Nordgreen Philosopher watch review

The Nordgreen Philosopher is the latest minimalist dress watch from the Danish brand. How does it compare to their last watch, the Pioneer?

Nordgreen Philosopher Review

First impressions count when it comes to dress watches – especially if you intend to give one as a gift – and the Nordgreen Philosopher comes in the same packaging as the Pioneer, with the watch and an extra strap within a recyclable cardboard box. Everything feels high-quality and worth the £183 asking price (£169 with one strap; or £200 with three).

Case and Movement

The Japanese quartz movement will put off many serious watch buyers, but the Nordgreen Philosopher is not aimed at them – it is accurate and reliable and allows a choice of 36mm or 40mm case sizes. 40mm, as reviewed here, is perfectly wearable on even the smallest of wrists thanks to the short, almost hidden, lugs. This avoids the common issue of a gap at the end of a straight-edged strap. A negative aspect of that lug design choice, coupled with the inverse dish shape of the watch case, means it feels like it is floating some way off the wrist despite the thickness being only 7.84mm. The crown is a decent size and easy to adjust, and the finishing on the brushed parts of the case is extremely good.

Around the back is a mirror-polished solid case back with a lightly etched design. The watch wears pretty well, although that inverted case got caught on my shirt sleeves a bit. For a thin watch, it wears big – the 36mm may well better suit those with 7.5 inch or smaller wrists.

Dial and Hands

Unlike the earlier Infinity, which had a lovely curved bowl-shaped dial, the Nordgreen Philosopher has an applied chapter ring, similar to that of the Pioneer. I prefer the older one-piece design, but the dial is well executed with neatly applied hour indices.

Unlike the Pioneer chronograph, Nordgreen has elected to put the date at 3 O’clock with an undecorated window. It feels like it is floating out in white space and detracts from the otherwise clean design. The polished steel hands are very easy to read with good contrast against the dial.

Strap and bracelet

My first impressions of the bracelet were positive – my previous Nordgreens have all come on straps, so I was keen to see how the brand approached a bracelet. The finish on the links is superb, with neat brushing and no sharp edges. I was surprised to find that the bracelet only just fitted my 7.5-inch wrist – usually, I remove two or three links to achieve the perfect fit. In fact, it is a little tighter than I would like, so beware if you have an average-sized wrist as it might not be long enough. The clasp was also disappointing – it is very thin and flimsy-feeling. That is not unusual at this end of the market, but I had hoped for something better.

The leather strap is of Nordgreen’s usual high standard: fairly soft and supple with a tang buckle. If you’re only getting one strap, I would recommend leather over steel in the case of this watch.

Nordgreen Philosopher – Video Review

What I Liked

  • The watch offers decent specs for the money when compared to high street brands.
  • The minimalist design is very attractive.
  • The environmentally-friendly presentation is excellent.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The minimalist quartz watch market is very competitive, and the Nordgreen Philosopher does not really stand out.
  • The bracelet is short, with no micro adjustments and a thin clasp
  • The “inverted dish” look makes the watch look top-heavy

Nordgreen Philosopher – the WRUK Verdict

It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with the Nordgreen Philosopher, but in my opinion, it doesn’t stand out enough in the sea of minimalist dress watches. I preferred the bowl design of the older Infinity model to the angled chapter ring of this watch, and I prefer the Pioneer’s design with its 6 O’clock date and sub-dials to fill the blank space on the dial. If I were in the market for a Nordgreen watch, I would choose the Pioneer instead.

Buy a Nordgreen Philosopher

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By 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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