William Wood Midnight Blue (Review)

Today we are gonna look at the company called William Wood. They are a rather new company. In August 2017 they successfully launched their Kickstarter campaign raising £27,708. The company is based in England. William Wood was the name of the creator’s late grandfather. He served in the British Fire Service for over 25 years and was awarded with commendations for his bravery and service. As a tribute to this incredible man, the William Wood logo represents a traditional gold British Firefighters helmet as seen in the image above.

That story is kind of cool as also they donate a percentage of their annual profits to The Fire Fighters Charity based in the UK. Whether injured, ill or in need of psychological support to come to terms with the life and death situations they face on a daily basis, the charity exists to support the everyday heroes of the UK fire community. So when you buy a watch from William Wood, you also kind of donate a little to charity.

The only issue with me is that the watch doesn’t translate this story. When I got the watch, there was nothing that spoke to that firefighter’s story. The only thing was a small picture to the thank you note inside, which had a firetruck with firefighters on it, and that’s it. It is just weird that there is almost no resemblance to that. Other watches that are inspired by something usually translate that in design, writing on the case, dial or have some papers at least telling the story.

Watch they sent me today was the Midnight Blue version, they also have 4 other versions, but this one I think look the best, I really like blue dials on these dressier watches. The watches are limited edition, that means they come engraved with production numbers on all limited edition pieces. Only 250 pieces available in all 5 colours.

So the watch came in a pretty big box. The outer box is a green cardboard box with William Wood branding. The inner box is a piano finish wood box. Pretty good looking box, although the latches hardly survived the shipping, but they are still working, just a bit of wobbly action to them. The box opens when you push that button on the front of the box. With the watch, you get a 1-year warranty, Certificate of authenticity and thank you note. The first impressions of the watch were mixed. I immediately liked the size, it has a nice weight to it and I also like the salmon pink underlining of the strap, it gives a nice contrast to that blue leather. But I disliked the Roman numeral at 12 and the oversized logo that doesn’t look that good.

The case of the Midnight Blue is made of 316L stainless steel. The case shape is round with mid-size lugs. The finishing on the case is mixed. The sides have brushed finishing and the top of the lugs, bezel, crown and case back is polished. The finishing is done pretty well, can’t see any flaws on the case. The design of the case is pretty good and fits that dressy look. The diameter of the case is 41,2mm, the thickness is 10,7mm, lug to lug is 48,9mm and the lug width is 20mm. The watch wears pretty well and comfortable, on my wrist, the case doesn’t look that big, but I think 39-40mm size would be much suited for this dressy watch, 41mm is just too much. But it is just my opinion, there are a lot of people who would like this size. At 3 o’clock we have a signed push/pull crown. Crown is pretty big and easy to grab and set time. The case back on this watch is pretty unique, it has brass coin case back sealed with a sapphire crystal glass and anti-reflective coating. The brass coin has the signature William Wood firefighter helmet embossed on it. I actually like this touch and I didn’t know that it is behind a glass. Never seen this type of case back on any watch. On the brass coin, we also have the unique production number. We have the 22nd out of 250. On top of the watch, sits a domed sapphire crystal, finished with a 3 layered anti-reflective coating and blue tint. The water resistance is 5ATM (50m) which is plenty enough for some splashes and rain, but no swimming. I don’t suggest you to go swimming with push/pull crown watches.

Name of the watch probably explains the dial. It is called Midnight Blue. And the dial is also this deep blue, almost sunburst. The colour is really deep, in some lights it looks almost black and in brighter lights, it is this nice blue. That is why I love blue dials, especially when they have this sunburst effect. The hour markers are applied, the same goes for the helmet logo. They have polished finishing and really are great looking. The thing that I don’t like with the hour markers is that the 12 is in Roman and it looks strange. It kind of ruins the dial. It would be better if 12 was marked with the same hour markers and not roman numerals. Also, the helmet logo and William Wood writing is a bit too big, it would look a ton better if the logo wasn’t so “into face”. At 6 we have a writings “London” and closer to the edge we have “Swiss Movt.” The dauphine hour and minute hands are also polished and I like how they look, the polishing is so good that it was very hard to catch the hands-on photos. The dial had a lot of potential with that super nice sunburst blue dial and dauphine hands, but it was ruined in my opinion with the logo and that roman numeral at 12.

The movement inside the watch is Swiss-made Ronda quartz, just a basic quartz workhorse and it has 10-year battery life, which is a big plus. You won’t need to worry about the watch stopping for whole 10 years. Usually, quartz movements last 2-3 years with one battery. The strap that came with the watch was probably the first faux alligator pattern leather strap that I like. The leather is in blue colour and it is very soft to touch, not like those ones you get with most the of microbrands. And my favourite part is that salmon pink soft underlining, I really like how the colours match together. William Wood also chose the right way to attach the strap to the watch, with the quick release spring bars. Watch comes also with a butterfly deployment buckle which is pretty decent. It has some play in it but definitely is more solid than those found on eBay for a couple of bucks.
Overall the watch has some good things and some bad things that I don’t like. The case, finishing on it, that deep blue dial, dauphine hands and interesting case back is cool. But I just don’t like that logo and Roman numeral, the proportions are just ruined for me. And now we come to price, well they are asking £299.99 ($420/€340) which is overpriced in my opinion. Let me explain. Yes, you get a nicely made watch, cool story, nice finishing, sapphire on the front and back, Swiss movement, but that isn’t enough to justify the high price. You can get a lot better-looking watches for this price and even Swiss made pieces or with Japan made automatic movements. Is this something that I recommend? Well, I personally don’t like the looks, but again, this is just my opinion, some people might like it.

Price: £299.99 ($420/€340) @ www.williamwoodwatches.com

  • Movement: Swiss-made Ronda quartz (up to 10 year battery life)
  • Case: 100% Stainless steel (grade 316L)
  • Water Resistant: 5ATM / 50 Meters
  • Glass: Domed sapphire crystal scratch-resistant glass finished with a 3 layered anti-reflective coating and blue tint
  • Caseback: Unique brass coin caseback sealed with a sapphire crystal glass and anti-reflective coating
  • Coin: Brass William Wood coin embossed with our signature Firefighter helmet
  • Limited Edition: Engraved production numbers on all limited edition pieces.  Only 250 pieces avaialable in all 5 colours
  • Hands: Dauphine Hands
  • Indices: Applied
  • Crown: Chiselled crown with logo engraving
  • Dial: Sunray dial
  • Buckle: Butterfly Buckle
  • Straps: Genuine Italian leather crocodile effect straps fitted with orange velvet leather backs and quick-release bars
  • Presentation Box: Oak brown piano lacquered presentation box / British racing green outer box / chocolate brown super fibre cloth / Certificate of Authenticity / International Warranty Card (12 Months) / Thank You Card
  • Warranty: 1 Year (12 Months) Warranty from the date of your purchase

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