Regular Time Bum readers should already know a little bit about Chris Vail. He is the iconoclastic founder of Lew & Huey watches, boldly waging a one-man war on boring watches. He is also an occasional Guest Bum and all around mensch. This past week, he shipped me all three versions of his new Cerberus, the everyday watch in the Lew & Huey line up. Let me tell you, Chris has a refreshing idea of "everyday."
If I were asked to describe a solid everyday watch, I would say it should be a 42mm round case, as this is the size most guys seem to want. I'd suggest 100 meters water resistance, so you could get the most use out of it. A bracelet would be a must. Maybe a combination of brushed and polished finishes to make it interesting. Finally, a conservative black or white dial. There, I've designed a watch! The most boring watch on earth. This is why I blog and Chris designs.
The Cerberus does indeed start with a 42mm stainless steel case with 100 meters of water resistance, and it does wear a bracelet, a 22mm H-link that is brushed with solid end links. It fits neatly against the case with no unpleasant gaps and no squeaks or rattles. It secures with a signed, tri-fold clasp. About the only criticism I can muster is that there no polished surface on the bracelet to coordinate with the polished surfaces on the case. Yes, I know. I'm nit-picking here.
The movement is the Miyota 9015, a high beat, high quality automatic. It is an excellent unit, and increasingly popular among micro brands. The only negatives are a somewhat noisy rotor, and the fact that I have written about it so many times I can recite its specs in my sleep: 28.8k bph, 24 jewel, hacking and hand winding capabilities, and a 40 hour power reserve.
Now it gets interesting. The lugs are twisted, similar to the Omega Aqua Terra or Lew & Huey's own Riccardo. The upper surfaces, bezel, and crown are polished. The sides are brushed. The lugs curve downward to hug the wrist, and feature drilled lugs for easy spring bar removal. The crystal is sapphire, of course, with an anti-reflective coating and a barely perceptible dome. Flip it over and you will discover the Lew & Huey logo dog Sparky rendered in three-headed, fire breathing form. He also appears on the crown in his usual one-headed guise. It is an attractive case, with many welcome details, but it is not the star of the show.
The real action is on the dial. The Cerberus comes in three color ways, each with a textured dial surrounded by an brushed and anodized rehault that lends a pop of color. You have the choice of grey and red, blue and orange, and white and blue. Moving inward from the bright ring finds a chapter ring in the main dial color, with numbers that match the rehault. The index continues on a another brushed ring set below the first, the indicies printed in the reverse color. Finally, you reach the main dial with its vertical pinstripe texture, and Sparky in monochrome relief. The applied markers are polished and filled with SuperLuminova, just like so many others you may have seen, but close inspection reveals another subtle detail. They have beveled edges that catch the light, reflect the rehault color, and create a touch more presence. The white date wheel peeks through a polished, beveled frame at 6 o'clock, truncating that marker.
After all this rich layering, you couldn't have boring hands, could you? They are - and please stay with me here - a broad dauphine style, with blunt tails and noses, polished, but vertically bisected with a black line, and partially filled with lume that starts just behind the tip and extends to only 2/3rds the length, creating the illusion of a semi-skeletonized hand. The second hand has an aircraft style counterweight and is tipped in the accent color. Got all that? If not, just squint at the pictures. I remind you again, this is the sort of detail Chris lavishes on an everyday watch.
Given my description, you might think the Cerberus is part peacock, a flashy confection ill suited to daily wear. Au contraire mon ami. The overall effect is actually quite sober. What you notice at a casual glance is a handsome dial that catches the light in intriguing ways, providing a shifting array of tone and texture. The only element that demands your attention is the color ring, and even then, in the best possible manner, like a bright tie against a conservative white dress shirt and grey suit.
The Cerberus is also an appropriate size for a modern men's watch. A 42mm diameter is on the larger side of mid-range, but it should suit all but the smallest wrists. Lug-to-lug length is a relatively compact 50mm, made ever so slightly smaller by the curved lugs. On the wrist, the watch sits comfortably and with just over 12mm height, it tucks neatly under a cuff.
This is a watch you could easily wear every day. Need to wear a suit? The Cerberus is ready. Pulling on a polo for some golf? Grab the Cerberus. Did it get wet? No problem, just don't scuba dive with it. Through it all, it will look amazing. Getting a little bored at that staff meeting? Just gaze into that dial and try to count all the clever bits.
The Cerberus is available now for $575.
Pro: Magnificent details everywhere.
Con: Not much to gripe about here, but a little brightwork on the bracelet might have been nice.
Sum: An everyday watch, that is by no means ordinary. The Time Bum approves.