Preview: Boston & Stewill Tourer II Chronograph

Boston & Stewill is a new venture out of London that wants to bring you a "quintessentially English chronograph." I was immediately drawn to them because they used the word "quintessentially" and because they have taken an intriguing approach to the increasingly popular bullhead design. 

The Tourer II was inspired by vintage automobile speedometers and the resemblance is immediately apparent. The movement is Swiss Ronda 3520.d turned sideways so the 30 min and 12-hour register is at 9 o'clock and the small seconds is at 3 o'clock. The dial is available in black, white, or cream - my personal favorite. It features a 120 kilometer index and the date window's 12 o'clock placement reminds me of an odometer. The feuille hands, a red-tipped second hand, and the delicate script of the brand name in the lower half, lend it a wistful, pre-war quality. I appreciate the fact that the dial is uncluttered, with plenty of breathing room between the registers and the index track. My only concern is that while the 120-mark index works for the hour (if you drop a zero) I fear it could be maddening when trying to track seconds. That caveat aside, it is a lovely dial.
This retro theme is carried in the case as well, a 42mm wide, 14mm thick, stainless steel cylinder with brushed sides and a polished top. The tuna can shape and the low position of the lugs will give it significant wrist presence, but possibly a bit too much. The small lugs are curved, but they do not appear to provide much in the way of transition from the fat barrel to the strap. I have sampled similarly shaped cases before, and they tend to look top-heavy on the wrist, but this is the sort of thing that can only be properly evaluated in person. 

I would categorize the design as dress casual: too fancy for a tool watch, and too fanciful for a dress watch, but just right for the weekend. The sapphire crystal and 100m water resistance will take on some active adventures while the polished details and leather deployant rally strap clean it up enough for a night on the town. Overall, the Tourer II is a lovely watch. Given its classic automotive design cues, it would be easy to imagine that you popped it out the instrument panel of a 1950's Bentley or Jaguar. 

The Boston & Stewill Tourer II will launch on Kickstarter shortly. Early backers can get theirs starting at £150 (@ $234 USD), a significant discount from the full list price of £399 (@ $624 USD). For more information see 

Update 9/11/15: the Kickstarter campaign is live. You can access it here.

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