Collins, The Bronson (Review + Video)

Two weeks ago, I introduced you to The Bronson, a new Kickstarter watch project from L.A. producer and designer, Jimmy Collins (CollinsBrand.com). I liked its novel military/hi-fi theme, so when Jimmy offered to lend me an early production watch for a thorough review, I was happy to oblige. 

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted nato wrist shot

The Bronson is a mid-sized watch by contemporary standards, measuring 40mm wide, 48mm long, and 12mm thick. These are ideal proportions for my 6.5" wrist, offering sufficient presence without being oversized. I sampled it on both a heavy nylon Zulu and a 4mm thick oil-tanned leather. Both are of good quality, and the buff leather should age nicely as it picks up the scars and dings of use. I was able to wear the watch under a buttoned shirt cuff with the leather strap but noticed that it was the strap, not the watch, that was responsible for most of the bulk. Swapping a lower profile strap would provide an ever better fit.

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted leather wrist

Flat sides, a matte finish, and a no-nonsense flieger type dial let you know right away that The Bronson is a tool watch. A scratch resistant, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal and 100m water resistance back up its hardy appearance. Two finishes are offered: PVD black with a display window and bead blasted silver with a solid case back. I chose the bead blasted model for this review. 

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted case back

Case back decoration consists of a Collins logotype. I say "a" and not "the" because there are two on the watch: one tall and narrow on the dial, the other in italicized script on the back. The script version appears to be a holdover from the Collins eyewear line that preceded the watches. While its retro style fits the vintage audio theme (consider, for example, the iconic "Marshall" logo), I can see why Jimmy went for the simpler typeface on the dial; however, the script "C" does make an appearance on the crown. 

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted crown

One more note about the typeface. The tall, narrow numbers allow the 3 and the bracketed date window to coexist without crowding each other. Deftly avoiding what consider to be a major dial faux pas. Nicely done. 

As I alluded earlier, The Bronson combines military and audiophile aesthetics. If in 1960, a tube recording console got freaky with an RAF-issued pilot's watch, The Bronson could be their love child. (Incidentally, there was a Collins Radio Company that produced recording equipment from 1932-1973, but it is unrelated to the watch.) Is it unorthodox? Yes, it is, but looks perfectly natural. From the large arrowhead at 12 o'clock and the exaggerated height of its typeface to its mellow Old Radium SuperLuminova and dagger shaped hands, it is a pastiche that works. The result is warm, nostalgic, and just different enough to catch your eye. 

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted

For me, the volume knob crown is the high point of the design. It takes a close eye to notice it, and you will smile when you do. The only real miss here is the second hand. Meant to resemble a volume unit indicator, its thin black shaft disappears against the dial and the tiny spot of lume on its undersized tip does little to improve its visibility. My only other criticism noted in my preview was the arrangement of the text on the dial. Specifically, the lonesome "The" over 'Bronson." With the watch in hand, I still think the dial, and the model name, would be better without the superfluous article, but that is hardly worth mentioning. 

Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted nato

Inside, you will find a Seiko NH35A movement, a 24 jewel automatic with a 21.6k bph vibration rate, and a 41-hour power reserve. It hacks, hand winds, and has proven to be a reliable workhorse. If you would like a look at the innards in action, you will need to order the PVD case, but the mechanism is not fancy. I don't believe you are missing much with the silver model's solid case back.

I enjoyed my time with the Bronson. It is a handsome watch with neat design spin that creates a distinctive look without going overboard. Its mid-sized case will be an easy fit for most wrists. The price is right too. The earliest of the Kickstarter rewards birds have already flown, but you can still order the pictured steel model for $248, or the black one for $285. The nylon Zulu is an additional $25. For more information or to order you own, visit the Collins Kickstarter page by June 1, 2017. ⬩


Collins Watch The Bronson lume
Collins Watch The Bronson silver bead blasted buckle


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