You have probably never heard of the Bridge Watch Company. They aren't available on Amazon, they did not launch a Kickstarter campaign, and they have even kept a low profile on the watch forums, but they are producing some cool watches at very affordable prices. This puts them right in The Time Bum's wheelhouse, so I reached out to them and secured their latest release for review: the Cape, a three-hand quartz with some charming details that sells for the absurdly low price of $99.
Bridge is the brainchild of Paul Lewin (@thepaullewin on Instagram), a product and interior design consultant who happens to be a dedicated watch enthusiast and co-founder of the Chicago Red Bar Crew. He is also no stranger to The Time Bum, to whom he has been a reliable watch exchange partner and Guest Bum. I'd promise you that my affinity for Paul had no effect on my critical eye when preparing this review, but you probably wouldn't believe me, so read on and judge for yourself.
Paul describes the Cape as a fresh take on the simple watch, taking inspiration from vintage watches and using color, texture, and usability to establish its personality. It has a 42mm stainless steel case with long, tapered lugs extending to a 52mm total length. Historically, this would be considered a large watch, but it is now probably the most common men's size. The case is polished along the sides and bezel, and brushed on top, adding some welcome dimension with a little flash. It has a 6mm push-pull crown positioned at 3 o'clock. It is coin edged but unsigned. The case back is similarly uncomplicated, etched with the simple and perfect suspension bridge logo. Water resistance is 50 meters.
The Miyota GM10 quartz may not be the sexiest movement, but it is a reliable workhorse that gets the job done without fuss. It has three hands, a black-on-white date wheel, and a 3-year battery life. Most importantly, it is a wafer-thin 2.71mm, which in conjunction with the flat mineral crystal, keeps the Cape's overall thickness to just 10.5mm. A skinny case and lugs that curve gently downward allow the watch to wear easily and unobtrusively despite its relatively broad diameter.
The dial is where the Cape really stands out. Long printed darts represent the hours, piercing the ring that surrounds the guilloche center, and the index is represented by dots. All are a beige color that matches the fill on black fence post hands. The color was a smart choice. It is more subtle than white and creates a warm, vintage feel, particularly on the black dial. The Bridge name is printed in gold at the top of the dial, the logo at the bottom. It is all neatly detailed but not overdone. It works beautifully – until the lights go out. That beige paint is not luminous. This is my only issue with the watch. I know the watch leans to the dressier side of the style spectrum, and I understand that a proper coating of "Old Radium" SuperLuminova would have increased the price, but I still miss it. That one addition would have made it a true all-'rounder.
The Cape comes on a 22mm soft leather strap with contrasting white stitching. It tapers to a signed buckle. I wore it cinched to the last adjustment hole so it will work fine for those with larger wrists but those under 6.5" will need to find something shorter. The blue strap on the blue dial is a nice look, but the way the brown strap goes with the mellow color of the markers on the black dial makes it my favorite combination. The dressy guilloche and slim profile make it a good choice for weekday wear with a coat and tie while the sporty darts and good water resistance pair nicely with jeans and polo on the weekend.
I really enjoyed the Cape. You can tell that this is a watch created by skilled designer and not just someone picking parts out of a catalog. A bit of glow on the hands would be ideal, but it is an easy compromise for the outstanding price. The Cape is clean, clever, and wonderfully cheap with just about everything you need for a nice, everyday timepiece. You can buy one for just $99 direct from BridgeWatchCompany.com.
Pro: Great dial
Con: No lume