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Hands-On: BOLDR Venture

By Cameron Martel


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Everything a Casual Everyday Watch Should Be

Today I’m showing off an affordable field watch that is made of titanium, equipped with a flat sapphire crystal, and run by an ETA 802.102 quartz movement. It also features excellent lume, 100m of water resistance, and a lifetime warranty.

BOLDR Supply Co. is releasing the Venture – a sub-$100 Swiss-quartz powered watch – with an expected ship date of November of this year. Pre-orders are taking place right now. They asked if I’d be interested in showing the Venture to my readers, and after assessing the watch hands on, I think it’s a contender for a casual-wear everyday watch.

This is a pre-production unit, but if it’s representative of the final product, the Venture will be a good watch to buy.

Disclaimer: BOLDR sent us this Venture at no-cost. Some images courtesy of BOLDR Supply Co. (these images are not WYCA branded).

BOLDR Venture Technical Specifications

  • Model Number: Carbon Black
  • MSRP: $99
  • Case Diameter: 38mm
  • Alternate Models: Two other versions
  • Movement: Quartz, ETA 802.102
  • Complications: n/a
  • Battery Life: Approximately 2 years
  • Water Resistance: 100m / 330ft
  • Crystal Material: Sapphire

BOLDR Venture Crown

Titanium Strength & Texture

The Venture feels very light in your hands and on your wrist thanks to the titanium case and lightweight movement. Don’t mistake this lack of weight for a lack of robustness, though. The Venture is made to go where you do.

The machining on the case, and particularly on the angular lugs, is quite good. The titanium has visible grain and feels satisfying to hold. The knurled crown has the BOLDR logo engraved, and it’s a solid job with defined edges and no missteps.

The crown sits at 4 o’clock, as it does on a Seiko 5 SNK809, and provides the dial with a bit of discreet asymmetry that I find satisfying. I like how Seiko did it on the SNK series, and I like how it looks here on the Venture.

The textured dial is more noticeable in the high-res photos (bottom of post) than it is to your naked eye, but it still adds a touch of depth. Since the case itself is quite thin, a bit of depth is appreciated and prevents the Venture from feeling flat.

Many microbrand watches look good from a distance but show areas where inexperience leads to small compromises in build quality. The Venture is not perfectly constructed, but its quality of build is much better than what you usually find in a $100 watch. Notably, it’s built better than most microbrand watches I’ve seen hands-on. I’m impressed.

BOLDR Venture Caseback

X Marks the Spot

The steel caseback is engraved with a large “X” made of letters from Travis Tan’s favorite sayings (Travis is one of the co-founders). The letters are engraved around and on top of each other, resulting in an engraving that appears like a mash of letters as opposed to a quote or a phrase. I still like how it looks, but I definitely didn’t make the connection that they were supposed to mean something more than random letters and words.

Watch specs encircle the rest of the caseback, including the movement type. I like when watches tell you the movement on the caseback, as it makes battery shopping easier since it’s likely you’ll still have the watch but will have lost the box/manual it came with. Speaking of batteries, you’ll see around two to three years from the ETA movement.

And on the subject of the movement, the ETA 802.102 is a barebones quartz with no complications. There’s nothing notable about it other than the fact that BOLDR chose to use it vs a less expensive Miyota movement. So, the Venture isn’t Swiss-made, but it is Swiss-powered.

BOLDR Venture

It Delivers on Its Specs

To test the water resistance rating, I put the Venture in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner for 5 minutes at a depth of just over 1.5″. After the Venture came out of it just fine, I wore it while drinking a beer or two in a hot tub. It survived the experience unharmed.

BOLDR Venture Lume

The Superluminova application does its job and makes the Venture very legible at night. Lume is applied to the hands and hour markers, including the numbers themselves, and all of which are quite visible in the dark.

BOLDR Venture

Who is BOLDR?

BOLDR Supply Co. is a microbrand based out of Singapore and Malaysia that has released 5 collections, with the Venture and upcoming Globetrotter being collections 6 and 7, respectively. They are a six-person team that is building the BOLDR brand to be adventurous and rugged. Their branding stresses the virtues of adventure, and their watches seem to aspire to empower that lifestyle.

They use a variety of movements, including ETA, Seiko, and Selitta automatics. All their watches are equipped with sapphire crystals and a movement appropriate for their price point.

They’ve incorporated their own crowdfunding model into their website. Users fund the watch via pre-orders, and the idea is that by eliminating waste/unnecessary cost, the pricing is less expensive compared to other development models. Based on the price of the Venture, it seems to be working out for them. Their other watch lines are also competitively priced.

While still a young company, I think BOLDR is doing it right. 

BOLDR Venture Wrist Shot

A Good Watch at a Great Price

The sub-$100 watch market is an interesting one. In it, you’ll wade through a sea of disposable watches sporting low-end automatic and quartz movements at prices that make them tempting to buy. In my opinion, anything disposable is never worth buying (let alone wearing).

To bring sapphire, a titanium case, and a Swiss quartz to the table at that price is, frankly, very uncommon. The materials should, if properly used, embolden the Venture to thrive as a valued member of someone’s everyday carry.

And based on what I have seen here, the materials are indeed put to good use.

The Venture is a good value in part because of what it’s made of, but it’s more than the sum of its parts. It lives the hype the brand is trying to create and, as a business owner and entrepreneur, I appreciate the work that goes into delivering a product like this.

Underpromising and overdelivering is the mark of a great value, and that’s exactly what I think the Venture does well. Priced at $150, the Venture would be a good watch. At $100, it’s a great one.

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About Cameron Martel

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection. Learn more about WYCA's Editorial Process.

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