch to be presented to the end customer. Our watches are meant for professionals, collectors and diving enthusiasts who want a watch with a classic design but made with the latest technology, at competitive prices and always with the exclusiveness of a limited series. We only make automatic diving watches using Swiss movements and the best available materials. CREPAS offers an international two-year warranty for manufacturing defects. Technical support is available for our customers over the world through a selected independent company in USA and just as in Spain. CREPAS is located in Spain and our promoters are collectors and lovers of classic diving watches.

The case, specifically the crown and crown guards are the details that drew me to the Megamatic. Crepas offers the option to either have the crown at 3H or 9h position. It basically comes down to personal preference. I prefer to fidget with the crown when I’m wearing it, so it was an easy decision for me to go with the crown at the 3H position. These ease of grip that the 10mm crown offers is an absolute joy. Obviously the size allows for that easy grip, but also the deep/wide grooved edges assists as well. The deep grooves cut down on any slipping of the fingers when you are screwing/unscrewing, when you setting the time/date or when you are manually winding the movement. The crown is decorated with the Crepas propeller logo which gives the crown that proper finish appearance. The propeller is raised instead of engraved or laser etched, which in my opinion having it raised looks so much better than the other methods. The oversized crown is well protected by the crown guards that are incorporated from the large block of stainless steel. The large case is made of 316L stainless steel with a beautiful brushed finish to be exact.

The bezel is equipped with a ceramic inlay with lume treated numerals/markers, allowing for legibility in both light/dark environments. As for the bezel itself, it is constructed of stainless steel with a brushed finish. While the bezel profile is relatively low and sits tight against the case itself, the edges of the bezel does allow for easy grip and operation. The function of a bezel is extremely important to me and I think most dive watch fans would agree with that. The bezel on the Megamatic rotates unidirectionally with precise clicks, 120 clicks to be exact. There is no extra play or back spin with this bezel whatsoever. The precision is also carried over to the alignment of the bezel to the Megamatic’s dial.

The dial is as beautiful as the case itself. For this version, Crepas went matte black which is my personal preference for a dive/tool watch. One of the reasons that I prefer matte black is that it dramatically reduces any unwanted glare. I never understood designing a tool/dive watch with a high gloss dial and a high polished case. These types of watches are designed for abuse and not to be “safe queens”. Legibility and performance in all environments is a definite must for a dive/tool watch. The dial consists of precisely painted markers that are coated with C3 Superluminova lume. The combination of the long white rectangular markers and the lume coating allows the Megamatic dial to be legible in both light and dark situations. Now onto the hands! Oh these hands! The hands on the Megamatic are pure magic, just as they were on the Omega that was never brought into production.(*see below) I love the shape and the color of the hour and minute hands. In fact, there is absolutely no denying how much I love these hands. The legibility is not an issue whatsoever for the Megamatic dial. The blue arrow tip hour hand is tucked nicely behind the oversized rocket-shaped orange minute hand, and both of these hands come together to allow for “at a glance” quick reading. Both of the hands are then topped off by the white and unique second hand. Why is it unique? It’s unique because of where the lume is placed on the second hand. Instead of being on the tip, the lume on this second hand is on the bottom rounded portion.

The text on the Megamatic is pretty minimal, with the name & logo under the 12H position and the model name and water resistance above the 6H position. For fans of date windows, the Megamatic has one located at the 3H position. The dial is definitely designed with optimal legibility in mind and there is no denying that the Megamatic case was built with performance abuse in mind. That performance abuse from every day wear and tear whether you are a desk diver or an actual diver hitting the water. The massive 316L stainless steel case sealed with gaskets made of viton and tefzel. This means that both materials are suitable for harsh environments and extreme temperatures. The Megamatic is also protected in the depths of the sea, with a strong water resistant of 120 atmos. / 1200 meters/ 4000 ft. Overkill? Yes! It is definitely welcome overkill though. I rather have overkill when it comes to specs on a watch. The Omega that the Megamatic was inspired from, is the same Omega that couldn’t handle the extreme temperatures. The word is that the extreme cold water drained the battery of the quartz powered watch which is one of the reasons the project was shelved. Thankfully Crepas not only resurrected the design but also made it better. I am also thankful that Crepas armed the Megamatic with a Swiss ETASA 2824-2. A true workhorse and truly reliable movement.

The Megamatic has undeniable wrist presence. The case is large but remains manageable because of the lugless design. The chamfered details on this case are some of the largest I have ever seen on a watch. They give the case a complete finished look. The solid, screw in case back also adds to the overall finished feel of the Megamatic especially because of the large Crepas propeller logo that found perfectly centered on the stainless steel case back. The complete kit is finished off and nicely presented in a PU leather roll that contains a stainless steel bracelet, a screwdiver that is used to remove the bracelet and to adjust the size. The kit also contains a custom microfiber cleaning cloth, a warranty card and 2 spare spring bars. By today’s exchange rate, the Megamatic is priced at $832.93 usd which is a good price considering the amount of watch you get and the nice kit of extras that it’s packed with. There’s really nothing that I could change on this watch, if I had to be extremely nit picky I’d eliminate the date window. That’s not something Crepas did wrong, it’s just a personal preference. From just a pure design perspective the Megamatic is an absolute joy to wear. If you are a fan of dive watch history and well made watches, then the Megamatic is definitely a strong option for you to consider. If you are like me and love to change it up constantly with different straps, you can see by my pics that the Megamatic is a great watch to change it up with.

Everything on this watch functions without flaw or fail and everything was designed for ease of use in whatever “field” you find yourself in. I used this watch at work, out hiking and out on the frozen water, and it handled itself perfectly in every situation/environment. This is one of those watches that from first sight that you know are truly special way before you pick it up and handle it. Crepas is a brand that is progressing strong with each release over their 10 year history. So many microbrands have come and gone over the past decade but Crepas is still here and it continues to grow stronger. If you are interested in purchasing a Crepas watch you can do so via their website: https://www.crepaswatches.com

Thank you so very much for reading and thank you to Crepas.

Measures
– Diameter of the bezel: 44,00mm
– Thickness with cristal: 13,55mm
– Length: 46,50mm
– Thickness of the crystal: 4,00mm
– Diameter of the crystal: 31,00mm
– Space between lugs: 22mm
– Diameter of the crown: 10,00mm
– Thickness of the bezel: 3,60mm
– Thickness of the case back cover: 2,50mm
– Clasp width: 18mm Materials
– Case, bezel, crown and case cover made of stainless steel 316L with brushed finished
– Crystal made of sapphire
– Bezel inlay made of ceramic
– Gaskets made of Viton and Tefzel
– Solid stainless steel 316L bracelet with solid clasp
– Hands, dial and bezel with C3 Superluminova Features
– SWISS MADE
– Swiss ETASA 2824-2
– Water resistant 120 atmos. / 1200 meters/ 4000 ft. Screwed crown and case back cover
– Inside AR coated anti scratch crystal.
– 120 positions bezel.
– Automatic helium valve at 3 position
– Big size minute hand. Kit
– CREPASw MEGAMATIC watch with bracelet
– PU leather roll.
– One screwdiver to remove the bracelet and adjust the size.
– Custom microfiber cleaning cloth
– Warranty card
– 2 spare spring bars

*check out this website to read and to see the Omega that this watch is inspired by:

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Watch Review: Nitron Circuit

About Nitron:

“Olivers and Stevens families have worked together for more than a century in the shoe manufacturing industry since 1887. and it is now part of the world’s largest safety footwear company. Andrew Oliver, the fourth generation of the Oliver & Stevens is trudging into the watch industry. To pursue his passion, Andrew Oliver took a big step forward to create watches for the non-conventionals. Nitron watches is coming in bold and rambunctious. With a keen eye for details, he ventures into new materials, ostentatious designs and conspicuous display for his time-pieces. Unlike the notion behind Oliver & Steven’s safety boots, he does not create “safe” watches. Andrew Oliver do not follow herd instincts and flexes himself to expand his accumulated knowledge from the shoe-making manufacturing industry to the creation of watches. “You Only Live Once” – a statement celebrated and held firmly by Andrew Olivers. Nitron challenges the untouched boundaries bringing forth designs that you probably have never set your eyes on before, using materials and details that you have never experienced. Be prepared that Nitron watches will be a bold and an adventurous manifestation of time because, “You Only Live Once”. But like I say, “you only die once, you get a chance to live every day.”

Nitron definitely has a track record of releasing fun to wear watches and the new Circuit is doesn’t break from that trend. The 47mm Circuit makes quite the wrist statement both in size and in color. The combination of blue and yellow together make for a stunning look. I like the dramatic geometric design that Nitron used on the Circuit. Those designs are not only found on the case, but also on the dial. They definitely weren’t afraid to use dramatic shape and color throughout this watch. The nerd within me can’t deny that the colors and the case shape reminds me of the RX-78-2 Mobile Suit Gundam.

The bezel on the Circuit is fixed. I find myself gravitating towards watches with fixed bezels these days. The Circuit’s bezel is beautifully designed in both the color and the geometric angles. A detail that is worth mentioning is how the angle of the crown guards are a continuation of the same angle from the bezel. It creates a very clean line that consistent with the overall geometric design Nitron was apparently going for on the Circuit. The crown guards are protecting the push/pull style crown. The two blue screws on the crown guards are for pure decorative purposes as they serve no actual function. The crown is same IP blue as the fixed bezel and also the decorative screws on the crown guards. I can appreciate the cohesiveness of detail that Nitron used throughout the Circuit. Looks are one thing and function are another…..a more important detail in my opinion. The Circuit has a push/pull style crown. It comes down to personal preference, as it does with any detail on a watch. The style of a crown, whether it’s a push/pull or a screw down there are definitely pros/cons to both. There are some people who don’t care either way. Regardless of the preference, the crown size and grooved edges are perfect in my opinion. This is important because it allows for the crown to be operated with a good grip hold. That grip hold allows the wearer to operate the crown for all of the typical functions such as winding, setting the date and time. The crown functions without any issues whatsoever which is the crown’s most important detail of them all.

Nitron continues the unique geometric design onto the 9 o’clock side of the case. The protruding point on this side of the case is a result of the two angles coming together creating an aesthetically pleasing detail. The brushed finish on the stainless steel does add to the Circuits overall look. Brushed or blasted is my personal preference for sport style watches. I’m also not a fan of polished finish cases regardless what style of watch it’s on. One reason is it’s prone to scratches and another reason it looks too blingy in my opinion. Design details always come down to personal preference. I also think that it’s important to break from your “comfort zone” if you are a watch collector. In my opinion variety builds a more unique and diverse collection. The lugs on the Circuit are also quite unique in design. Not only do the lugs curve down but they are always curved/rounded outward as well. The Circuit comes on a “popping yellow” silicone strap. Of course it’s super soft and pliable, allowing for comfortable wrist conforming wear. The yellow adds to both the wrist presence of this watch but also the comfort. It’s not exactly the typical watch I would take hiking but given the gravity of the situation with covid there aren’t many options available to go. I wore this watch to work, hiking and to the “gym”. To my surprise it was comfortable in each environment and situation.

The unique geometric details certainly didn’t stop at the case on the Circuit, they were continued onto the dial. A semi skeletonized dial with small “window” views into the NH35 Seiko movement. The semi-skeletonized style hour and minute hands are proportioned perfectly to the dial. My one suggestion for the hands that would improve the legibility is to outline the hands. Outlining the hands in either blue or yellow versus the current polished metal Nitron used would prevent the hands from being lost against the layered dial. In addition to improving the legibility, this would also carryover the color/design consistency over further. The text on this dial is pretty much down to the minimum……not that there’s a lot of space to add more anyway. The water resistance, brand name and movement type are the only text that is on this dial. As for the rest of the dial, it consists multiple of layers. The first/lowest layer is the movement followed by the textured circular blue layer. I like the cohesive flow of the blue the on the crown and bezel with the blue on the dial. Speaking of cohesiveness, the second hand is consistent with the overall “racing circuit” theme of this watch. I should refer to it as a second wheel as opposed to a second hand. The “wheel” has a red arrow tip which matches nicely with the red on the applied hour markers and the red on the semi skeletonized dial. The flow of details on the Circuit hasn’t stopped yet either. It’s not hard to notice how well the yellow strap matches the yellow on the inner chapter ring.

Nitron’s use of color and shape really brings the details of the Circuit together into a fun and unique watch. Nitron knows that their designs aren’t for everyone as they tend to release their watches in small limited edition batches. The Circuit is no different, just 28 were released. Racing fans will appreciate the Circuit’s theme and use of color. I know my nerdy self mentioned the Gundam reference and I definitely stand behind that. I honestly believe hardcore Gundam fans can appreciate the Circuit just as much as fans of racing. I do have some suggestions for Nitron that would improve upon the Circuit’s unique design and function. The hour and minute hand has a generous amount of Superluminova which assists legibility in lowlight/dark environments but this legibility could have been taken further by applying the same lume treatment to the hour markers. The exhibition case back gives a nice view of the NH35 movement but it also gives a view of my next suggestion for improvement. The use of plastic inside the movement is something one of my idols of the industry always spoke against. Gerd Lang, founder of Chronoswiss was against the use of plastic inside a watch because he said that over time plastic becomes brittle and can break apart creating issues with the movement itself.

The Circuit has a lot of nice details that are consistent throughout the entire design of the watch. As I mentioned throughout this review the use of color and geometry gives the Circuit eye catching wrist presence. If you like seeing the movement working away inside of your watch, the Circuit gives you a top side and bottom side view. The screw in case back gives you a view of the movement through the sapphire crystal. The crystal also has the Nitron logo printed on the inside. The case has a strong shape from the bezel to the lugs, and the strong shape is even carried to the buckle on the silicone strap. I would recommend this watch to Circuit race fans and to fans of customized cars. The Circuit definitely has unique personality just like those custom cars and circuit cars have. I would also recommend the Circuit to anyone looking for something different from the slew of boring homages that continue to flood the market. The Circuit is $530 USD and is available via https://www.nitronwatches.com/collections/circuit.

Thank you for reading and thanks to Nitron.

Specs:

NH35 Seiko Automatic Movement
316L Blue IP case

47mm Ø

12mm thickness

24mm lugs width

Superluminova decorated dial

Partially skeletonized dial

Skeletonized seconds hand

Date window at 4 o’clock


Silicone strap

Power reserve of up to 40 hours

Sapphire crystal watch glass

10ATM, 100 meter

Exclusively Limited to 28 pieces

Watch Review: Cronus Prototype 3

About Cronus:

The first manual sketches and technical drawings of the diving watch Cronus were developed in 2010 by the Russian deployment watch 191 CHS from the 1960s. The aim was to maintain the characteristics of the axial rotation of the crown as a central control element and to stabilize the crown closure as it protrudes quite far. The requirement was from the outset: a very robust watch, which can withstand extreme loads and external influences and ensures water tightness. This idea was implemented technically in 3D-construction. In the following year, the prototype 1 was finally developed.
The concept of the closure was consistently further developed and optimized after the test. The closure was fitted with a visual warning system (red securing ring). It is controlled axially by a spring and warns the user from unsecured conditions. In addition, a corresponding note has been added on the dial (control before dive). The innovative locking system was patented in 2013. One year later the prototype 1 was re-designed, the case got a new shape without losing its charm. As part of the development, the crown closure was further optimized and decoupled from the housing. As a result, the relief of the elevator crown has been achieved without sacrificing safety. The prototype 2 model is created. Further information can be found in the patent description.

The housing is made according to our technical drawings and 3D data in the clock production facility Glashütte and assembled in a strictly limited small series in a Munich watch workshop. Each prototype housing has a serial number. You get a completely handmade and original love piece “made in Germany”, built with love.

Registration of the trademark took place in 2015.

German engineering. If I had to describe this watch as simply as possible, German engineering would suffice. The meticulous design detail is apparent throughout this watch. I have been exploring the PROTOTYPE 3 Model PR-03GB, which so happens to be the model we will be discussing today. Juri Schob is the man responsible for the German based brand Cronus. During the years of 2001 through 2005 Juri studied in Berlin and received his diploma in product design. He has been quite busy since 2000 as a designer and design engineer in agencies and large companies. In 2006 Juri began to work with the restauration of watches which led him into development and design of watches which was on behalf of external watch manufacturer. In 2011, Juri has been developing and implementing his own model series that led him to registering Cronus in 2015.

There are certain details that will always draw me initially into a watch. It may be the material that is used for the case or the dial layout or the design of the case. On this watch, it was the crown and the crown guards that drew me to the prototype 3. The attached crown guards are oversized which provides maximum protection for the crown itself. The guards are securely screwed into the case housing. When the crown is completely screwed down into the close position, the top of the crown sits flush to the crown guards. The crown itself has some nice design details. Details that highlight some of that German engineering. The 9mm crown is signed with a C that obviously stands for Cronus. There’s an awesome little red control ring on the crown that’s sole purpose is to act as a warning system. The warning is for the wearer so that they remember to screw the crown down before diving. The size of the crown and the machined edges of the allow for extreme ease with the actual function of this crown. I’m addicted to manually winding my watches while I’m wearing them, therefore when a watch has an easy to grip and operate crown it will always score higher on my checklist. I guess it’s like an adult version of a fidget spinner for me.

The bezel on the Prototype 3 is also considered a highlight worthy detail. There are several different aspects on the bezel that I look for with my nit picky eye. I always look at how easy it is to grip a bezel. A bezel can have the smoothest rotation but if you can’t properly grip it, the smoothness doesn’t matter. The Cronus bezel grip was tested indoors under normal circumstances, outside in the rain and in sub zero snow/icy conditions. I had no issues whatsoever with bare fingers and with gloved fingers when it came to gripping the bezel. The bezel does have nice smooth rotation to it. Perhaps more importantly, it has precise clicking/ratcheting action that when the bezel stops, it is aligned with the dial perfectly. The bezel has 120 clicks/ratchet/grids. Besides the grip and rotation, the other areas I look at are how tight a bezel sits against the case and how much play it has. I can’t stand when a bezel sits unevenly on the case. Every Rolex that I have owned that has a rotating bezel, the bezel sat unevenly on the case. To add insult to injury, every bezel had too much extra play nor did the pip line up with the dial. I respect Rolex and the history of the brand but the “superior” quality control is lacking. I see more and more micro/indy brands with far superior quality control. Cronus is no exception, the bezel has no extra play and sits tightly and evenly on the case.

The stainless steel bezel is quite clean with some simple engraved line markers and a triangle that is coated with lume. On the underside of the watch is a screwed in solid case back that features engraved specs about the watch. I want to mention some design details about the lugs that I like. First and foremost I am happy with Cronus’ choice of going with drilled lugs and screw in lug bars. This design choice adds strength because the screw bars are much stronger that spring loaded ones and this choice also allows for easier strap changes. The other detail that I really like about the lugs is how the are rounded/curved inward. As you can see in the pictures, each lug curves inward towards the other lug on the opposite side. I know it’s a small detail but it made a good impression on me. Sometimes the smallest of details make the biggest impact. The last detail that completes this case is the sapphire crystal. The crystal is 3.6mm thick and is also slightly arched/domed. Cronus applied an anti-reflective coating to both sides of the crystal which dramatically cuts down on glare which increases legibility of the dial.

The dial on the Prototype 2 is simplistic beauty. What makes this dial work for me is there isn’t any unnecessary or oversized clutter. The dial has a simple amount of text that is kept to the brand name, movement type, and water resistance. The one thing that I could have done without on the dial is the date window at the 3 o’clock position. I do appreciate that Cronus opted for a black date window that allows it to blend in better with the rest of the matte black dial. The Prototype 3 is a three hand style design. Each of the hands are properly proportioned to the dial itself. The hands and hour white painted indexes are legible at every angle and in every type of lighting. Thanks to the generous amount of Superluminova C3, the dial is just as legible in the dark/low-light environments. I like the cohesive use of orange that is found throughout this watch. It’s done with taste allowing for the orange to standout just enough. The white painted indexes really standout against the matte black dial. This combo is one of my personal favorites for a dive watch. I like the semi skeletonized design of the hour and minute hands. All three of the hands look great(size, color, shape) but more importantly add to the overall great legibility of the dial on Prototype 3.

The Prototype 3 has a strong heart ticking away inside of it. A heart that’s been put through the test over and over again. The ETA 2824-2, armed with an Incabloc shock protection. It’s a 25 jewel movement with a central second with second stop. The movement also has a back-up system-ETACHRON and back-correction. It beats at 28.800 half-cycles per hour and has a 40 hour power reserve. Armed with a reliable movement and protected by a 600m water resistance, a combo that makes it a tough every day beater. A beater that can handle anything that you can throw at it without the worry of failure. The Prototype 3 is engineered with daily abuse in mind.

If you are looking for a watch that is made with that precision German engineering is known for then Cronus and the Prototype 3 is a watch worth checking out. I was extremely impressed with the quality, design and overall execution of this watch. Juri is a master beyond his years. You get a lot of watch for the price. The 1150€ might scare off some, but for those looking for a German made piece that can hold it’s own in the Sinn, VDB, Damasko, and Muhle Glashutte category it’s a appropriately priced watch. Juri did a thorough job with the planning and designing of the Prototype 3. I honestly can’t nit pick anything on this watch (aside for the mentioned date window) . The watch wears every bit of its 43mm x 15mm but it’s extremely balanced on the wrist. The part of the comfort of this watch is added thanks to the super soft and pliable custom-style leather strap that the watch came on. The buckle is absolutely fantastic. It’s solid like the case itself. I love how the pin sits flush on the buckle. In my opinion it’s a little but impressive detail. The crown and crown guards are the highlight of the Prototype 3, though I love every detail about this watch. I immediately wanted to order one of Cronus’ other models after the initial few moments with this watch. To me that says it all.

Case: Stainless steel AISI 316L, diameter 43mm without crown, height 15mm
Bezel rotatable with 120 grids.

Band width is 24mm. Strap screwed.

Crown protection: Screwed to the housing, with red control ring.
Crown 9mm screwed.

Bottom: Stainless steel screwed, engraved.

Glass: on both sides anti-reflective sapphire crystal; 3.6mm thick; slightly arched

Dial: Background black matt. Indexes white printed with Superluminova C3.

Water resistance: 600m

Strap: width 24mm, buffalo leather, grained with stainless steel pin buckle. Handcrafted.

Weight: approx. 125g

Movement: Swiss automatic caliber ETA 2824-2
With Incabloc shock protection, 25 jewels. Central second with second stop.
Back-up system ETACHRON and back-correction. 11 ½ lines,
28.800 half-cycles per hour.
Working diameter 25.6mm; Working height 4.60mm.
Course reserve 40 hours.

Custom Mays Berlin leather strap

Watch Review: NITRON GMT BRONZO CALI/ BLACK

About Nitron:

Olivers and Stevens families have worked together for more than a century in the shoe manufacturing industry since 1887. and it is now part of the world’s largest safety footwear company. Andrew Oliver, the fourth generation of the Oliver & Stevens is trudging into the watch industry. To pursue his passion, Andrew Oliver took a big step forward to create watches for the non-conventionals. Nitron watches is coming in bold and rambunctious. With a keen eye for details, he ventures into new materials, ostentatious designs and conspicuous display for his time-pieces. Unlike the notion behind Oliver & Steven’s safety boots, he does not create “safe” watches. Andrew Oliver do not follow herd instincts and flexes himself to expand his accumulated knowledge from the shoe-making manufacturing industry to the creation of watches.

“You only live once” -a statement celebrated and held firmly by Andrew Olivers. I’ll put a spin on this, you live every day and you only die once!

“Nitron challenges the untouched boundaries bringing forth designs that you probably have never set your eyes on before, using materials and details that you have never experienced. Be prepared that Nitron watches will be a bold and an adventurous manifestation of time because, “You Only Live Once”. “I will give Nitron that, their designs are definitely unique and definitely standout in this homage flooded market. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Nitron watches because they are different and unconventional. The bronze Cali is a large, 49mm large bronze beast. It is large and I don’t want to downplay that, but it’s worth mentioning that the lugless design does keep the 49mm case more manageable. Then again, people who prefer 42mm and below cases aren’t going to consider this watch and the flip side to that is the people who prefer larger cases aren’t going to be concerned about it’s size. I understand that every one has their preferences and there certainly isn’t a wrong or right size out there. I personally think that too much emphasis is placed on the size of a watch case. The focus should be on quality and design but that is just my personal opinion on the subject.

I like the “puck” shape design of the Cali. As I mentioned before, the lugless design is also a nice design feature. The crown is located on the 3 o’clock side of the case. It’s a push/pull style crown. The crown functions as it should when manually winding and when setting the time/date. I like how Nitron integrated the crown guard on this watch. The crown guard is functional and but it also adds to the profile/style of the watch. I would have preferred a slightly larger crown that screwed down for greater ease of use. The crown is definitely well protected by the unique crown guard that is attached to the case by two flathead screws. The 9 o’clock side of the case features a small black plaque that reads “GMT Limited Edition” A small design detail that I could have done without but it’s certainly not a deal breaker by any means. The quick release strap clicks in underneath the case. The color stitching complements the colors that are found on the dial. The thick yet pliable strap has a bronze pin buckle that is signed with Nitron in raised lettering.

The bezel features the numerals for the GMT function of this watch. The large white numerals are coated with lume so it retains that optimal legibility in any lighting situation. Appearances are only one part of the equation though. I’m definitely nitpicky with the function of a rotating bezel. It not only has to be easy to grip but it has to be smooth without extra play. It also has to sit tightly against the case itself without any unnecessary gaps between the bezel and the case. In my opinion the bezel is one of the more important details on a watch which certainly can be a deal breaker. The bezel on Nitron’s Cali functions within my nit picking tolerances. It is smooth, rests evenly against the case and there isn’t any unnecessary extra play. The edges of the bezel allows for easy grip with gloves, wet hands and of course in normal conditions as well.

The large matte black dial is my personal favorite part of this watch. The first use of the California style dial date back to the 1930’s and while this design isn’t for everyone, it does offer the unique and different look that I personally appreciate. A multi color California style layout set against a matte black backdrop that allows for great legibility. This is a winning combination. The semi skeletonized minute and hour hands are ideally proportioned to the dial itself as are the second and GMT hands. It’s too bad that the second hand doesn’t have any lume. The dial itself is relatively clean with nothing added but the date window at 4 and the printed ‘Nitron/GMT Automatic’. The large lume coated numerals add to the both the great daytime and nighttime legibility of this watch.

There were some people that said the bronze case trend was something that wasn’t going to stick around for very long and yet here we are in 2021 and still are seeing a very steady flow of bronze watches that are being released. I have to be honest though, I wasn’t a bronze fan until 6 years ago, when I reviewed the Berkbinder and Brown T46. I like having more options in case material offerings. Each material used offers it’s own unique personality details. Bronze perhaps has the most unique of personalities because of it’s ever changing appearance. Whether you choose to let patina naturally form or if you force it, nevertheless the appearance of a bronze case is always changing. I also think that bronze cases show off scratches, dings and dents better than any other case material. The screw down case back is a nice combination of polished and brushed stainless steel. It is secured to the case itself via 4 flat head screws. There’s a nice little porthole that gives the best of both worlds, the feel of a solid case back but a peak of the movement through the small sapphire crystal window. Also featured back here are the specs about the Cali GMT that are in raised lettering that border around the center of the case back.

The Nitron Cali is a large and unique watch that would certainly hold it’s own in a well established bronze collection. It would also be a nice first bronze watch in a collection. This is one of Nitron’s nicest releases in my opinion, especially in terms of quality and overall execution. The watch is one of just 18 in a very limited release. It is available for $800 USD on Nitron’s website. The pro’s of this watch heavily outweigh the “cons”. The cons can actually be labeled as personal preferences more so than actual cons. The important details are this watch is made with good quality and with every functional component operating without fault/fail. The Cali GMT has strong wrist presence, a uniquely designed case & dial, and is executed with good quality. I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the watch was on my wrist during work(scrub attire/isolation gowns) and hiking in cold/snowy conditions. The movement inside is one that I’m not entirely familiar with. It’s the HZ 7500. Throughout my review of this watch, it was keeping +10 seconds a day time and the power reserve was lasting over 60 hours. I will definitely keep you all updated how this movement ages over time. Thank you all for reading and thank you Nitron.

HZ 7500 specifications:

Function :3 hands, skeleton

Size:Ø30.00mm

Thickness: 5.23mm

Accuracy:+/-30 seconds/day

Running Time :~75hours

Frequency:28,800bph

Watch Specifications:

  • – Bronze case 49mm width
  • – No lugs
  • – California dial
  • – Superluminova on bezel, index and hands
  • – Thickness at 10mm
  • – Sapphire crystal watch glass
  • – Calf leather with coloured stitching

5ATM, 50 meters

Exclusively Limited to 18 pieces worldwide

2 Years Warranty

Watch Review: Ocean 7 LM-7

Homage watches are definitely a touchy subject. Love them or hate them, they are a reality of the watch industry. I’ve heard both sides of the argument and there have been times when I agree with both sides of the debate. That is basically all that I am going to say about the subject for now because I am not here to talk in depth on the debate. We are here to explore and to discuss the Ocean 7 LM-7 titanium watch so let’s dive right into this.

The O7 mission statement: “OCEAN7® design objectives are simple: to create beautiful watches that are tough and functional. We use variations on styling cues such as “Plongeur” (French for diver) hands made famous by historic, collectible dive watches of the past. OCEAN7 dials are simple and pleasing to look at, uncluttered by specifications relegated to the back of the watch. Most of our designs are influenced by watch enthusiasts worldwide. Our guiding philosophy is simple – we have to be different to be better!”

When I opened up the box to get to the watch itself, the first detail I noticed was the finish on the case. The finish on the case has a dark grey matte color that gives off that utilitarian feel. The finish on this case is two parts, not only is it sandblasted titanium but the LM-7 is DLC hardened to approximately 1250 vickers. Therefore, you not only have the lightweight & ruggedness of titanium but you also have the resilience of the 1250 vickers of the DLC. This case did receive a lot of abuse during my review and it held up remarkably well. I was not only surprised by the scratch resistance of this case, but what did surprise me was how light it was on the wrist. I took the LM-7 with me on several hikes. These hikes included a lot of up cliff climbing and equally the same amount of sliding down because of mud, snow and ice. The LM-7 only weighs 93 grams so comfort was never an issue. Also worth noting is this watch wears much smaller than the dimensions imply. Take a look at the lug design because that has a lot to do with the watch wearing smaller. You don’t have those long lugs creating that substantial wrist overhang, instead you have this lug design that helps create a manageable lug to lug measurement/fit. The LM-7 is 55mm x 46 mm x 17mm.

I like that the lugs are drilled on the LM-7. Why? In my experience/opinion drilled lugs not only add strength with the screw lug bars but it also makes changing the strap easier helping to avoid scratching up the case. The LM-7 comes on a 24mm black poly sport strap with a signed Ti pin buckle. The buckle is signed ‘Ocean 7’. The LM-7 feat an easy to grip, screw down crown. The oversized crown operates without any issues. It is easy to operate whether you are setting the time/date or if you are manually winding it. During my hike, I would reset the time to 10:10 for picture purposes. I found that even with wet, cold fingers I was able to accomplish the task at hand with ease. The crown is located on the 9 o’clock side of the case. The reason for the crown position is so that it could give way to the large protruding section on the 3 o’clock side of this case.

Wondering what the orange button does? When you press it down and hold it, it depresses a lock located under the bezel which then allows you to freely rotate the bezel bi-directionally. To lock the bezel you simply release the orange button. This ensures that there isn’t any accidental movement. This is especially important if you are using the bezel to time something that requires critical precision. The bezel and button both operate as they should. I do wish that the bezel rotation was a little more smooth. The LM-7 does comes with two bezels that can be changed easily with the supplied tool. This is done by simply loosening the 4 screws on the outer edges of the bezel. One bezel has a black sapphire insert with all the markers treated with lume and the other bezel is all titanium with black filled markers & a lume triangle.

The LM-7 has a helium release valve that is located on the bottom of the orange button housing unit. The screw in style case back features engraved specs about the LM-7. Flipping the watch back over brings us to exploring the dial. There is no denying the legibility of the LM-7’s dial. The matte black dial creates an ideal backdrop that allows the painted lume coated markers to stand out for greater legibility. The markers have a slight green tint to them. They really “shine” in low light and dark environments. Just like the bezel, the markers and hands are coated with generous amounts of Swiss super luminova. Each one of the three hands are proportioned exactly right for this dial. I personally prefer when the hands extend out enough to touch the markers. This is both a personal preference and it allows for ease of use for more precise timing. We do live in an age of where we all have phones with us pretty much 24/7, but it’s not always the most convenient way to time things. This is especially true when an activity involves the use of both of your hands. I like how wide the hour and minute hands are. Of course I like the width for the obvious reason of increased legibility and the other reason being the overall aesthetics the wide hands add to the dial itself.

As with any watch purchase, the question of the why always comes into play. I think that it’s a bit more complicated of a question for watches that of paying homage to a different piece. The why here could be a matter of financial details because not everyone has a budget of $10k to buy the watch that inspired the homage pieces. Ocean 7 created a quality watch that is budget friendly for those watch enthusiasts who want to get the experience of owning a watch without having to sell a kidney to afford it. There are several details about the LM-7 that separates it from about 75% of the other homage watches out there. One of the most important details is quality. This is my second review of an Ocean 7 watch and quality is definitely a consistent detail on their watches. The quality is apparent in every function of the watch especially where it matters most. Movement aside, the details on a watch where quality is of the upmost importance is the bezel and the crown.

The LM-7 is a well built watch that has a “tough as nails“ hardened titanium case which offers great protection for the ETA 2824-2 movement that is ticking away inside. It’s a comfortable watch to wear in all situations and environments that I put it through. It’s surprisingly lightweight but doesn’t have that “toyish” feel that some titanium watches have. The LM-7 is available at https://ocean7watchco.com for $799.00. Ocean 7 is currently running a 25% off sale on their website. The LM-7 comes with two bezels (sapphire and engraved) that can easily be changed with the included tool. If you get bored of one look, you can switch it up to refresh that “honeymoon” feel. I recommend the LM-7 to those who are on a budget looking for that dive watch of yesteryear experience but can’t afford the original watches. The LM-7 can handle a lot of abuse and still clean up for a night out…..well a night in these days.

Stay safe!

Thank you for reading. Thank you to Ocean 7.

  • Swiss Made with Swiss Automatic Movement
  • Black Dial with Matching Black Sapphire Bezel Insert
  • Extra Easy to Change, Engraved Bezel Included
  • Sandblasted Titanium Case DLC Hardened to Approximately 1250 Vickers
  • Weight – 93 Grams without Strap (35% Lighter than the Original LM-7)
  • Diameter – 55mm x 46 mm
  • Height – 17mm
  • Swiss Super Luminova
  • Flat Sapphire Crystal with Inside AR Coating
  • Water Resistance – 1250m
  • 24mm Lug Spacing
  • Screw Down Crown with Etched O7 Logo
  • 60 click turning Bezel with Locking Pushbutton
  • Black poly Sport Strap

Watch Review: Wolf Creek Voyageur

The “great outdoors” is something I have always enjoyed finding peace in. Since the pandemic, I find myself escaping into nature as often as I can. It is, without a doubt, my happy place where I can truly clear my head. As I find myself hiking/camping more I have discovered exactly how much more purpose driven gear I want/need. One of my new additions was a Zippo arc insert. In case you are unfamiliar with these, the act insert is a rechargeable lighter that creates a wind proof plasma beam that can be used to ignite a fire. I found out from experience that it works in the rain as well as being wind proof. This is an example of new technology added to a known tried and tested classic design. This is also quite applicable to the watch in this review, the Voyageur from Wolf Creek Watches.

“We believe that a focus on the simpler elements of design can lead to a more elegant and practical timepiece.” -Michael Johansen, founder of Wolf Creek watches. It all started for Michael when he was a kid and received a military style/tool watch. He has been hooked ever since. Wolf Creek Watches is located on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota and the watches are made in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.

The case on the Voyageur is simple, purpose driven and durable. As you can tell from the pictures, the Voyageur case is constructed of bronze, it’s CuSn8 to be precise. I have said this in the past, “too much emphasis is placed on the size of a case”. Quality design will/should always win over the measurements of a case. What I mean is, if a watch is made with good quality and a good design, then the size of the case doesn’t really matter. (Within reason) In the past the size of the Voyageur wouldn’t be something that I would even consider. I missed out on so many great watches because I thought the size of a watch was what mattered. I understand if you have a size preference and I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with having a certain preference. I just don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did by missing out on some great watches. Broadening horizons! The Voyageur measures in at 38mm x 11mm (including the domed sapphire crystal, 43 lug to lug, with a lug space of 20mm. I like the shape and design of this case.

Bronze is one of my favorite case materials because of how it is always changing as the natural patina begins to form. Bronze displays scratches and dents better than any other case material. The wear and tear adds to the natural beauty of the watch. The Voyageur case is basically constructed from a single piece of bronze thus creating some nice clean lines of the tonneau style. The simplicity of the Voyageur’s case actually increases the durability of the watch. How? The fewer pieces and components that make up a case, the fewer areas there are for mechanical error/breakdown/dirt build up/seal failure. The Voyageur features a push/pull crown. The Voyageur has very smooth and fluid winding action. It’s important to note that when you feel resistance when you are winding the crown that’s the indication that the watch is fully wound. Over winding will damage the movement.

The crown is signed with the Wolf Creek logo. I am definitely a sucker for a well designed logo. A well designed logo shows the dedication and devotion of a company’s commitment to their vision. That certainly is true with Wolf Creek’s logo, which is a beautiful combination of a wolf and a forest.

Wolf Creek kept it simple on the screw in stainless steel case back. The case back contains information about the watch itself. Shall we flip the watch back over to take a gander at this dial? The Voyageur’s dial is designed like the case. I mean the dial is designed with that same functional and purpose driven design that the case was designed with. The dial is simple and it gets the job done. Not in the lazy sense either. This simplicity is achieved through careful planning that involves a lot of trial & error in order to get it just right! When I was researching about this watch I read that the dial Voyageur’s dial was green. Of course I was pleasantly excited because bronze cases and green dials are a fantastic combination. A combination that is like the Yoda to Luke, the peanut butter to the jelly, Sam Wise to Frodo. The funny thing is when the Voyageur arrived and I unboxed it, I honestly thought the dial was black. It wasn’t until I changed the lighting that I discovered it wasn’t. I can tell you that this dial is in fact green, but it is an extremely dark green. It’s even better than I anticipated. The dark matte green dial doesn’t only look lovely, it serves a function other than looking pretty. The dark green allows the white numerals and the white hands to appear that they are “jumping” right off the dial. This color contrast allows for optimal legibility. I was hoping that the hands, numerals and arrow shaped markers were lume coated. Wolf Creek did in fact treat each of the dial details with a generous amount of BGW9 lume. This allows for that optimal legibility to be carried over into dark/lowlight situations/environments.

I find Wolf Creek’s design choices for the dial to be quite interesting. Interesting is a definitely a good thing here. How it translated into the final execution of the production piece is even a better thing. The logo, dial text and minute/second track are printed in a aged bronze color. The dark color gives the illusion that it vanishes and reappears. This is dependent upon what kind/type of lighting you are in. The color is cohesive with the bronze case which illustrates how carefully thought out the “simplicity” is. It’s that same simplicity that I mentioned earlier. The simple design doesn’t create any overcrowding on the dial. It’s a great example of how well thought out the details are. Details that retain the consistency with that simple, yet purpose driven design. This to me is what defines Michael’s mantra and what he was striving for in the execution of the Voyageur.

I want to also point out how well the second hand matches the hour & minute hand. Wolf Creek did a fantastic job of matching the shape of these three hands. This is my personal favorite example of how committed they were to the overall design cohesiveness of the Voyageur. The Voyageur’s extremely legible dial is set underneath a domed sapphire crystal. Adding to the overall legibility of the Voyageur, is the anti-reflective coating on the inside of the crystal.

I was truly intrigued by the choice of movement that was used for this watch. It is a movement that can be found in some watches from Panerai, Laco, Hamilton, etc… Of course this was more commonly found with movements from ETA before they tightened the belt on their movements. The 2801 movement inside the Voyageur is a 17 jewel movement, with a 42 hour power reserve that beats at 28800 vibrations per hour. I think the hand wound movement was the perfect and ideal choice for this watch and it’s adds to the endearing personality that the Voyageur possesses.

The Voyageur is an endearing watch that checks so many boxes for me. It may have smaller dimensions but it packs one hell of a punch in terms of ruggedness and quality build. Every function delivers exactly how one would expect it to deliver. The movement is accurate, with +5 seconds per day accuracy. This watch handled itself without fail during some cold, wet Midwestern winter conditions during numerous hikes. The bronze case is tough as nails with the protection against corrosion that CuSn8 is known for. A detail that that I want to point out are the beautiful machine strokes on the case. The strokes are becoming more visible as the patina is forming.

I have a few suggestions for Wolf Creek to improve upon an already great design. I would suggest a screw down crown for added protection against dirt, dust, and moisture. A personal preference would be to increase the size of the crown to add ease of gripping and operating it. The last suggestion I would make is to add drilled lugs with screw bars. Screw bars not only add over strength Vs spring bars but are easier to change the strap without unwanted scratches. These aren’t deal breakers, they are intended for furthering the purpose driven design of the Voyageur.

This watch is an excellent option for those looking to get into the bronze watch family. Especially for those who may not like the 42mm-47mm size range. It is also a great option for those who don’t have a under 40mm watch choice in their collection. Like I mentioned earlier in this review, this watch is packed full of purpose driven details. Details that are well thought out that help maintain it’s simplistic charm. The quality found throughout this watch is extremely impressive. It is even more impressive because this is a first release for Wolf Creek Watches. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this young brand.

Thank you for your support and readership. Thank you to Michael and the team at Wolf Creek Watch company.

The Voyageur can be purchased for $725 USD at https://www.wolfcreekwatchco.com

The straps included with the Voyageur, 2 Nato straps and a beautiful handmade leather strap.

Voyageur Mechanical Specifications

316L Stainless Steel Case Back 

CuSn8 Bronze Case

ETA 2801 Movement with 42 Hour Power Reserve

38mm Wide Case

43mm Lug to Lug

20mm Lug Width

11mm Height (Including Crystal)

Domed Sapphire Crystal with Inner AR Coating

Dark Green Matte Dial

BGW9 Number and Arrow Markings

BGW9 Printed Hour, Minute, and Second Hands