We’d never seen an affordable micro-rotor watch until last year – and now we have another entrant into the market: the Boderry Elite.

Boderry Elite Review

The Boderry Elite joins the Solas Starlight in the affordable micro-rotor category. The Boderry is half the price of the Solas, at just $199, so I expected it only to be half as good. The presentation was a pleasant surprise – for a low-cost watch, I did not expect to get such a sturdy box. It’s decent quality and bodes well for the rest of the package.

Case and Movement

Inside the Boderry Elite is a decorated Hangzhou 5000B movement. I usually skip over movements as they are mostly the same two or three, but this is a lot less common, so I’ll cover the basics. It is an automatic self-winding movement made in China. Usually, self-winding movements have a  rotor that covers about half of the movement and sits on top. As you move, it rotates. As it rotates, it winds the watch. A clutch mechanism prevents the movement from being overwound.

A micro-rotor is, as you might expect, a lot smaller. It sits within the movement itself, therefore, allowing for a much thinner case. The Hangzhou 5000 movement ticks at a high-beat 28800bph and has a 42-hour power reserve. Those are pretty good specs. I struggled to find an accuracy rating and do not have the kit to check it myself, but it seemed as accurate as any of my other automatics over the week of the review. I have been allowed to keep the review watch, so I will update the review if that view changes! The movement looks great behind the glass case back, looking much more expensive than the price would suggest.

Because of the micro-rotor movement, the case thickness is kept down to just 9.5mm, making it look thin compared to the watch’s 40mm case size. It feels good on the wrist, and the finishing is as good as anything else at the price range. You only get a basic 5atm of water resistance, but this watch is not likely to be going deep-sea diving, so that’s fine for the dress watch category.

Dial and Hands

The dial of the model I chose to review is plain back. There are also white and green options. It is a relatively simple dial with a printed logo and applied metallic numerals, but it is inoffensive, and I quite liked its minimalism. I noticed that legibility is a problem in low light, as there are no luminous elements. Again, this would not be expected for a dress watch, but it is worth noting particularly if you go for a dial closer in hue to the hands and numerals. 

The date window is a little bold for my liking, being a contrasting colour to the dial with a different font. I like to have a date, but I wondered if this watch would work better without one? Overall, a dress watch has two jobs: to fit under a shirt sleeve and look good when worn with a suit. This watch ticks both those boxes for me. I don’t really wear flashy watches for work, so I appreciate the subdued nature of the Boderry Elite.

Strap and Clasp

For a $199 watch, costs have to be cut somewhere and – as you would expect – the strap on the Boderry Elite is a basic one. It’s not the worst I’ve handled, but it’s far from the best, and I’d recommend changing it straight away.

The clasp is a standard butterfly deployant, and it does the job just fine – worth keeping after a strap upgrade.

Video Review

What I Liked

  • The movement looks and works great
  • The dial is reassuringly conservative
  • The thin case helps the watch wear really well

What I Didn’t Like

  • The date window is a little overbearing on the dial
  • Low light visibility is not very good
  • The strap needs to be upgraded straight away

Boderry Elite – the WRUK Verdict

Bear in mind that although I always pick out a few criticisms of every watch, the asking price of this watch is just $199 and that makes any minor grievances almost irrelevant. I’ve got to compare this with the Solas Starlight, as that is the most similar watch I have reviewed. The Solas has a more detailed dial for nearly enough double the money – it’s made of aventurine for a start and has more applied elements. You also get a handmade strap that is light years ahead of that of the Boderry Elite, and the finishing on the case is not quite to the same standard as the more expensive watch.

In the Elite’s favour, I like its less flashy dial, and I was not too fond of the font used on the Solas watch. You can stick a £50-£75 high-quality strap onto it and still save money compared to the Solas. I think this watch is great value for money and can’t really find any reason not to buy one at the asking price, so if you like the looks, this one is highly recommended.  

Buy a Boderry Elite

You can pre-order your $199 Boderry Elite watch at https://igg.me/at/boderry.

Author: Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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