We recently discovered Ballardier Watches. They are a microbrand based in Estonia and currently produce two quartz models: the sporty, black Maverick and the dressier Precision series. Starting at just £85 they are certainly good value, and we hope to get a model for a Week on the Wrist feature very soon.
Ballardier Maverick Series
The Maverick series are quartz chronographs in a range of 43mm cases. Here at WRUK we don’t mind battery-powered chronographs as they are cheaper and more reliable than their mechanical cousins. The trouble with large quartz watches can be that the date window is too close to the centre of the dial (because of the smaller diameter of a quartz movement) but in this case, it is balanced with a logo at 9 O’Clock. Full marks for having a small seconds hand at 6 O’clock instead of the ticking sweep second hand that spoils the appearance of most low-priced chronograph watches.
Ballardier Precision Series
We like the clean look of the Precision Series, with its uncluttered dial. Contrast is good between hands and dial on the white model (light hands on white dials is our biggest criticism of watches!) and the date at 4.30 is an unusual touch. We aren’t sure how we would get on with the constantly ticking sweep second hand on this model, and because one of the sub-dials is a 24-hour mechanism we might find it frustrating not to have all the small hands pointing upwards!
What is different about Ballardier’s approach?
The difference between Ballardier and many other microbrands is that they chose not to go down the Kickstarter route, instead raising the money for production the old-fashioned way. This is a welcome change, and means that the watches are available straight away without the lengthy (and inherently risky) lad between a crowdfunding campaign and delivery of your product. We are also impressed by the attention to detail that the brand has paid to packaging, as this unboxing video shows:
Are Ballardier Watches Good Quality?
We will reserve judgement until we get our hands on one, but the company are certainly making all the right noises, using 100% genuine leather in the straps and offering a generous 2-year warranty. We are a little concerned that they have used mineral rather than sapphire crystals (although at this price point it is not a deal-breaker) but they do claim to use a sapphire lens coating to resist scratching. The quartz movements they are using are reliable and cheap to replace. We would like to see a range of automatic watches, even if they used relatively cheap 21J Asian movements.
Buy a Ballardier Watch
Ballardier sell direct to the public through their website. Click here to find out more.