The Sacred Crafts La Grande Mer Hua Hin (Review) – Swiss made Bronze diver! Bronze bracelet?

Today we are looking at a small brand that I found through Instagram and it is really cool brand! I must say they have made the coolest bronze watch of 2021 in my opinion! The most surprising thing and the main reason I wanted to review the watch is that they made the watch from recycled materials and that it has a full bronze bracelet that looks like the new trend for microbrands (Zelos just recently made one too).

So the company is called “The Sacred Crafts“, the company is based in the US, but the watches are Swiss Made! they use only recycled materials and the company is all about those “reclaimed materials“. They actually not only make watches but also make reclaimed Kudmai Engineered Wood flooring. Have you ever seen a company that makes watches and wooden flooring? I haven’t, that’s for sure! The company sources all its materials from Thailand (Wood, Bronze, etc.). I won’t go into writing the long story of how the brand became in reality, but you can read the full story here: thesacredcrafts.com I highly suggest reading it cause rarely a brand is so transparent on everything they do. I also later will post an interview with the founder Matthew Harkins and you will have an even deeper insight into the Sacred Crafts brand!

The Grande Mer collection consists of 4 watches. The names for all these are: Le Grande Mer, Hua Hin, Dark Seas, Kudmai. They are all the same watch with different dials, materials, and colours. Each of these watches are limited, but each model has a different limitation in pieces. Le Grande Mer is limited to 220 pcs. , Hua Hin 90 pcs. , Dark Seas 100 pcs. , Kudmai 90 pcs. So all together they are a limited edition of 500 pcs in 2021. I chose the Hua Hin version with a full bronze bracelet, although it was tough to choose between this and the Kudmai with steel/bronze case and bracelet. As my example is from 2020, there were only 36 Hua Hin version made and I got the 3rd number.

The watch arrived in the most beautifully crafted box I ever have seen! The watch box was wrapped in this fabric with looks like writings in the Thai language, but maybe I’m wrong. The box itself is a lacquered wooden box. The wood for the box is a recycled wood from vintage fishing boats and as you can see the blue colour is the colour the boat was in. I like that they applied this high gloss lacquer. The box is signed on top with printed Scared Crafts name and on front, we have a machined brass logo which is really nice to touch. We take off the top lid and we are greeted with the watch and a leather and rubber strap, very nicely presented. Also, we have 3 pins you can attach to your jacket or bag also made from recycled boat propeller and fishing nets. Also, there is a plaque with the number of limited edition you have. Now we take part of the box where the watch and strap are off, and we have another compartment that is filled with even more goodies. There you will find a waxed fabric pouch with a brass logo on the outside which is a really nice touch and the pouch can be very useful to carry the watch inside. In the pouch, you will get a spare link and a spring bar tool. They also included the bracelet sizing tool which actually feels like a proper tool rather than those eBay 1$ tools. Also besides all that, we have the certificate of authenticity, warranty, and a little book about the story behind Sacred Crafts brand. And the coolest thing is that you can use the box to not only store your watch, but you can just use it as a regular box for any stuff, and the underside you can use as a tray for your keys or something, so everything can be functional. I must say, this was the best unboxing experience I have had. I know that the main thing is the watch, but in my opinion, the unboxing experience is very important. The first impression of the watch were wow, I like the raw look of the bracelet and case, it has pitting and some patina right out of the box, this is the first time I see a watch where the rawness and patina is intentional!

The case of the watch is made of CuSN8 Bronze. The bronze is actually made from recycled bronze from old boat propellors. This is actually the first time where I see a company making its own bronze and making watches out of it. Usually, a company just orders cases in China, Switzerland, or Germany and that’s it, the brand doesn’t make their own material to make a watch out of it. The case is pretty well machined and I like that rough masculine look to it. The machine work is done pretty good as a Swiss Made watch should! All the angles and lines are sharp and pronounced. The only thing is that maybe the edges of the case are a bit too sharp, I would smooth them down, but considering it is made of bronze which is a soft material by itself, I think that after a year the sharp edges will be not so sharp. The finishing all over the case is satin-brushed, but the bezel has bead blasted/matte finishing. The finishing is done quite good, a bit better than on some other Bronze watches I have reviewed. The diameter is 45mm, the thickness is 15mm, from lug tip to lug tip it measures at 52,8mm and the lug width is 22mm. The dimensions are big but on my 18cm wrist it kind of looks good and not oversized. At 3 o’clock we have a hefty crown guard and a screw down crown which is signed with the Sacred Crafts logo. The crown and everything is good except one thing from a watchmaker’s standpoint which is done maybe not so good and can be improved. The crown usually on the screws on the crown tube with 2,5 turns, but this one has 1 turn and a bit more. That means that you can easily break the thread and the water resistance can be compromised. I highly suggest them to change this as in the long run, it will be better!

On top of the case, we have a unidirectional 120 click bezel with an interesting design. The bezel itself is bead-blasted, but the raised numerals are polished. I like the polished numbers as it makes the bezel pop. At 12 o’clock we have a lume pip. The bezel action is really good, it has precise clicks and the bezel has no play at all, it is firm and precisely aligns with the dial markings. At first, the bezel will feel a bit rough, but that is pretty normal for bronze, brass watches, it just needs wear in time and will get better. On the back, we have an exhibition case back. The case back is made of 316L stainless steel, it has a mix of polished and satin-brushed finishings, it is held on with 6 small hex screws. The crystal of the case back is a flat sapphire crystal with a blue AR coating on the inside. On top of the watch, we have a double domed sapphire crystal with a nice bevel and blue AR coating. The water resistance is 300m which is amazing for a watch with an exhibition case back, so swimming won’t be a problem.

The dial is made of a reclaimed wooden boat, so it is made of wood. Each dial will be different with a different patina, so there won’t be a second watch just like this. I actually quite like the idea of using recycled materials in watches, a lot of brands are using this like Triwa recycling illegal guns into watches and many other watches. Around the dial, we have a slanted minute track made of solid bronze with engraved markings. The raised bronze hour markers are brushed and nicely applied with white colour in the middle and filled with Luminova. At 12 o’clock we have an applied Sacred Crafts logo in bronze. At 6 o’clock we have the name of the collection “Grande Mer” and under that, we have the water-resistance “300m” printed in white colour. At 3 o’clock we have a rectangular date window with a white date wheel. I always say that I like when the date wheel matches the dial colour, but here the white date wheel actually looks good! The bronze hour hand is sword shape and very big and bold, the minute hand is even bigger and longer, but in orange colour. I actually quite like when either a minute hand or a second’s hand is in a different colour. The lollipop style second’s hand is bronze. All the hands are lumed and the lume is actually pretty good and lasts about 3-4 hours. The dial, in my opinion, is very well executed, it has bold hour markers and hands so it is very easy to read the time. In my opinion, a dive watch dial has to be legible as it is a tool watch, not a fashion accessory.

Powering the Sacred Crafts Hua Hin is a simple but great Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. It’s nothing special when it comes to horology, but it is a damn good and reliable movement. This 4Hz (28,800 BPH), 42-hour power reserve automatic movement is the one I expected in this price range so I’m perfectly happy with it. I have this movement in a couple of my watches and I never had problems with it, even if something goes wrong, it is very easy to fix as parts are very accessible and most watchmakers can repair it without a problem. Sacred Crafts also went further and made a custom bronze rotor which is quite similar to the Breguet rotor shape actually. They also decorated the rotor with perlage and engraved the Sacred Crafts logo on it. The movement is actually quite precise, this time I gave it to my watchmaker to test and my example ran at just +1 seconds a day and at a perfect amplitude. So Sacred Crafts must be regulating them too, although I can’t be sure as it isn’t mentioned on their website, but it is a nice surprise to receive a watch that runs so precise right out of the box.

The watch came on a bronze bracelet. The bracelet is pretty well made and I like that it has that pitting from melting the boat rotors. The bracelet is finished in satin-brushed finishing. The middle links are made of recycled fishing nets that have been molded in resin-like hard material. The width of the bracelet is 22mm and it has no taper so it is also 22mm at the clasp. The links are held on with push pins, but Sacred Crafts are also including a tool to size the bracelet so that is handy and you don’t need a watchmaker as it is a pretty straightforward job + there are many instructional videos on Youtube. The clasp is a nice milled clasp from Bronze, but the mechanism is made of 316L stainless steel. The clasp also has a divers extension which I haven’t seen a long time in dive watches that I have had in for review. The top of the clasp is signed with the Sacred Crafts logo. The one thing that I kind of don’t like is that each link is in a different length by a millimeter or half a millimeter. I don’t know if this was intentional though, maybe they wanted to keep the raw look. On the wrist the watch feels pretty heavy, as with the bracelet it weighs 208 grams.

The watch also came with two extra straps. One is an integrated waffle-style rubber strap which is really gorgeous and amazingly well made. It is really soft and the rubber feels very high quality. It is a two-piece strap and comes with a bronze buckle signed with the Sacred Crafts logo. Then we have a brown Horween leather strap which also is really good. I already have talked about Horween leather straps in the past and they are the best that is there when it comes to leather straps. The leather strap also comes with the same bronze buckle as the rubber strap. Both the straps come with quick-release spring bars so I don’t know why they included the spring bar tool anyways, haha, but any case it is nice of them. I like that they send all the strap options to you in one package, as many of us watch geeks change straps depending on the season or what we do with the watch on the wrist. The bracelet can be worn all around the year, but if you want to make the watch a bit lighter in the summer you will wear it on a rubber strap and in the winter on leather.

Overall the watch is quite amazing! It has been a favorite one to wear last month and it has developed some nice patina as you can see. The one thing that you have to take in mind wearing it on the bracelet is that you can get a green colour on your skin from the bracelet, it isn’t anything bad or something as it easily washes off. Anycase for the price of $1,599 which is quite cheap if you consider everything that it comes with. The quality is there, you get a well-regulated Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, sapphire crystals on both sides, interesting design, full bronze case and bracelet, 2 extra straps, amazing box, and other small stuff. And did I say that most of that is from a recycled boat and fishing net material? Can I suggest this watch? Definitely! It is amazing!

Price: $1,599 @ thesacredcrafts.com

“Hua Hin is a celebration of our connection with the big blue. This crafted timepiece shares the story of a life on the sea. Hua Hin is a moment in time where sacred materials are reborn to live on. 

The case, bezel, links and crown are made from “Our Bronze” – a custom CuSN8 formulation we developed from reclaimed bronze marine propellors. 

This model also features custom wood parts from our  first vintage boat harvest in 2019. The dial is an ultra precise veneer made from the rootsiest part of the boat. The center links section is also made from the boat for a unique look to every watch. Hua Hin ships with a luxury reclaimed wood box made from our vintage boats, a rubber dive strap, premium leather band, travel case and coffee table book that shares the story of how [and why]  we made this watch.

Designed to wear with the wearer, a bronze watch is a special type of timepiece. Its color will gradually turn from a glowing warm bronze to a deep patina depending on where it’s taken. Best of all, the patina can be removed and its original luster can be restored with a simple cleaning process. “

  • 5 year Warranty on Parts and Movement
  • 36 Month Complimentary Servicing included
  • Global Shipping Included
  • Sizing and Strap Replacement on Request

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