Watch Review: Fonderia Navale Vintage

The Vintage is the little watch that could. A extremely wearable size, packed with good design details/specs and under the $400 mark. This watch is an excellent option for those who have been looking to get into the bronze watch arena but were scared off by the plethora of larger é sized watches. The Vintage is also a little more refined that previously released Pontvs/Fonderia Navale releases in the sense of case design and size. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Vintage when I first heard about it. I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure how the DNA of their watches was going to translate into the more refined mold. It was definitely a pleasant surprise when I got to hold the Vintage in my hands. It’s a fun, easy to grab & go kind of watch. As you would expect, it is extremely easy/comfortable watch to wear no matter what the environment or the weather conditions are. It’s definitely a watch for all wrist sizes. It has enough personality to wear well on a larger wrist. These days too much emphasis is placed on case size anyway. I used to be a diehard 45mm and above kind of guy. I still love that size realm but I also can appreciate watches well below that too. If the design and quality is there, case size should not even be a deal-breaking issue.

The CuSn8 bronze case seemed to start the natural patina process on day one. Bronze cases are always changing and for me that is definitely one of the more appealing draws to bronze. I like how FN included a matching CuSn8 bronze buckle on the leather strap. A definite welcome addition of consistency. The curved lugs of the Vintage combined with the dimensions of the case allow the watch to nicely hug the wrist ever so comfortably. Fonderia Navale finished the case off beautifully by two details that might be my favorite on the Vintage. The raised sapphire crystal and the etched stainless steel case back are those two details. As you can see in the pictures, the crystal is quite spectacular as it sits higher than the bezel which is a nice nod to the dive watches of yesteryear. The etched scuba diver on the rounded case back finishes off the Vintage with a touch of thoroughness of vintage personality. The stainless steel case back screws into the case back. In addition to the scuba diver, there are details about the watch itself including the watch number xx/50, the model name and the water resistance.(200m)

The matte black dial is a heavenly place that quite often found my eyes getting lost on. The lack of glare on a matte black dial is a thing of beauty. The aged look of the hour markers and hands look great set against the matte black backdrop. I can really appreciate that FN opted for a no date dial. The flow of a dial is always disrupted by a date window, I don’t care what anyone says. There’s no way around having a date and keeping the dial completely symmetrical. Of course there are ways to lessen the “eye sore”, but that’s a conversation for another time. The Vintage has strong lume game as well, not only on the dial but also on the bezel inlay. I like the lume contrast between the yellow glow of the hands and the green glow of the markers. It’s quite beautiful.

The bezel and the crown are easy to grip and operate thanks to the machined edges found on both the crown and the bezel. I like the clean look of the crown side of this case because of the absence of crown guards. The screw-down crown functions with the smooth operation that you would expect on your watch. The bezel also has that same smooth operation that watches should always have. Careful watch making isn’t something that isn’t always a part of the final product, which is quite sad. A bezel should always line up with the dial, should be void of extra play and sit evenly against the case. Fonderia Navale made sure that the Vintage bezel meets all of this criteria. The crown always passes the quality control check list of easy grip, smooth operation when manually winding/setting the time and no wobble. No extra wobble means that there isn’t any unnecessary lining up difficulty when screwing the crown down.

The Vintage is an extremely affordable piece that is packed full of details that are a welcome “surprise for the price.” I will go as far to say that I can’t think of another watch that has this many nice details for the price. There’s a misconception that in order to be a “good” watch that it has to carry a certain price which is absolutely absurd. Quality shouldn’t be affected by the asking price. My greediness would recommend having drilled lugs Vs the quick release spring bars but that’s just me being selfish. The details teamed with the flawless operation of the details, makes the Vintage a no brainer for anyone looking for a bronze diver. I can’t recommend this watch enough without sounding like a complete fanboy. The Vintage is one of those watches that come along and catch you completely off guard. It’s a departure in a way from the Fonderia Navale DNA that I have come to love, but the execution of details on this watch are surprising. Surprising enough to make me enjoy this watch as much as I enjoy their past releases. I am enjoying watching the progression of Fonderia Navale/PONTVS.

The Vintage is a great bronze daily beater. It held up without fail during my hiking/climbing adventures and during my ice/snow adventures. All the functions worked flawlessly is every weather condition I was in and in every environment. From work to the woods to the water, it transitioned seamlessly. It truly impressed me which is why I can recommend this piece to new watch enthusiasts and seasoned enthusiasts alike. This version of the Vintage and the sunray dial version is available on the FN website: https://www.pontvswatch.com/products/fonderia-navale-vintage. There are two new versions coming soon, both with be limited to 15 each. (See below)

New dials coming soon

Thank you for reading. Thank you Fonderia Navale.

SPECIFICATIONS

Movement Automatic

Calibre

Seiko NH35A

Hand winding Yes

Automatic Yes

Glass Boxed Sapphire

Date No

Width (without crown) 40mm

Thickness 13mm

Lugs 20mm

Lug to lug 52mm

Water resistance 200m

Dial Black (Matte and Sunray)

Case material CuSn8

Band material Leather

Buckle Material CuSn8

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