BOLDR Supply is a relatively new Microbrand from Singapore/Malaysia that started it’s journey into the watch world with an electronic smart watch misadventure. Through hardwork and determination they managed to recover and now the company offers six lines of watches; Venture, Expedition, Odyssey, Globetrotter GMT, Explorer II GMT and Journey. Some of these watches are currently sold out at this time and I assume will be available again at some point in the future. It’s good to see new designs from new companies that find their niche.
For this review I have two of their most recently released models, the Venture and the Expedition. These watches are engineered to be tough, daily wear watches that combine the key attributes of comfort, readability and durability for just about any activity that a wearer might encounter. The Expedition is offered in five mountain themed variations; Sinai, Eiger, Everest, Rushmore and Matterhorn. With mountain climbing being an intended activity for this watch, you can be sure that BOLDR has designed the Expedition to withstand very harsh environments.
The Everest model from the Expedition line that I have, has a matte blue face and a similar shade of blue, EPDM rubber, 10 hole, 20 mm wide rubber strap with an interesting moulded in pattern on both sides of the strap. It has two chunky, rectangular, loose strap loops as well as a substantial logo’d buckle and tang that matches the stainless steel used for the watch itself. The 41 mm diameter, 316L stainless steel case has a no glare, matte finish and is made of three parts. The first part of the case is a low profile, 12 segment gear pattern, flat top, chamfered bezel. The second, the case itself, an angular finished variation of a tonneau (or barrel) case. The third part of the case is the artistically engraved and polished, screw down 38 mm case back. I measure this watch to be 14mm thick, 48mm lug to lug and 20mm between the recessed lugs, all relatively comfortable dimensions for average and larger wrists. The case back protrudes somewhat and the lugs taper down slightly. The crystal on this watch is raised, double domed sapphire with A/R. The watch is rated for 200 meters of W/R as well as an above average 20,000 A/m of magnetic resistance, a specification rarely mentioned.
The Expedition collection uses two screw down crowns. One crown, at 2 o’clock, is for setting the inner, rotating bidirectional, 60 minute dive bezel. I hope this feature catches on with more watches that are suitable for diving. This bezel design eliminates any possible bezel damage while the watch is worn. It also eliminates accidental movement of the dive bezel, as long as the crown is properly screwed down. The second crown at 4 o’clock is for setting the hour, minute and second hands as well as the 4 o’clock date window. Both crowns are made of the same matt finish 316L stainless steel as the watch case and they both measure 6.5mm in diameter and are about 4mm thick. Each crown has a chunky and easy to grip off road machine wheel tread design. The 2 o’clock crown has it’s center groove finished in orange with a matching orange circle design on the crown face. The 4 o’clock crown center groove is unfinished with a crown face finished in a raised BOLDR logo.
The face of this watch has easy to read Arabic numerals at 12, 2, 6, 8 and 10 o’clock with a small indice behind each of them. The other hour positions, except at 4 o’clock, are marked with white tapered rectangles matching the general shape of the hour and minute hands. The inner end of these markers are marked along with odd 24 hour numerals from 13 to 23. There are 48 each, smaller minute/second markers on the edge of the dial. 12 small square orange markers are printed on the rehaut located between the dial face and the inner rotating dive bezel. The white, lumed, obelisk shaped hour and minute hands, as well as the long, rectangular orange and white tipped rectangular lollipop second hand are finished in black toward the center of the dial, which gives these hands a floating appearance. The inner, rotating dive bezel is finished with Arabic numerals for every five minutes, The white on blue date window at 4 o’clock used a matching white frame on the dial face All of the printing on the face, including the logo and brand on the upper portion of the dial and the watch information on the lower half of the dial, are in white and properly proportioned to the watch face so they do not overwhelm the dial or require a magnifying glass to read. All lume used on the watch’s hands and dial is BGW9+C3.
Powering this watch is an automatic, Swiss made, Selitta SW200-1 hacking and hand winding, 38 hour, 26 jewels, 28,800 bph movement. This movement has gained popularity from the more expensive, harder to obtain, ETA 2824. In this watch the movement is Standard accuracy for this movement is +/- 30 seconds per day, but this movement will perform far better. It is also available in Special, Premium and Chronometer grades. The SW200-1 is an evolution of the SW200, with the -1 having only three reduction and ratchet wheels redesigned. These wheels have revised gear teeth, resulting in a stronger geometry and reduced chance of damage from high levels of shock. High beat movements run with a smoother second hand than 21,600 bph movements. For people looking for an all activity watch suitable for diving, mountain climbing and just about anything else, the BOLDR Expedition line should definitely be seriously considered. $599.
The BOLDR Venture is a simpler, field watch or pilot watch that is offered in four color combinations. It is extremely wearable because of its compact size and lightweight. Titanium cased, the watch measures only 38mm in diameter, 42mm lug to lug with 20mm lugs, 14mm in thickness and is only 42mm lug to lug. The case is sharply sculpted with drilled, downturned lugs that can accept a very wide choice of straps. The screw down decorated case back is engraved with watch information in the smallest print font I have seen in quite a while. The crystal used flat sapphire with a beveled edge that is slightly raised while the watch is rated 200 meters W/R. The watch comes on a very well made nylon NATO strap with titanium hardware that matches the watch case. It should be noted that this watch strap has 15 adjustment holes, so it will fit virtually anyone. The 4 o’clock screw down crown is very similar though slightly smaller than the 4 o’clock crown used on the BOLDR Expedition.
The face used on the Venture is a highly readable classic pilot design with 12 Arabic numerals combined with a smaller inner ring of 24 hour numerals for 13 through 24. 12 dot indices back up the 12 Arabic numerals as do 48 small indices for the minutes and seconds. The branding printed on the face is similar to the Expedition’s. Hands are brushed stainless steel in what can be called a skyscraper or hypodermic needle design. The second hand is tapered and matches the finish of the hour and minute hands with an orange outlined lumed, rectangular tip. Most watches of this type tend to use hands that are either too short or too narrow, but on this watch the hand proportions are spot on, in my opinion. All lume on this watch is described by BOLDR as “Japan Superlume”, which may refer to an unspecified grade of Superluminova.
Powering the Venture is the tried and true automatic NH35A, without a doubt the most popular automatic movement used by microbrand watches in this price category. It runs at 21,600 bph, has 24 jewels and has a 41 hour power reserve. Normally there is a date window on this movement, but on the Venture the mechanism has either been removed or covered up. This results in perfect dial perfect and slightly less dial clutter. I rarely run into rugged, durable and well made field or pilot watches that combine 100% practicality with the lightest possible case metal, titanium, but the BOLDR Venture does exactly that. $299; boldrsupply.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.