Earlier in 2017, Leon the Co-Founder of BOLDR told us that the brand started with the “idea of connecting wearers with the spirit of adventures”; it is not an empty promise for sure. In just two years, BOLDR has expanded their line-up exponentially. Today we are very excited to get our hands on their latest addition, the BOLDR Expedition.
Frequent readers of Suave Watches will know that we have featured BOLDR’s very first watch, the BOLDR Journey, and did a hands-on review for the BOLDR Odyssey. Both watches were extremely successful on Kickstarter and had received tons of positive media coverage. With no signs of slowing down, the brand added the BOLDR Explorer, a quartz GMT watch to their line-up, and now they back (again) with the BOLDR Expedition.
The BOLDR Expedition is unlike any recent Kickstarter campaigns we have seen. Bolder than ever, it hits all sweet spot in its freshness in design, build quality and value proposition. BOLDR is clearly setting the trend and defining standards for the microbrand watch market. It is also visible in their consistent direction to target the broad sports watch market: Journey (Aviator), Odyssey (Diver), Explorer (GMT) and Expedition (Field).
Coming in six attractive variants, the BOLDR Expeditions are named after famous mountain around the world: Kilimanjaro, Everest, Rainier, Fuji, Eiger and Rushmore. For this review, we are taking a closer look at the beautiful white dial Eiger.
Featuring a dual crown setup, the BOLDR Expedition might be easily mistaken as a compressor style dive watch. The way I see it, it is designed in this matter for practical reasons which I will explain later. I personally do not subscribe to the notion that a particular style of watch should look a certain way.
The dial is highly visible with a mix of large arabic numerals at 2, 6, 8, 10 and 12 o’ clock and markers for the remaining hours except at 4 o’ clock where the date window sits. Its orange-tipped second hand is similar to the one ticking away in the BOLDR Odyssey, which works perfectly with the textured white dial. The minute and hour hands on the Eiger are brass finished in black PVD, each with ample space for the BGW9 lume. The Eiger is the only white dial Expedition and instead of having lume on the markers, its entire dial is filled with BGW9 lume.
For a rugged look, the 41mm 316L stainless steel case of the BOLDR Expedition is either completed in brushed finish or black PVD. Both crowns feature screw-down capabilities and are ridged for better grip, but each one actually feels different to the touch. The top crown features a recessed ring highlighted in orange that contrasts well with the orange-tipped second hand. The bottom crown for time and date is signed with the BOLDR logo and it is slightly smoother to the touch in comparison with the top crown used for turning the inner bezel.
It makes perfect sense for the top crown to have a rougher texture for better grip when operating the bidirectional inner bezel. The multi-functional inner bezel can be used for time elapse, directional compass and second time-zone among other practical usage. In all practical sense, having both crowns on the right means easy, convenient operation even it is on the wrist (sorry, left-handed folks).
Flipping the watch over, the BOLDR Expedition proudly showcases an automatic movement through its sapphire crystal display caseback with laser-etched terrain map artwork. Albeit a prototype, the anti-reflective (AR) coating for the display caseback and the dial crystal are already pretty impressive and you can expect even higher quality AR coating on the actual piece next year. I was also informed by Leon that the terrain map artwork will look even more defined.
The movement on the prototype features the Seiko-owned Time Module NH35 automatic movement. Backers of the BOLDR Expedition will be extremely pleased to know that the main production will feature the Swiss made Selitta SW200-1 movement. The SW200-1 is often compared with the ETA 2824-2 in terms of finishing, build quality and reliability. Due of the tight control by Swatch Group, many other legacy manufacturers (e.g. IWC) have also switched to Selitta for their entry timepieces.
Attention to detail can be seen on the leather lined canvas strap. Instead of just punching holes, BOLDR actually have eyelets inserted into the strap for a premium feel. The team at BOLDR sure knows how to play with ‘first impression’ elements to their advantage.
What’s even more amazing is the kind of money BOLDR is asking for the Expedition. At just US$389 (S$539), you are getting a tough, high quality sports watch with Swiss movement. It is very well-built, from its screw-down crowns to the case finishing. I have also heard how great BOLDR’s after sales service is and I’m sure it is part of their brand ethos.
The BOLDR Expedition Kickstarter campaign is still ongoing at the point of this review. Sad to say, early bird for the Everest is now gone but you can still back the other variants at US$389 (S$539). If you really want the Everest, go for it at US$419 (S$579).
Each Expedition comes with an additional black NATO strap and a BOLDR Tact-Pack:
- Tactical Roll-pack in Ballistic Nylon, with a G-hook clasp and custom-sized sewn-in compartments.
- 1x BOLDR Mini-torchlight – uses AA batteries and LEDs for a super-bright light, with adjustable beam size and pocket clip.
- 1x BOLDR Notebook – 48 pages of grid-lines notes with helpful tips to use your BOLDR expedition and quick conversion tables.
- 1x BOLDR Tactical Tool Card – featuring can and cap opener, knife edge, screwdriver, ruler, 4-point & butterfly wrench, saw blade, lanyard hole and paracord.
- Also, space for up to 2-3 wristwatches
Upon reaching their S$200k goal, they will throw in a free Horween leather strap.
Estimated delivery of the Expedition is June 2018 or possibly earlier in April/May 2018.
Case diameter: 41mm
Case thickness: 14.5mm
Case material: 316L stainless steel in brushed finish or black PVD
Crystal: Double domed, Sapphire with AR coating
Lume: BGW9 / C3 / Superluminova Old Radium
Lug-to-Lug / Lug width: 48mm / 20mm
Strap: 20mm military-grade canvas strap (leather lined)
Movement: Selitta SW200-1
Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200m