Watch Review: OWC 1884-World Timer Super Compressor

It is something truly magical when you can see a watchmaker’s passion in the physical form on their watch. This is exactly what can be found in OWC’s new release, the WT-1884. “OWC – Orange Watch Company – was born out of passion, frustration and the obsessive compulsion of one man – Daniel Fock – who is now following his dream and the legacy of his “overgrootvader” Willem Hugo Fock who studied at the Ecole d’Horlogie in Neuchâtel in the early part of the 20th Century.” I have had the pleasure and honor of knowing Dan for the past 6+ years. In those past years I have gotten the chance to learn and understand how his watch making passion works. It is quite apparent if you have ever had the opportunity to experience one of his watches first hand.

One of the things that I appreciate about OWC is that their focus is more on the engineering of their watches and not the fashion. Dan also focuses on the quality above price and traditional values over marketing. Dan has admitted that where they succeed in quality watch making, they have failed at marketing. I know that OWC has a cult following in the watch community and the word of mouth is better marketing than money itself can buy.

If I remember correctly, it was over a year ago when I first saw the WT-1884 prototype. WT stands for world timer which I am sure you can tell by just looking at the watch. The bezel features the major cities of the world on it. To use this function is quite simple. For example if it’s 1:00 pm in your current location and you want to know what time it is in a specific city. First you line up your time zone/city on the bezel with 1300 on the chapter ring, then you look at where the specific city you want to know is lined up with the number on the chapter ring. The numbers are easy to read and the legibility is increased because the chapter is separated into AM/PM colored sections. Lining up the cities with the chapter is also made easy because the knurled edges are easy to grip, the bezel has smooth rotating function and everything lines up with precision. All of these details are a great example of OWC’s focus on engineering over fashion mantra.

The dial on the WT-1884 is extremely legible. The matte black dial base allows the raised numeral markers to standout. The applied markers are oversized and coated generously with C3 SuperLumiNova Luminescence. The dial is simple and clean with minimal text. The only text you will find is OWC logo under the 12 o’clock position and ‘AUTOMATIC’ above the 6 o’clock position. This dial is extremely legible and that good legibility is because of precise proportion design. The sword style hands are perfectly proportioned to the dial itself. Both the hands and the applied markers are bordered with a high polished finish. That high polish finish catches the light brilliantly which gives assistance to the legibility when lightning is at a lower than normal level (before the lume kicks in to help even further). The logo and the arrow tipped second hand both add a pop of orange color to the dial. I think the length of the second hand is perfect because it just reaches the inner most point of the chapter ring. This detail of length makes timing to the second an easy job when you really need that “down to the second” accuracy.

The case on the WT-1884 is absolutely perfect in my opinion. Dan’s attention to precision is extremely apparent throughout the design of this case. It has every functional detail that I look for in a watch, drilled lugs, easy to grip crown/bezel, solid/screw down case back, thick screw bars. Personally I would have preferred a full brushed case or bead blasted finish instead of the combination of brushed and polished finishes but that’s just a personal preference and not something that OWC did wrong. The crown function is one of the best I have ever experienced in terms of function. The unscrewing/screwing action is so smooth and aligns perfectly every time. There isn’t any extra wobble that makes you feel like it could snap off at any second. Setting the time and manually winding the watch is smooth as butter. There definitely isn’t any of that choppy/gritty/grind with this crown’s winding motion.

Ticking away inside this watch is the SW300-1 Elaborate Top Regulation. This movement is essentially a Chronometre grade movement without the swing tag and added cost. The watch kept +3 seconds overall during the review process. What really worked well for me on the WT-1884 aside from it’s accuracy, was the ease of function when I needed it to the most. I have always been an avid outdoorsman/nature lover, but since the pandemic I have really focused more into getting the appropriate gear to increase the time I am able to hike/endure the elements. Techwriter on Instagram was my go to guy for questions on certain gear to get in terms of backpack, EDC case, etc…. So the watches I have been reviewing have had to endure more outdoorsy activities than they had to in the past. There’s definitely more exposure to the elements, extreme temperatures hot/cold, and more exposure to accidental abuse. Everything on the OWC functioned above and beyond what a watch should. Let’s face it, most dive watches only see desk diving. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. People should buy what they like and use it for whatever they like. If you want to know if a watch can withstand more than just desk diving I am here to answer that for you with my reviews.

I had no trouble using the bezel or crown in any weather situation meaning with gloves on, in wet/cold and muddy environments. The high polished sides on stainless steel case scratched up of course but that’s to be expected of stainless steel with this type of finish. It adds character to the watch in my opinion. The sapphire crystal definitely withstood the abuse without any signs of wear and tear. I should mention that the 4.5mm thick crystal is extremely clear and has AR coating on the inside. In my pictures you see that the watch is on a ballistic style strap. It’s one of the best straps on the market in terms of price and quality. Vario made the strap and it isn’t included with this watch. The watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet. I didn’t think that the bracelet couldn’t hold up to my abuse. The bracelet is one of the best out there. If the clasp was different, it would easily compete against the Rolex oyster style bracelet. The end links are completely solid and each link on the bracelet is removable. Not only removable but extremely secure because OWC uses high quality Torx screws on their bracelets. I prefer wearing bracelets on my watches at work because they are the easiest style to clean off the mass amount of germs that I am exposed to. Because I am working with patients who are positive for covid, this is more important to me because keeping my watch clean to avoid cross contamination is vital. I constantly rely on my watch at work throughout my day. I’m constantly touching it, rotating the bezel, etc….

The inspiration for some of Dan’s past releases are quite apparent, that’s why I think the WT-1884 is my personal favorite of OWC’s offerings. It has it’s own personality/identity along with OWC’s attention to quality/functional details. People may say that the price for a small brand is too high, but what is the reason you are looking at when buying a watch? Are you more interested in the name on the dial or are you more interested in the quality of the build? That’s a question that each individual has to ask themselves. There’s no right or wrong reason for buying a watch(unless you think watches are an investment 🙄)

The WT-1884 is a comfortable watch to wear and it wears true to its 40.5 mm x 12.9 mm dimensions. The curved lugs and flat case back allows the watch to sit/hug the wrist with nice balance and presence. This watch should be a consideration for someone who wants a watch that has precision and quality throughout every single component that makes up this watch. There were not corners cut whatsoever. I always enjoy reviewing Dan’s watches because of how he owns his OCD tendencies and how those tendencies allow him to execute through the functional design details in each of his watches. Each watch is made to order which adds a bit more special and individualized experience when purchasing a watch. I included below a short interview with Dan so you can get a glimpse into his watch making world/thought process.

Thank you all for reading. Thank you Dan/OWC.

A short and functional interview with Dan from OWC.

What would you like to explain about using a chronometre movement?

Dan: “What I would like to stress is that a Chronometre is not an accurate watch, it is not one without error. The most accurate movement/watch in the world is NOT a Chronometre. But take a walk back in time to the golden age of maritime adventure. It was VITAL for navigation for the ship to have a clock a Ships Chronometre or they would all die and never reach their destination.”

“Simply put a Chronometre is a watch/clock whose inaccuracy is constant. All movements have inaccuracies, but Chronometers’ have stable inaccuracies. This is why Ships Chronometers’ were locked in a box. During the voyage the clock must NEVER be touched, its time must NEVER be readjusted. Thereby the navigator who knows the clock gains/loses 5 seconds a day and every day, can accurately calculate his position. (http://www.orangewatchcompany.com/chronometre-and-accuracy/)”

What exactly are you interested in when you record your data about the watch movements?

Dan: “So it is not the accuracy we are interested in, but the stability of the inaccuracy. I know that sounds strange. But when I am faced with the question, how accurate are your watches, the reply is , if accuracy is your things buy a quartz.”

We have all seen the two crown watches that call themselves super compressor style cases, but your watches are actually functioning super compressor cases correct?

Dan: “The watch you have is a Super Compressor/Compressor – one of only 2 currently produced. The other one is the JLC (and I am not 100% sure it is a real compressor). “

What about testing and the materials that are used in the WT-1884?

Dan: “Tested to 30 ATM, 4.5mm sapphire crystal (Japanese), usual OWC features, 4mm thick Oyster Bracelet, Torx screws (I think I am the only one to use Torx) (http://www.orangewatchcompany.com/torx-design/). The dial has raised markers and made in Taiwan. The hands are from a new place in France. Plus the Crown is all new especially made for the SW-300-1. You will notice it remains 8.0mm, but a little more elegant than before.”

Where and how are your watches assembled?

Dan: “All made with love and assembled Not by a machine and not by technicians in Switzerland so it qualifies for the very loose term “Swiss Made” My watches are assembled by hand tested by hand and run on the bench for a few weeks by a Master Watchmaker. Like any high end machine, it is essentially used when it is bought new.”

Specifications – WT-1884:

  • Case Diameter (no crown) 40.5mm
  • Thickness 12.9mm
  • Lug Gap 20.0mm
  • Lug-to-lug 51.0mm
  • Crown 8.0mm
  • Crystal (Sapphire) 4.5mm
  • AR Coating
  • Bracelet 20.0mm x 4.0mm (non-tapering)
  • End links Solid
  • All links removable via Torx screws
  • Bezel 40.50mm
  • Bezel Stainless Steel with engraved markings
  • Sword Hands
  • C3 SuperLumiNova Luminescence (hands and dial)
  • Dial Colours: Black
  • Indices: Applied
  • Complications: No Date
  • Movement
    • Sellita SW300-1 Elaborate Top Regulation (Chronometre Grade)
  • Other:
    • Case Back Stainless Steel with 6 Torx Screw (Torque: 0.175 Nm approx.)

Watch Review: TACS AVL II

There’s a fine line between unique and gimmicky when it comes to the design of a watch that doesn’t follow traditional route. I say fine line because a design can easily go the gimmick route rather quickly. I find myself gravitating towards the more unique watches these days. Why? The current market is flooded by uninspired homage watches that I find extremely boring. When I saw the Tacs AVL II watch it was kind of a no brainer choice for me. The obvious reading is because I am obsessed with watches and the other reason is because I am also obsessed photography. The TACS AVL II combined both of my obsessions into this unique 47mm watch. The watch arrived in one of the best packaging presentation that I have experienced. I was more impressed by TACS presentation than I was when the Rolex SD43 arrived.

The AVL watch came in a handsome dark wooden box. I don’t normally talk much about the box a watch comes in but I love the details on the box the AVL arrived in. The outside of the is detailed with silver on three of it’s sides. Each plaque is engraved with specific details about the watch and the company. The top of the box is a hinged lid that fastens closed via a leather strap and a silver fastener post. I know it’s all about what’s on the inside of this box, but know that the watch arrives in safe style. The last detail that I want to talk about before we get to the watch itself is my favorite detail of this whole package. It is found protecting the watch and it is so freaking cool. The watch is protected by a leather cap that is designed to mimic an old school lens cover. It is by far the best and the most original design of a protective cover I have seen. Tacs gets major points for this little detail.

I initially spent quite a bit of time just admiring the amount of detail on the case of this watch. Throughout my time with this watch I was constantly discovering new details that I missed previously. The charm of this watch is all the styling cues that come from the inspiration behind the watch. As technology quickly marches on, the old ways are slowly forgotten. Especially how digital technology has advanced over the past few years. Manual cameras that use actual film is a dying art. Tacs has done an excellent job with keeping the memory of “old school” photography alive with the AVL II. As important as the style of this watch is to it’s essence, function is king when it comes to it’s “soul”. After all it’s a watch, not a camera.

The bezel has that same smooth, gliding feel when you rotate it, that is reminiscent of the feel a vintage camera’s manual focusing lens. The knurled edges on the bezel allows for easy grip. This bezel is bidirectional and rotates ever so smoothly. The clever design of the bezel, crystal and dial all come together to give the illusion of an actual camera lens and aperture. I like how the arch of the domed (fisheye) crystal sits below the top of the bezel. Just like the bezel, the crown features knurled edges allowing for easy grip for operating. The crown function is without flaw. It screws/unscrews smoothly as does the winding motion/setting the time. It was a cold and rainy day when I took the AVL out for a 10 mile hike for some photographs. Along the way I periodically would set the time back to 10:10. Operating the 8mm crown and occasionally the bezel was easy to do even with cold, wet hands. This watch isn’t small and it isn’t light, but it does wear comfortably on the wrist. It never once became a nuisance during my hike.

There is an exhibition case back on the AVL that allows the wearer to get a good view of the movement ticking inside. If that isn’t enough for you, part of the Citizen Miyota 82S0 movement can also be viewed for the dial side. The dial is quite simple and it works brilliantly for this watch design. The hand set on the AVL is also simple, a combination of black & white with a touch of silver at the tips and a splash of lume thrown in for those dark situations. There isn’t much in terms of a traditional dial layout with numerals and all. Again Tacs took it’s design cues from vintage manual cameras when they drew up this dial. There are some numerals on the chapter ring starting at 12 minutes and finishing off at 50 minutes. The numbers are small but they suffice to give you good reference points for telling the time. Rest assured that you will have legibility in the dark because the numerals are coated with lume. Tacs took the design a bit further by also coating the letters found on the bezel.

I really like the size and weight of this watch. It feels substantial teamed with it’s good quality, the AVL II is a pleasant surprise. I am impressed with this watch, impressed by the details, the quality and the unique design. The 100 meters of water resistance actually was a welcome surprise. Compare this to a deep dive watch and I get that it’s not that impressive. It’s impressive because typically watches like this have very little water resistant capabilities. In terms of function, everything on this watch functions without any issue whatsoever. For $599 the AVL II is a welcome option in the ever growing sea of boring homages. You get a unique, well made watch that comes in an impressive presentation and equipped with a solid, quick release bracelet.

What would I suggest to make the AVL II better? Well to be honest nothing comes to mind initially. When I first started spending time with this watch my initial recommendation was going to be with the hands. I thought that the hands could have been longer and wider. That opinion changed though. This is why I prefer spending a lot of time with a watch before I write it’s review. The more time that I spent experiencing this watch gave me a deeper understanding of the why of the design, specifically the hands. If Tacs made the hands larger it would block the small skeletonized portion of the dial. This would create a chain reaction throughout the dial causing change that would jeopardize the overall pleasant aesthetics on this dial. This watch is a strong contender option for those who love photography and who love watches. The design of this watch is extremely unique and works brilliantly. Unique yes, gimmicky no. The attention to detail and how well those details were executed is what impressed me most about this watch.

The AVL II is available via Tacs website:

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Thank you for reading. Thank you Tacs for allowing me to conduct my review.

Serial number plate

Watch Review: Kaal Multiverse prototype

Case Diameter: 42mm

Case Lug to Lug: 47mm

Case Thickness: 19mm including domed glass

Case Lug Width: 22mm

Case Material: Stainless Steel 316L

Crystal: Double Sapphire Domed, Inner AR Coating

Base Dial: Aventurine

Hour Hand: Transparent Disc, Superluminova C3 Luminous Markers

Minute Hand: Northern Star Tip, Superluminova C3 Luminous Northern Star

Second Hand: Sweeping Upright with Orb, Superluminova C3 Luminous Orb

Inner Dial: 3D Effect of Astronomical Object

Seiko NH35, Automatic

24 Jewels

41 Hours Power Reserve

Strap:

Material: Premium Horween Genuine Leather

Buckle: 20mm Stainless Steel Signed

Length: 120mm/80mm

Kaal is like a super group of musicians comparable to the likes of Velvet Revolver. “Kaal Watch which is born in sunny Singapore and founded by 3 experienced industry names in the world of horology – Alvin Lye who is one half of the avant-garde Azimuth Watch Works brand with iconic designs like Mr. Roboto, The Spaceship just to name but a few, Jessie Yeo who is also the better half of Alvin Lye, is also the co-owner of watch brand Trifoglio Italia that gave you such pieces like the Radio City, Millimetro and Veloce. Rounding off this fantastic trio is Alvin Lew who has spent years in the watch industry being an active watch blogger and reviewer at Micro Brand Watch World and an avid collector of watches.”

In the ever growing sea of Rolex homages, it’s refreshing to see an avant-garde piece coming out. The Kaal multiverse is a truly unique watch with an equally unique way of displaying the time. You have your choice of dials with either Artemis(moon), Sol(sun), or Gaea(Earth). Once you have picked out which dial you like, now it’s time to figure out deciphering the display layout. Before we get into playing Ralphy with our little orphan Annie decoder ring to decipher the dial display, I want to start at the base of this dial.

A unique dial calls for a unique material and Kaal definitely went that route with using Aventurine as the material for the base dial. For anyone who isn’t familiar, aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. To keep that glistening/shimmering effect the hour numerals are displayed on a transparent disc. The glistening effect gives the illusion of the endless star filled depths of space. The futuristic font works perfectly with the overall theme of this watch. It reminds me of a legible version of the countdown on the Predator’s gauntlet/self destruct bomb. Each of the numbers/hours is coated with Superluminova C3 Lume which allows the Multiverse to be legible in both light and dark environments. The Multiverse is equipped with an inner chapter that has the minute track printed on it. A nice functional detail about the chapter ring is the thickness which allows for some optimal legibility from most angles especially because it has teamed up with this double domed crystal. Oh, did I mention that the chapter ring is fully lumed?

Kaal has done a thorough job of committing to the theme of the Multiverse through the precise execution of these details. The “northern star” tip of the minute hand is an example of the details I am referring to. I like that Kaal made the the tip on the minute hand to resemble a glistening star instead of going with the traditional star ⭐️ shape. The prototype version is an all white star but the production pieces will feature a red outlined star which will allow for greater visibility/legibility. Kaal is also shortening the stem on the minute hand to only allow the star itself to be seen. They are also increasing the size of the star from 3.28mm to 5mm, again this will allow for a much greater legible minute hand. The minute hand isn’t the only hand to receive a size upgrade either. The “orb” or as I like to refer to it as, the satellite second hand size is being increased from 1.4mm to 1.8mm. The satellite second hand orbits around the 3D part of the dial, which is either the earth, moon or sun depending upon the version you chose.

It is exactly that, the 3D detail of this dial that intrigued me the most when I first gazed upon the Multiverse watch. The details on each version is meticulously done with such precision that it is the true “star” of the dial itself. From the craters on the moon version or the oceans on the earth version, the intricate detailing is quite mesmerizing. The coloring on the sun and the moon are being changed a bit from what you see here in these pictures to what they will be on the production pieces. As for the color on the moon it will be shifting from the bluish color to a more grayish color and the sun from a red color to a more orange color. These color changes will give both versions a more accurate depiction of both celestial objects. These changes will be taking already great design into a more fine tuned direction that will appease both watch enthusiasts and astronomy lovers alike.

The 42mm x 19mm thick case is made of 316L stainless steel with a uniform brushed finish is as beautifully unique as the dial itself. The case also consists of little details that are consistent with Kaal’s visionary design. In my opinion the most obvious detail of this case is the massive double domed sapphire crystal. It creates the perfect viewing window for this dial and also creates a stunning profile for the watch itself. The inside of the crystal is treated with an anti-reflective coating to allow for a greater legible/glare free experience. The choice of a large double domed crystal makes perfect sense to me on a watch with a unique dial such as the multiverse has. You can literally view this dial from almost any angle whatsoever. The fixed bezel is nice and thick brushed stainless steel which is the perfect frame for the massive domed crystal.

The Multiverse case features short curved lugs (47mm L2L) which play a role in allowing this watch to sit and conform to the wrist comfortably without any excessive wrist overhang. Spaced at 22mm, the lugs hold the included horween leather strap in place with the quick release spring bars. The strap is very well made which it possesses that precision leather strap look/feel of those pricey custom straps possess. Taking the strap on and off is made so easy because of the quick release function and it also helps protect the lugs from those easily incurred strap change scratches. This strap also features a 20mm brushed stainless steel buckle that is signed with Kaal’s logo.

The screw down case back isn’t the end of the fine details that we have seen throughout this watch. It features some nicely raised planetary details that are not only consistent with the Multiverse’s theme, but they are extremely well executed. Sometimes engraved or raised details on a case back can have some sharp edges to them, but that is not the case here. The solar system found on this case back is done smoothly and accurately, but the sun is not the center this time. A small, sapphire crystal porthole is the center of attention on the Multiverse’s case back. A porthole that gives you a small glimpse of the Seiko NH35, Automatic movement with it’s 24 jewels and it’s 41 hour power reserve. Now you know that it being an automatic movement it is wound by the rotation of the weighted rotar and it can also be wound via the crown. The Multiverse features a knurl edged crown that is extremely easy to grip and operate. This crown is a push pull style crown that operates with buttery smooth movement. Setting the time and winding the watch is done with ease and without any of that annoying extra wobble that can plague some watches. The knurl edges is done very well which adds a nice flare of detail to the side of the case which you can notice is void of any crown guards. Adding a bit more detail to this side of the case is the inclusion of the Kaal logo that is etched on the crown itself.

I have been a huge fan of the watches that Azimuth has produced over the years. In fact, I still desire a Mr Roboto watch. Azimuth produces beautiful avant-garde watches that are unfortunately out of my price range. When I first saw the Multiverse I thought to myself “wow what a beautiful and unique watch, but I know that it is going to be way too much for my budget” I was shocked when I saw that these were only $429 usd. Then when I actually handled them in person, I was even more shocked. The quality and the design on these are way better than what the price implies. I have experienced watches that 10x the cost of the multiverse with far less quality and design detail. We have all said this before“oh you get a lot of watch for the price”, but this time it is way more prevalent in regards to the Multiverse watch.

Kaal is already working on improving the Multiverse from what you see on the prototypes in this review and what you will see on the actual production pieces. I posted a list of all the expected changes that are being made as you read this. There are so many little endearing details on this avant-garde beauty both on the dial and on the case. The brushed finishing on the Multiverse case is nearly as good as it gets. The brushed finish in my opinion was the right way to go as opposed to having a high polished case because a. It wouldn’t be cohesive with the overall design of the watch and b. It would distract from the main focal point clearly being the dial. The Earth/Moon/Sun are attached to the dial with a semi skeletonized “metal bridge” with a nice ark that follows the curvature of the crystal and planet. From the bigger details such as the crystal and dial, to the smaller details such as the comet engraved lugs and star head faux screw bars, all of these details impressed me. The bright glow of the lume on the Multiverse is also quite impressive. I do wish that the star head faux screw bars were actual functioning screw bars as opposed to the quick release style.

For fans of space and fans of avant-garde style, this is definitely an affordable choice for you. The trio of “watch gods” have created something special here with the Multiverse. As well you know how I have an affinity for the unique watches, the Multiverse ranks high on my list of unique watches to consider. I want to thank you for reading my last review of 2020 and I look forward to continuing our journey together in 2021. Thank you to Kaal for allowing me to spend so much time with the 3 prototype watches.

Changes from the prototype to the final production pieces.

Watch Review: Achtung Galaxy

“The mystic world of time, a whole new galaxy on your wrist, with an impeccable luminescence on the dial, a unique way of time telling”NH35 automatic movement

Black IP case

Width of 44mm

3 Time Zone

Date window

40 hour power reserve

Sapphire crystal watch glass

Complimentary leather watch strap

Quick release calf leather strap

5ATM, 50 meter

Exclusively Limited to 28 pieces

2 Years Warranty

Unconventional time telling. The Achtung Galaxy’s dial is anything but conventional and that’s one of the reasons why it caught my attention. The Galaxy’s theme is centered around space, astronomical centered to be exact. Drawing inspiration from the moon and stars, Achtung designed a rather unique dial. I was intrigued by the overall design and was quite curious on how the time display is read. There isn’t a traditional hour, minute and second hand layout here on the Galaxy. Instead, what we have here in terms of time telling layout is a moon, a plane and a shooting star. “That’s no moon” actually Ben, this time it is a moon. The moon is the “head cheese”, as it’s main responsibility is for pointing to the hour. I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t much of a learning curve here once you understand what the key “players” are responsible for in terms of reading the time. The red plane is the pilot of telling the minutes. Next is “le petit prince” shooting star is the second hand. The shooting star is the most “traditional” display in the sense that it’s an actual hand centered on the central axis point of the dial. The tail of the star has a good amount of curvature which plays well with the rest of the dial. The amount of devotion that Achtung is quite apparent with the unique design uniformity that is found throughout this dial. In terms of functional details, this dial received some very cool lume treatment that glows bright like the night sky in the country. The Galaxy is just as legible in the daytime as it is at night, perhaps more so at night 🤔

There isn’t much going on in terms of text on this dial. The only text on the dial is the Achtung name/logo. I could have gone without the date window on the Galaxy but you know, personal preferences. The only numbers that are found on the dial are 1 through 12 that are displayed along the perimeter on inner chapter ring. The detail that really makes this dial a win for me are all of the little lume stars that scattered throughout this dial. In the dark is when I truly appreciate these little details because that’s when they are allowed to truly “shine”. The dial is made up of three layers that make it functional for displaying the time. There are clear discs for each layer and each layer is designated for that specific time telling duty. The bottom disc has the moon(hour), the top disc has the red plane(minutes) and sitting above the discs is the lone shooting star(seconds). Each of the discs features the painted lume treated stars and both discs are set against the sunburst dial. All combining together to make that expansive galaxy effect. The sapphire crystal gives you the view to the dial and that porthole view is framed by the polished fixed bezel.

The Galaxy comes in different variations but this one is the black case model, the model with the dark mood of space itself. All the case variations come in the 44mm square case. It is a quirky watch to wear that has quirky wrist presence. That’s one thing that is always a welcome guarantee with Achtung’s watches, they always possess that fun, quirky wrist presence without that serious pretentious BS.

Ticking away inside the Galaxy is the NH35 automatic movement with a 40 hour power reserve. Whether you are viewing the dial or the movement, both are completely visible through the sapphire crystal which are located on the front/back of the Galaxy. The screw down case back is framed with stainless steel that has information about the specs of the Galaxy around the outer perimeter. The Galaxy comes on a black leather strap that features red stitching and quick release spring bars. Finishing out the strap is a traditional pin buckle that is signed with ‘Achtung’. The short angled lugs allows the Galaxy to wear smaller than what the measurements imply which can be seen in the wrist shot below. It really is a comfortable watch to wear and the watch does sit nicely upon the wrist. It definitely won’t overhang on most wrist sizes, even on those with smaller wrists the Galaxy will conform without looking oversized.

The finishing on the case is uniformly smooth throughout the entire case itself. The black case is gives the Galaxy a sleek and stealth appearance which allows the dial to become even more pronounced because of the strong contrast that is created here. The case is finished by a combination of both brushed and polished finishes. Adding to the overall detailing there are four hex head screws decorating each of the corners. The screws aren’t functional for any reason as they are purely for decorative purposes. The push/pull crown is also decorated. The crown features the Achtung ‘A’ logo. As for the function of the crown, it operates smoothly for both winding and for setting the time/date. There isn’t any extra wobble on the crown that can be found on watches with flimsy crown stems. From a purely personal preference standpoint, I would have preferred a screw down crown. The brushed, matte sections of the case of my personal favorite highlights of this watch which allows the smaller polished areas to standout.

The Galaxy’s dial is one that I could not keep my eyes off of, especially at night. I would charge it up fully with a flashlight before going to bed. While laying in bed, in a completely darkened room, I would admire the brightly glowing mini galaxy on my wrist! One thing that was a surprise to me about this watch was how many complements it received from random people. The average person doesn’t typically notice a watch someone is wearing. Normally it’s only other watch enthusiasts that take notice of a watch on a strangers wrist. People would comment first on the case shape and but when they would get close enough to notice the dial is when I would get comments like “Wow that’s cool but how do you tell the time?” These conversations would always turn into a mini tutorial of how the watch actually functions as a time telling device. I didn’t mind whatsoever as I love talking about watches with anyone that is interested.

The Galaxy is priced at $530 USD. Who is the Galaxy watch intended for? I would recommend this watch to someone who is a sci-fi fan or space enthusiast. It’s limited to just 28 pieces in each case/color variation. If fun, limited edition watches are your thing then the Galaxy might be an excellent option for you. Mechanically speaking, the Galaxy functions as it should without any issues whatsoever. The only suggestions I have to make this watch better is one, rid the dial of the date window. This dial is uniquely cool in my opinion, the disruption of the flow for a date window is blasphemy! The dial would be more aesthetically appealing without a date window. I also would have liked to see the stars on the case back to be lumed or the crown. Just some of my suggestions to improve upon what is already a unique watch. My suggestions are only to take the Galaxy to the next level of design. These suggestions all come from an opinion based origin. Obviously the design isn’t for everyone and I get that, but if you are that person who is interested in a different kind of time telling experience, the Galaxy is definitely a watch to consider.

The Galaxy is available for purchase on Achtung’s website:

Achtung Galaxy / Black

Thank you all for reading.

Thanks to Achtung and TVG!

Watch Review: Nitron Skelette

Nitron Skelette:

  • 48mm 316L Stainless Steel
  • 40 hour power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal watch glass
  • Skeletonized dial with superluminova
  • Limited number engraved on backcase
  • Complimentary extra leather watch strap

5ATM, 50 meter

Exclusively Limited to 28 pieces

Nitron presents their collection for Year 2020 as
“You Only Live Once”.

“See through the frame of time, light up with superluminova, be that classic soul with that extra personality, made with uniqueness and that exquisite you in mind.”

I talk about it often, that magical moment when I first got to wind my grandfather’s pocket watch. Holding the watch up to my ear, listening to each click as my 5 year old fingers slowly wound up his watch. One day this experience was made even more special, when the back of the watch was opened and I got to experience the movement in full working order. There wasn’t anything more magical to that 5 year old me at that time than watching all those tiny parts working together in perfect horological harmony. That Christmas I received a plastic, see through Woody Woodpecker watch, my first watch. I was hooked. Fast forward to “adulthood” seeing my first skeleton dial watch, the Chronoswiss Opus, instantly transported me back to those magical childhood moments. Skeleton dials might not be I first choice when buying a watch, but they will always have the power to magically transport me to my childhood. For that they will always hold a special place in my horological beating heart. That’s why I was excited to spend some time with the Nitron Skelette watch.

The Skelette is a sleek looking watch that has the styling cues of what I would call “urban dress”. The Skelette is the type of watch that you throw on with your jeans and t-shirt for weekend play or to the office on casual Friday. You can certainly dress it up with a suit if you so desire, after all it’s your watch right? The Skelette is a 48mm watch, with a layered case consisting of black, and turquoise finished with a 316l stainless steel case back. The four cut outs on the black dial side of the case allows for some of the turquoise to peak through adding some topside detail to the Skelette. Decorating the sides of the case is metallic turquoise, which in fact can be found throughout the Skelette. An example of how Nitron was committed to carrying through the detail on this watch. A small detail example of this can be found on the push/pull style crown with it’s turquoise ring that surrounds the circumference. The crown detail is taken further by Nitron because instead of leaving the crown plain, the design team added a raised ‘N’ to add that extra amount of detail. They may be small details but the certainly add up giving a watch an overall polish finish look with uniform details carried throughout the watch. The crown itself functions smoothly when manually winding the watch and when setting the time. It’s a decent size for gripping and the edges allows for no slip operation.

The main focal detail of the Nitron Skelette is of course the dial. You either love skeleton dials or you don’t, I completely understand that they aren’t for everyone. I think Nitron did a good job with the design of the Skelette’s dial. They didn’t just strip away the dial, slap the hands on and left the movement completely exposed. The left the outer most portion of the dial which includes the hour and minute markers. Nitron uses circular applied hour markers that are coated with superluminova allowing for legibility in lowlight/dark environments. The same treatment is applied to the semi-skeletonized hour/minute hands and to the second hand. I would definitely say that the dial on the Skelette is busy and yes that’s basically what skeleton dial watches have. These are style of watches that you buy if you are relying on your watch for easy to read dials for being in precise situations that reading the dial needs to be accomplished in split second detail. A skeleton dial watch is purchased because the tick of every second wants to be admired slowly, appreciating all the parts working together in harmony to achieve the tick of every second, the slow movement of the minute hand around the dial every hour, and the 12 hour journey of the hour hand.

The text on the dial is pretty much bare bones limited to only include ‘Nitron’ which is located at the 3 o’clock position. Nitron did a nice job of detailing the main focal points of the exposed movement by using turquoise to border those points. Not only does this draw the eye to the “oscillating heart” but it also ties the watch together in full circle. The uniformity that is created throughout this watch is done simply by the use of turquoise on the case, crown, bezel, dial, and even to the stitching on the strap. The dedication to consistency of detail is apparent throughout this watch.

The watch is comfortable to wear despite what the 48mm case measurement implies due in part to the unique lug design. Nitron went with an unconventional solid lug design with under mount quick release strap/lug bars. The short lugs, the under mount style and oval shape of the case allows the Skelette to wear much more like a 44mm case rather than 48mm. Now that doesn’t mean this watch doesn’t have a presence on the wrist because the dial and the colorful case certainly gives this piece some wrist presence.

The stainless steel case back on the Skelette is simple yet does have a small detail that leaves a larger impact. There is a small sapphire window on the case back that allows you to see the movement but a more note worthy detail is the rotor. The fleur de lis design of the rotor is quite beautiful from what you get to see. Typically I prefer a solid case back with a nice engraved picture but this time I want to actually see more of this movement, more importantly I want to see more of this rotor.

The newest offering from Nitron is a well thought out designed watch that offers something unique and not just another dive watch clone. Who exactly is this watch designed for? It’s for anyone looking for something a bit different, something unique that isn’t completely over the top. Like I mentioned earlier, it can be paired well with a t-shirt and jeans or dressed up to whatever the wearer so desires. The Skelette kind of has this modern day James Bond vibe going on for it. I really like the matte gun metal dial that surrounds the skeletonized portion of the dial. It creates a nice contrast between the solid and the open freeness of the dial. The watch was keeping + 8 seconds per day time during the review period via the Hangzhou 7500 automatic movement. The Nitron Skelette is priced at $590 USD and is available via their website https://www.nitronwatches.com/collections/skelette/products/nitron-skelette-tiffany-blue

Thank you all for reading. Please stay well and be safe.

Thank you Nitron.

Watch Review: Achtung Timebox

“Where time is kept and treasured in a box, where everyone has to admit we all have a box that keeps our memento, our memory, and that goes with time too.”

Timebox:

Automatic Seiko NH35 movement

316L Curved Stainless Steel case

40 hour power reserve

Curved Sapphire crystal watch glass

Superluminova decorated dial

46mm (9 to 3) by 38mm (12 to 6)

Available in various combination of IP Steel

3ATM, 30 meter

Exclusively Limited to 28 pieces

Unique. Individualistic. Artistic. All 3 are extremely suitable when describing Achtung’s latest release, the Timebox. The rectangular case of the Timebox is massive to say the least. Think Dick Tracy meets Mobile Suit Gundam, classic meeting futuristic. The 46mm x 38mm case is large, there is no denying that but what Achtung did in terms of “design to fit” allows this watch to wear comfortably conformed on the wrist. The amount of curvature that the case has is what allows the Timebox to sit so well on the wrist, allowing it to wear smaller than the measurements imply. The Timebox short curved lugs assist with containing the watch from having unnecessary wrist overhang. I am impressed by the size of the curved crystal on both the anterior and posterior sides of the Timebox case. Both crystals are framed by the beautiful blue stainless steel that is tied into the blue on the dial of the Timebox. A cool detail is that the four screws found in each of the corners of the topside of the case are silver, and the four screws found on the bottom of the case are blue. Yes it’s a small detail but it shows Achtung’s commitment for consistency of design.

There is a lot of detail that is packed into the Timebox watch. The polished lugs and polished sides of the case are well done in terms of finishing and execution. I really like the textured sides of the case on both the 9 o’clock side and the 3 o’clock side which adds a nice amount of depth to the case. There are little details on the case that also have a nice impact of the overall finished feel of the Timebox. For example the polished finished push/pull style crown is engraved with the Achtung logo. The crown functions extremely smooth whether you are winding up the watch manually or if you are trying to set the date and time. There is absolutely no extra play or wiggle with the crown whatsoever that can often plague the feel/function of a crown.

Depth. Texture. Detail. This is a quick three word summary of the dial on the Timebox. The semi-skeletonized dial is quite legible despite the amount of detail that it has going on it. The arrow shaped hands are proportional to the dial itself which is always a welcomed design detail. A pet peeve of mine is when the hand of a watch are inadequately sized to the circumference of the dial itself. The polished hour and minute hands are coated with Superluminova, as is the arrow head tip on the second hand. I like that Achtung went the minimalistic route with the dial text, keeping it simple with just ‘Achtung’ and ‘AUTOMATIC’. Yes the dial does have a lot going on but that doesn’t effect the legibility of telling the time, which isn’t just limited to daylight visibility either. The Superluminova treatment to the hands and markers allow for optimal legibility even in less than optimal lighting situations.

The textured “bridge” that is attached to the dial via 4 polished flathead screws holds the only two numerals of the hour markers, the subsequent markers are applied to the circular ring that is the focal center of the dial. I like the elongated look that is created between the oversized 3 & 9 o’clock numerals and the small confinement of the circular disk that contains the rectangular shaped applied markers. The applied markers located at 12 and 6 are red, while the remaining are white lume coated and are bordered with polished finished metal. There is a date window located at the 6 o’clock position on the Timebox’s dial. The date wheel can be seen throughout the skeletonized circumference of this dial. I personally am not a big fan of skeleton dial watches, but the dial on the Timebox works really well. It works well in my opinion because the large “bridge” that the 3/9 are printed on blocks a large portion of the skeleton dial. I love the texture and depth of this dial and I love that the texture & depth is carried over from the case itself. The multiple layers on this dial truly create a work of art for the wearer to gaze upon and not just for checking the time or date.

The “flatscreen” TV sized exhibition case back on the Timebox definitely doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. The Automatic Seiko NH35 movement is on full display here and is set nicely into a guilloche-styled metal plate. The large curved sapphire crystal has Achtung printed in black on the inside of the crystal itself. I’m typically not a fan of exhibition style case backs but just the sheer size of the Timebox’s case back is impressive. I can’t say that I have ever experienced a rectangular/curved crystal of this size before. To be completely honest, I am quite impressed by both the crystals on the Timebox on how well they are designed and how they actually came out on the production piece. You can have a perfectly designed blueprint of your product but if that design isn’t executed correctly during the production phase then the end result isn’t worth a damn. Overseeing the project from every step of the way is so important during each and every phase of production. Some companies leave it to chance of the factory and unfortunately they pay the price by having a sub-standard product that either is completely scraped or has to go through the production phase again. Both are extremely costly mistakes, time wise and money wise.

What I love about Achtung is they merge art, street style, architecture and horology together with each one of their watches. They never take themselves too seriously into the pretentious attitude that is seen way too often in the watch industry/community. They keep their watches in small limited sized batches, the Timebox is one of 28. I am impressed by the Timebox’s overall design and by it’s execution. Achtung is fine tuning it’s quality with each watch release. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to review several of their releases and I have seen firsthand how they are continuing to improve. How could they improve on the Timebox? I think that adding a screw down crown would improve the Timebox for me personally as I prefer that style over a push/pull style crown.

Despite the size of the Timebox it wears comfortably and as you would imagine it has major wrist presence. As I mentioned earlier the curved case/crystal allows the Timebox to conform to the wrist. Armed with a quick release leather strap which is soft/pliable from the start also adds to the comfort level of this watch. The strap has red stitching, complimentary to the red details on the dial itself. Who exactly is the Timebox watch for? It’s for the person who is looking to match individualistic style to their watch. It’s for someone who doesn’t want to go with the current trend of the sub mariner clones. It’s for the person who is looking for a fun, unpretentious watch that hasn’t sacrificed quality for a unique design. From it’s overall design and it’s rectangular shape, the Timebox truly offers a different kind of wearing experience.

The Timebox is priced at $570 usd and is available from Achtung’s website: https://achtungtime.com/collections/timebox/products/achtung-timebox-blue-stainless-steel (other colors are available via the website.

Thank you so much for reading, I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you Achtung.

Watch Review: Boldr Field Medic

Purpose driven gear is something that always accompanies me whenever I am on an outdoor adventure. My gear always includes a knife, small hand saw, flint, water, flashlight, screwdriver, small notebook, pen, compass and a few other key items that may or may not be used. I always like to be over prepared than not but all the gear I carry is purpose driven. One of the most important pieces that I carry is a watch. Timing is absolutely everything in my opinion. This time of the year it is extremely important when relying on the remaining daylight when the hours of light per day is shortened dramatically. I rely on time even more so when I am on an unfamiliar trail, when there is only one way in and out. I’ve been relying on the Boldr Field Medic for my timing needs on my hikes this month.

If I’m going on a longer mile count hike I try to only travel with essential and purpose driven gear. I don’t want to expel energy unnecessarily by carrying unneeded gear. Energy conservation and pacing techniques are as important as what I carry with me. The Field Medic watch in very lightweight and very compact. It comes in at 38mm x12.2mm with a titanium case which means the FM is compact and lightweight. The watch easily gets lost on the wrist with prolonged wearing. What I mean by lost is that this watch is so lightweight and comfortable that you lose track of it until you actually need to rely on it. That is a great detail for a watch to have especially when you are in an environment when the temperatures are extreme. When you are layered up to protect yourself from the cold, a lightweight, compact watch is definitely your friend. I typically will wear my watch around the outside of my jacket to limit exposing any skin to the bitter cold. The FM comes on a nato style strap and is long enough to strap it on the outside of a jacket. The flip side of the cold coin is heat and wearing a oversized, heavy watch isn’t ideal. Again, the weight and size of the FM makes it an ideal watch no matter what the temperature is.

One of the days I was wearing the Field Medic on a hike the weather dramatically changed from partly sunny to cloudy with 70mph wind gusts, with pea sized hail changing over to rain, thunder and lightning. Though I was phased by this because I had to take evasive action to avoid the falling trees and tree limbs, the Field Medic handled itself un-phased. The lugless case design allows the watch to hug the wrist without any overhang whatsoever. This detail also allows the FM to wear slightly smaller than what the dimensions state. The screw down crown and the button pushers don’t interfere with wrist range of motion nor do they dig into the posterior side of the hand. Comfort is important but function is even more important and the crown and pushers function with precision. The size and the design of the crown allows the wearer easy grip/operation for unscrewing/screwing, and for setting the time. I find it frustrating and an inconvenience when a crown is designed undersized. You should never have to struggle to grip/operate a crown or a bezel, no matter where you are using your watch or in whatever conditions.

So is the model name just a name or is there a reason Boldr called this a field medic? The obvious detail is that it’s a field watch, a valuable tool that is relied upon by the wearer for basic survival purposes. Yes that is on the extreme side, but certainly a possibility. Yes that’s the field side of the watch in a nutshell but what about the medic side? If you breakdown the details on the dial from familiar details Vs. unfamiliar details. I want to tackle the unfamiliar details first. I am referring pulsations/respirations. What does this mean in terms of function of this watch? I will explain this simply as Boldr explained it to me. You can count off heart and respiratory rates quickly by using the precise graduated scales on this dial. So going back to my extreme statement of survival, using this scale can save valuable time as opposed to taking these vital signs the traditional way. Traditionally, taking a pulse rate is done by counting each beat within 60 seconds. You can do this by counting the beats in a 15 seconds and then multiplying that number of beats by 4. Which is a quick way to get the number of beats per minute but it’s not the most accurate way. The field medic watch uses a 30 seconds count that gives the wearer a more accurate reading.

To use the function of taking vital signs you activate the chronograph(top pusher) and count the specified number of beats, stop the chronograph (top pusher) document the numbers where the central hand is pointing which will be pointing to the required measurements in counts per minute. The function of the watch is precise when starting the central second hand, stopping it and resetting it which can be done by the bottom pusher. The dial is small, proportioned to the size of the case, more important that proportion is legibility. Thankfully the Field Medic dial is legible this is because of well thought out design details. The brushed finished hour and minute hands are coated with lume allowing for reading even when conditions are less than optimal. With a matte black dial backdrop the orange central second hand, the 24 hr sub dial and the hand on the 60 minute sub dial, are all easily read because the orange color. The orange stands out against the black dial. I found this helpful when glancing at the dial from an arms length distance when my hand was occupied. This is especially important because when you are in a situation when you are taking vital signs in the field often enough both your hands are occupied and you aren’t able to have your wrist close to your eyes. The date window located at the 6 o’clock position is also quite visible with it’s white wheel and black printed numerals.

The Field Medic is a well executed piece that is an example of a quintessential tool watch. A watch that can be relied upon in the field, whether you are a first responder, a nurse, a respiratory therapist or a person interested in tracking your vital signs during exercise. It’s a handy tool to have strapped to your wrist. The Field Medic is a well designed and thought out watch that functions without flaw and wears without physical obstruction. It retains a relatively compact size at 38mm x 12.2mm teamed with the lightweight titanium allowing the watch to be worn with comfort in all environments and weather conditions. The 44mm lug to lug measurement allows the watch to hug the wrist without overhang. This can be seen quite apparently by the lug design alone due to the “under-mount”/recessed lug style. It handled itself perfectly during a thunderstorm with pea sized hail and massive wind gusts and it also handled itself in doors when taking vital signs on a patient. I know that it would increase the price of this piece but I would love to see a mechanical version of this watch someday. The Field Medic is a nice value at $299 usd. This would make a good gift option for the healthcare worker in your life especially with Christmas/holidays approaching.

The Field Medic is a comfortable and fun watch to wear. I found myself playing a lot with the chronograph functions. It’s great for fidgety person like myself who also has a great love of gadgets and EDC. I definitely recommend this watch my fellow healthcare workers. It’s been an unprecedented year in healthcare, the toughest year that I have ever experienced in both working in healthcare and in my personal life, as it had been for everyone throughout the world. This isn’t just an isolated thing that a few people in a certain location is dealing with, the entire globe is affected by this pandemic. We are all in this together and I want to thank you all for escaping with me for this review. Thanks for reading, thanks for the support and thanks for the friendship. Be safe my friends.

Thank you for the entire amazing team at Boldr. 🤝❤️🤝

SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Case: 38mm Titanium Case
  • Movement: Japanese SII VK64
  • Water Resistance: 200m (660ft) / 20ATM
  • Crown: Screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
  • Dial: Printed matte dial with Japan Superlume
  • Hands: Custom hands with Japan Superlume
  • Lens: Flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Strap: Nylon NATO strap with custom titanium buckles
  • Case Thickness: 12.2mm
  • Lug size: 20mm
  • Lug to lug: 44mm
  • Case Back: Screw-down caseback with embossed limited edition designer artwork
  • Drilled lugs

Watch Review: Venturo Imperfect Skindiver

Grab and go. 2020 is exhausting enough so when I l leave the house I want to be able to grab my gear and go without a second thought. There is enough shit to worry about this year that having reliable is a must have in my opinion. I’m an avid hiker and outdoors enthusiast, so I definitely rely on my gear/EDC. My watch is always a part of that carry and is relied upon just as much as my knife, flashlight, multi-tool, etc….. The Venturo Imperfect Skindiver is a watch designed to be a grab and go kind of watch. I was anxious to put it to the test and I wanted to see how it was going to handle itself. Before I get into the watch I want to talk about Venturo a little bit for those of you who haven’t heard about the brand.

The first things that were undeniably noticeable initially on the Skindiver was the weight and the size. This is exactly what the design cues were of the dive watches in the 1950’s through the 1970’s were going for. The slimmer, smaller, and more lightweight divers that had a dressier appearance became known as Skindivers. The Venturo SD has a slimmer appearance than what the dimensions state. The 316L stainless steel, gunmetal plated case has a diameter of 40mm with lug-to-lug measurement of 48.5mm and with a case height of 12mm. I am definitely used to wearing big, heavy watches at work, hiking, swimming, even when I workout and I always sleep with a watch on. So I’m not easily bothered by the size or weight of a watch, but I definitely can notice when I put on a watch that is as lightweight and slim as the Venturo is. I did an occasional wrist check when I was first hiking with the Venturo just to make sure it was still with me. The watch is pure comfort on the wrist and won’t be a hindrance whatsoever during any activity.

I can’t deny the fact that the Venturo fits nicely on my 7 1/4” wrist because of it’s size. I used to be more obsessed with case size, which stayed in the 44mm-48mm area. Over the years I became less interested in case size and more appropriately interested in overall design and quality. If a watch is well designed and made with good quality, size isn’t even a concern, becoming an irrelevant detail in my opinion. Functionally the Venturo SD definitely gets all the check marks. It earns those check marks because everything functions without fail as it should.

Now I would have preferred to have a screw down crown instead of a push/pull operation but that is a personal preference check mark as opposed to being in the how it functions column. A crown should be easy to grip and operate in normal conditions, but when a crown is just as easy to grip and operate in less than optimal conditions then it definitely exceeds my expectations. Even though the crown isn’t a screw down crown, I can tell you that functionally it is quality through and through. There isn’t any of that extra wobble feel like the crown is going to break off the stem that some watches have. In my opinion, bezel operation is just as important to me as crown function and Venturo gets another positive check mark. I should say, they get a few check marks on the bezel for a few reasons. Not only does the bezel operate smoothly but it is also legible. That legibility isn’t limited to just daylight either, the markers are coated with lume allowing for easy reading in lowlight/dark environments. I was pleasantly surprised how precise the bezel rotation was on this watch. There isn’t a single amount of extra play whatsoever. I say it’s surprising because this watch is under $175 usd. The Panerai 719 and 389 cannot even say that their bezels don’t have any extra play. A watch under $200 with better bezel function than watches that cost thousands is what I classify as surprising. What’s even better is that bezel markers line up perfectly with the dial, unfortunately the SD43 and DSSD that I owned couldn’t even say that.

Speaking of legibility, the dial on the Venturo contains just that, legibility. It’s through teamwork that the SD obtains great legibility. The large rectangular markers that are teamed with the well proportioned hands allow for reading this dial easy at quick glances. Again, the lume treatment that is on the Venturo SD gives the wearer legibility during daytime and nighttime. The hands and the markers on the dial received a generous coating of lume and are set against the matte black dial allowing the white to really standout. In my experience matte dials are more legible than glossy dials just because of glare/reflection. When a watch has a glossy dial and polished hands, the legibility decreases especially when you are out in natural light. The Skindiver not only has the matte black dial but the hands have a brushed finish. The crystal on a watch plays a big role with how legible a dial is which seems obvious but sometimes isn’t thought about. Venturo uses a K1 hardened mineral crystal that is double domed and has an anti-reflective treatment.

As an artist I really appreciate the artistic details on this watch. I like the two symbols on the dial that are located at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. The uniformity of the symbols create a nice zen balance on the dial that is also carried over by the small amount of text on this dial. I would say that the Skindiver’s dial is clean and precise with great balance. I love the case back on the Skindiver. Why? Because a solid case back is the perfect canvas for a company to extend the personality of the watch even further and that’s exactly what Venturo did here with the case back on the Skindiver. The picture on the case back “canvas” is a combination of the Gruppo Gamma skull and the artist designed logo for Venturo. The result of this combination is quite stunning as you can see in the picture below.

Naoki from Gruppo Gamma Watches has created an ideal grab and go watch for these hectic times. An affordable watch that gives you a lot of bang for your dollar. A watch that you can abuse through the rigor of your every day. No one wants to second guess their gear, especially when you are out in the field and your gear is all that stands between survival or failure. In the extreme context failure can mean death. Before I jump too far into the dramatics, I will just say that the Skindiver is an affordable but reliable piece of gear. It held up well throughout some rigorous outdoor activities and ever changing weather conditions including rain and hail. I thoroughly enjoyed wearing this watch on my outdoor adventures. There were times that I forgot it was even on my wrist…….that’s a good thing. I like the case design as it has some nice details that check some personal preference boxes on my list. Some of those details include the shape of the case, the lug design(shape & drilled) and the finish on the case. Even the strap on the Skindiver is nicely designed and executed. The black leather is pliable straight out of the box that doesn’t require any breaking in to make it soft or wrist conforming. If you are looking for a comfortable grab and go watch, the Venturo Imperfect Skindiver Limited Edition quartz watch is an affordable option to consider.

Venturo x IMPERFECT Skindiver
Case: 316L stainless steel, gunmetal plated, diameter 40mm, lug-to-lug 48.5mm, lug width 22mm, height 12mm, push-pull crown
Bezel: 316L stainless steel, gunmetal/ black plated, diameter 41mm, 120-click unidirectional, markers filled with white lume
Crystal: K1 hardened mineral, double domed, anti-reflective
Water resistance: 100m/ 330ft
Movement: Miyota 2035, quartz 3 years battery life, +\- 20 seconds per year.
Dial: Matte black, multi-layer, markers filled with white lume
Hands: Gunmetal color, filled with white lume
Strap:Black leather, length 125/75mm

Venturo x IMPERFECT Special Edition

Watch Review: Boldr Globetrotter prototype watch & production watch.

I like that companies are keeping their ears close to the tracks and collaborating with watch groups/watch enthusiasts. It adds to the vision of the watch by infusing what watch fans want to see on their wrists. I believe that the collaborations usually produce an interesting and inspired watch. Usually. (For reference, the Globetrotter with the DWFG logo on the dial is the prototype, the production piece doesn’t have the logo 👏👏👏)

7453931D-530B-4450-B58E-4C2D8747B448

The Boldr Globetrotter comes in from collaboration with the DFBG as we are reminded of this on the dial with that logo. Which in my opinion would look far better on the case back of the watch, but at least the logo is small enough to look past. (Thankfully the production piece removed the logo from the dial) The bezel on this travel inspired dive style watch is not so easy to look past though, nor do I want to look past it. It is a thing of beauty which is decorated with city names from around the globe hence the name Globetrotter. The dial is armed with a GMT hand and the inner chapter ring is armed with 24hrs of second time zone goodness. The bezel, teamed with these two details really do allow the Globetrotter to live up to it’s name. Thankfully function is just as beautiful as looks as the orange arrow tip GMT hand/function works well both when setting it and when it functions. The same can be said for the bezel, the blue insert is beautiful, the white/orange filling on the city names are done well and the bezel rotates with tight precision.

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The bezel insert on the prototype is my preferred insert, but the 24hr “Batman” insert on the production piece is appealing and functional. The production Globetrotter has a blue GMT hand which compliments the bezel insert beautifully.

Another nice similarity can be found between the hour/minute/second hands, the date wheel/window and the signed screw down crown. All of these details look great, adding to the overall aesthetics of the Globetrotter but they all function with precision as well. Without both function and aesthetics coming together like this, you end up with disappointment. As you can see in the picture above, the edges of the bezel allow for extremely easy gripping when rotating this bezel. This functional detail is carried over to the the crown. I also want to mention that I love how flush the bezel sits against the uniquely shaped stainless steel case. Not gaps whatsoever, and no extra play either. A sound bezel through and through.

For those of you who enjoy using your watches outside of the office, for physical adventures, the details I mentioned above become a much more crucial detail. A huge inconvenience that is a pet peeve for me is having to take my watch off during a hike to either rotate the bezel or to adjust the crown because of inadequate functional design. BOLDR prides itself as a company that designs products for the modern day adventurer and the design of the bezel & the crown is a direct example of BOLDR’s commitment to providing solid functionality of their products.

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Speaking of soundness, checkout the lugs in the picture above. I absolutely love the geometric shape that these lugs have. The profile on the Globetrotter lends to it’s commanding wrist presence. The lugs give way to a rubber dive strap that must be cut to size to your wrist. I have never been a fan of this style of strap. Thankfully Boldr includes a micro adjustment and dive extension found within the deployment style buckle to allows you to get a more accurate fit to the wrist. The rubber is pliable and conforms to the wrist for the most part. It is rather thick, so you won’t get that tight wrist hug if you prefer that kind of fit. I have to mention that the rubber strap is extremely difficult to line up to allow the spring bars to lock into place. I actually gave up trying to attach the rubber strap on the production piece. Thankfully BOLDR is addressing this issue. A company that actually listens to complaints and addresses them is an excellent example of a company that truly cares about the customer experience.

The case back is a work of art, literally. I love Boldr’s case backs, they are always a true extension of the watch’s personality. It adds a wonderful complete feel to the watch. It’s definitely one of my favorite design details on the Globetrotter. The blue sunburst dial is also a beautiful work of art. It really captures the changing color of the ocean itself. I found it extremely mesmerizing. The oversized rectangular shaped applied hour markers allow for optimal legibility both in daylight settings and dark settings(as you can see by the lume shot below) Of course allowing a nice view of the dial is thanks to the double domed AR treated sapphire crystal. The hands are an ideal size both in width and in length, the added touch of orange is a welcome design choice which pulls together the bezel/case in with the dial. Cohesiveness horological style.

The Globetrotter is finished off with a true, trialed and tested movement, the ETA 2893-2 Elabore-grade automatic movement with independent adjustable GMT-hands. The Globetrotter GMT watch is made with a wonderful recipe, that recipe being a combination of passion, quality, enthusiasm which has been delivered in fine execution. If you jump in on the pre order, you get yourself one heck of a watch which in my opinion is total bang for your buck. The two things that I would change that would make this watch even more appealing to me is, move the logo from the dial onto the caseback and execute the strap differently where you don’t have to cut it. The 44mm case is the perfect size for this style/design in my opinion. I want a easy to read dial, a tough/rugged case that I don’t have to worry about when traveling, especially on those adventure type travels. I never baby my watches, so it has to be able to keep pace with me or it becomes a hindrance as opposed to a travel companion.

The production piece is exactly what I wanted this watch to be. Aside from my issues with the strap that I mentioned earlier, the production piece is damn near perfect. It is more fine tuned than the prototype. Sometimes a company takes the easy route which also maybe a more cost effective route. They leave the prototype to production untouched. BOLDR has gone further and tuned the production piece into a step above the prototype. The dial is a huge improvement in my opinion. Losing the logo from above the 6 o’clock position increased the fluidity and flow of this dial.

Beyond the dial, beyond the case, and beyond the watch, is the company. BOLDR is a young and passionate company. Leon Leong is dedicated to his products, the Boldr team is just as dedicated and their combined dedication is what is truly important. Why is dedication important? Because it’s that dedication, that passion that drives Boldr to deliver a solid and quality product. When a company shares the same passion for watches that it’s potential customers share, this typically generates a great product. When Boldr had to recently redesign itself from the ground up, it was a difficult transition that could have had a number of different outcomes. Having the opportunity to experience a product before this change and after this change has definitely been an educational experience for me. In my opinion Boldr is a much stronger company that is delivering a stronger product as evidenced by the Globetrotter that I received a month ago. It’s quality and execution is an apparent step above than it’s prototype counterpart.

I have huge respect for Boldr because things could have gone a completely different with a completely different outcome. I highly, highly recommend Boldr to any fan of microbrand watches or to any watch fan for that matter. I am excited to watch Boldr grow stronger with each release moving forward!

Specifications

  • Case: 44mm 316L Stainless Steel Case
    Movement: Swiss ETA 2893-2 Elabore-grade automatic movement with independent adjustable GMT-hands
  • Water Resistance: 300m (990ft) / 30ATM
  • Crown: Screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
  • Ceramic Bezel: Rotating cities bezel, engraved with the names of major cities
  • Dial: Sunburst dial with applied indexes with Swiss Superluminova BGW9
  • Hands: Customs hands with Swiss Superluminova BGW9
  • Lens: Double dome sapphire crystal with Anti-Reflective coating
  • Strap: Custom moulded natural rubber strap with custom dive-extension buckle
  • Case Thickness: 14mm
  • Lug size: 22mm
  • Lug to lug: 50mm
  • Case Back: Screw-down stainless steel caseback with embossed limited edition designer artwork

Shark Mesh Add on: US$59 (SG$79)

FULL MSRP US$799 (SG$1099)

https://www.boldrsupply.co/collections/boldr-globetrotter-gmt

Thank you to Leon and the Boldr Team

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to share watch loving obsessions with you all.

Watch Review: Pontvs Marino

One of my favorite parts of doing these reviews is watching a company progress from the starting line and improve with each release. Pontvs is exactly one of those brands. Each one of their watches that I have reviewed has improved since the previous release. It sounds easy, but it really isn’t. Keeping a company alive and well is a feat in and of itself. Finding a balance of watch designs that appease potential customers is a real struggle. Going too unique and you will lose potential customers and the flip side of that is going towards the homage route can also be a potentially unwise move. Pontvs has done a good job of maintaining a balance in their releases. Their latest watch, the Marino is a beautiful bronze beast.

The bronze case is large but refined because it’s Italian inspired cushion style case. I really can’t say enough good things about this case and before I get into the positives, I want to get the negative out of the way first. The drilled lugs are a preferred style as opposed to solid lugs where the spring bar lock into place on the inside of each lug. To improve upon what Pontvs did with their drilled lugs/bar choice is instead of using a spring style bar, they should opt in on using screw in style lug bars. I had a difficult time getting the spring bars to pop out into the holes in the lug. Using a screw in style would easily solve that issue. I am like most watch enthusiasts, we like to “change the shoes” on our watches. The easier that is, the better and with ease comes the less likelihood is of scratching the lugs/watch.

I now want to point out what I really like about the Marino’s case starting with the bezel. The 120 click, unidirectional bezel on the Marino is easy to grip and each click is smooth. It scratches my nitpicking itch because not only does it line up perfectly with the dial, but it also each click is precise without any extra play. Depending upon how a watch design is overall, a sterile bezel can work well and the same can be said about a bezel that has detail. Pontvs designed the bezel of the Marino with some great detail that starts with the oversized lumed pip and continues to the raised markers.

We all know that stainless steel and titanium are great materials to make cases out of but they both have an Achilles heel. A lot of watch lovers out there definitely get upset when the get that first ding or dent on their watch. What I like about bronze is that the scratches, dents, patina just add to the details of the watch. Take a look at the area around the raised markers on the bezel. Do you notice how the patina accentuates the raised markers? The patina on the bezel actually allows the markers to become more legible instead of the bronze just blur/blend against one another. I want you to also take notice of the oversized crown. The space in between the grip on the crown is forming some nice patina which adds depth allowing the for a more distinguishable detailing. At this point I am sure that you have noticed Pontvs himself on the crown. What appears to be an engraving with formed patina within the crevices, but in actuality the crevices of the engraving are filled with lume. Check out the pic below to see it’s glowing action in full force. The oversized crown is very easy to grip as one would except considering it’s size and design, more importantly it’s smooth function when winding/setting the time is flawless. I didn’t notice any extra wiggle that plagues a lot of crowns.

I’ve said it a hundred times before that a dial can make or break a watch purchase for me. Whether it’s poorly proportioned hands, or markers that don’t quite make sense with the overall design aesthetics, the dial is undeniably the focal point of the watch from a strictly functional point of view. Unless it’s marketed as a unique/unusual way of displaying time, a dial has to be legible otherwise you are just wearing an overpriced bracelet. There’s not a single question of doubt about the legibility of the dial on the Marino. The large applied markers, along with the properly proportional hands, make this dial one of the most legible dials I have experienced. I’m not just referring to daytime legibility either, because the generous application of lume allows for the same amount of legibility in lowlight/dark environments. With minimal text and no date window, this dial is simple and clean, adding to the overall legibility.

I don’t usually write in depth about the movement inside of a watch because what can I write about a movement that hasn’t been written about in exhaustion already. The reason I want to bring up the movement in the Marino is because it’s the first watch I have reviewed that contains the PT5000. It’s basically a clone of the ETA 2824-2. It’s made by Chinese manufacturer H.K. Precision Technology. The 28,800 VPH allows the second hand to glide extremely smooth around the dial. The Marino is keeping an average of +4 seconds per day. I was quite impressed by the PT5000. I am looking forward to seeing how this movement holds up overtime. I will definitely keep you all updated.

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not as easy as one may think to keep progressing in a forward motion, especially in a finicky and highly opinionated community. I’m not saying that those things are a bad thing, unless you are a watch snob, if that’s the case you can kindly fuck off. For those of us who enjoy a variety of watches from a variety of brands, we know that there are going to be watches we love and others that we won’t. We are going to go out on a bashing spree, we either will buy it, ignore it or offer our opinion for why we don’t like it. Watch companies have the hard task of trying to offer a product that people are going to purchase, progress to reach new customers but also keeping their previous customers. It’s a grueling and exhausting balancing act which is why I am impressed by Pontvs latest release.

The cushion case pulled me in, the bezel and oversized crown grabbed ahold of my attention closer and then the dial surprised me. I never preferred a glossy dial nor a sunray style dial like this Marino dial. Green isn’t my first choice of dial colors either. That is why I was surprised by how much I like this dial and that is why I am impressed by Pontvs progression. They added details that as a previous customer I like, infused it with details that I typically wouldn’t go for, but merged them into a well thought out overall design that absolutely works. It’s a combination that is enough that made me want to add another bronze watch to my collection. That is a great and applaudable accomplishment. I highly recommend the Marino to bronze watch owners and to people who want to add their first bronze watch. The Marino has phenomenal wrist presence, wears comfortably despite it’s size and is beautifully executed.

Thank you all for reading. Thank you Pontvs.

The Marino is available at for an affordable $450 usd.

Pontvs Marino

SPECIFICATIONS

Movement Automatic Caliber PT5000

Hand winding Yes

Automatic Yes

Glass Single Domed

Date No

Width (without crown) 47mm

Lugs 26mm

Lug to lug 57mm

Water resistance 200m

Dial Applied indexes with BGW9

Case material German Bronze CuSn8

Band material Leather*

Buckle Material German Bronze CuSn8