This week we take a look at the latest release from a brand based in Denmark: is the Nordgreen Pioneer as good as their previous model?
Nordgreen Pioneer Review
My first impressions of the Nordgreen Pioneer were very positive. The packing has a real premium feel (it’s made from sustainable materials, which is a plus) and the watch looks great as you first glimpse it. The watch I was sent (full disclosure: free of charge) came with an extra strap. This package costs around £230.
The 42mm case of the Nordgreen Pioneer wears smaller on the wrist thanks to some nicely curved lugs. The lugs themselves look like a through-bar but in actual fact, the strap connects with a normal spring bar. The case back is a little disappointing, being lightly etched rather than engraved, but this is by no means a deal-breaker at this price point. The pushers have a firm feel and the crown is easy to use (not that you use the crown much on a quartz watch). The only downside for me was the shape of the case at the sides. It makes the watch feel taller than its 12mm dimensions might suggest although I appreciate that this is not unusual for this style of watch.
Inside is a Japanese quartz movement which some might sniff at, but which I think is fine. It has ticking seconds at 3 and elapsed minutes at 9 with a date at 3 O’clock. Yes, it’s a fashion watch movement, and a lot of readers will prefer a Seiko meca-quartz movement at this price point. Personally I prefer the ticking seconds to the Seiko’s 24 hour dial as I like my chronograph hands to either point straight up or be moving.
I was really impressed by the Nordgreen Pioneer’s dial: the sub dials and date are recessed and the dial sits beneath a gently curved chapter ring. The hands are simple but easy enough to read – white hands on a white dial can often be a problem but the minimalist design really helps here. I liked the red tips on the second and sub-dial hands. The only downside for me was that on this particular watch the centre second hand (or possibly the chapter ring) is slightly misaligned. I expect better quality assurance even at this level though I accept even big brands can have problems. I have handled another Nordgreen watch and it was perfect, so I am giving the brand the benefit of the doubt. I am absolutely certain that the brand would replace or repair it under their 2-year warranty.
Instead of the usual rubber or mesh options that I would go for, I thought I would try a rubber strap. That’s an unusual choice for a chronograph but I was really, really impressed by the quality of the rubber. It is smooth, it is comfortable and it looks great. I far preferred it to the perfectly adequate leather strap; I think the rubber is on another level.
The straps have a convenient quick-release feature so you can change them without a tool. I was really impressed by the way the watch totally changes its character with a different strap. A lot of designs only really lend themselves to one or two strap choices. The Nordgreen Pioneer would work well in a small collection with a handful of straps to change it up every now and then.
Nordgreen Pioneer – Video Review
What I Liked
- I really like the design of the watch dial
- The watch design is versatile enough to totally change the character with a simple strap change
- The rubber strap is excellent
What I Didn’t Like
- A lot of watch enthusiasts would prefer an automatic or meca-quartz movement
- The case is a bit deep for my taste
- This particular watch had a small quality assurance issue with the centre second hand
Nordgreen Pioneer- the WRUK verdict
Overall, I really like the Nordgreen Pioneer. That’s got to be balanced with the fact I did not pay for the review sample and chose a combination of watch and strap that most appealed to me, but I genuinely do like it. What I normally do with quartz watches is look at what your other options would be on the high street. The watch with one strap lists for £220, and you get 15% off with code WWREVIEW to we’re looking at watches around £180-£190.
Heading over to Argos, the alternatives are various Citizens or fashion brands like Hugo Boss and Armani exchange. I’ll immediately discount all the fashion watches, as I would not wear them. I’m going to assume the Citizens use the same or a very similar movement as the Nordgreen and I think the Nordgreen looks better than all of them. I’ve seen plenty of high street watches with misaligned dials and worse – so I will forgive Nordgreen’s slightly wonky hand – which most buyers would not even notice. If you want to spend £200 on a decent quartz watch, then, the Nordgreen should be on your wishlist.
Buy a Nordgreen Pioneer
You can get 15% off your order at Nordgreen.co.uk when you use code WWREVIEW at checkout.