Advisor Ascent rises to the occasion

If it seems like many of our recent reviews have been focused on Singaporean brands, there’s a good reason: The island city-state contains a robust independent watch community with several established veteran microbrands. Today’s brand is a newer player in the field: Advisor Watches.

Advisor launched its first watch via Kickstarter last year. The Astrohelm was a fun homage to the Panerai 6154 with a quartz movement and high dome sapphire crystal. It was successfully funded by watch enthusiasts looking for a fun “beater” they could throw on without worry and with no fuss.

For their second release, the “Ascent,” Advisor wanted to show some maturity, opting for a mechanical movement (the workhorse Seiko NH35a) and a popular dual-crown super compressor-style. The campaign was again a success on the popular crowdfunding site, and production models have now been delivered.

Let’s take a look at how the final product stacks up. This review will focus on the black dial model. There are six iterations of the ascent, including two skeletonized skull dials.

The Dial:

Advisor picked some nice detail choices for dial construction, with applied lumed markers and a robust handset. The sunburst found on the dial is rather faint and only comes to life in direct sunlight. Indoors, the dial gives a flat black appearance that contrasts will with the white and high-polished metal details. The advisor logo – a simple non-crossed “A” sitting above the company name – rests below the twelve o’clock marker and is well-balanced but a bit oversized. An internal rotating bezel finishes the outer edge of the dial, controlled by the two o’clock crown.

The Case:

This is where Advisor really scores high marks with production quality. The case is finely finished with contrasting polished and brushed finishes. The 316L stainless steel feels substantial and I can find no rough edges. The crowns are large and completely different than any crown I’ve seen. While the crown sides are polished, they are gripped easily and function as they should. This is one detail that people will either love or hate, but you have to give credit to Advisor’s design team for thinking outside the usual crown design box. It adds a bit of fun to the piece. The time-setting crown is screw-down, while the bezel controlling crown turns freely. The caseback is also very well done with a graphic depiction of an octopus and a diver embossed deeply into the bead blast finish of the stainless steel. The watch is rated to 200 meters water resistance – plenty of diving power for your average amateur diver (and more than enough for the average desk diver).

Packaging, presentation and accessories:

This affordable piece comes packaged appropriately, with a long cardboard box with foam cutout for the watch. You don’t buy a watch like this expecting a fussy lacquered wooden presentation. The watch comes fitted with a top grain leather strap – I would rate it as slightly above average in terms of factory straps. And it’s much better than the stiff offering fitted on the AstroHelm. The upgrade here is another sign of a maturing watch brand.

Specs:

Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel                                                                                     Case Back: Screwed In Embossed
Diameter: 42mm
Height: 13.5mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Bezel: Bi-directional Rotating
Dial: Sunburst (Black)
Date: With Date Function
Index & Hands: Applied Index (BGW9 or C3 Luminous)
Crystal: Scratch Resistant Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Coating
Crown: Screwed Down
Movement: Automatic NH35a (Seiko)
Water Resistance: 200m / 600ft
Straps: Top Grain Calf Leather

Final thoughts:

The Advisor Ascent is a fun and well put together piece that won’t break the bank. With six options, you’ll be able to find a piece that speaks to you at a price of $280. (And for a limited time save 15 percent with the code: WATCHA15). The skull dials seemed a bit cartoonish for my taste, but others may see a bit of quirky fun with those options. I know I’ll be curious to see the brand’s next move, as it definitely seems to be heading in the right direction. You can find out more about the brand at www.advisorwatches.com.

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