Bolm Automaton Daylight (Review) + interview with founders

Today we are gonna talk about a watch called Automaton Daylight from a new brand called Bolm. This watch caught my eye right away because it looks like something between a dive watch and field watch, it really looks like a solid tool watch, but it is designed to measure available daylight by means of a slide rule bezel and a rotating map display. So the company is about a couple of months old and based in Sweden. I don’t know where the watches are built, but after spending more than a month with the Automaton Daylight, I was really impressed with the build quality and finishing. The company is run by two brothers Filip and Simon. Before we take a closer look at the watch, let’s have a small chat with the founders of Bolm:

1. Introduce yourself?

We are two brothers from Sweden, one with an engineering background and one from the fields of arts & economics.

2. What started your watch passion?

F – Hard to know, I always loved to pick things apart in order to see how they work. The fine mechanics combined into a small beautiful machine telling time, what not to love?

S – my first bonus

3. What makes a good wristwatch for you?

Something that awakens your curiosity. Today we have been producing wristwatches for well over 100 years and much of what we see is a re-edition or copy of something else. So when I find something new not looking like a spaceship it makes me happy. I find too many focusing on some kind of detailed check-list when buying a watch. One dress, one diver, one chrono… Watches is a passion and too much rationality takes the fun out of it.

4.      How much watches do you have in your personal collection? And maybe you could list them? 

F – Far too many. I quit counting when I reached 100. Love the historic pieces especially the ones not too mainstream. To mention a few, one of the very first Reversos (pre-JLC), a Rolex Bubbleback from 1941 on a spring loaded Gay Freres bracelet, 100 years old oversized Banana-tank in gold, Rolex/worlds first sports watch with black bezel (6202), Omega Seamaster Recife 120, Omega Ploprof 600, Ralph Lauren Automotive 39, military JLC W.W.W. and so on…

S – Far less than 100, but more than 10. I do not appreciate mouldy dials as much as Filip, so most of my watches are post 1960s apart from my favorite oversized Banana-tank in gold from 1908 with a dial to die for…

5. Who is your ideal customer?

I believe we value all of our customers the same, but if the Bolm is their first serious mechanical watch and it opens their mind to the watch collecting sphere. Well, then it makes us proud.

6. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

F – Inspiration is mainly from watch collecting. But as I like stuff, I’ve had my go at hifi, the search for the perfect sound/set-up. Road bikes, one vintage from the 60-ies and one new I put together with weird carbon fiber parts…

S –Rick Owens, dark low bpm techno, graffiti, architecture, perfumery and vintage mechanical precision measurement instruments are all interests, hobbies and inspiration.

7. How do you see Bolm watch brand in the future?

We thrive to be a serious niche player. Sturdy durable watches with a non-nonsense tool-feeling to them. We are planning a new smaller/thinner watch with a bracelet. We are also trying to combine structures and materials not found in this price range.




Now let’s take a closer look at the watch. So the Bolm Automaton Daylight came in a white cardboard box and you immediately can tell by the design that this comes from Sweden. Swedish design just has that clean design that you instantly recognize. Inside the box, you will find a certificate with the exact number you have, we have here the 126. Also there you will find the date when it was made and who assembled it. Also in the box, you will get a leather watch pouch, which is pretty good quality and will be good if you travel with a watch. The first impressions were good, I really like the design as I never seen this with the crown at 10:30, the big bezel and also the very long case from lug to lug. Also, the dial is very interesting with that round pattern and that globe.

The case of the Bolm is constructed of 304 stainless instead of the more common and salt-resistant 316L. What’s the difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel? The simple answer is 304 contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel while 316 contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum is added to help resist corrosion to chlorides (like sea water and de-icing salts). So this stainless steel isn’t salt resistant, I don’t know how exactly that works, but I don’t see my difference with my eye. The finishing is done very good. The whole case has a satin brushed finish,, except the case back which features polished finishing. It measures 41.4mm wide, just under 52mm long, and 13mm thick. The watch middle section isn’t that big if you think about it, only 41mm big, but the watch is very long, so it wears a bit bigger on the wrist, more like a 43mm watch. Bolm offers three variations: all black, black bezel on steel case and dial, and the one we have here for review: steel case and bezel with a black dial. Chisled lugs, slab sides, and a deeply set dial really make it look like a very tough tool watch for sure. The nice engraving in the unique bezel insert makes the face appear smaller in relation to the case further minimizing its bulk. The knurled edge, ratcheting bezel moves smoothly through its detents in both directions. It lacks the firmness of dive watch bezels, it reminds me of the bezel action of the Havaan Tuvali Code Zero diver. And being a slide rule bezel, it is hard to set the bezel precisely. The push-pull crown is weirdly positioned at 10:30, which is very cool touch design-wise, but makes very hard to wind the watch as it is rather small. The screw in case back has an exhibition window. Th case back features a flat mineral crystal, but on the front, we have a flat sapphire crystal. I would really like to see a domed sapphire crystal as I think it would compliment the dial beautifully. The Automaton Daylight is rated at 100m (10ATM) water resistance which is good, but I wouldn’t swim with it as it doesn’t have the screw down crown.

The dial on the Bolm is very interesting. Starting from the outer edge with that angled rehaut around the dial which makes an illusion that the dial is very deeply in the case. When you look at the dial, you immediately notice those white hands which dominate the Daylight’s dial. They are long, fairly broad, and terminate in clipped tips. They present an interesting contrast to the small white bars of the hour markers. At top of the dial, you will find Blom logo, full name, and model name at the top of the dial. I actually really like the logo and the font that they chose.  If you are really looking closely, you will spot “Automatic, 100 Meters” at the very bottom of the dial. The 24-hour indicator is in the bottom half of the dial, and it is the first of the two daylight functions on this watch. The wheel is a cut map of the northern hemisphere viewed from the north pole. It rotates over a graduated field of white to black, signifying day and night. Of course, there are two major issues with this: it is only an am/pm indicator, and it is set up for Stockholm, so unless you live in Central European time zone or exactly on the other side of the northern hemisphere, it will be impossible to set it to correspond with your local time. The dial has a nice circular pattern and it almost has that sunburst effect in different lights. I really like the dial, but there is one important thing that isn’t found on the dial and it is lume. I really wish they lumed the hands, markers and possibly the back of the daylight indicator. It would make a ton of difference look wise.

The movement that is inside the Bolm is Seiko NH37a 24-jewel, 21.6k bph automatic movement. It features Diashock protection, a 41-hour power reserve, and both hacking and hand winding capabilities. Most importantly for this application, it also has a 24-hour indicator on which is made into the daylight indicator, the 6 o’clock position of which necessitates the uncommon crown placement. The movement is pretty solid, I had watches with that movement and they were running solid and keeping good time too. The accuracy on mine was about +8 to +12 seconds a day, which is ok for an entry level movement.

The strap on the Bolm is a thick one. It is 22mm wide tapering to 20mm. Its edges are painted and it has no stitching which I think is a good choice. It fastens with a 20mm brushed stainless steel tang buckle. This is actually a very cool buckle design, I know that it is a simple thing, but it makes a ton of difference to how it looks on your wrist. I just like how it looks, something different. I wore it on this strap for all the time till the review and I must say it wears good, the strap is a bit stiff and more supple leather would be better. I also tried it on a black silicone strap and some colorful canvas straps and it looked pretty good with those ones too.

Overall the Bolm Automaton Daylight is a very solid watch. The built quality is there, the finishing of the case is done pretty well too. On the wrist it feels like pretty good, it wears big, at least bigger than a 41mm watch should, but it isn’t to the point where it is uncomfortable, it wears actually very comfortable. My only problem probably is that there is no lume, it would make a ton of difference and I believe that it would look stunning on those hands. Anycase this is a great watch for a good price!

Price: 399 @ bolmwatches.com

MOVEMENT

  • Automatic self-winding Japanese movement
  • >41 hour power reserve
  • 6 vibrations per second (21 600 vibrations per hour)
  • Antimagnetic DC : > 4800 A / m
  • 24 jewels
  • Rotor with ball bearing
  • Shock-absorber device for balance staff
  • Hour, Minute and Second indicators with hacking function
  • Spinning globe disc with 24h day and night indicator

CASE

  • Water resistance: 100 m
  • Reference: 11111
  • Diameter: 41.4 mm
  • Thickness: 13.1 mm
  • Lug to lug: 51.7 mm
  • Material: Brushed 304 Stainless Steel
  • Construction: Screw down case back and double gasket crown
  • Case back: Display back
  • Daylight Bezel: Stainless steel with brushed and knurled finish. Bidirectional with ratchets. Calculator ring with daylight timer
  • Front Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflex coating
  • Back Crystal: Mineral crystal

DIAL

  • Anodized Black
  • Centric guilloche finish
  • Indices in matte white
  • Gradient pattern behind night/day-disc
  • Matte white hands with matte black base.

STRAP

  • Black satin finished aniline top grain leather with black suede lining
  • Width: 22-20 mm
  • Thickness: 4-3 mm

BUCKLE

  • Stainless steel tang buckle with logo

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