The Mothership lands with BOLDR’s new Odyssey
BOLDR Supply Co. is one of those brands that has seen a meteoric rise in the past few years – they’ve seemingly scored with each release, offering a wide spectrum of value and options. From affordable quartz pieces to higher end swiss mechanical-powered divers, BOLDR does a good job covering many bases. That goes against the conventional microbrand wisdom to find a niche and stick with it – but there’s not much you’d consider conventional about the brand founded by Singapore-based entrepreneurs Leon Leong and Travis Tan.
This year’s Odyssey release covered many bases on its own. The new line mixes materials and new dial styles. The two I’ll be focused on today are the new Bronze Odyssey Meteogray and the Odyssey Cali Navy. Both are powered by a high-beat Swiss Selitta movement (the SW 200-1, which is basically a clone of the ETA 2824-2).
Let’s start with the Cali Navy. The aesthetic choices on this model are top notch and everything just works together. The california dial with its deep navy blue and old radium lume just looks beautiful and plays nicely off the aged steel case finish. I love the rise of the aged steel look in the past couple of years. It’s bound to be one of those controversial options – many naysayers don’t like the idea of something artificially aged. But I look at it as just another aesthetic choice and in this case, it’s nowhere near overdone. Same goes for the old radium lume – I simply find the cream color more eye-pleasing than a greenish or even pure white lume. It’s just another color choice and people should get used to it, because I don’t think it’s going anywhere.
Moving onto the Bronze Odyssey Meteogray… This is the more expensive choice of the new bronze Odyssey lineup, which includes three more models with different dials. The non-meteor bronzos come with a Seiko NH35a for about $200 less than the Meteogray’s price tag of $849. (The Meteoblack sports the NH35a at $749). The bronze models also make use of a generous heaping of old radium lume. One of the downsides of adding any pigment to lume is a weakening of lume strength. BOLDR accounts for that shortcoming by adding may layers to make the glow much better than your average colored lume.
Aside from the differences in material, the cases here are identical, at 45.5mm without its chunky crown, these are very large watches. There are some obvious Italian military influences without being a direct copy of any single watch. I love the angles of the lugs and crown guard. From the side, it sort of looks like an alien ship has landed on your arm. The crown and bezel are both substantial, grippy and extremely well done. The one nitpick I have is that the underside edges are a bit rough and sharp. It doesn’t affect the wearing experience, but (at least on the Meteogrey), it does cut into the strap a bit. Otherwise, the finishing looks great and fits well with this beefy tool watch.
On the Cali Navy, the aged steel case provides a muted black/grey tone and works so well with the navy dial and strap provided. This is a PVD coating meant to mimic worn and faded steel. As I mentioned earlier, the overall effect is subtle but sexy.
On the Meteogray, we have the gold standard bronze mix of CuSn8 solid bronze. It’s heftier than the steal version, of course.
The 120-click bezel action on both watches is excellent, lining up perfectly with each marker and giving zero backward play. Microbrands in recent years have made huge leaps in bezel action quality.
Both dials are beautifully printed and executed – date wheel cuts are accurate and easily read. I would have loved to see a no date version, especially on the Bronze. The lume plots are printed (much like Panerai’s “sausage” lume application). You still get a bit of depth because the layers make the lume plots protrude a bit. I’d also love to see a sandwich dial in the Odyssey’s future. Both marking styles are well done and crisp. I’ve always been a huge fan of the California dial, so that style takes a slight lead for me here. The meteorite is an excellent choice for the bronze case and will only gain attractiveness as the bronze patinas.
ACESSORIES AND PACKAGING:
Each watch comes in a sturdy carrying case with an extra rubber strap and buckle. Warranty card and manual are included. Everything is professional and well-made. One accessory worth mentioning is the use of Horween leather on the Metoegray. The Cali Navy strap is nice enough, but I would consider it a standard strap. Horween shows a little extra attention to detail warranted by the higher price point of the Meteogray.
-Case: 45.5mm CuSn8 Bronze Case
-Movement: Swiss Sellita SW200-1 Automatic movement, with self-winding and hacking mechanism and 38-hour power reserve
-Water Resistance: 500m (1650ft) / 50ATM
-Crown: Screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
-Bezel: 120-click Unidirectional bezel with Swiss Superluminova BGW9/C3
-Dial: Circular brushed dial with 3D printed indexes with Swiss Superluminova BGW9/C3
-Hands: Customs hands with Swiss Superluminova BGW9/C3
-Lens: Double dome sapphire crystal with Inner-side Anti-Reflective coating
-Strap: Premium Horween Calf Leather strap (on Meteogray) and extra Natural Rubber strap
-Case Thickness: 16mm
-Lug size: 22mm
-Lug to lug: 52mm
-Case Back: Screw-down stainless steel caseback with embossed limited edition designer artwork
BOLDR continues to impress with several solid core lineups and I believe the Odyssey is my favorite. This is definitely not a watch for everyone – and the current trend (at least in western markets) seems to be toward smaller timepieces in general. And BOLDR does have some other options for fans of smaller cases. But if you’re a fan of the chunky, robust divers from Panerai and Rolex with some original aesthetics and a much friendlier price point, this could be the watch for you. Check out their products at www.boldrsupply.co.