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New Arrival, in fact brand new, but with a vintage vibe
New Arrival, in fact brand new, but with a vintage vibe

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default New Arrival, in fact brand new, but with a vintage vibe

    So I have been looking at the whole bronze/brass thing and it seemed an attractive idea (to me at least) to get something that would age gracefully, rather than remain in a static condition (barring damage) such as hardened steel or titanium might.
    The joy of gradual accumulation of verdigris and polished areas. No acid/alkali/detergent or other baths for me.

    The whole aesthetic seems a bit nautical, so a dive watch was the sensible choice.

    It also seemed that the bronze/brass craze had mostly gone to the large-diameter end of the market, and I wanted something not too huge, with a bit of vintage styling to compliment the aging, but wearably practical, not too big or heavy.

    This is a genre that seemed to have started in the micro-brand arena, having been developed out of the steam-punk trend a few years back.
    Only now is it coming into the more common brands (Oris, Tudor and so forth) and I like the way this type of grass-roots idea has spread from niche to mainstream.

    I suppose it works that way in all things, underground crawls out of its cave into the mainstream.

    So it seemed a good idea to get a micro-brand watch.
    I had previously got all rash and put a deposit down on the Oris Brashear Edition, and I guess this does remain one of the high points of the genre for being a very acceptably restrained vintage design, executed with much elan and commendable restraint.
    However, when it arrived I let it pass, (much to the shock of the AD). It was lovely but just a little lacking in enough wow factor to warrant the price. Their bronze was curiously pink, too.

    I remain very interested to see how the used market views that Oris, favourably, I am sure. The blue dial is especially lovely against the metal.

    So, anyway, there are lots of bronze/brass micro-brand watches out there at present, lots. I don't propose to list them here.

    However, the one that drew me was the Armida A1.
    Cheap enough to be an almost no-brainer, the styling was suitably diver-ish, and attractive to me. It has an offset crown-at-4 to avoid back-of-hand-gouging, good WR, nice castellated bezel, brass crown (I am not into steel ones on brass watches, it seems plain lazy to me), drilled lugs (always good) and also, a reputation for fantastic lume. I am a sucker for good lume. And under 42mm, so not huge.

    Choice made.
    Ordering was easy. I initially thought the blue dial would be for me, but then decided that black/gold is always a winning combo, the blue was too bright, and sold out anyway.

    For some reason they gave me 15% off at checkout (I entered no code whatsoever) and £230 and 2 days later Fedex delivered and it is on my wrist. Result. The process could not have been better.
    I have since got a £20 Fedex bill for import tax. Make it £250 all in.

    I am impressed with the watch. No, I am very impressed.
    There are some details here that you may not appreciate without a close look. The bezel is brushed to all external surfaces, but it is also blasted in between the knurling on the side. The same is true for the ground behind the raised A on the crown.

    The case brushing goes in all the right directions, along the case at the sides, around the front, and towards the dial at the cutaways to the rear (which make it very comfy, like the Marinemaster 300). These additional finishing operations are very impressive on such a low cost watch.This is not some cookie cutter case that has been held on some polishing wheel and then filled with a movement.

    The hands have a uniform brushed texture and are very tidily executed. No evidence of crude stamp-cutting on the edges at all.
    The dial is a very classy satin black.

    The lume-green on black legibility is very clear, and the glints of brushed gold from the gilt printing and the hands themselves are added bonuses when looked at in the right light.

    The quality of printing and lume application is very good, even if the dial print is austere in the extreme.

    The lume is, as anticipated, formidable.
    The crystal has a restrained but noticable dome to it.
    And it sports a perfectly usable Seiko NH35 movement, as many Seiko divers still do.

    It's not all perfect. The bezel action is a little tinny, and loud. Maybe my Pelagos has made me fussy here.

    The supplied brass fishtail buckle is far too large for my tastes (weren't we over that fad in 2014?), a nice thumbnail one would have been just right. I may grind mine down to suit.

    I would also preferred the bezel numerals and indices to be filled, in this case, in black. Maybe I will do that myself...
    A higher dome on the crystal perhaps??

    And the Cuda Isofrane-esque rubber strap smells wierd. I know Bonetto ones are vanilla-scented. I am not sure what this one is scented with (slightly burnt sesame prawn toast??), but Armida could have done better. Although it is a nice looking strap

    But, overall, this is one very good value package. Not only is it impressive now, but I anticipate that it will gently develop over time, something that you would normally consider a detriment, but that is perfecty normal for such a watch.

    A week or two in and it is already dulling down gracefully, with bezel edges retaining a bit of sheen due to the polishing of jumpers and jackets.

    Check out the case finishes

    Nice strap, shame about the buckle

    This is how I wear it most, Horween Shell Cordovan RAF pattern NATO

    This may not look like much of a lume shot, but this is an uneditted shot taken indoors in a dark hall with a 1/60th sec exposure on an F4-5.6 lens. The lume is BRIGHT

    See the brushed hands and how the very edge of the bezel remains polished?

    If it's Lemania-powered, I'm interested. Tool Chrono - interested. Dive Chrono - interested. Interesting - interested

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kent, UK
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    Very nice mate.
    I've been looking at Bronze watches for a while myself, but as yet haven't found one that really grabs me.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding stainless steel crowns on Bronze/Brass watches, it is lazy & looks poor too, I feel the same about PVD watches with stainless steel crowns.
    The whole watch looks good quality especially for the outlay & very Seiko Monster like, which is no bad thing.
    I have to say I quite like the fact the bezel numerals aren't filled, but it would look equally good filled.
    As always a great in-depth review.
    I look forward to seeing it age & also hearing what your thoughts are after a few months of ownership.
    Take care & enjoy,


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Bristol, UK
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    I had a look at this yesterday and the case work is very good but not as good as the price... there are some good pieces being made with realistic prices... nice catch... A
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Didn't @StampeSV4 have one of these?
    Your bleeding-edge Now is always someone else’s past. Someone else’s ’70s bellbottoms. Grasp that and start to attain atemporality.

    the #watchnerd

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New Arrival, in fact brand new, but with a vintage vibe