Watch Review: Redux COURG

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When two worlds collide something magical happens from the chaos, two separates become one. This is what Redux has done with the COURG watch. They managed to take the classic styling from a pilot watch and combined it to the structure of a dive watch. Creating a nice little watch that caught my eye from day one. I discovered the COURG on Kickstarter some months ago and I was intrigued by what I saw. A minimalistic watch that had some details that I really liked. I don’t normally do Kickstarter watches, but Redux’s COURG was something different. I don’t have anything against Kickstarter watches at all. I just don’t have the time to browse through them due to how busy I am with my other reviews, research, etc…

Company:

Redux

From Redux Kickstarter page:

Nope, that’s not a typo.

COURG is a way point, which is a navigational tool used by pilots to chart their flight across the globe. Way points are composed of 5-letters and made to be spoken as a word so pilots can quickly transmit their location via radio. This particular way point stands just outside Washington, DC and as you probably guessed — is pronounced COURAGE.

We chose COURG because courage is a character trait we could all use more of — choosing to make the right and often difficult decisions even when we know the going will get tough.

Say goodbye to generic, and say hello to an original. In a sea of trendy me-too off the shelf cases, dials, hands, and cheap movements — we’re going against the flow.

COURG aims to be the first titanium automatic watch funded on Kickstarter, and is the first hybrid cockpit instrument fused with diver tools in a reasonable size for any wrist, gentlemen or ladies. And COURG is a litmus test for a BIG IDEA. Keep reading for more on this.

Be strong and very courageous, friends.

 

 

THE PACKAGING:

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The packaging on the COURG is pretty cool and unique. I immediately felt like I was in Indiana Jones, receiving a secret package from a far away land. The COURG comes in a small wooden crate with twine handles. The lid slides open and reveals the goods inside. There is quite a lot packed into this little crate. Inside I found the watch of course, a watch roll, a little notebook field notes style, and the durable nylon strap. The watch roll is made from thick, vintage looking canvas with a stamped leather brown strap. The strap is stamped with REDUX. On the canvas is a small brown leather patch that also stamped with REDUX. The beige canvas reminds me of the old ammo pouches from WW2. Its rugged, rough and looks like it has been through a battle or two. It has quickly become my favorite part of the COURG experience. The packaging is quite impressive and I really like it. Nice job Redux.

 

THE CASE:

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The case is made from titanium grade 2, which is light and very durable. Personally I have gone back and forth on my feelings on titanium. Back in the day, I used to love my watches, big, heavy and steel. I used to think that titanium felt light and cheap. Well I do still love big, heavy steel watches, but I have also come to appreciate titanium. The more that educated myself and immersed myself into the world of watches, it helped me understand things better. It aided me in deepening my knowledge which also deepened my appreciation of more watches. There is an undeniable beauty in all watches, sometimes you just have to look harder to find it.

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The case of the COURG has that darker grey appearance that titanium watches possess. It immediately gives that tool watch vibe that the COURG encompasses oh so well. This watch screams “take me on an adventure and abuse me because I can handle it”. Redux assures the owners of the COURG that it can handle adventure.

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Another thing that I noticed relatively quickly was the size of the COURG which comes in at 39MM. To note, I find my personal preference of watched to be at 42mm-44mm, with the occasional love of 48mm. Therefore when I first heard of the COURG’s case size I was a bit hesitant. I didn’t think that I would like or be able to pull off a 39mm case. I was pleasantly surprised to find I couldn’t be more wrong. Part of the COURG’s appeal is it’s size. It’s the unassuming watch. I compare it to Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee’s strength and speed was unbelievable. He was a mighty force, within a “small package”. Like dynamite. I respect everything that Bruce Lee stood for and was, just as I respect the unassuming COURG. It is a tough little watch that wears big because of it’s power.

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The COURG’s crown is located at the 4 o’clock position. The crown is signed with Redux’s arrow logo. I am always appreciative of signed crowns. It is a little detail that goes a long way. The crown is a screw down crown and operates very smooth. When you unscrew the crown it is in the first position which allows you to manually wind up the watch. When you pull on the crown until it clicks into the second position this allows you to set the date by rotating the crown. Lastly, when the crown is pulled all the way out until the third/last position this allows you to set the time by rotating the crown. The crown in protected by small crown guards. The crown guards are nicely down for a few reasons. One they are appropriately sized for the 39mm case. And secondly they are part of the case as they nicely form from the case molding with an even flow. They are short enough where they do not interfere with operating the crown. The gear style edges to the crown allow for a good grip to screw and unscrew the crown as well.

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The bezel has engraved numbers and hash marks featuring the number 15, 30 and 45. The 12 o’clock position has a triangle that is coated with lume, a must have on a dive watch. The bezel is easy to grip because of the edge detailing around the circumference of the entire bezel. My only complaint about the COURG watch is the function of the bezel when it rotates. Its a unidirectional rotating bezel. It doesn’t click very smooth nor does it rotate nicely. It sounds like it is grinding instead of that nice bezel click. The bezel doesn’t fit exactly tight against the case as there is some play in-between the case and the bezel. What I do like about the bezel though is that when the lumped triangle is put at the 12 o’clock position, it lines up perfectly with the arrow on the dial and the 30 lines up perfectly with the 6 o’clock position. The COURG is equipped with a flat, 2mm thick Sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating. Nice and crystal clear, pun intended.

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The case back is well done and I like how the information about the COURG is displayed. All the specs about the COURG are engraved on the case back. When the Kickstarter campaign was going on the case back was brought to a vote and I am very happy with the results of that voting. The lugs on the COURG are rounded smooth. They are 22mm spaced and have holes through them for the strap pins. The lugs are on the shorter size and are sized appropriately for the size of the case. I think the case is definitely a hit on the COURG.

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THE DIAL:

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There are a few variations to choose from with the COURG in reference to the dial. 5 choices to be exact. I chose the TYPE A dial. It’s a traditional pilot watch dial in my opinion and it works brilliantly. It has that old school WW2 fighter plane instrument panel feel. That matte black background with the crisp white numbers, aviation perfection. The dial is very minimalistic, with no words printed on it whatsoever. Which gives the COURG a no nonsense, strictly business style or as I like to call it, a kick ass and take names style. The dial has a white printed triangle at the 12 o’clock hour marker, and features numbers 2 through 11. Mr. 4 o’clock was given some r&r time off and in his place there is a small, round date window. The date window is a black wheel with white printed numbers. The date and the time is very easy to read on the COURG.

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The sword style hands are an obvious choice to go with the aviation side of the COURG’s family history. The COURG is 50% aviator and 50% diver in his DNA breakdown. It gave Maury quite a problem for the DNA test on that particular show. We still don’t know who the real father is. The minute and hour sword hands are white and black, with the majority of the hands being white.

 

At night they have a cool blue glow and the seconds hand has a green glow thanks to the lume coating. I really like that the COURG has both blue and green. It really makes timing things in low lighting that much easier. The hour and minute hands are also very wide and I am glad that they are. It makes perfect sense in the overall design layout of the COURG. If they were skinny, thin hands, they would have been lost on the dial and they wouldn’t fit with that tool watch feel. The second hand is very long and extends out to the very outer edge of the dial. I appreciate when seconds hand extend out that far, it makes getting down to the exact second easy when using your watch to time things that require that precise measurement.

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THE STRAP:

There are a few options for the strap with the COURG, some of which would add to the overall cost of the watch. You can pick from MIL-STRAP Dark Brown, MIL-STRAP Distressed Tan, Horween Color 8, Horween Natural, Add’l Ballistic Nylon. I went with the Ballistic Nylon. All the straps are very nice, but I believe the nylon is the best fit for the overall style of the COURG. The strap is thick, rugged tough with some of the coolest keepers I have seen on a strap of this style.

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The titanium keepers are squared instead of rounded. One of the squared angled keepers is engraved with REDUX. The tang style buckle is signed with an engraved Redux arrow logo. The construction of the strap is quality. No frayed edges, nice tight, black stitching. Its comfortable on the wrist and fits into the lugs with ease. Of course its fun to experiment with different style straps which give the watch a “new look” and I totally suggest that you do so.  I am very happy with my choice though. I am quite impressed at the quality to be honest.

The Movement:

Ticking inside the COURG is the NH35A.

Seiko NH35A 24 jewels, 21,600 bph vibrations per hour, 41 hour power reserve, diameter of 27.40mm and height of 5.32mm.

The movement is very reliable and manufactured by a company that has been in the watch industry for a very long time.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Case material: Titanium grade 2 / grade 5
  • Case back: Titanium, deep corrosion case screw back.
  • Bezel: Uni-directional Titanium, luminous triangle
  • Flat Sapphire crystal, 2mm, inner anti-reflective coating
  • Movement: Seiko SII NH35A
  • Date: Window, 4PM
  • Case: Width (w/o crown) / 39mm
  • Height / 13.7 mm
  • Lug-to-lug 46.6 mm
  • Lug-to-lug (strap) 20 mm
  • Lug width 3.4 mm
  • Print dial.
  • Super luminova BGW9
  • Hands: Super luminova BGW9 x C3
  • Water resistant: 15 ATM / 150M (UPGRADED to 20 ATM)
  • Crown position: 4PM
  • Stem protection: Screw down crown tube + crown guard
  • Crown logo: Etched
  • Drilled lugs
  • Weight: 1.8 oz. (51 grams, ~20% lighter than steel equivalent) Brass movement retainer
  • Strap: Black Ballistic nylon mil-strap, PVD hardware
  • 1 year guarantee against defects

 

Wrist Shot 7 1/2″ wrist:

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CONCLUSION:

For a first offering watch, I think Redux has done a very nice job here. They combined two of the most loved style of watches out there. Taking what we love about pilot watches and what we love about dive watches, and merging them into a nice watch that is the COURG. It is well made and feels like it can take quite many adventures outdoors. I put the COURG through some abuse. Not hitting with a hammer kind of abuse, but I didn’t go easy on it when I wore it to the gym, hiking, sports, etc… and I have to say it held up very well. Ticking away from it all with a few tiny surface scratches.

The $399 price tag is pretty damn reasonable for what you get for you money. You get a grade 2 titanium case, a reliable automatic movement, a cool crate watch box, a well made ballistic nylon strap and a canvas watch roll. That is a bargain if you ask me. I am excited to see what is next for REDUX. Their first campaign was a huge success if you ask me.

I really enjoyed reviewing the COURG and I am quite happy with how it turned out. I was very skeptical at first since it was my first time going after a KS watch from a new company. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised and satisfied. The only thing that I would change about the COURG is the bezel function. I wish it was more smooth and easier to rotate. Having said that, everything else is perfect. Even the 39mm case. I would love to handle the other dial variants of the COURG to see what they look like in person.

If you are trying to decide which route to go on purchasing a watch, either a dive watch or a pilot watch, well Redux have taken away that narrowing down process for you. Go with the COURG, it’s the best of both worlds and won’t break the bank either.

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

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Watch Review: UNDONE Aqua Fully Customizable Watch

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Website: http://www.undone.watch

UNDONE WATCHES:

Undone is a team of experienced watch design veterans and craftsmen. As a group of challengers and innovators, we are enabling everyone to create watches that reflects their individuality. Every Undone watch is an unique message, something important that deserves to be on your wrist everyday. Be part of the movement to create watches that represents you, because individuality matters!

It is all about the choices with the UNDONE Aqua. Customizable magic to make this watch as personal as possible. It is a truly unique process that I can honestly say one that I have never experienced before. You get to pic how you want your watch to look. Every detail is for you to decide. Have this many choices was something that I thought that I would struggle with. But to my pleasant surprise I found it quite fun and actually very easy to choose what I wanted. Even picking what I wanted on the exhibition crystal, I knew right away. Speaking of the exhibition crystal, it is by far the coolest feature of the UNDONE experience. I was blown away by it when I first laid eyes upon it when I received this watch.

You pick the bezel, dial, hands, case color, strap, case back, case back graphic if you choose the exhibition case back which I don’t know why you wouldn’t choose this awesome feature. I will show you through pictures your choices and how I chose the design of the Aqua I reviewed. Then I will breakdown the watch in the traditional review process.

What UNDONE has done here is given you the power to design a watch but has given you a path to start with. You have the main power to choose, but they haven’t dropped you in the middle of nowhere without a map leaving you to find your own way home. Think of this like a choose you own adventure book, one that leads to only awesomeness, with no wrong ending. From start to finish it was a great and rewarding experience and believe it or not a relatively quick experience by the time the watch was in my hand.

Dealing with the UNDONE team was a wonderful experience as well. They are a team of professionals and their enthusiasm is infectious. I was very excited by this opportunity of designing my own watch and then having the honor to review it. A completely personal and unique journey that I can’t wait to share with you.

The UNDONE website is very easy and simple to navigate on both a computer or hand held device. I did it on both and I can report that both were very simple to do. It took me about 5 minutes to design my watch. I know what I want and UNDONE’s interface made it simple to do.

MODEL: Aqua

Specifications:

-43mm stainless steel case

-52mm lug to lug

-16mm thick

-22mm lug width

-quick release strap pins

 

Case Choices:

The Aqua comes in the choices of  Black PVD, Brushed Stainless Steel, Gold PVD, Rose Gold PVD, Gun Metal, Silver and Light Brown PVD. For the review I choose the Gun Metal.

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Next you can choose your bezel. The materials of choice are ceramic or K1 glass. For the ceramic bezel the indices are polished on a matte background. The K1 glass is hardened K1 glass insert reversed printed with several color variations. For the review piece I choose the ceramic black.

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Ceramic

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K1 Glass

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Next on the block of design choice is the Dial. It’s all about the choice when it comes to the dial. You have matte, gloss, carbon, full lume, sun ray, and camo. The matte black has white luminous indices that have a blue glow.

Matte

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Gloss

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Carbon

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Full Lume

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Sunray

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Camo

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The hands are your next choice. There are sword hands, mercedes style hands, rounded style. Some of the hand choices are luminous and others are not. For the review piece I picked the luminous sword hands with a red seconds hand for a splash of color.

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The movement is next for your picking pleasure. You have the NH35A black date disc and the NH35A white date disc. For the review piece I picked the black date disc.

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One of my personal favorite choices for picking is the straps and UNDONE doesn’t disappoint in terms of the choices. I picked the US Horween with white stitches. The choices are US Horween oiled tanned, Italian Leather, Military Bund, Rubber, Suede, Alligator.

US Horween

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Italian Leather

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Military Bund

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Rubber

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Suede

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Alligator print

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Your final choice in terms of customizing is the case back. You can pick between a exhibition clear case back, an exhibition case back with a custom graphic of your choice or a solid casebook. For the review piece I choose to illustrate the awesome graphic exhibition case back.  You will see my choice in the review section below. Now shall we breakdown the Aqua in review style now that we have explored all the amazing options you have when you customize your piece?

 

The Packaging:

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The UNDONE Aqua comes in a rather large box. It was quite heavy and I was impressed and taken by surprise because of the size of it. The outer box is made of hardened cardboard with the UNDONE name and logo on the lid. Inside the outer box is a hinged style watch box. The cool thing is when you lift the inner box out, underneath is cutouts for the straps to fit in. A feature that I really like. The lid of the inner box has a screwed in place metal plate that has the Undone name and logo on it. Opening the hinged lid reveals the Aqua watch.

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It is protected by a plastic ring that has the UNDONE U logo on it. I have not seen a protective plastic ring like this before. Its a nice addition to watch packaging.

 

 

 

The Case:

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The case of the Aqua is even better than I expected. The blasted finish of the Gun Metal is absolutely beautiful. This case just screams stealth. Running my finger across the blasted finish case is something truly magical, it’s incredibly smooth yet has nice texture feel to it.  The finishing of the case is the first thing that I noticed when unpacking the Aqua. There are several small details that are quite impressive. The polished indices on the bezel match the finish on the crown. This is a small detail but one that I can really appreciate. When details can tie pieces together on a watch, it adds to the overall pleasing aesthetics.

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The uni-rotating bezel is easy to grasp due to the gear style edges. The bezel rotates pretty smooth. As you know, there are a few things that I am very nit picky about in terms of function and design on watches. One is the play in the bezel, not so much in the rotation, but in terms of the play between the bezel and the case itself. This can be tested by lightly tapping on the top of the bezel. If you don’t hear a sound then the bezel is fitted tightly in place. If you hear the sound of metal tapping against itself, then there is play/space in between the case and bezel. Unfortunately the Aqua’s bezel has that play. It is a little disappointing. Having said that, it’s the only thing that I found to nit pick about on the Aqua.

The polished indices on the bezel are something that I really enjoy. I chose the ceramic matte bezel with the black indices. What is really cool about this choice is that it makes it very stealthy/military looking. But when the indices catch the light they are extremely readable and pleasing to the eye.

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There is nothing on the non crown side of the case, but on the crown side you have some great stuff. The crown guards are so stylish, and have the sleek curves of a jet airplane. The crown guards angle up to a point, not a sharp point because they are flat at the top of the guards. The angles are well done and they tie in perfect with the angles of the crown itself. The crown is signed with a U for UNDONE. My other nit picky obsessiveness is when a crown is signed, I think that when the crown in screwed all the way down, the signed crown logo should line up perfectly. It bothers me when I look at a signed crown and the logo is turned on an angle. UNDONE does not disappoint me. The U is perfectly lined up as you can see in the pictures. The crown is very easy to operate because of its octagon shape and angles. Definitely a hit in my book.

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The lugs have enough of a curving to allow the Aqua to sit nice on the wrist. It also allows the watch to wear smaller that it’s dimensions. The lugs are solid with no holes on the outside, the set pins for the strap attach on the inside of the lugs. The holes are in line and changing the strap is very easily done.

The case back is what blew me away. I was hesitant on picking a custom graphic because I did not know how it was going to turn out. When I fist turned over the Aqua to see the exhibition case back with the graphic, I was speechless. It is so well done, by far the coolest case back I have ever seen on a watch.

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I HIGHLY recommend that when you customize your Aqua, you pick this option. You will not be disappointed and it is one of the highlights of the Aqua. I can’t express this enough. Like I mentioned earlier the little details are very pleasing on the Aqua. Another one of these pleasing details is the the octagon shape of the outer ring of the case back. This perfectly ties in with the octagon shape of the crown. These details are extremely rare on watches in this price point. The case back also features some information that is engraved along the edges. 316L stainless steel, pressure tested to 100 meters, UNDONE.

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The sapphire crystal of the is AR treated. The crystal is slightly domed and features a cyclops magnifier for the date window at the 3 o’clock hour marker. The crystal is very cleat and is very easy to read from all angles, under water as well.

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The Dial:

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The dial on the Aqua does not disappoint. It is simple, easy to read and beautiful. I like the fact that the only text on the dial is UNDONE located under the 6 o’clock hour marker. I spoke with UNDONE and they have some nice surprises that are do out that involve the dial. I am very excited by this and you will have to stay tuned for more details.

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I chose the matte black dial for the review piece. There is something very classic and very beautiful about a matte black dial. The hour and minute markers are printed in white and coated with lume. The lume has a nice blue glow to it. I am becoming a fan of the blue glow on lume. The minute and second markers are hash marks, larger hash marks at the hours and numerals at 12, 6, 9. The 3 o’clock marker was removed for the date window and cyclops magnifier on the crystal. I personally find enjoyment in the magnifier, some purists argue that it disrupts the flow, but I rather like it. It works well on the Aqua.

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The date wheel is black with numbers printed in white. I thought this would work nicer on the overall military/stealth feel I was going for when I was picking during the customizing process. The sword hands are killer. They are wide and long and are sized correctly for the size of the dial. They are not lost in the least bit. Thanks to the lume coating, you can see them with ease at night. The hour and minute hands are black and white while the second hand is red. I chose red to add a tiny splash detail of color. It doesn’t get much better than when you have black and red together. The hour and minute hands have thick black gloss outlines. I like that there is a black line through the hands. Why do I like this? Well I think it adds a small amount of detail to the dial/hands without distracting or messing with the overall symmetry of the dial. The dial on the Aqua is well done and a nice focal point. Duh, right? The dial is after all what you look at to tell the time. I understand this, but I wanted to express that the Aqua has a beautiful symmetrical dial, that is pleasing to look at even when not looking at it just for the time.

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The Strap:

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This strap is smooth as butter. There is nothing that compares to running your finger across Chromexcel US Horween. It feels so nice. The chromexcel allows the strap an added amount of water resistance/proof. With the name Aqua, one would imagine that this watch will see some water action so it made sense to have the strap have some added insurance against getting wet. Another nice thing about the strap is that it has quick release strap pins which make changing the strap easy and there is no need for tools.

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The black strap is well done indeed. From the uniform white stitching  to the smooth finish of the edges, the US horn strap is quality for sure. The underneath of the strap is stamped with genuine leather handmade and UNDONE with the UNDONE logo.

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The tang style buckle is engraved with the UNDONE name and logo. The buckle is thick and features some nice angle cuts that ties it back to the case. The buckle has blasted finishing again those small details that tie everything together.

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The Movement:

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The Aqua has ticking away inside the Seiko NH35A. The specifications of this reliable movement are as follows:

Seiko NH35A 24 jewels, 21,600 bph vibrations per hour, 41 hour power reserve, diameter of 27.40mm and height of 5.32mm.

The movement is very reliable and manufactured by a company that has been in the watch industry for a very long time.

 

Wrist Shot: Refernce 7 1/2″ wrist

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Conclusion:

CUSTOMIZE to your hearts content. That is what the Aqua is all about. If you are looking for a watch that can be as personal as possible without manufacturing it yourself, then UNDONE’s Aqua is the watch for you. With the base price point of $450, you can’t go wrong. The custom case back graphic is worth it enough, let along the nice quality watch that you get as well. You also get a very nice quality hand made horween strap. I was blown away by the Aqua. The only thing that I am nit picking about is the bezel play, other than that the Aqua did not disappoint me at all. The watch wears very comfortable on the wrist. So comfortable that you forget its on your wrist, but the complements that I received when it was on my wrist wouldn’t allow me to forget.

There are so many watches to chose from and where to start can be overwhelming. Especially if you want a dive style watch. But if you want something that you can truly make your own, UNDONE has done it for you. Yes you have a lot of customizing choices to chose from, but their website is so user friendly it not only makes it fun, but it is also easy to do. Like I mentioned earlier, it took me about 5 minutes from start to finish. The waiting for the watch to arrive to see what your choices materialized to is part of the fun. UNDONE has something very special here and it is definitely an experience that you won’t forget.

I want to personally thank UNDONE and Barry for the honor of allowing me to do this review. The customer service of UNDONE is something special to and worth mentioning. I highly recommend the UNDONE experience. It is fun and something that is truly unforgettable.

 

Additional Pictures:

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Watch Review: Lum-Tec Combat B-18 Bronze

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Company: Lum-Tec

website: http://www.lum-tec.com

About Lum-Tec:

We are a family run, USA based company devoted to bringing you the best quality watches on the market. Our parent company Wiegand Custom Watch, LLC. has built watches for thousands of customers around the world as well as designed, improved, and built watches for many other well known brands. The LÜM-TEC brand is the showcase brand for Wiegand Custom Watch, LLC, demonstrating what we are capable of producing. LÜM-TEC watches are made with only the best available materials and components and are all hand crafted by our team of professional watchmakers.

Chris Wiegand – President, takes extreme pride in every watch we produce. He is always available to answer questions, and help the customers out with anything he can. He can be emailed directly at chris@lum-tec.com.
We take pride in our service. With service points around the globe, you can be assured that for any repair you will have an unheard of fast turnaround time, so you can get your watch back on your wrist fast and enjoy it.

LÜM-TEC® takes watch manufacturing and design to a personal level. We freely communicate with our customers through email, phone, and on web forums daily about design input, suggestions, and any way to constantly improve our business and final product. Our customers make LÜM-TEC what we are. Without you, we would be just another watch company.

Maximum Darkness Visibility.

Every LÜM-TEC watch features our exclusive MDV Technology™.

This is a special 8 layer application of ultra bright glowing Super-Luminova photo-luminescent material.

MDV hands and dials are extremely visible in all light conditions.

Experience the ultimate wristwatch.

“Our watches are designed with feedback from watch collectors around the world”

Our company brings features and quality normally not thought possible without spending thousands of dollars. We are in the business of making custom and limited edition watches, creating unique designs and pioneering new luminous application technologies to apply to wristwatches.

 

MODEL COMBAT B-18 Bronze

43mm width excluding crown
22mm lug width
13mm thick
Weight on leather strap 107gr/3.8 oz.
Solid CuSn8 bronze case
300 meters/990 ft. water resistance
LUM-TEC MDV Technology®
Ultra precision tuned 28,800 BPH Miyota 9015 Japan automatic movement with hand winding and hack feature
Calendar
Thick sapphire crystal
Double side clear anti-reflective coating
Threaded 316L Stainless steel caseback with sapphire
Screw-lock bronze crown with double diamond sealing system
4 straps included:
Black heavy NATO with bronzed rings
OD green heavy NATO with bronzed rings
White heavy NATO with bronzed rings
Aviator style riveted custom leather strap with bronzed rivets and buckle
1 year limited warranty
Limited numbered series of 250
Free lifetime timing adjustments

 

Let’s get started shall we???

 

I am going to handle this review in a very different manner so please be prepared to take a ride in a different direction. This watch is a living, ticking little machine that is constantly changing.This metamorphosis begins from the moment you strap it on your wrist. I am not just talking about when it is wound up and starts to tick. I am talking about the outer shell of this watch that is quite remarkable. A science experiment that is strapped to your wrist. The moment you feel the beautiful, cold bronze of the B-18 against your skin, it begins to adapt to you. Soaking in your DNA. Morphing under your very nose. Let me explain patina scientifically first.

Patina is a layer that forms on the surface of bronze and is produced by oxidation. Patina is like a superhero that one of it’s jobs is to protect against corrosion and weathering. Where other metals would cave in against the evil and clever Commander Corrosion and his league of Wicked Weatherings, the powerful Patina uses his powers to form a force field around the bronze.

The coating of patina is made up of chemical compounds such as oxides, carbonated, sulfates/sulfides. Their powers are combined due to exposure to the elements such as simple O2, acid rain, car exhaust in the form of carbon dioxide. 

Now that I have the science behind this, I can explain to you how this is even related to this review. When I received the B-18 it began it’s transformation immediately. I allowed the B-18 to go on a journey alone, a journey that was full of solitude. Compared to the likes of when Bruce Wayne went away to train and reflect before returning to Gotham as Batman. I let the B-18 age, grow into what you will witness in the review pictures below.

This is what makes the B-18 so special. Bronze is ever changing. But the thing is you can always return it to it’s original state by exposing it to simple household organic chemicals. I really want to focus on what it can become, rather than it returning to it’s original state. Bronze is always changing as I already established, and that metamorphosis is a beautiful thing in many ways. Use for example how many of us buy custom leather straps to give our watches new shoes and a new look. It changes the whole look of the watch and breaths new life into a watch that might have been collecting dust in the watch box. That is what it is like to have a watch case made of bronze. It’s constant and is always breathing new life into the watch. The more you wear it, the more it adds detail, and the more it beautifies. I wanted to show you what the B-18 looks like when it evolves.

The Packaging:

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The B-18 comes in a white Lum-Tec outter cardboard box. The white box is labeled with the Lum-Tec name and inside is a nice blonde wooden box. The box is nicely so smooth to the touch like it spent a spa treatment under a fine grit sandpaper for hours. On the lid there is a small metal Lum-Tec sign. The lid to the box is hinged, and opening it to get to the B-18 watch, the papers, warranty card. On either side of the watch is two hidden departments that are designed to hold extra straps. I absolutely LOVE this small, but really cool detail.

The Case:

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Yes, the B-18 is all about the case, the dial is awesome too don’t get me wrong, but the case is what makes the B-18 go from special to really special. There is no design detail spared when I examine the B-18’s case. I will dissect the B-18 from the top down. First up is the bezel. The style is considered a coin edged bezel. The first watch I fell in love with had a coin edged bezel. A design detail that I can’t help but to love. The B-18’s bezel fits tight against the case evenly and without any gaps. The bezel is fixed which means it doesn’t rotate/spin.

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The crown is a screw down crown. Design points to Lum-Tec for this inclusion. The crown is easy to screw and unscrew, spinning smooth with each turn. When you fully unscrew it the first stop is manual winding. There is something so cathartic about manually winding your watch. The next stop on the crown when you pull it out one click, this allows you to set the date by rotating the crown. Again, the action is very smooth and the date wheel responds flawlessly. The final pull on the crown allows you to set the time. Smooth like butter.

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The lugs are curved and not overly long. They are just the right thickness. The spacing between them is 22mm. The lugs are solid with holes on the inside of each lug for the strap pins to connect.

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The exhibition case back allows you to view the movement inside which is the Ultra precision tuned 28,800 BPH Miyota 9015 Japan automatic movement with hand winding and hack feature. The Miyota 9015 is a great alternative to an ETA movement. I have timed the B-18 and I was at -/+ 1-2 seconds per day. This was timed throughout a few months. The nice thing about the Miyota 9015 is that it is easy to repair and won’t cost a lot to repair either. Some have complained that the 9015 rotor is loud when it spins. I have never experienced an automatic movement that I haven’t heard the rotor spin. This includes watches that ranged from $50,000 to a few hundred dollars. I think hear the rotor spin is part of the appeal of an automatic movement. Just like a sports car engine revving up. Am I right? Who would want to step on the pedal of a fine Italian sports car and hear nothing? Show of hands? Crickets chirping, just as I thought.

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The stainless steel outer ring is high polished and it has information about the watch such as serial number, water resistance, etc. The rotor is engraved with Miyota, 24 jewels and Japan.

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The Dial:

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The dial on the B-18 is a beautiful representation of a pilot style dial. The colors on the dial even have that vintage shade to them. The Lum-Tec name printed on the dial under the 12 o’clock is printed in a bronze color. The same color is used for the printed Combat B above the 6 o’clock marker is printed in. The chapter ring is a light shade of brown that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The chapter ring contains white numbers that represent the seconds & minutes that are printed in white. The hour markers are printed in an off white color that appears to be cream. This color choice is perfect because it gives off that vintage plane instrument panel of yesteryear feel. All set against a matte black dial working together in perfect harmony.

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The B-18 was a plane that was used during the 1930’s-40’s. The B-18 was the first aircraft that sank the German U-boat in 1942. The history behind the B-18 adds to the coolness factor of this watch. The 12, 3, 6, and 9 hour markers on the dial are larger than the rest of the hour markers. All numbers are accounted for on this dial, the date wheel at the 4 o’clock hour marker is round and it looks so good. The date is printed in white set on a black wheel. Very balanced.

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The hands on the B-18 are exactly what you would expect on a vintage themed aviation watch. The shape matches the hands on the gauges that were on the B-18 panels. The hands are nice and wide which is something I really in terms of overall design of a watch dial. It really bothers me when a watch has hands that are way too thin for the dial. So aggravating and disappointing. But Lum-Tec doesn’t disappoint me on this watch. The hands are cream and black. Perfection to say the least. The long seconds hand is T shaped and is also cream and black. It reaches just to the inner edge of the chapter ring.

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The lume on the B-18 is absolutely gorgeous. It is MDV tech. This is a special 8 layer application of ultra bright glowing Super-Luminova photo-luminescent material. It is special developed Lum-Tec technology. It glows so bright that it can be used at night as a mini flashlight in a dark/pitch black environment. I am not exaggerating in the least bit. It is really that bright. I can honestly say that out of all the watches that I have experienced it is the brightest lume hands down. The lume does eventually fade as the night goes on but it retains a glow that lasts through the night, 8 hours my last timed measurement. It’s enough of a glow to read the time without problems in the middle of the night when I have woken up with tired, half asleep eyes. I would not expect anything less from Lum-Tec. The names says it all. Right?

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The Straps:

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The B-18 comes with a few different strap options. My favorite of them is the heavy duty black nylon NATO style strap with keepers that match the case without flaw. The strap is very comfortable and I wore this watch for over a month straight without taking it off once. Showered, working out, sleeping, work, everything I experienced the B-18 experienced. I never once felt any discomfort. Very commendable. The B-18 has a white and a green Nato style strap as well. There is also a tan pilots style leather strap that has a bronze color buckle and rivets. The tang style buckle is engraved with Lum-Tec. The leather is nice and smooth. What I like about it is the thickness. It feels quality when you run your fingers across the sides of the smooth strap. The strap is stamped Lum-Tec and Genuine Leather on the under sides. I really love the options of straps with the B-18. You can effectually change the look of the watch depending on which one you choose. This along with the ever changing bronze case, you kind of have a new watch all the time. It definitely won’t grow tired.

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Conclusion:

The B-18 is one of the most balanced pilot watches out there that I have had the pleasure of spending time with. The design and construction exudes quality and durability. At the $1095.00 price point it is a good value for sure. You get unrivaled lume, a killer bronze case, a reliable movement and strap options galore. This watch can surely handle whatever you put it through. It its very rugged. It has that tool watch design and feel. This is the second Lum-Tec watch that I have reviewed and they are well worth the price. There isn’t anything in terms of design that is compromised. Lum-Tec fully tests all of it’s watches and it comes with a certificate stating that it has passed their highest level of quality control, strict stability testing and water resistant requirements. Not that I advise you to do this, but I put the B-18 through a series of tests and it passed with flying colors. I did drop tests, extreme temperature tests, etc. After each test I checked the accuracy and it never changed.

I can not express enough how confident I am to recommend a Lum-Tec watch to any of my friends or anyone looking for an affordable, rugged and reliable watch. There is nothing that I would change on the B-18. When a watch is this well thought out and planned, there isn’t any reason to change a thing. I absolutely respect what Lum-Tec is doing with their watches. Their lume alone speaks volumes of the rigor that goes behind the design and planning of each model.

Chris and Bes are a pleasure to deal with. Both are always super professional and eager to help with any question or concern that you may have. It is really something special to have a great company like Lum-Tec in my “backyard” I will make it to their storefront one of these days soon and I will be doing a special feature on my blog.

I want to personally thank Chris and Bes. It was an honor and my privilege to conduct this review. I am forever grateful. THANK YOU.

 

THANK YOU TO MY READERS, YOU MAKE WHAT I DO SO WORTH IT. EACH ONE OF YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO MY BLOG AND I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.

 

Wrist Shots: 7 1/2 inch wrist for reference:

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Additional Pics. A lot. ENJOY.

The pictures labeled with Lum-Tec are from their website, I am including these so that you can see what the watch looks like right out of the box before patina forms. All other photos are mine and were taken by me and you can see the progression and stages of the patina as it changes with more exposure and wear.

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Time in a Bottle: Govberg’s Watch and Wine Tasting Event

Where:

Govberg Jewelers

34105 Chagrin Boulevard
Moreland Hills, OH 44022
216.487.6441

 

 

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It was a beautiful evening in Ohio last night for the Time in a Bottle Watch Talk at Govberg Jewelers located in Mooreland Hills. For those of you who don’t know Govberg, they are a family owned company that has quite an extensive knowledge of watches & jewelry. Knowledge that spans back to 1916 to be exact.

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When you have the right ingredients it makes for a perfect combination and that is what Govberg achieved last evening. That perfect combination was wine, good food, great people and WATCHES or what I refer to as desert. I had the absolute pleasure to be accompanied by my lovely wife for the evening, although she is not so impressed by my love, correction, my passion for watches. The evening though was such as success that she had a great time.

When we arrived there was already a very nice turnout of watch enthusiasts this began to fuel my excitement even more. We were quickly greeted by a friendly smile from Linda Silver of Govberg. She immediately made us feel right at home. I was also able to meet Brian Govberg. He was a gracious host who was just as enthusiastic about all the watches as I was. I did not know where to start, so many great things to take in. First stop at my wife’s suggestion, a glass of wine of course. Then onto the watches.

Present were ambassadors from several watch brands that included Bremont, Breitling, Ball, and Panerai. I was eager to take as much in as possible like a kid getting to the window displays at Halley’s Department Store. I made my way in a counterclockwise motion around the room. It made the most sense for me to go in reverse direction of the crowd. Yes, I always march to the beat of my own drum.

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My first stop was at Panerai. The display case was full of wrist candy. Chris Sclafani the ambassador for Panerai, was happy to assist me with all my Panerai questions. Chris was eager to share with me what Panerai has in store for 2016. The highlight of the Panerai section was the mini rotor that was rotating inside the Radomir. I love the touch of modern with the mini rotor and the touch of vintage with the case design coming together in a perfect combination of old and new.

Check out Panerai’s website to see what is coming out in 2016: http://www.panerai.com/en-us

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Breitling

My next stop was Breitling, where I met Ryan Sain from Breitling. Ryan’s friendliness was inviting and he was there every step of the way to assist me answering all my questions. We even spent time looking back at past Breitling watches. Ryan was delighted to hear that one of my first published reviews was on the Breitling Seawolf Avenger SS.

Link to the review: https://greatmazinger.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/review-breitling-avenger-seawolf-stainless-steel-baton-dial-version/

 

It brought back fond memories seeing the Seawolf Avenger inside the Breitling case. Ryan had just returned for Baselworld and had plenty of new watches to show me inside his catalog. Breitling has some very special watches that are coming out this year. Check out their website to see the upcoming models: http://www.breitling.com/en/

 

The B50 immediately caught my eye in the display case. It’s an ultimate tool watch for the watch loving adventurer. It was  amazing to get to handle one in person. Ryan allowed me to have some special one on one time with the B50. What is cool about the B50 cockpit is the fact that the battery is rechargeable. I love that feature, no more replacing watch batteries, instead just “plug it in” before bed and in the morning you are good to go.

About the B50 from Breitling’s website: Representing the ultimate pilot’s instrument, this multifunction electronic chronograph features a titanium case equipped with the exclusive Breitling Caliber B50: an analog and digital-display SuperQuartz™ movement specially developed for aviation. It innovates with an ultra-readable display, outstanding user friendliness and a broad array of functions. In its “Night Mission” version, the Cockpit B50 comes with a black titanium case achieved by a highly resistant carbon-based treatment, complete with a matching rubber strap. An exceptional look for a peerless instrument.

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Next Ryan showed me the Chronospace Military. The watch and strap combo on this watch really stood out in the display case. You can definitely spot it within a full case of watches. Definitely eye catching. The strap is a very well made durable, custom canvas strap. The military green is absolutely breathtaking.

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About the Chronospace from Breitling’s website: The Chronospace Military combines technology and power, with a black steel case achieved by a carbon-based treatment and an ultra-sturdy military-type fabric strap. The bidirectional rotating bezel with compass scale features a highly original star-shaped design facilitating handling even with gloves. The extreme precision of the time display and short-time measurements is powered by a SuperQuartz™ movement, chronometer-certified by the COSC. The ideal companion on every mission and in the most extreme conditions.

 

 

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SuperQuartz™, thermocompensated quartz electronic, analog and 12/24 hr LCD digital display, display backlighting (NVG compatible), EOL indicator. The case is a 46mm x 15mm.

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Here is a picture of the beautiful watch that Ryan was wearing, the Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot. This watch was very nice stylistically but it was even nicer in terms of function. It has a remarkable power reserve, coming in at 70 hours. The case is a 46 mm x 15.40 mm high case.

About the Transocean Unitime from Breitling’s website: Featuring a satin-brushed steel case, this worldtime chronograph combines a Manufacture Breitling Caliber B05 with a black and white technical look echoing Breitling’s grand tradition of watches for aviators. The dial enables simultaneous readings of the time in all 24 timezones, complete with an ultra-practical crown-operated setting system as well as automatic adjustment of the date to local time in both directions. This instrument also comes with a blue dial, a red gold case, as well as in a “Blacksteel” limited series. The peak of user friendliness.

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Bremont

So from Italy, to France and now I make my way to the UK to meet with Michael Pearson from Bremont. I have done some reviews on Bremont watches in the past and I am currently working on a review of the Alt-1 WT.

Links to my prior Bremont reviews:

https://greatmazinger.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/review-bremont-martin-baker-ii-aka-the-mb-ii/

https://greatmazinger.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/watch-review-bremont-supermarine-500/

 

I met Michael electronically about a year or so ago. I have to tell you that he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet in the watch industry. Bremont is very lucky to have him and he definitely knows his stuff. Online I have seen Michael in action but to see him  interacting in person is truly something amazing. His extensive knowledge of Bremont watches and enthusiastic personality drew people in.

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The case was filled with all kinds of Bremont goodness, but of course there was one watch present in particular that I absolutely needed to get hands on. I will let the pictures below make the introduction.

 

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The Bremont Victory, I can’t even describe in words how beautiful this watch is in person. This was Michael’s baby, which made me a bit nervous to handle it. I managed though.

About the Victory from Bremont’s website:

HMS Victory remains the oldest serving warship still in commission. Launched in 1765, she became famous as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The Bremont Victory was a completely unique timepiece, commemorating both the ship and Nelson himself. Incorporating original oak timber and copper from the vessel, the watch also housed a very special BE-83AR chronograph movement with retrograde seconds and date. It was available in a limited run of stainless steel and rose gold models and part of the proceeds were donated towards a major refit to preserve HMS Victory for future generations.

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Michael brought along another little gem, the limited edition Norton. I don’t know which I was drooling over more, the Victory or the Norton, both are prime examples of the capabilities of Bremont design. Bremont’s cases are some of the most impressive cases on a watch. I personally believe that when Daniel Craig retires from the James Bond role that the new Bond needs to wear a Bremont.

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Here are some great examples of what Bremont does that goes beyond the call of duty in terms of rugged design:

BREMONT B-EBE2000 WATCH CASE TREATMENT: All Bremont watches are treated for hardness with B-EBE2000 technology. During this special stage in the case production the metal is heat-treated and defused with carbon, then bombarded with electrons. The process dramatically increases the hardness and scratch resistance of the stainless steel. On the Vickers’ scale of hardness, for example, B-EBE2000 produces a watch case with a value of 2000Hv – approximately seven times that of the normal stainless steel used for watch cases.

BREMONT ROTO-CLICK®:  Many Bremont watches have been designed from a clean sheet of paper. New bezel technology designed and built in-house is now integrated into a number of models such as the MB. The bezel rotates while gliding on a series of four ball bearings. These bearings knit into the gearing of the bezel to produce a most satisfying click for every minute rotated.

BREMONT ANTI-SHOCK

Designed by Bremont initially for the MB range of watches, our unique rubberised movement mount encloses the inner workings. A flexible ring then connects the mount to the outer case, absorbing shocks and allowing the inner case and movement to float.

ANTI-MAGNETIC FARADAY CAGE

A number of Bremont models are designed to withstand the detrimental effects of magnetism on a watch’s movement. With a limited amount of space available, this is achieved by encasing the movement in a soft-iron Faraday cage. Any potentially harmful magnetic fields are then routed around the movement.

 

TRIP-TICK® CASE CONSTRUCTION

All Bremont watch cases use Bremont Trip-Tick® construction consisting of three parts:

  • The hardened steel bezel element, containing the sapphire crystal.
  • The central body section, consisting of a titanium or DLC treated middle barrel.
  • The steel and crystal case back.
  • The separate middle section offers flexibility in both durability and design. It allows us to manufacture cases from different metals, such as titanium, to alter the watch’s weight. DLC, meanwhile, adds to the variety by using contrasting colours to distinguish between models.

 

Ball Watch Company

http://www.ballwatch.com/global/

Ball was present at the event as well, unfortunately  the rep was busy with customers for most of the evening so I was unable to speak with him. There were some great Ball watches but I will have to make another trip to Govberg to get some hands on time with them.

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I want to personally thank Linda and Brian for the lovely evening full of wine, watches and fun. I also want to thank all of the watch brand ambassadors it was an absolute pleasure meeting and talking to them. I could have spent many more hours looking at all the beautiful watches. I needed at least a week with each brand to fully cover all of the watches.

If you live in the area be sure to pay Govberg a visit. Their store is beautiful and the selection of watches is remarkable. If you can’t make it into their actual store you can check out their website at:

Store Locations

I noticed that Brian was wearing a lovely and breathtaking Patek on his wrist. Unfortunately the night ended too quickly before I was unable to get a wrist shot.

Thank you so much for reading.

Stay tuned I have exciting reviews in the works for the weeks and months ahead.

Stephen Mazinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional pictures:

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