Another month brings another panda chronograph. We love the black and white look here at WRUK and when Vincent James Watches kindly offered us a week with the BOLDR Journey Sopwith, how could we say no?
A Week On The Wrist – BOLDR Journey Sopwith
The BOLDR Journey is a Panda chronograph watch with a vintage aviator design. The split numbers are reminiscent of the Breitling Steelfish, but they are actually cut-outs in the Panerai “sandwich” style. The case design is also similar to some Panerai models, with bars instead of lugs, like an older field watch, which securely hold the soft, high-quality leather strap. Although they look like thick bars with a sewn in strap, they actually hold a normal spring bar: a clever way to get a vintage look without making strap replacement unaffordable. The watch comes in a nice presentation box including a strap changing tool and an attractive metal warranty card.
Under the hood – so to speak – is the reliable and popular Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement. We’ve seen this in a number of microbrand watches. It has the accuracy of quartz but has a sweeping (not ticking) chronograph hand. There are no ticking seconds to give away its battery-power, and it has the benefit of a 24-hour dial and date function, which are not available in many similarly priced competitors. The meca-quartz also has a very satisfying instant chronograph reset – it does not spin the large second hand slowly around the dial until it hits 12 like most quartz watches.
Some wristwatch collectors are snobby about quartz watches, but compared to the thick, unreliable and expensive-to-service automatic mechanical chronographs, we ate quite happy with a battery powered stopwatch function.
Who are BOLDR?
BOLDR are a small watch company based in Singapore. The company was founded to create watches and apparel for men and women traversing the urban outdoors. They claim to blend the perfect balance of style, form and function.
We wore the BOLDR Journey Sopwith for a week to see how it holds up in the real world. Here’s what we found.
BOLDR Journey – What we liked
- The size and thickness give the watch presence, but it is not too heavy
- We loved the satin finish, compared to the usual polished steel
- The orange chrono and subdial hands really set off the looks nicely
- The silver dial and white hands mean it is more legible than most other ‘Panda’ watches
- The cutout numbers are a very nice touch
- The domed crystal distorts the edges of the dial in an addictively satisfying way
BOLDR Journey – What we didn’t like
The watch is relatively expensive when compared to other microbrands, although not overpriced compared to its lesser-featured high-street competitors
- At this price point, we would have liked to have seen scratchproof sapphire glass
- Without ticking seconds it will not be obvious when the battery needs replacing
- The hands do not reach the markings around the dial, which is an indication of the use of cheap, standard parts.
- The thin, quartz movement means the pushers are located very low down on the case, and they can dig into the wrist
Overall, the BOLDR Journey Sopwith is a nice watch, but most enthusiasts would pick a cheaper mechanical alternative such as the EMG DL63. That’s not to say this watch is flawed. It is well-built and low-maintenance and would make the ideal starting point for a watch collector.
Where to buy a BOLDR Journey Sopwith watch
You can occasionally pick up BOLDR watches from eBay.