Tag Archives: indie

Reviewed: Stimpson London 40mm Dive Style Watch

As we get deeper into the MOD watch thing, NWC magazine thought we would put some money on the table and buy something cheap and cheerful, just as a starting point. I mean, you could always change the dial, bezel and hands at a later date just to increase your own Modding skills level right?

So we found Martyn Stimpson online, a London based guy making/selling some eye-catching watches that we could called Seiko homage. Martyn also deals in vintage watches and you can’t argue with a running Smiths or Favre Lueba at under £80 really.

The dive style, brand new models Stimpson London sells are 40-42mm wide watches, with DG auto Chinese movement inside, mineral crystal, steel case, sterile dial (no brand name) screwdown crown and a solid caseback. I chose a blue and white one and paid just over £51 inc postage.

If you want to upgrade, Stimpson sell Seiko NH35 powered watches that look prettymuch identical to the one I bought. They cost around £99 by the way.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Glad you asked, there is no box. Well, you have to get down to an ebay price of £47 plus postage somehow and that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. The watch was very well bubble wrapped and boxed, with the foldover clasp covered in blue sealing tape, plus bracelet polythene wrap either side of the clasp too.

This one has a 40mm case, exc crown, with a unidirectional clicking bezel.  You grab the serrated edges and wind it to the left, or anti-clockwise. Bit stiff, but as I won’t be diving in a watch with a 30m depth rating, it doesn’t matter. It’s the look and feel that counts for me at this price.

Inside you can hear the movement spinning its rotor like an old fashioned 45rpm record when you shake the watch. I gave it about ten mins of shaking and it ran overnight fine.

UPMARKET TOUCHES

The crown unscrews nicely and once you line it up dead straight, it screws down perfectly too. The case edges are well chamfered and rounded, no sharp edges sticking in your wrist. I like the blue inlay in the crown too, like Cartier touch there, although under a loupe it does look like a blue sticker.

There is a Rolex syle serrated caseback, and although In have a set of tools somewhere in the spare room to jam it in the vice and open it, I haven’t bothered. I can’t see the movement being exciting to look at frankly, what matters is that it works. So far it’s been keeping time spot on for a day, but I will update you in a few months and see what the accuracy is like.

I had to remove 4 links to fit my wrist, so I was pleased to see screwdown pins fitted. This is usual on expensive watches, or the capped variety, but far better than push-pins, as they tend to bend slightly when tapped back into brand new bracelet links in my experience. Definite plus point for this level of watch.

ON THE WRIST

The watch isn’t too wide or too heavy for me. It’s not too high like a real dive watch with 300m resistance might be at say 15mm plus, this one measures at  13mm dead on my Vernier gauge, inc the caseback and crystal cyclops detail.

The cyclops gives you a decent view of the date and it is set dang straight on the glass too. The clasp snaps shut and prises open with a nice blend of ressistance. All round, this is a superb watch for Sekonda money and feels good to wear. It won’t impress any fellow collectors, or fashionistas who worship particular Indie brands, or Swiss dive models. Fact is, it isn’t a real dive watch, just a homage.

But the MOD movement is all about getting your own look, a unique take, on the Seiko SKX dive style, isn’t it?

 

 

 

New Viqueria Heritage Mixes Poljot Movt & Modern Styling

Not gonna lie, lately the NWC mag has become slightly obsessed with MOD – Made On Demand – watches. The idea of recycling existing, sometimes vintage movements or a handy Seiko case n bracelet, has broad appeal. It’s also kinda sustainable/green/climate agenda friendly too, as you’re basically upcycling watch parts.

Yeah so kudos with the Jeminas n Lucys who dye their hair pink and superglue themselves to controversial statues n that.

The Viqueria Heritage is ahn Italian made watch that combines the trusty Poljot 2609 movement with a new case and some beautiful leather straps.  The case size is perfect at 40mm. The watch isn’t too thick either, plus it features a real mineral crystal. All this for £180 plus import duty and VAT. Not bad.

Here’s the tech spec from Viqueria;

Few months ago we found a bunch of Poljot 2609 movements. So we started to think about a new dressy timepiece with a lot of history inside.

Thanks to our Italian watchmaker we serviced, verified and regulated the Poljot movements and thus allowed us to create a limited edition of 83 pieces that we will deliver to you in May!

We have encased the Poljot in a 40.5mm case with a bezel that’s tight to the domed crystal. Short lugs with a curve flat enough to suit larger wrists yet angled enough to hug smaller wrists as well.

The Viqueria Heritage V1 has 3 sunray dials, blue, black and white. Applied high polish indices and applied numerals.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Movement: Serviced and Regulated Handwind Poljot 2609;
  • Case: SS316L 40.5mm diameter;
  • Thickness: 12mm
  • Size: 46mm lug to lug – 20mm lug width;
  • Crystal: Super Domed mineral crystal with Anti Reflective coating;
  • Water Resistance 5atm
  • Caseback: Mineral crystal
  • Dials: Sunray dials with applied markers
  • Straps: Made in Italy leather straps. In the starting price is included 1 strap at your choice (vintage Tuscany leather or leather with high quality alligator stamp)
  • Warranty: 24months
  • Serviced, Regulated and Assembled in Italy

DELIVERY: The Viqueria Heritage is in production, so we expect to start deliveries by the mid of May.

Eza Sealander: ETA Movt, 300m Depth & Bronze Case

Eza watches has sent us some info on their new Sealander Bronze model, which retails for just over £1100.
Obviously there’s a bronze 41mm case, with an ETA 2824 movement inside – these movements are becoming increasingly rare from Indie brands, so that is worth a price premium to an extent, as many now have Miyota/Seiko engines inside.
The watch is made in Germany, so when you buy for $1095 you have 20% VAT and UK imkport duties on top, plus any admin fees the delivery service can apply. We reckon it will total up at £1100 plus, but sadly nobody knows unless they buy it.
This ongoing problem with import duties and other fees needs to be fixed, otherwise watch sales are going to become difficult for Indie makers. Big brands can use Freeport warehouses to get around this mess, but smaller companies are trapped and can only push all the admin and costs onto the customer.
Great looking dive watch, 300m depth, and an ETA engine – it has a great deal of plus points. Long term, an Oris might hold its value better, but you will pay more than £1400 for an Oris with 300m rating.
Here’s the tech spec on the Sealander;
Movement
Swiss Calibre ETA 2824 Automatic, Ligne 11-1/2’”, 25 jewels, 28.800bph, 38-40 hour power reserve, adjusted by Eza Watches to six positions.
Functions
Automatic & manual winding, Display by means of hands: hour, minute, second. Date calendar, Stop second device, Shock-absorber for balance staff.
Case
CUAI9 bronze case with mixed brushed and high gloss finish. Case diameter 41.0mm, lug width 22.0mm, case thickness 14.2mm (including the double domed glass), lug to lug 49 mm.
High gloss 316L Stainless Steel Caseback with engraved logo.
Dial
Dial with high gloss indexes filled with C3 SuperLuminova™.
Ceramic bezel insert with C3 SuperLuminova™ at 12 o’clock.
Crystal
Double domed anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
Water resistance
Water resistant to 30 ATM, 300 meters.
Strap
Vintage leather and nato strap.
Ratings
Adjusted to six positions and tested.

Kickstarter: Pacific Explorer Has That Indie Edge

The Coast Watch company has a Kickstarter project happening now, which has already passed its target and it is easy to see why. The Pacific Explorer is a classic tool watch, with three different bezel options, the proven Sellita SW200 movement inside, steel case, sapphire crystal and a 39mm case diameter, which is spot-on for most wrists. It’s also good for 200m of depth underwater.

The best combo is perhaps the bronze bezel variant, with a fume tobacco brown dial, just because well…bronze.

Based in Denmark, you do have some import duty to pay if you’re in the UK, but the prices are very reasonable considering the high quality spec of this watch. Definitely worth a look and there are a few early bird deals still on the site. Prices start at about £410, that includes a leather travel pouch. Delivery expected in July.

More here. 

Blanchard Chrono: Superlume, Custom Bezels & More

Blanchard watches in Florida are doing the retro motorsport thing in style. They’re making chronographs for guys who race, and they don’t care if it sounds sexist and upsets the professional grievance hunters that lurk under every troll bridge on Twitter. Good for them we say.

The Seiko VK64 powered watch has three different dial designs, with the white dial, black sub-dials being our fave, plus four bezels. You get a little Allen key to undo the three tiny nuts that hold the bezel in place. There are two race circuit themed bezels as well, plus you get a springbar and spare straps in case you fancy a NATO option. 100m of water resistance, steel case, wonderful blue superlume dial at night.

This has a lot going for it and considering Robert Blanchard decided to start making watches in 2019, the company are offering a classy, old school motorsport chrono for not a great deal of money. A fast start is crucial, as they say in racing circles. Plus, they say they have more models and custom variations in the pipeline. Here’s the word from Blanchard;

The Gentleman Racer, gives you the ability to interchange bezels. Currently we are offering four designs with more to come in the future. The Gentleman Racer comes with your choice of three dial colors, and the options of a custom nylon NATO signed strap or a beautifully crafted tapering stainless steel bracelet with signed clasp. This premium chronograph was designed for race car drivers and spectators like yourself.

The project is already well funded by the way, delivery expected in June 21, price is about £213, plus import duty and VAT etc.

You can get the early bird deals here. 

Baltic Twin Crown is a Win-Win

Baltic’s Aquascaphe twin crown is on pre-order right now and it’s a wel equipped tool watch that’s built to dive. With a serious 200m depth rating, sapphire crystal, 316 steel compressor case and dive time crown at the 2pm position, this model will do the job. The top crown moves the internal bezel, so you can set the minutes underwater accurately.

The second crown at 4 o’clock is used to wind the automatic movement and to set the time. The first 300 pieces are numbered on the caseback This watch is also slim, at just under 12mm in height from crystal to caseback. That might suit many watch fans who find the big chunky cases on say a Zelos, or some bronze indie watches just too much on dry land. 

You can also buy it with a black dial and black bezel, plus there’s a PVD coated case option.

The pre-order price is £660, which is reasonable for something this well finished and manufactured in Europe, rather than China or Singapore. There will be import duties and perhaps some BS delivery company admin fees on top don’t forget.

Rivals include much of the Zelos range, plus dive brands like Enosken (1000m depth) or Marloe, who are based in the UK.  There’s a great deal of choice when it comes to dive watches under £1000 these days, although twin crown models are not as common as single crown watches in general.

More at Baltic’s website here. 

 

 

Forzo Launches a Foggy Watch Collection

Carl Fogarty’s exclusive and limited-edition watch collection, in collaboration with Forzo, has launched on Kickstarter. The brand-new partnership with the freshly-established British watch brand was announced in January.

Former World Superbike Champion and star of the popular ITV Jungle celeb series, is hopeful that the new Forzo watches will take off, acting as brand ambassador. To date about £9000 of the £123,000 goal has been raised. Why it should take 123 grand to produce a batch of  Seiko quartz and Miyota movement automatics remains a mystery.

To secure your watch please click here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geckota/a-limited-edition-watch-created-with-a-champion

His all-new watch range takes inspiration from the great moments in his illustrious motorbike racing career, including a record-breaking 1992 TT lap at an unforgettable average speed of 123mph. Appropriately enough, the first watch he has created together with Forzo is called the “123mph” range – and it comes in a variety of colours and specifications.

Verdict: You need to be a megafan to buy into this plan. Average spec watch for £630-£1000.

Boldr Pays Tribute to The Radium Girls

The story of the Radium Girls is one of the most horrifying tales of human irresponsibility and oversight against the suffering endured by innocent factory workers, who had no idea they were being poisoned by Radium-laced luminous paint. Yes that was how watchmaking was done in the past, especially during WWII when troops, naval officers and aircrew were issued with glow-in-the-dark watches for night-time raids and battle operations.

Many watchmakers during the 1940s-60s were also exposed to radiation from the repair of these watches.

Boldr Supply Watches have produced 99 pieces of the Venture Un.dark, which pays tribute to the legacy of these fallen heroes. With a bright dial, the lume graphic features a worker from a century ago painting radioactive markers onto a watch. The watch has a Miyota movement inside, retails at $339 and has a 40mm case. The caseback is engraved with a typical selection of watch workshop tools from days past.

MHD Type 3 Goes on Pre-Order

The MHD Type 3 automatic watch, which NWC magazine has been following for some months during its development, is now available for pre-order.

Price is £745 inc VAT and you get a 40mm case watch, with a 1920s Bugatti style design – we love that motorsport style grille on the case. There is also a power reserve on the dial, plus an overall clocks/dashboard vibe, all of which help to make this a winner when it comes to looks.

Inside you will find the humble Miyota automatic movement, so it is an expensive watch for the `engine’ featured. You have to love the details like the Italian leather strap and the fact that it is a limited edition of just 100 pieces. Truly a one-off design that mixes retro motoring with modern minimalism, you can find out more here.

Raven Trekker Is A Cool, Class Act. Pricey Though

The latest watch from Raven is this edition of the Trekker featuring ceramic or stainless steel bezels, date or no-date movements, a newly designed flat jubilee bracelet with easy to size single sided screws, brushed stainless steel case with polished accents, and available dial colors in black, gray, and yellow.

The 39mm steel case tool watch has a sapphire crystal, screwdown crown and a depth rating of 300m. It’s got a striking steel bracelet too, with a smooth, brushed finish that really gives this watch an impressive look in the press photos. The only downside is the cost, at $750. That’s a bit steep for a Miyota powered auto, even one as classy as this one.

On the upside the blue version of the Trekker is on early bird special offer  – $50 off – until March 31st. More here.