Tonight we are taking a look at a brand called Collins. At this moment, I saw couple reviews of their mechanical three hand field watch, the Bronson which was funded by Kickstarter campaign. But one month ago they presented their new Bronson chronograph watch. And this one felt really interesting. The Collins company is based in the United States, Los Angeles. The company was founded by Jimmy Collins. As a recording studio owner and lifetime musician, Collins spent years collecting audio equipment. Marveling over the complex dials, precision controls, and robust engineering of compressors, pre-amps, consoles, and EQs, he noticed a clear parallel with another obsession: watches. Like a quality watch, a piece of studio equipment requires considerable expertise and attention to detail to manufacture. And, while rooted in function, aesthetics and perfectionist design are of paramount importance to both. In essence, it was a melding of passions that led Collins from watch enthusiast to watch designer, and now to watch entrepreneur.
The watch that Jimmy sent me in for a review is the Bronson Chronograph in black. The watch features basically the same case that the regular field watch has. Each watch Collins makes is numbered, and there will be a limited amount of watches only made. So the watch arrived in a nice cardboard outer box with Collins branding and black leather inner box, which was very nicely made. Inside you have the watch, as this piece kindly lent to me, there aren’t any instructions manual or warranty, but it will be there if you buy the watch from them. The first impressions were just wow, the watch is pretty nice looking. I like the vintage styling and I like how the faux patina colour goes so well with the black case and dial colour. Also, the strap is really well made and smells fantastic. Also, I really like to see a 40mm chronograph being offered, usually these type of watches come in 42mm as the smallest size.
So the Bronson Chronograph case is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is coated with matte black PVD coating. The coating is really good quality and seems to be very durable and will withstand some knocks and bangs. The case shape is round with nice middle size lugs. The diameter is 40mm, the thickness is 12,2mm, lug to lug is 48,4mm and lug width is 20mm. In my opinion, the proportions are perfect. The 40mm size is just perfect. The watch sits nicely on the wrist and wears comfortable. It has also some weight, but not much to notice it so much on daily basis. On the right side of the case, we have signed push-pull crown which has nice machine work done to it. It is actually made to look like a volume knob. It is easy to grab and to operate. Also on that side, we have the start-stop and reset pushers. The pushers feel really good, they really have that mechanical feel to them. But they sometimes felt too hard to push, like you need to put some force to push them down. The case back is a screw in and has no PVD finish, but it is bead blasted in silver colour. On the case back you will find just the Collins logo and the which number from production you have, in this case, it is 30. On the top sits a flat sapphire crystal. I would love to see a domed one, as then the dial just pop and it would fit the watch and it’s kind of vintage aesthetics better. The Bronson Chronograph is rated at 10ATM (100M) which is plenty enough for light swimming, although it has only a push-pull crown and chronograph pushers I trust it, as it has a very robust design and it is very well made, so I assume it is tested the right way.
The dial is done in a classic Flieger watch fashion. The colour of the dial is this matte dark grey, almost black. Every printing and lume in the hands is done in this yellow almost like the faux patina colour. Around the dial, we have a minute track and the lumed markers for hours are a square shape. At 12 we have a big arrow up, that is pretty common for pilot style/Flieger watches. The other ones are Arabic numerals going from 1 to 11. The arrow and numerals are also lumed. Under the arrow, we have the Collins logo which is lumed, a nice touch and I didn’t notice until I went from daylight into a dark room. At 6 we have the name of the watch “The Bronson” and depth rating. There are also two subdials at 9 and 3. The subdials are in shiny black colour and they have this circular pattern to them. The one 3 is small seconds and the one at 9 is 30min counter. The second’s hand is made to look like volume unit needle. The hand is stick shaped with a small lumed arrow at the end. The hour and minute hands have sword shape and are also filled with lume. The lume used on this watch is C3 SuperLuminova. It has a nice and bright green glow to it. When I tested it for longevity, it took around 6 hours to go from fully charged to barely see the state. I really like the look of the dial, it isn’t too simple or too busy, it is just perfect.
Collins chose an ISA Swiss 8371B quartz movement. It has a smooth 1/5-second sweep, a 5-year battery life, and small seconds and 30-minute registers. This is the first time I see this movement in a watch. I never had ISA movement before. But it seems pretty good. I also like the sweepings second’s hand. This is a really good alternative for the Seiko meca-quartz movements which also feature the sweeping second’s hand.
The strap that came with the watch was also a very nice surprise. As I wasn’t expecting such good strap on it. The strap is made from dark brown genuine leather with brown stitching. The stitching is done really good and I can’t see any loose threads. The strap is pretty thick, but very soft and curves your wrist nicely. The buckle is made of stainless steel and is also coated with matte black PVD coating. Also, it is signed with Collins logo.
Overall I really like this watch. I wasn’t expecting quality that good from a brand that is so new and from their site it just looks like another fashion brand. But their watches are legit. At least this one really is. You get a nicely made case, sapphire glass, Swiss quartz with sweeping second’s hand, 5-year battery life and good leather strap, and that all for 299$ (now it is on sale for 225$). That is quite amazing! You can also get the same watch, but with a silver colour case.
- Movement: Swiss ISA 8371 quartz (battery-operated)
- Case: Black PVD Stainless steel, 40mm x 12mm. 48mm tip to tip
- Back: Solid SS
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Band: Brown leather strap. 20mm lug
- Water Resistant: 100 meters
- Warranty: 2 Years