Today we are gonna take a look at two Bradner watches. Spinnaker actually sent me the one on the leather strap about a month ago and the one on bracelet about a week ago and I thought why don’t I put them both in one article.
The Bradner on the leather strap is an updated version of it. Spinnaker added AR coating to the sapphire crystal, improved lume application, an upgraded water resistance rating (180m from 150m), and smoother gearing of the internal bezel. Having never seen the original in flesh, I cannot speak to whether these improvements are actually improvements. I have only heard some bad words about the gearing for the inner bezel from some fellow watch reviewers. But it is nice to see that companies listen to watch enthusiasts and upgrade every bad thing about them.
The other Bradner on the bracelet is basically the same watch, just with different colour dials and a Beads of Rice bracelet! This is what I’ve been waiting from them since the Baselworld this year as I saw them showing off this bracelet version and only 3 months later we have it! But there is one thing that you need to take in the notice, the bracelet won’t fit any other Bradner that came on a leather strap as the case has some extra machine work and the holes for spring bard on the lugs are placed differently (closer to the case). This version will be available only with a watch (isn’t sold separately) on July 5.
I actually wanted to review this model for a long time and I’m glad that I waited for the perfected version! I always wanted to have a compressor-style watch, I’m a big fan of the Longines Legend Diver no date, but that is out of my budget and this is a perfect watch to have, till I have the money to get the Longines. Yes, one of the Bradners will stay with me for some time. I won’t talk about Spinnaker much as we have talked about them before and my viewers are probably familiar with this brand as they are getting very popular with their vintage-inspired dive watches! I have to say that in the last year they have been pumping out some really amazing designs like Dumas, Tesei, Hull and the Bradner of course! I can’t just wait for the next ones!
As usual, all Spinnakers come in these small blue cardboard boxes. Inside the box, you will find the watch, warranty card, instructions and a cleaning cloth. I like this simple packaging! The first impressions were great! Both watches were everything I expected them to be! They are really stunning watches! Since I had a chance to check the WUS Emperor Diver on beads of rice bracelet, I fell in love with that look and was lusting to get a watch on this bracelet. But I noticed one thing that really annoyed me from the start and that is that the second crown for the inner rotating bezel isn’t a screw-in, and due to that the bezel turns on the slightest touch of it and throughout the day I needed to put it back at 12 o’clock a couple of times.
The case of Bradner is made of 316L stainless steel. The case, as usual, is very well machined with nice lines and angles. The finishing all over the watch is satin-brushed. The case as you know is made in this compressor-style where you have two crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock and the inner rotating bezel. The diameter o the case is 42mm, the thickness is 15mm, the lug to lug distance is 50mm and the lug width is 20mm. The watch has nice proportions, but the thickness for me, is a bit of an issue, it just sits too high. Maybe with a solid case back, you could get off 2mm, but it would be good if they made a thinner version of it. At 2 and 4 o’clock we have two crowns. The one at 4 o’clock is screw down and signed. The action on it is pretty good. The second crown isn’t a screw-down and just controls the inner rotating bezel. The exhibition case back has a flat mineral crystal and around it, you will find a couple of specifications. On top of the watch, we have a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. The water resistance is 180m which is ok for swimming. The one thing that I hate about the case between two of these is that the bracelet can’t be fitted on the strap version. Basically, the case on the bracelet version is slightly machined differently by the lugs and the holes are closer to the case than on the strap version. And this one annoys me a bit too. It would be nice if they made the bracelet for all the versions and sold it separately as I know a lot of people who would like to fit it on their older Bradner’s.
The dials on these ones are pretty cool! The rotating bezel itself looks to be a moulded plastic piece consisting of round minute markers, rectangular hashes for the odd-numbered 5-minute indices, and block Arabic numerals for the even-numbered 5-minute indices. All of the indices are raised up from the base of the bezel, with all of the 5-minute indices getting a coating of faux patina Super-Luminova on the strap version and a green lume on the bracelet version. right by the inner rotating bezel, we find a 60-minute chapter ring. This one is a strange choice, but the black printed indices on a dark grey background are nearly impossible to see, but I guess they went the design way and not the function route.
Moving to the main dial. Square, applied indices are used at each 5-minute interval, with rectangular indices at 6, 9, and 12 and the date window with white surround at three. The applied and polished Spinnaker logo is found at twelve, with “Automatic” in white and “500FT/150M” in orange at 6 o’clock. The baton minute hand is joined by a hammer or club-style hour hand and a running seconds hand with round, lumed pip with an orange outline. All of the applied indices and hands also receive an application of Super-Luminova. The main dial on the strap version is in dark grey sunray, but on the bracelet version, we have this green grainy textured dial. I think Spinnaker nailed the Compressor style dial with a 9 out 10 from me!
The movement that is inside the watch is Japan made Seiko NH35, which is running at +15 to +18 seconds a day, at least for me. 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. Spinnaker also throws on top of the movement a customized rotor in black colour.
The strap on the Bradner is really good as usual from Spinnaker! Actually, they now released a lot fo new strap and I wrote a review on a couple of them and you can read it on my website. The red strap looks really cool with the Bradner! The strap is very soft and supple. The top is very soft, it feels like suede, but not exactly like it. The underline is black leather. The whole strap actually is water-resistant, I don’t know what exactly that means, but I’ve read on their website that you can easily take it in water, but I’d better use silicone strap for it if you want to go swimming. It has some white contrasting stitching right by the lugs and on the ends of the strap. The tang-style buckle is signed and made from stainless steel and features the same bead-blasted finish just like the case. The strap width is 22mm and tapers to 20mm at the buckle.
The new BOR bracelet on the Spinnaker I think was something that everybody wanted, and Spinnaker heard our prayers! I was actually one of the first ones who knew about this since March and it was very hard to stay quiet about it! The BOR bracelet that comes with Spinnaker isn’t 100% good as not the all links move, the rice beads on this bracelet aren’t moving and they all are moulded, but it is still pretty comfortable to wear. The sides of the links are satin-brushed and the rice beads are polished. The milled clasp is pretty good, but they should do some other design of the closing mechanism as it is a bit boring, nowadays microbrands and smaller brands are releasing their own design clasps and I think Spinnaker needs to do them too! I took off about 4 links from the bracelet to fit it to my middle-sized wrist, but you can easily wear it on a bigger wrist. There is also a divers extension and plenty of micro-adjustments to size it just perfectly! All the links are solid and they are held on together with push pinks which is a bit of a bummer, but you can’t complain a lot as the price is pretty affordable!
Overall the Bradner is a killer, it still has that one problem with the crown for the bezel that it rotates too freely on the slightest touch, but otherwise, the watch is perfect! Spinnaker really nailed it with the vintage-looking compressor design! I like that they went their own way without doing a copy. The price for the strap version is 285$ and for the bracelet one 370$ which is a big increase for just a bracelet, but well worth it!