Today we are gonna take a look at a watch that is inspired by the 50s design with some modern details of minimality. And the watch comes from not so known company called Circula! And the brand has a pretty interesting history as the brand first was introduced in 1955 in Pforzheim, the centre of the German watch- and jewellery industry in the Black Forest. Circula was named after the circulating balance wheel in mechanical movements. The company was founded by Heinz Huber. On the internet, there isn’t a lot of information on this brand, only what’s on their website. I could only presume that they went defunct right when the quartz crisis hit the watch industry. Here are some pictures of watches they released over those years:
In 2018, financed through crowdfunding, they took up the original heritage with a new watch collection. The watches combine the original vintage design of the 50s with contemporary style and allow an elegant as well as casual appearance. The fascination for watches was passed onto Cornelius Huber, grandson of the original Circula founder. For over 90 years, the family is active in the watch industry that combines craftsmanship and shape in such a unique way. Inspired by the elegance and style of his grandfather’s vintage watch, the wedding gift of his dad, he had the idea to make such watches again. Following the family tradition, good watches have to be affordable and last for many years. Just like his grandfather passed the love for Circula onto him, each watch is built so it can be handed on to the next generation. Right now they are making their watches in Switzerland, the single components are assembled with ultimate precision and each watch undergoes a thorough quality control.
I reached out to Circula to review one of their watches and they kindly sent me one of their Heritage watch series watch with blue dial and stainless steel mesh bracelet. The watch came in a vintage style green bo with a gold Circula logo on it, kind of reminds me of the Rolex boxes. In the box you will find the watch, instructions and warranty. The first impressions of the watch were great, I really see that 50s style with that 39mm case size, domed crystal and that super nice blue sunray dial. I also like that they keep the Heritage of the Circula alive with that logo, I have seen many companies who have acquired rights to old lost brands that went defunct in quartz crisis and they just keep the name, but change the brand design and values, not keeping anything from the original name.
The case of the Heritage is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well machined,, as a Swiss Made watch should be and I can’t see any imperfections. The case shape is round witch nice small lugs that make the watch wear a bit smaller. On the case, you will find a mix of finishes: polished and brushed. The sides of the case are brushed, but everything else like bezel, case back, top of the lugs and crown is polished. The case diameter is 39mm, the thickness is 11,3mm (including the domes crystal), from lug to lug it measures at 47mm. It is a very nice size in my opinion as it goes so well with that 50s theme and also the size is great as both men and women can wear it as the design is unisex. At 3 o’clock we have a signed push/pull crown which is just right even for big fingers as it is pretty easy to pull out to set time. The only problem that I find with this watch is the snap on case back, I know it kind of goes with the vintage theme as most of the watches from that era had snap-on case backs, but the problem, at least for is that it is really hard to open if, for example, I want to change the battery myself (I know many watch guys do that by themselves). The main problem is snaping it on right, if you don’t do it right you can bend it or interfere with its water resistance, as you can very easily misplace the gasket. To put it in the right way, you need a special tool. Also, the problem with snap-on case backs is the water resistance as it never will be high, sometimes it can say “splash resistant” that means they have almost no water resistance. Anycase I wish they will make watches in the future with screw in case backs as it is much safer and easier way for us watch guys. The water resistance on this one is only 30m (3ATM), so I don’t suggest you take it near water, yes it can easily withstand rain or handwash, but nothing more. On top of the case sits a double-domed, extra-hardened K1 mineral crystal which really makes the dial stand out.
The dial of the Heritage is very simple. Mine example has a deep blue sunray dial that just glows in the sun like crazy. On the dial, you will find a mix of applied Arabic numerals and batons as hour markers in polished silver colour. Around the dial, there is a printed minute track in white colour. At 12 o’clock we have an applied Circula logo also in silver polished colour to match the hour markers. Under the logo, there is a printed “Swiss Made” text. The hour and minute hands are slightly tapered to the end and are polished, the stick-shaped second’s hand has a counterweight with Circula “C” logo, which is a really nice detail! I really like the design of the dial, it is simple, yet it has something attractive about it. I usually don’t like simple dials, but this one looks pretty good!
Inside the Heritage watch, we have a Swiss Made Ronda 503 quartz movement. Yes, I know that my readers like mechanical movement watches more, but I think quartz has a potential and everyone should own at least one quartz piece to set their automatic pieces, as quartz always will be more precise, although Grand Seiko is breaking grounds in precision when it comes to Spring drive, but that is another story for another day. The battery life usually on these watches are 2-3 years, but that depends on what quality battery you put in there.
Mine example comes with a mesh style bracelet. The mesh is a pretty standard one that comes with most of these type of watches, it uses the same locking mechanism for a buckle that you can adjust for your wrist size and everything. The bracelet has a nice taper from 20mm to 18mm. The watch, in my opinion, would look killer on some brown suede strap, it would go more with that vintage style it has.
Overall I really like the watch. It has some things I don’t like, but overall it is a good watch for a decent price. You get a Swiss made watch that is built just as good as it looks. I wish they made a mechanical version of this or maybe a throwback to some old design. Right now they have more of a fashion watch vibe than a proper watch company vibe, but I understand that fashion watches are pretty popular. Of course, this watch has some heritage with that vintage 50s design cues, but I just think it needs that mechanical movement inside.
Price: 209€ @ circulawatches.com
- Movement Ronda Quartz 503
- Glass material Hardened K1 mineral glass
- Dial colour Dark Blue
- Case colour Silver
- Case material 316L Stainless steel
- Case thickness 8 mm (plus 3 mm glass)
- Case diameter 39 mm
- Strap colour Silver
- Strap Material Stainless Steel Mesh
- Strap width 20 mm
- Water resistant 3 ATM
- Weight 60 g