Watch Review: Helm Khuraburi

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Stretching your dollar, getting the most for your money, bang for your buck, I am sure all of these sayings we are quite familiar with. There is always a saying that I have been hearing lately as well that I am not that familiar with “good watches aren’t cheap, cheap watches aren’t good.” This stems from some people’s apprehension of going for a microbrand purchase. I have friends on both sides of this fence and as we delve into today’s review hopefully both sides will gain something for this.

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Today I will be looking at Helm’s latest release, the Khuraburi. It is their follow up piece after the widely popular Vanuatu. The Khuraburi’s dial immediately grabs my attention from the initial unboxing of the watch. The unique hour markers are undeniably attention grabbers. They are nice and wide, extremely legible both in daylight and at night. Now Helm keeps the legibility train rolling here on the Khuraburi by adding large, wide hands. I think that the applied markers and the hand combination works great in terms of functionality and visual aesthetics. If you are using this watch in the water you will have no problems reading this dial, whether in clear or murky water. The double-domed sapphire with internal anti-reflective coating.

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I like that the hour and minute hands have a nice, thin black border around the edges which gives a good contrast. What I also like what Helm did on this dial is that the hour markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 are split, and the rest of the numbers are solid. This detail comes in handy when you need reference points in low lit or at quick glance. The second hand is sized perfectly as my personal preference which means it extends out to the minute/second track. This comes in handy when using the Khuraburi to time things to the exact second.

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Something that I want to mention that lays credit to Helm’s thought process in this dial design is this: as I mentioned earlier the hands, markers are wide, so Helm opted to keep the rest of the dial clean/simple. They achieved this by not only keeping the text to a minimum but the also printed the text in a dark grey that is visible in certain angles/lighting and disappears in other angles/lighting. The lume treatment on the Khuraburi is definitely flashlight quality as you can see in the pic below which was taking after about 30 seconds under a light source and in partial light. You can imagine what it looks in complete darkness and with a stronger/longer charging.

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The case of the Khuraburi is almost as unique as the dial and the bezel does an excellent job framing this dial. The bezl functions way better than one would expect at this price point. Not only does it line up perfectly with the 12 o’clock marker, but there is absolutely no extra play whatsoever. Nice tight 120 click action. The sapphire crystal insert looks great and allows the C3 to glow clear like a flashlight at night.

316L Stainless Steel
Insert: Flat Sapphire with C3 Luminous Markings
120-Click, Unidirectional Rotation
Diameter: 43 mm
Removable / Replaceable: Yes

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The rounded sides of the case give the Khuraburi a nice finished look. The Khuraburi is also a good size that will appease fans of both larger cases and smaller cases. Coming is at 45mm with the crown, 16mm thick and 49mm lug to lug. The Khuraburi has great wrist presence and great wearability both in and out of the water. The Khuraburi has curved lugs that are drilled which makes strap changes a bit easier with less chance of scratching the lugs with the right tool.

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The screw down crown located at the 10 o’clock position offers a unique look and change of pace from the typical 3 o’clock position. The 316 L stainless 8mm crown is easy to grip and use with both dry and wet hands. The crown is finished off with the Helm logo making have a completed look and feel. Which coincidentally matches the screw down case back which features a larger Helm logo smack dab in the middle. Without any crown guards this gives the Khuraburi’s brushed 316L stainless steel case an overall clean appearance. The case is guaranteed WR to 990 ft.

The movement ticking away at 21,600 beats per hour is the automatic Seiko NH38. With a projected accuracy rate of -20 ~ +40 seconds per day and a power reserve of 40 hours, you won’t have to worry about accuracy or winding this watch very often if you have it on your wrist for a few days. The Khuraburi used for my review was timed at +10 seconds per day while it was on the beach, in the ocean, hiking, rock/cliff climbing and chilling at home.
Seiko Instruments NH38 (Automatic Mechanical)
Hacking and Manual Winding Functions
Accuracy: -20 ~ +40 seconds/day

The Helm comes with a nice assortment of options for attaching the Khuraburi to your wrist. It comes with a SS2 brushed stainless steel bracelet with matching brushed finished clasp.  The 22 mm bracelet tapers to 20 mm at clasp. The bracelet has a maximum Length: 190 mm (7.5″) and a minimum Length: 110 mm (4.375″). The bracelet is well made, solid and adds some weight to the Khuraburi, total weight with the bracelet is 225 grams. The clasp on the bracelet is solid. I had the same type of clasps on a watch that cost $4,000 and the clasp on the Khuraburi’s bracelet is so much better in terms of thickness and stability. On the included nylon strap it weighs in at 125 grams.

NS1 Nylon Strap comes in your choice of 4 colors and it features stainless steel Buckle and keeper rings. The CS1 canvas straps pictured in some photos is also available but separately If you purchase the canvas strap with the Khuraburi, Helm offers a discount for the canvas strap. I am a sucker for canvas straps, so it was a no brainer for me personally. The canvas strap looks fantastic and is well made.

$300 for the Khuraburi total package. You can decide for yourself if you think this is a good value for your dollar. My personal feelings are that this value is hard to beat for what you get in terms of the extras and in terms of the overall quality of the Khuraburi. I have had the opportunity to review each of Helm’s previous releases and I can say with all honesty that each release is an improvement from their last offering. The lume on the Khuraburi is unbelievablely good on both the dial and on the bezel.

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I can with confidence recommend the Khuraburi to anyone looking to enter the microbrand world, anyone looking for a great “daily beater”, or to seasoned “vets” of the watch world looking for a fun watch to wear. My personal highlights of the Khuraburi are the crown and bezel, both look great and more importantly function perfectly. The area of improvement if I am going the nit picky route are the end links in terms of the middle of the end links don’t match the angle of the middle of the actual links and the sides of end links are finished a bit rough. Other than that, I can’t really find any other areas for improvement at this price point.

Thanks to Helm and thank you all for reading. As always, I welcome your comments and questions below.

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Watch Review: Nodus Trieste

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Humans are definitely creatures of habit and this has been proven time & time again. I am completely guilty of this. My daily routine is always mapped out well in advance and I seldom stray from that map which can become boring of course. I am also drawn to certain design features on watches as well. Brushed stainless steel cases, matte black dials, etc.. Let’s face it, most of us are the same way, especially when it comes to our watches. We tend to stick to what we know and what is “safe” especially when you are talking about spending hundereds of dollars.

When the Nodus Trieste arrived it was definitely something that was a bit out of my “safe” zone. The most noticeable feature that is something different for me was the case. The 316L stainless steel case with black PVD coating is definitely something I would not normally choose. I was pleasantly surprised how the PVD coating is so well done, extremely even throughout the case giving the Trieste a nice stealthy appearance.

“The Trieste is named after the legendary deep-sea submersible from 1960 that went into the depths of the Mariana Trench. The burgundy bezel is bold, eye-catching, and highly-dynamic. In sunlight, the burgundy is rich and vibrant; in shade, the burgundy is muted and subdued.”

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Because of the black case, the burgundy bezel beautifully pops. The black and burgundy meshes well together. The bezel functions perfectly. Each of the 120 clicks feels solid, with no extra play whatsoever. The insert on the bezel is made of sapphire and really looks great when it catches the light at different angles.

The screw down crown is definitely easy to grip and operate. Nodus took things a step further with the crown by engraving their logo onto it. Which is a detail that always completes the look of the crown and the case itself. The case back also features an engraved Nodus logo that takes up 3/4 of the screw down case back. The Trieste wears quite comfortable which is a combination of the curved lugs and the 50mm lug-to-lug length. The drilled lugs allow for easy access to the pin to change the straps without scratching the inner side of the lugs.

Case demensions: 41mm width | 13mm thickness | 50mm lug-to-lug | 20mm lug width | 7mm crown diameter

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The hands on the Trieste are a real thing of beauty that add to the overall aesthetics that make this dial something special. I really like the shape of the hands and that each of hands match perfectly. There has been many times that I have seen where a watch with fantastic hour & minute hands and then the second hand is a complete mismatch. That is definitely not the case on the Trieste as you can see from the pictures. The applied markers are not only for good looks, but they are also extremely legible. The slightly oversized triangular markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 make orientation to the dial very easy at night and low light situations. Of course the generous amount of SuperLuminova BGW-9 (blue) lume also helps that cause as well.

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The text on the dial is kept to a clean minimum. Under the 12 o’clock position is the Nodus name & above the 6 o’clock position is the model name & water resistance depth. The model I reviewed is the no date version which also adds to how clean the Trieste dial is. There is a date version available on the Nodus website. The dial is very legible/visible which is partly due to the double-domed sapphire that is treated with blue AR on underside. I prefer AR on the underside of the crystal. I owned 2 watches that were well above the Trieste price point that had AR on the outer portion of the crystal that eventually got scratched with everyday wear & tear.

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Ticking away inside this Trieste is the STP1-11. “Swiss Technology Production has been producing movements since 2006 and supplies movements for a number of Swiss watch companies. We are proud to be one of the few microbrands to utilize STP1-11 movements in our watches. Fully Swiss made, decorated with Côtes de Genève (Geneva striping) and perlage, and tested in five positions from the factory, the STP1-11 is guaranteed to provide years of accurate and reliable performance.”

Technical Specifications
26 jewels
28,800 vph, 4Hz
44 hour power reserve
Accuracy from factory: 0s ~ +15s / day
Hacking (stop seconds) and hand-winding

The model used for this review was timed in 4 different positions and those results are as follows:

Crown Up: +3 seconds per day

Crown Down: +2 seconds per day

12th Down: +1 second per day

Dial Up: +2 seconds per day

The Trieste comes with two straps, a burgundy canvas strap and a grey/black Nato strap. I personally prefer the Nato strap on this model of the Trieste which I am basing on looks alone. The canvas strap is well made and has a PVD buckle signed with an engraved ‘NODUS’. The strap has a substantial amount of padding to it. Both straps are very comfortable to wear and both keep the 86g watch head balanced as well.

The Trieste is a well executed watch and honestly at $330 is a good value as well for the “amount of watch” that you get. A double domed sapphire AR treated crystal, sapphire bezel inlay, screw down crown, PVD coated case and a nice wood packaging box made of pine with a charred finish. It is definitely a watch worth checking out. The unique styled hands and 4 triangular shaped applied markers make the dial interesting enough to keep some seperation for the others “in the sea” at this price point.

For the total package on what you get, I have no problem recommending this watch to anyone looking to get into the microbrand world that wants a well made and executed watch without destroying their wallet. There are a couple of areas for improvement on the Trieste that I would like to mention. One the crown when full unscrewed and pulled out completely, the crown itself feels a bit on the loose side/a bit too much play. It doesn’t inhibit the functions at all, but it doesn’t have that sturdy feel that I am comfortable with. The other area is in the lume, as you can see in my lume picture that two of the applied markers glow green instead of blue.

I want to thank everyone at Nodus and I would also like to thank all of you for reading.

http://www.noduswatches.com/trieste-black-watches/trieste-black-burgundy-bezel

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Watch Review: Pantor Sea Lion

Growing up I always heard my parents say “oh those were popular when I was growing up, styles always come back after so many years.” Some styles in my opinion should never come back, while other look just as good now as they did years ago. That is the case here today(pun intended) as the I will be looking at the Pantor Sea Lion, a watch that merges the past with the present.

First glance at the Sea Lion I get that 1970’s vintage dive watch feel and that in mainly due to the shape/style of the Sea Lion’s case which is very reminiscent of the vintage dive watches from that time period.

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Even the pip on the dial screams vintage with it’s faux patina aged look which is a detail that I can really appreciate.

The 42mm stainless steal case has some nice details to it from the above mentioned case shape, to the automatic valve located on the case side at the 9 o’clock position. The screw down crown features an engraved sea lion logo that matches the solid caseback very nicely. The crown screws down and functions flawlessly. The ease of the crown operation is because of the good size of the crown and the edges of the crown.  The crown side of the case is also has a very clean look to it which I believe is due to the fact there are no crown guards.

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I am a fan of the Sea Lion’s bezel because of both it’s looks and it’s function. Sometimes faux patina can look cheesy but Pantor kept it simple and in this case simple is better as Pantor kept the faux patina limited to the pip alone. Something else that I believe Pantor got right is the larger/thicker numerals on the bezel itself which allows for easier legibility. The wide edges of the bezel makes it extremely easy to grip and operate with dry or wet hands which is an important detail when using this watch in the water.

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The dial on the Sea Lion is very clean, balanced and has great legibility. No unnecessary BS here cluttering up this dial. The text is kept at a minimum here, you have Pantor under the 12 o’clock position and above the 6 o’clock 300m/990ft AUTOMATIC. The hour markers are nice and crisp, though I am a little disappointed that they are painted markers and weren’t applied markers. But that is just my personal preference and nit picking. The tooth shaped hour markers at 12, 6, 9 are a nice touch of detail, which look even cooler when the lume kicks in.

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Pantor did a good job with the hands on the Sea Lion. Hands can really make or break a dial in my opinion. The squared hour hand here is a nice unique touch. There are a few things worth mentioning that Pantor also got right in terms of the hands. The length of the minute hand and second hand are perfect, reaching out touching the minute & second markers. This makes timing things so much easier to be more precise in measurements when precise measurements are truly needed out in the field, ocean, etc. Even in those dark settings or in the water the Sea Lion is very easy to read because of the generous C3 Super LumiNova treatment to the markers and to the hands. The part of the hands that aren’t coated with lume, are high polished. The hour and minute hands have a nice center crease which allows the polished portions to catch the light just right.

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The case shape and short lugs lend themselves to the comfort of this watch while it is on the wrist. The rubber strap is also quite comfortable. The strap is armed with a tradition tang style buckle. The rubber strap has some great texturing to as you can see in the pics. The strap is also an attractor of dust and lint. If you aren’t a fan of rubber straps or if you like to switch things up like I do,  Pantor includes nylon strap as well.

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Inside the Sea Lion ticking away is the Japan Seiko NH35A, beating at 21,600 bph. The NH35A has a 41 hour power reserve and is a 24 jeweled hacking movement. During my review process this Sea Lion was keeping about +20 seconds per day.

The Sea Lion is a nice offering from Pantor, that has a nice touch of vintage flare and gives you a choice of something a bit different in the dive watch market of watches under $1000. In fact it is quite a value coming in at $499. It is a rugged little watch with a very legible bezel and dial. A clean watch, with no added BS. It has everything you need, while keeping it simple. It is a very comfortable watch as well, you will quickly forget it is on your wrist in terms of the comfort level.

What I really like about the Sea Lion is the dial and the hands. I think Pantor did a fantastic job of getting the dial right. It was well planned out and you can tell there was a thought process behind it. From the hand length and thickness, to the hour markers, right down to the black date wheel with the white printed numerals. Which I must say blends into the dial beautifully for those who don’t prefer having a date on the dial, it is hardly noticeable. The lume glows like a flashlight when charged up and will keep a glow throughout the night.

I would recommend the Sea Lion to someone looking for an affordable dive watch that has vintage appeal, a unique case and a clean, highly legibile dial. This watch has some nice charm about it.

I want to thank Pantor and you all for reading my review.

Website:

https://www.pantorwatches.com/product-page/pre-order-pantor-sea-lion

Specifications:
• Movement: Japan Seiko NH35A
• Date calendar
• 300m water resistant professional diver watches
• Sapphire crystal
• Automatic Valve at 9H
• Dial: 1-12H with Swiss C3 Super LumiNova
• Hands: Swiss C3 Super LumiNova
• Two straps: rubber and nylon
• Case Material: 316L stainless steelCase
• Case diameter: 42mm
• Case thickness: 12.6mm

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