BOLDR Watches achieved over 400% in funding for their BOLDR Journey on Kickstarter last May. For 2017, BOLDR embarked on a similar (yet more serious) route with the BOLDR Odyssey. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Leon, Co-Founder of BOLDR for a chat over coffee, and a full hands-on experience with the Odyssey in a day.
By now, frequent readers of Suave Watches will know that I am rather critical towards diver watch. This is simply because the market is saturated with too many ‘rip-off’ and ‘beaten to death’ designs. More often than not, diver watches by micro brands, and even some conglomerate brands, are so uninspiring that I’d rather eat plain roti prata without curry.
Why the name “BOLDR”?
Leon: The name came from the word BOLD, BOLDER. Boldr represents the spirit of being BOLD, taking the first steps to your next adventure.
The BOLDR Odyssey seems like a really large timepiece on paper with a 45.5mm diameter and 14.2mm thick case, but in practical reality, it wears more like a modern 42mm diver watch. The Odyssey fits snugly on my relatively flat 6-inch wrist, thanks to the short lugs. It was actually Leon, one of the co-founders of BOLDR Watches, who brought it to my attention during our meet-up over coffee.
For this review, I did not have the chance to try it with the polyurethane strap or top-grain Italian leather strap but finding a replacement strap was not a big problem. The Odyssey’s 22mm lug width makes it so easy for strap change with an overabundance of 22mm watch straps in the market. So I decided to go with the textile strap for a blacked-out look.
Looking down on my wrist, the dial of the Odyssey presents an aesthetically pleasing gleam due to the bluish hue of the double-domed sapphire crystal. Shooting the camera on a bright, sunny day can still be quite challenging despite the anti-reflective coating. While the hands, markers and centered date windows are highly visible even at a quick glance. My favourite feature on the dial is definitely the orange second-hand that clearly drew inspiration from the iconic Omega PloProf.
What is the motivation behind BOLDR Watches?
Leon: BOLDR started with idea of connecting wearers with the spirit of adventures. We want to build products that will keep you accompany through your adventures.
On functionality, the Odyssey makes a perfect daily watch but maybe not too appropriate in a formal outfit. It is first and foremost a diver watch, a practical tool for diver and also useful for day-to-day task. I used it to time my coffee brew in french press with the bezel and it works just great.
The 120-click bezel is exceptionally smooth especially with the nicely chiseled edges for a good grip. Having similar design, operating the crown was also a pleasant affair. It is triple-lock mechanism screw-down crown, ensuring that the watch’s 500m water resistance is not compromised. Yes, the Odyssey has a helium escape valve.
Flipping the watch over, lies a custom caseback designed by Melbourne artist Ashwin Royan. BOLDR are darn serious in their watches’ caseback designs as they will usually commission artists to design them, not just materialising them with some stock artwork on Shutterstock.
Powering the watch is a Seiko NH35 automatic, self-winding, 21,600bph movement with hacking mechanism and a power reserve of about 38-42 hours. As always, Seiko movements are perfect. They are affordable, works like a cow in a farm and have great serviceability. Even better news: because the Steel Blue is now the best-selling Odyssey model on their Kickstarter campaign, BOLDR has launched a special edition of the Steel Blue edition with a Swiss Made STP1-11 movement. It is a high beat rate movement at 28,800bph and boasting a longer power reserve of 44 hours.
Lume can make or break a diver watch; the team at BOLDR understood that. The lume plots on the markers, bezel and hands are generously applied with BGW9 SuperLuminova for high visibility in the darkest environment. They have an eye-catching blue that’s quite hard to miss.
How do you see the expansion of BOLDR collection in the next 3-5 years?
Leon: BOLDR will continue to build products that accompany you in your adventures. We will explore different materials that will make our products, better, stronger, that will last with you in your adventures.
The BOLDR Odyssey is available in three stylish colour combinations and presented in a utilitarian box:
- Steel Blue (S$375) comes with a navy blue dial, white Superlume index markers, in a stainless steel case and bezel.
- White Storm (S$385) comes in a white dial, white Superlume index markers, with a stainless steel case and gunmetal bezel with IP-Titanium finishing.
- Ever Black (S$395) comes with a black dial, white Superlume index markers with an all-black stainless steel case and bezel with DLC coating.
Backers of BOLDR Odyssey Kickstarter will also be getting an additional Polyurethene strap for free as part of their first stretched goal!
● Case: 45.5mm 316L Stainless Steel Case with brush and polish finish
● Bezel: 120-click unidirectional dive bezel, with elapsed time function
● Movement: Seiko NH35A automatic movement, self-winding and hacking mechanism, 42-hour power reserve
● Water Resistance: 500m (1650ft) / 50ATM
● Winding Crown: Triple-lock screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
● Dial & Hands: Matte dial with 3D-Printed Indexes and custom hands with Swiss Superlume.
● Lens: Double dome sapphire crystal with AR-coating
● Strap: Top-grain premium italian leather AND Polyurethane dive strap
● Case Size: 45.5mm / Case Thickness: 14.2mm
● Case Back: Screw-down caseback with embossed limited edition designer artwork