Every watch has a story but some are bit stranger than others. Case in point, the new Aevig Balaur dual-crown, a handsome 300m diver with an internal GMT/timing bezel, powered by an ETA 2824-2 automatic.
Aevig's Chip Yuen first penned the concept as a project watch for the Watchuseek watch forum, back in August 2012 when he was an avid enthusiast and not a micro brand. It did not become the forum watch, but Chip liked where it was going and kept at it. After he launched Aevig, producing the Corvid, Huldra, and Valkyr, the dual-crown concept found its way back to the active list and Chip started looking for a manufacturer. He approached Chinese watchmaking giant, SeaGull who produced a prototype that Chip rejected, ultimately moving forward with a different factory and two new designs.
What happened next was a bit of a shock to the affordable watch community. SeaGull released a watch that looked uncomfortably similar to Chip's design. I can't say for certain what happened, but the Watchuseek thread "WTF? SeaGull Straight Up Thieves!" contains some interesting observations. While disappointed, Chip soldiered on, producing the Balaur dual-crown just the way he always intended.
The Balaur's brushed stainless steel case measures 42mm wide, 49mm long, and 13.5mm thick on a 22mm beveled link bracelet. A signed, screw-down crown at 4 o'clock sets the movement, and triple-gasketed push-pull crown at 2 o'clock operates the bezel. A double domed sapphire crystal tops it off.
The dial is clean and modern. Arabic numerals are reserved for the diminutive type on the bezel, leaving just applied rectangular markers and a printed stick minute index on main dial. There is no clutter here. The brand name and logo are up top. The model name in lowercase and "Automatic" in red down below. I particularly like the way Chip handed the bezel, printing the hours on the upper surface and the minutes on the angled return, marked with a series of dots. The markings are white except for contrasting red numbers on the fives. Semi-skeletonized hands and a paddle tipped second hand top it off. Two colors are offered: blue with BGW9 and black with C3 SuperLuminova will provide a healthy nighttime glow. Like many diver's watches, the Balaur draws inspiration from the 1970's, but to my eye it is absolutely cutting edge current.
Regular price will be €695 including VAT (21%), but you can pre-order a Balaur for €475 until July 31 when it goes up to €500, then increases to €550 until August 30. For more information or to order your own, see Aevig.com.