When it comes to bronze/brass watches, there are mixed opinions. Some people like the patina and material but the other half doesn’t like patina and call it “rotten” or something like that. But I really like that material, but for me, the problem is that many companies make the bronze/brass watches too big for my wrist and it is hard to find 42mm or lower case size that fits me. Recently I reviewed the Fonderia Navale Veneto which had the perfect 42mm bronze case and was the first bronze watch that I reviewed on this blog. And that watch is perfect, Fonderia Navale let me keep it and I also wrote an article on patina and how to achieve it faster.
But today we are gonna take a look at another this kind of watch, but with a case made of brass that has a good size. This one comes from a company called Boldr (Boldr Supply Co.). The Boldr Supply Company is based out of Singapore and Malaysia, run by co-founders Travis, Leon and Isa. They are in the business for quite some time, but only recently started to make these robust tool watches. I actually had a short talk with co-founders that you can read here.
The watch that Boldr sent me is from their Boldr Voyager collection. When they launched this collection last December, it sold out very quickly. And I can understand why it looks good and comes from a brand that has gained a lot of respect from watch people. I’ve been trying to get one in for a review for some time, but finally, I got my hands on one! The model that I got is called the Mediterranean and comes with brass bezel and green dial. There are also two other variants called Adriatic (brass bezel and blue dial) and Aegean (brass bezel and grey dial). There are also four versions with brass bezels with inserts: Arctic (black dial, black insert), Pacific (blue dial, blue insert), Atlantic (green dial, green insert) and Caspian (brown dial, brown insert). But the one that I got sent is probably my favourite one from the bunch.
The Voyager was sent in a very nice box actually. Inside the box, you will find the watch with the nato strap, warranty card, sticker and some other papers. The first impressions of the watch were great. I really love the design and it kind of reminds me of the Oris Bronze watch which is basically the same Oris 65, but with a different case, bezel material. As the Oris is in my wish-list I really liked this one.
The Voyager’s case is made of marine grade solid brass that will develop a unique patina with wear. The case is very well made and I actually never handled brass watch in my life. The whole watch case is finished in this bead blasted finish which looks very good, in the sun the watch shines like it’s almost polished or brushed, but in closer inspection it is matte. The case diameter is 42mm, the thickness is 14,6mm and from lug to lug it measures at 49,2mm. The size, in my opinion, is perfect, I wish it was 40mm, but kind of 42mm suits it better and in reality, it wears a bit smaller. And the proportions are great, it isn’t too thick or wide either. The Voyager’s bezel is 120-clicks, unidirectional. The bezel has no insert and I like it this way better, with that insert it looks a bit strange in my opinion. At 12 o’clock it has luminous pip. The bezel moved with firm, positive action and no back play. At 3 o’clock you have a dual-lock screw down crown and it is also brass. The crown threads very easily and has a nice action to it when you wind the movement or set the time. The crown has an aggressive texturing and centre channel so it grips very well too. I really like that raised and polished logo on the side of the crown. On the back of the watch, you will find a stainless steel screw down case back featuring a detailed engraving of a helmeted octopus which is a really cool design. On top of the dial sits a “Super-dome” Vintage K1 Mineral glass. Water resistance of the Voyager is 200m, which is more than enough to swim with the watch and do all kind of water-related activities.
Boldr dials never disappoint, and the Voyager is no exception. The hands are brass and filled with lume, as is the second hand’s red/orange paddle tip. All three are a proper length. Cutaway markers and numbers in the light sunray dial surface and reveal a layer of bright Old Radium SuperLuminova beneath. It seems quite traditional at first but details like the deep shadows cast by the cut-outs, the clipped corners at the tips of the hour and minute hands, and the segmented index enliven it. The dial actually looks like if Panerai and Rolex had a child, the numbers and that sandwich dial reminds me of Panerai and the other markers remind me a little of Rolex. The dial, in my opinion, is very good looking, I really like the subtle sunray on the dial, at first I didn’t notice it that much, but when I went out with it in a sunny day I noticed that it glows a bit. I also like that they went with no date on this watch, just the basics. The lume on the dial and hands is pretty good and Boldr never disappoints.
The movement that you will find ticking inside is the Seiko NH35, which is reasonably well regulated at +8 to +10 seconds a day. This movement is pretty popular in the microbrand world as 50% of watches that are coming out have this movement inside them. It has proven it’s reliability and easiness to service within many years. You just can’t go wrong with Japan made movements from Seiko. It is an automatic 24 jewel movement with 41-hour power reserve and beating away with 21,600 BPH.
Unlike most 42mm watches, the Voyager wears a comparatively narrow 20mm strap (usually 22mm are seen on 42mm cases). The supplied Zulu strap is dark blue nylon with blasted brass hardware. The understrap loop below the bottom lugs is signed with the Boldr logo. Like all Zulus, it was wearing quite thick on my wrist, usually what I do for most of my nato/Zulu straps, I cut the second loop off so the watch wears a bit slimmer, but of course, I didn’t do this one this one as it is a loaner. The only problem that I found is that the strap is too short, I have a middle sized wrist and the strap barely got to fold it over the first loop.
Overall the watch is really cool. I really like that vintage-inspired design with the all brass case and bezel. And of course, Boldr, in recent years has surprised the microbrand dive/tool watch market with some really great looking and quality watches. I have been following the company since they released their first watch which looked a bit like a fashion watch and I thought that this will be one of those companies, but they have proven me wrong. But yeah, the Voyager is a really great budget diver, for around 300$ you get a very well made brass diver, with a solidly made bezel, automatic movement and with a great design.
- Case: 42mm Marine Grade Solid Brass
- Bezel: Solid brass 120-click unidirectional dive bezel, with luminous bip
- Movement: NH35A automatic movement, with the self-winding and hacking mechanism and 42-hour power reserve
- Water Resistance: 200m (660ft) / 20ATM
- Winding Crown: Dual-lock screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
- Dial & Hands: Sunburst Green sandwich dial with and custom brass hands, both with “Old Radium” Superlume
- Lens: “Super-dome” Vintage K1 Mineral glass
- Strap: Custom Zulu-Style NATO strap with custom solid brass buckle
- Case Thickness: 13.5mm
- Lug size: 20mm
- Lug to lug: 48mm
- Case Back: Single-piece screw down with engraved limited edition designer artwork