Today we are looking at a Fonderia Navale watch, it has been some time since I reviewed one of their watches. Previosly I reviewed one of their first watches called Veneto, you can read teh review on my blog! Thst was a really good watches that I had for 2 years and just recently I gave it to my dad to wear! Fonderia Navale is a sister company to Pontvs and they basically are concentrating on bronze/brass case watches! They recently by the way came out with a brand Diving Armour and are making some really cool vintage Milgauss inspired homage which I quite like and always wondered why that watch gets so less attention from watch geeks!
Today we are looking at one of the latest releases from Fonderia Navale called just “Vintage“. a pretty easy name to remember, but also a bit confusing for a regular consumer as it isn’t particullary a vintage watch, but a vintage inspired. The Vintage is kind of an homage to many different watches, one of them beeing the Blancpain FiftyFathoms which I really like. The watch has only a black dial version although Fonderia Navale gives you chance to choose between sunray black and matte black dials. The variant that they sent me comes with a matte black dial. I would like actually for them to make a purple, green, red and blue dials as those colours would look killer in my opinion, but I also understand that it would make the watch much pricier as not all would like these bright colours, thats why the most popular watches are either with black or blue dials.
So the watch arrived in a nice black leather travel case which I don’t know if it comes with or not as this is a sample watch, but nonetheless it is well made and very practical. I love when companies use travel cases, pouches as watch packaging, this just makes the packaging usable and not collecting dust in the closet. The first impressions of the watch were pretty good! I really like bronze watches, but somehow it is hard to find smaller sized one in the market. Yes, there are bronze Oris 65 and others, but those are over 1000$ mark and under that most of the watches are over 42mm in size, but finding a good 40mm bronze watch is hard, but Fonderia Navale nailed it with this Vintage model as it is 40mm in diameter and I love it! In my opinion smaller sized 38mm to 40mm watches is the next trend, despite luxury watches getting a bit bigger (looking at you Rolex, haha).
The Vintage is made of CuSn8 which is a phosphor bronze which is characterized as a very pure alloy with extremely low content of impurities. Phosphor blends well with copper making the material hardly reacting on oxygen (oxidation) which will basically collect less patina over the years in theory. The watch case is very well machines with precise lines and angles, although I would love if they bevelled those sharp lines as they are kind of sharp on touch. The finishing all over the watch was satin brushed which was done quite well. Why I talk about the finishing in the “past”? Well, it has gained some patina over the month I weared this watch and used it to swim (yes, we in Baltic States love to go swimming in -20C, haha) and the finishing kind of became sand blasted/matte. The case is 40mm in diameter, 15mm in thickness, from lug to lug it measures at 52mm and the lug width is 20mm. Overall I really like the dimensions, I like smaller sized divers, especially 38-40mm as they fit my 18cm wrist perfectly. On top we have a 240 click bezel, at first I thought it was broken, but I counted them all. The bezel insiert is ceramic and lumed with BGW9 lume which is pretty strong as always from Fonderia Navale! The bezel action is very tight at first, but after you turn the bezel a couple of times, it becomes easier to rotate, but still it feels very firm and precise without any play. At 3 o’clock we have a screw down crown. The crown is very well executed with plenty of grip and plus I like the rounded top. The caseback is made of 316L stainless steel and is finished with round satin brushed finishing. There is an engraved divers silhouette with bead blasted background which looks really cool! Around the engraved diver we have some specifications engraved and what looks like a limited edition number 25 out of 50. The water resistance is 200m which is plenty enough for doing basically any water releated activities.
The dial on Vintage is in matte black colour with faux patina lume and hands to fit those Vintage aesthetics. The dial has a printed white minute track around the dial. A Rhombus hour marker at 12 o’clock, rectangular hour markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and the rest hour markers are round. The hour markers are white, but they have a faux patina lume applied on them. The Swiss Super Luminova C3 is also pretty well aplied as it lasts about 4-5 hours on my tests and lights up pretty bright at first. At 12 o’clock we have a bold Fonderia Navale logo which I actually really like. At 6 o’clock we have the name of the watch in a cursive font “Vintage” which is actually lumed! Under that we have a text “Automatic” and “200m”. All the hands are white with the same faux patina Swiss Super Luminova C3 lume. Overall the dial is very legible and easy to read! On top of the watch sits a boxed sapphire crystal with blue AR coating which makes the dial really pop!
The movement that is inside the watch is Japan made Seiko NH35, which is running at +8 to +9 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,beating away with 21,600 BPH and it also has hacking and hand-winding. Despite Seiko NH35 beeing a pretty good movement I would preffer a Miyota 9000s series movement better as it is just so much closer to the Swiss movements in quality and finishing, but at this price point I can’t complain at all!
The strap that comes on this watch as always is really good. Fonderia Navale supplies all it’s watches with some really well made straps. the strap that came on the Vintage is a dark brown suede leather strap. The top is suede and the bottom is leather. There are white stitches at lug portion and at the ends of each strap portion that contrastes with the brown colour and again gives it that vintage looks that this watch is all about. The strap straight out of the box is super supple and comfortable. The strap tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 18mm at the buckle. The buckle is also made from the CuSn8 phosphor bronze as the case and is signed with F.N. that stands fro Fonderia Navale. It is actually great to see that the buckle is also bronze as some companies don’t even bother to make it also from the bronze and just goes with a stainless steel one. Fonderia also went so far to fit the strap with built in quick release spring bars which help a lot when you want to put a rubber strap on it to go swimming.
Overall I really like this piece and again it will stay in my collection as the only bronze watch. So now I and my father have a bronze watch from Fonderia Navale in our collections! The watch wears very comfortable on the wrist, it isn’t too heavy or too light, it fits just perfect! And also for the price of 350$ you get hell of a watch with a cool design, well machined case, legible dial with nice lume, great Seiko NH35 movement, boxed sapphire crystal and a really nice suede strap. Is it worth it? In my opinion yes! It is a solid piece and a great example of Bronze watch in a really nice size of 40mm! Definitely worth every penny!
|Width (without crown)||40mm|
|Lug to lug||52mm|
|Dial||Black (Matte and Sunray)|