Nordgreen Philosopher - 40mm

Hands-On: Nordgreen Philosopher Collection

There’s a place in every wardrobe for items of great design, and I’d posit to you that such a description is fitting for the Philosopher collection by Nordgreen. Styled by notable Scandinavian designer, Jakob Wagner, Nordgreen watches are meant to embody excellent design with an overarching focus on sustainability and social responsibility.

Nordgreen is a young microbrand with three collections: Infinity, Native, and Philosopher. All share a similar design language, though each is subtly unique in their own way. The two Philosophers I have here – sized 36mm and 40mm – are indeed quite attractive. Let’s check them out in more detail.

Raymond & Pearl Horizon Adventure Green Wrist Shot

On the Wrist: Raymond & Pearl Horizon Aventure Green

In a competitive marketplace, upstart brands have a brief opportunity to get consumer attention. Whether it’s through brilliant advertising, word-of-mouth, or just via traditional reputation development, there must be something to make someone interested in you. In comes Raymond and Pearl, and they’re hoping to earn your business via the Horizon, a series where classic design mixes with the bold usage of color.

Let’s explore the Horizon together and see what this watch has to offer.

Review: MQT Horlogère Suisse Essential Four Gent

Review: MQT Horlogère Suisse Essential Four Gent

Priced at $229 USD as of the time of this review, the Essential Four Gent affords its wearer versatility via sapphire glass, a clean and minimal face (surprise!), and a quick-release leather strap. Style is conscious and reserved, boasting a good degree of attractiveness. Also worth noting is the use of the Swiss-made ETA 955.412 quartz movement, which alone allows the Essential to stand out compared to other microbrand watches following a similar formula.

So, while the Essential Four Gent is similar in nature to others, it stands above the majority due to its attainable price, excellent construction, and affordability. Let’s dive in and check it out in more detail.

Spinnaker Bradner SP-5057-02

On the Wrist: the Spinnaker Bradner

Not long ago I reviewed the Overboard, a 1000m overbuilt dive watch that can go deeper than you’d ever take it. At the same time I received the Overboard I also took delivery of the Bradner, a casual-wear moderately sized automatic watch that carries a 150m / 500ft water resistance rating. Not bad.

I like the Bradner’s casual style and wrist presence. Let’s take a closer look.

BOLDR Venture

Hands-On: BOLDR Venture

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 am happy to give you a look.

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

James McCabe Heritage Automatic

On the Wrist: James McCabe Heritage Automatic II

Here’s an automatic from James McCabe with the same case and similar aesthetics as the Heritage Retrograde. While the dial loses a few complications, the watch itself gains a Miyota automatic that is nicely decorated and shown off via a mineral exhibition caseback.

Despite an entry-level movement, the Heritage Automatic is a solid watch to consider if you’re wanting something distinctly styled and still 100% watch. If you want to add an inexpensive automatic to your collection, and you want that watch to be something special, well, you’ll want to keep reading…

Scurfa Watches Diver One Blue

Scurfa Watches Diver One

Several weeks back a reader emailed me asking if I’d ever seen a watch from Scurfa Watches hands-on. Scurfa, a microbrand based out of the UK, is owned by Paul Scurfield. A North Sea pressure diver, Paul created Scurfa in order to build dive watches that gave divers high-end capability… but at an affordable price.

Scurfa is a two-person brand – my favorite kind of company – and so I decided to buy a Diver One Blue and get my feet wet. Let’s dive in.

Undone Urban Tropical Sahara

Undone Urban Tropical Sahara

UNDONE is an independent brand that has taken a unique approach to their watches: customers can customize their watch – changing cases, dials, casebacks, and even engraving initials – via UNDONE’s website watch builder. Fans of customization rejoice!

Priced at $345, the Urban Tropical Sahara is within the scope of what most would consider a “nice watch”. This is the first UNDONE I’ve seen hands-on, so let’s not waste any time in having a closer look.

DuFa Aalto Regulator DF-9017

DuFa Aalto Regulator Hands-On Review

Those looking for historical horological significance will likely overlook DuFa. Deutsche Uhrenfrabrik – aka, DuFa – is a brand that has flown underneath the radar, as they compete in a sea microbrands and Kickstarter success stories. In today’s environment, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself and there are a lot of up and coming indie brands out there. But DuFa stands out, and so do their watches.

Take, for example, the Aalto Regulator I have here. The German roots of its style are undeniable – clean shapes, a bold face, and minimal distractions – and the mechanical heartbeat, care of the Miyota 8217 automatic ticking within, is found in hundreds of watch models the world over. A blend of sophisticated style and practical engineering- very German.