Time for something very different: The Valimor Caliburnus looks more like a suit of armour than a watch, and has a dial made from a real gemstone. But is it merely style over substance?
Valimor Caliburnus Review
The Valimor Caliburnus watch is certainly well packaged. Within the high-quality outer cardboard box – complete with metallic embellishments – is a round tin containing the watch. Cleverly, the edge of the tin matches the watch bezel!
This watch was loaned to me by The Microbrand Store who sent it with the optional (£75) bracelet as well as the stock leather strap – when you buy the watch you only get the strap in the standard package.
The Valimor Caliburnus, which I would classify as a dress watch – actually has a case with dimensions more commonly found in a diver’s watch. At 42mm (with 49.8mm lug to lug depth) and a 12.65mm height it is a sizeable watch that is bigger than it looks. It is not for the small-wristed, despite its unisex appearance. The case is finished in an aged steel effect that looks a lot better in real life than it does on photographs. It is not a cheap effect, it looks and feels high quality.
I am rather ambivalent about the crown. I love the detail carved into it, but I am really not sure about the embedded “gemstone” – I think it makes the watch a little too fussy for my taste. Around the back is a rather pedestrian Miyota 8 movement (extra points for using the correct non-date version for the non-date watches so there is not a ghost crown position) with a beautifully engraved rotor inset with a rich gold colour. It’s certainly a striking watch, which found favour with a lot of females I shared it with, but who baulked a little at the masculine size.
Dial and Hands
The dial in this review watch is made from red jasper. The Microbrand store has picked out the “best” dials from a selection to make sure there are no imperfections in this natural material. The colour of the dial is gorgeous, especially in sunlight, although I found myself underwhelmed by the thin applied dial markers and printed text on the dial.
Although this photo has some reflections, it is the best I could take to capture the depth of the colour of the gemstone dial. I really liked the hands, with a unique shape and attractive counterweight on the second hand.
Strap and Buckle
The stock strap is adequate. The outside is lovely, with a thick horned pattern, but it is a little stiff for my taste. The buckle is superb, matching the watch with an antique steel finish.
I liked the quick release pins for quick strap changing and, in a first for me, the bracelet also has quick release pins! Even without them, the bracelet is excellent. It looks and feels like an expensive watch bracelet should, with no grittiness or sharp edges. It’s pricey at £75, but I would have to have it if I bought the watch to complete the look.
What I Liked
- The finishing on the case and bracelet are stunning
- I love the richness and depth of colour of the dial
- The watch feels good to wear
What I Didn’t Like
- The markers on the dial are a bit too thin for my taste and the printing looks cheap
- I’m not convinced by the jewel in the crown
- I think the price is a touch high for a microbrand watch – considering the movement that is used
Valimor Caliburnus – The WRUK Verdict
The Valimor Caliburnus is a watch of opposites for me. It has a definite feminine appeal but a masculine size and heft. It as beautiful finishing on the case but some corner-cutting on the dial. And it has a cheap Miyota movement but a relatively high price tag (Almost £400 for watch with strap, £75 extra for the bracelet – plus 20% VAT on import to the UK).
Is it worth the thick end of £500? I’m not sure. As a watch collector, I’d expect an NH35 or Swiss movement for that kind of price – although it is clear that this is not a cheap watch to make. Everything is custom, including the bracelet, and it uses a patented technique for the ageing. I can see this watch doing better on the high street than in the microbrand world. A “normal person” seeing this watch at £500 in a jeweller would likely be very impressed.
Buy a Valimor Caliburnus Watch
The Valimor Caliburnus is available now from The Microbrand Store – prices may vary slightly from what I have stated here as the price you see is based on US dollars and calculated in your local currency, based on the current exchange rate.
For a limited time you can use the code “Rock It” at the checkout to get 10 percent off Valimor watches.