Today we are taking a look at another Kickstarter project watch from a company called James Barts. The company as I can read on site is based in Sweden, Stockholm. By the way a beautiful city, been there more than 10 times, I can recommend to visit it for yourselves too, you won’t regret it. The Kickstarter project got backed by 40 backers and pledged about 6400$ to get the watch to the masses. Before this, they had another watch, so this is James Barts second watch.
The model we are taking a look at is called Panama Anthracite. The watch came in a rectangular black box with James Barts branding. Nothing special, just the usual thing. When I opened the box, I actually wasn’t surprised by the watch, but that it has a deployment buckle. Also looking at the design of the watch you really can see that Scandinavian design. Sweden actually is one of the leading countries in making good-looking, affordable watch designs. I probably reviewed around 30 watches that come from Swedish watch companies. But that is a good thing, as Swedish design is really appealing to the masses and never get’s boring. The same is with this watch. It kind of gives me some nautical vibes, probably because of the Panama name and some other design cues which I will tell about later in the review.
The case is made from 316L stainless steel with anthracite plating which looks pretty cool and almost reminds me titanium. The case diameter is 41mm, lug tip to lug tip is 48mm, lug width is 20mm and thickness is 8,5mm. Overall the watch is pretty slim and easy to wear daily. It is also pretty light too, but not so light that it would feel cheap. The case and crown are unusual, having coin edge knurling that is interrupted by spans of smooth steel. It looks for all the world like it might have been influenced by a soda bottle cap. It’s interesting, unusual, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it, but it fits within the casual theme of the watch. The AR coated sapphire crystal is flat, and nearly in level with the bezel of the watch. The bezel is flat-topped, flat-sided, with a small bevel where the sides meet. The case back is held on with 6 screws. On the case back you will find engraved globe/world map and also some specifications. The watch is rated at 5ATM (50m) of water resistance. It is plenty enough, but I wouldn’t risk swimming with it.
The dial has two levels, with an inset centre. There are applied indices for the hour markers, a printed minute track at the inset centre of the dial, and a seconds track lines the periphery of the dial. The hands are silver to match the indices, and where you might normally expect them to have lume, they have windows. This is especially useful for the minute hand reading the minute track through a hand that would otherwise be too short, not reaching the outer edge of the dial. The date window at 3 is a circle and is a little on the small side for two-digit dates. On the dial, it is marked with an abbreviated decimal latitude/longitude – 9ºN, 80ºV, which equates to Panama City. This sort of navigation originated with sea travel.
Inside the watch, you will find a Swiss made Ronda 505 quartz movement which as we all know needs no explanation as it is a workhorse and very precise. It will be more precise than any of the mechanical watches. The battery life is around 2,5-3 years. The strap that comes with the watch is actually very nice. It is made from a Nubuck and has a suede-ish feel to it, but softer. It has contrasting green stitching. The strap is soft and very supple, so it bends around your wrist nicely and doesn’t require the break-in period as most straps need it. The deployment buckle is pretty nice too. I have experienced everything from eBay 1$ buckles to Breitling ones that cost more than this watch and I got to say that this is pretty good. It is a solid stainless steel milled buckle. It has no play and it works well. And the strap, of course, comes with quick release spring bars which are a huge plus when changing straps. It makes it a ton easier and with no risk scratching the watch.
Overall the watch is cool. It has a nice and appealing design, sapphire crystal, Swiss made quartz movement and nice strap with deployment buckle. On the wrist, it wears really good due to its size and how supple the strap is. The price is 239$ which for some would be too much as it is only quartz watch, but that is how most of these Swedish brands cost. Altogether it is a nice summer watch 🙂
- CASE SIZE: 41 MM
- DIAL COLOR: LIGHT GREY
- PLATING: ANTHRACITE
- STRAP: 20 MM SUEDE NUBUCK LEATHER
- STRAP COLOR: MID-BROWN
- MOVEMENT: SWISS RONDA 505
- WATER CLASSIFICATION: 5 ATM
- GLASS: AR-COATED SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL
- WARRANTY: 24 MONTHS