When we think of watches that are hand built and are built in small batches we always have a big price in our mind. But this is pretty affordable, comes from Ireland and has a unique case and dial in my opinion.
So today we are gonna take a look at companies NTN W1/D Natural Stainless Steel watch. The NTN is located in Ireland/Dublin. Originally companies roots come from 2014. The company was founded by product designer Ian Walton, NTN began by quietly producing small batches of W1 watches as a side-project within design studio notion for two years. Ian officially established NTN as a brand in September 2016 with an inaugural collection released on the 1st of December of the same year. So it is relatively new brands, but with a lot of potential! I always look at these minimal design watches and think that they all look the same, they just don’t have any signs that make them special or unique, but NTN achieved it with this sleek case design and dial, it has its own twist.
So the watch arrived within a week. It came in a cardboard box. You open the box and the inside of the box and inside you have a wool insert where you put the watch. Really interesting material for the inside, but I guess it goes with the Ireland name. Inside with the watch you also get a little metal tin, slide the lid and you will find leather strap protection wax, a very interesting accessory to come with, but very handy, I use it on other watches that I have too. And of course there also os the watch. I picked it up from the box and immediately noticed that it has great lines on the case, I really like the design of the case. Especially looking on the case back, it looks almost like UFO 😀
So the case is made from stainless steel. Their main goal was to reduce the parts as much as possible. The top case and dial are machines from one block of stainless steel. So generally the watch has two case parts, glass, movement, hands and crown, no dial or anything. The dial actually displays on the crystal, but on that, we are gonna look later. So the case is 42mm and wears fairly small. The case back is in this domed shape and feels so clean and even sterile I would say. Really nice design. The strap goes inside the case, so that is gonna be a problem when you will be changing straps. But as I saw from pictures on the web, you can swap the straps easily by taking off the case back, as there are regular pins holding the strap inside the case. The strap size this watch uses is 20mm. The crown is rather small and hidden under the case, but because of the round case back shape it is easy to grab it. The crown is a bit rattling when it is in time setting position, and that is not acceptable for a watch at this price. But bear in mind that it is built by hand in small batches, and maybe I only got this small problem. Anycase it isn’t anything serious and isn’t messing with how the watch performs.
The dial, well… there isn’t one, well there is, but it is displayed on the crystal. The dial itself is a case and the hour/minute markers, the logo is on the crystal. On the 9 you have a date window, which I think this watch doesn’t need, but I think they put it there so the logo would be symmetrical with the date window. The hands are polished and have a minimalistic line shape. It is really interesting to see that the hour/minute markers are displayed on the crystal.
Inside the watch, you will find Swiss made Ronda 705, a pretty basic, but a reliable movement. The strap is another key point of this watch. It is produced from quality vegetable-tanned full grain leather which is produced in Italy and UK. They are backed with calfskin. The leather is a bit stiff at first, but after one day use it gets softer and wraps your wrist nicely. After some use, you can put on the beeswax that comes in that tin we talked about earlier. It will protect it from water damage and will recondition your strap.
What are my thoughts on this, well, I really like the design and that it’s hand built. The quality won’t be 100% perfect as we saw the crown was rattling a bit. But overall it is a solidly built watch. If you want something that’s fully handbuilt and doesn’t cost a fortune, then get this piece for sure!
Price: €379.00 @ ntn.ie
Movement: Swiss Ronda 705
Functions: Hour / Minute / Second / Date
Case Material: Stainless Steel 316L
Case Finish: Radial Brush
Case Diameter: 42mm
Bracelet Material: Full Grain Veg Tanned Leather
Bracelet Width: 20mm