Today we are looking at a watch from a company Bolido. I actually have owned a watch from this company for a couple of years, but never I gotten to review it because so many watches are coming in and I have limited free time where I can dedicate my time to this blog. But today we are reviewing a different watch from Bolido that is their latest model which has a bit of revised design.
Bolido is based in Switzerland. The company was founded in 2017 and in 2018 they went public with successfull Kickstarter for their first watch Bolido Rock which is the watch I own. The company is founded by Swiss legendary designer, Pierre Nobs, the founder of Ventura watches who teamed up with award-winning designer Simon Husslein (designed watches for Nomos Glashutte, Braun, and Ventura). The Bolido has received Red Dot Award in 2018 and nn 2020, the Bólido X series was selected by the Chicago Atheneum, Museum of Modern Art, for its prestigious GOOD DESIGN Award. And I especially like their marketing slogan “100% Swiss made, yet affordable watches” which is 100% true as everything is made in Switzerland and even some high end luxury watches can’t even say that their watches are 100% Swiss Made which is really amazing at this price point.
I chose the Bolido X GMT, but there is also other cool models in different colours that are available on their website. They also offer option to choose between two movements STP 1-11 and STP 1-11 that is COSC certified. The one I chose is the regular version without COSC certificate. And also there is a chance to choose from various straps options (leather, rubber, mesh bracelet), I chose the mesh bracelet. The Bolido X GMT came in a rectangular cardboard box, inside you will find the watch, warranty and instructions manual. The first impressions are really great! The watch is even better than the first one they released and a bit bigger, but due to hidden lugs it wears a lot smaller. Also this one introduces bi drectional slide bezel.
The case is made of 316L stainless steel. The machine work is really exceptional and super precise. The finishing on the case is sandblasted and the top of the bezel is polished. The finishing is also done really good although the sandblasted part scratches very easily as you can see I already have made some scratches. The case shape is designed by Pierre Nobs who when creating the design for the case remembered that the most cost-effective manufacturing method has always been automatic precision lathing – a very competitive industry in Switzerland – and began the search of using this advantage to comply with the new Federal law in 2016 stipulated that the minimum of 60% of Swiss content had to newly include the case to qualify for the designation «Swiss Made». Manufacturers in the middle and lower price segments got into serious difficulties, as the majority of the Swiss case production had migrated to Asia for cost reasons. The linear lathing produces very banal ring shapes; discussing this problem with designer Simon Husslein, the idea of adding to the lathing process a conical shape and second axis was born and thus Bolido went into production. With this model Bolido has kept their award winning case design, but sized it up a bit while keeping the same strap width. The case width (at its widest) and dial has gained 2.5mm, so they are now respectively 45.5 and 40.5 mm. It’s also slightly taller coming in at 11.6mm at the lowest and 14.1 and the highest. This makes the incremental height bigger, as it increases by 2.5 mm, while the previous model increases by 2mm. It’s barely noticeable as the width, in a side by side comparison, is what stands out. But as you already understand the non existing lugs is an advantage here as this watch is 45,5mm, but it wears more like a 42mm one. On top of the watch at 12 o’clock we have a push pull crown with knurled sides and polished top. Actually the crown itself is only the knurled part if you look from the side making it quite thin. but relatively large in diameter. The crown isn’t the easiest to grip and use, but it does it’s job well and it has a nice action to it. On top we have the sliding bi-directional bezel which is the best one I have seen of this kind. The action is super smooth and very precise. Most times these bezel are looser than they need to be and can turn on accident, but not this one, you need to give it some force to turn it. The exhibition caseback is held in with 4 small screws. The case back features a domed sapphire crystal which is an interesting detail. Around the case back you will find the Bolido logo, reference and some specifications laser etched on it. I also like that Bolido changed with the new, bigger case size the process how the movement goes in. Previously it wen’t through the front so it was pretty hard to take it apart to service, now you can easily open the case back and service the watch. On top of the watch sits a slightly domed sapphire crystal. Water resistance is 50m (5ATM) which is more than enough for splashes, rain, hand wash etc. just remember that you can’t swim with it.
Pierre Nobs, the designer and co-founder of Bolido, didn’t want to create a boring dial either, which many minimalist watches can tend to have with sometimes taking minimal too far. All the Bolido X dials have a slight touch of red or yellow on the dial and hands. My version sports a red second hand tip that matches the red triangle on the slide bezel for GMT function. The slide bezel has a silver look to it, thanks to the galvanized metal, which matches the finely beat blasted case perfectly. The black inner dial and and hands have a very subtle texture to them, but it can only be seen in very bright light looking close. I actually like these small details and that just shows why this watch is worth 1024€. The thing that I like the most are the hour and minute hands, as only the tips are white, sometimes in darker or very bright sun conditions it looks like the hands are floating in the air. The minute track is layered above the base dial, which helps give the watch a little depth, and the final touch of depth is definitely the date window at 6 o’clock right in the center, just how I like it. And I like that the date wheel is black colour matching the dial. The big beveled edge helps give some sense of depth, as opposed to just a simple cut-out hole. When it comes to text on the dial, it is kept simple with Bolido logo at 12 o’clock and “Swiss Made” at 6 o’clock. Bolido really made a very good dial that is just straight to the point. It is legible and functional, just like a watch dial should. You don’t need cluttered dial as the main thing of the watch is to tell time.
The movement inside the watch is an automatic STP 1-11, which is a direct copy of the ETA 2824-2. The Cal. STP 1-11 is a Swiss Made movement. This movement is made by Swiss Technology Production (Fossil group) in Switzerland. It has 44h of power reserve, 28’000 A/h, 26 jewels. This movement is actually a pretty good one. And I have read many reviews on this particular movement and many people prefer this, rather than ETA 2824-2 on which it was based. The finishing, markings are better than on ETA movement. Also, STP 1-11 features jewelled barrel bridge, and it will add to the longevity. The accuracy of this piece has been in around +2 to +3 seconds a day, which is really amazing. I tested the accuracy for one week straight. The rotor is signed with Bolido logo and overall it is very nicely decorated! They also offer a COSC certified model with the same movement which is slightly more expensive, but this one is already running under the COSC certification so I don’t mind paying less to get a watch without any certification paper from COSC. But it is good to know that there is suh and option too.
The Milanese bracelet that came with the watch is really amazing! It’s thick, smooth and hugs the wrist better than any other metal bracelet can. Also it is very well manufactured with no sharp edges or anything that would cut your clothes or skin and that is rare on milanese bracelets. The buckle is easy to adjust and you will find your perfect fit. The buckle is easy to adjust and you will find your perfect fit. On the wrist it sits comfortable, although if the bracelet is too loose the watch slides too close to the bottom part of the wrist because of how heavy the top of the watch is. I also like that you can basically fit any 22mm strap as it has regular spring bars. One thing that I would like is the quick release spring bars on the bracelet, it would make taking off their straps and bracelets easier as it is quite tight and not all spring bar tools fit there.
Overall I really like this watch, I think they nailed the design and I like that they stayed true to their original design of the rock watch. I enjoyed it so much that I wore it for the first week without wearing anything else which rarely happens with me. Yes, the price is 1024€ which isn’t a small sum to pay for a not so well known brand, but I have to say, they truly deliver! I have had many watches that cost over 1000€ and they are not always good, but Bolido really does bring quality to the table for that money. I think at this price range not many watches are 100% made in Switzerland and actually rarely you see bigger brand watches with 100% made in Swiss claim. Brands like Hublot, Tag Heuer, Richard Mille for example have 15-20% of parts made in China and other places. So what do you get from Bolido at this price? Well manufactured case, amazing design, flawless finishing, one of the best minimalist looking dials, Swiss made movement with nice finishing and running super well, sapphire crystals on both sides and one of the best milanese bracelet. Is the watch worth the money? Yes, but the design isn’t probably for everyone as not many like it, but none the less it is super interesting! Definitely worth every cent and more!