Whytes 150M

As I reported a couple weeks ago, Whytes Watches has a new line available for Kickstarter pre-order. The 150M is an automatic dress watch that celebrates Canada's sesquicentennial. Whytes co-owner Steve Scanlon was kind enough to let a pair of prototypes visit the States for this review. 


For a dress watch, the 150M is surprisingly rugged. Both front and rear crystals are sapphire (the front is domed and triple AR coated). It has a screw down crown and is rated for 200m water resistance. Given its well-tailored appearance and absence of luminous material, it would not be my first choice for outdoor adventures, but it is nice to know that will shrug off the rigors of daily life.



I confess I was disappointed when I read the 150M was 43mm wide and would be shipped with extra long straps. I am of the opinion that dress watches are best when they're on the small side, ideally under 40mm. This is partially driven by aesthetic preference, and partially by the plain fact that I am a slim guy with a 6.5" wrist so big dress watches look a little silly on me. On the other hand, if there is one thing I've learned in the watch hobby it is that published dimensions are a rough guide at best. You just can't tell until you have the watch in hand. Designers employ a host of stylistic tricks that can make a watch appear larger or smaller on your wrist. Wytes went with the "appear smaller" approach and it works beautifully.


The case, while wide, is listed as a scant 9mm thick but my eyes told me otherwise and my trusty calipers confirmed it. The watch is actually 13mm from the case back to the top of the dome. So it isn't exactly wafer-thin, but rounded sides and narrow lugs shave off some of that thickness, both literally and perceptually. In addition, the surface is highly polished. Maybe it's just me, but I think the liquid reflections you get in a polished case, especially one with curved sides, effectively blur the edges, making it appear smaller than it would if it had a solid-looking matte or brushed finish. As a result, the 150M looks at least one size smaller on the wrist, which is exactly the effect you want in a dress watch. I had no problem wearing it with a suit, and that was a good thing because this watch begs to be shown off. 



Whytes sells four 150M variants with applied polished Arabic or stick markers on either a white dial with red hands or a blue dial with polished hands. I sampled the Arabic/white/red "True North" and the stick/blue/polished "Sea to Sea." The True North drew me in right away. Those faceted red lance hands are real eye catchers against the white background. The Sea to Sea's polished silver hands catch just enough light for legibility under most conditions, but they can be tricky to read in low light. Both dials are attractive but for me, the True North is the winner. Note that while the 150M has some sporting qualities, it is still a dress watch at heart, it has no luminous material.


Under that dial is a Miyota 82S7, a 21 jewel automatic with 24-hour and small seconds sub dials. It has a 42-hour power reserve and a 21.6k bph vibration rate, but its claim to fame is its decoration and skeletonized structure that displays its balance wheel. This is the 150M's most defining feature and it is also the one I could have happily lived without. It's not that I don't like this one in particular. It's that I don't like open hearts in general. Even so, I could appreciate the way the raised index rings of the flanking registers overlapped that porthole window, forming a cluster of three equally sized circles in the lower quadrant of the dial. 



All 150M models come with 22mm leather straps and 20mm buckles. The buckles are signed but in an unattractive, generic typeface, which is a shame, as it makes the buckles look rather cheap. The straps, on the other hand, are well constructed and fitted with quick release pins for easy removal without tools. The black crocodile print strap on the blue watch was appropriately dressy, but I preferred the distressed brown strap on the white version. It displayed a pronounced pull-up effect and marked easily for a rough-and-tumble look that created an appealing contrast to the dressier elements of the case and dial. Fortunately, you can choose for yourself, as Whytes will provide any one if four straps with your purchase. As promised, the straps are extra long, about 80/125mm, which isn't crazy long. It did result in more tail than I would have preferred on my relatively small wrists, but bigger guys will no doubt appreciate having that little bit extra. 


The Whytes 150M is an appealing watch. It has a pretty face, tough specs, and even though open heart dials are not my thing, I have to admit that this one is nicely integrated into the overall design. The 150M campaign has fully funded and will close on August 6, 2017. You can still get one for as low as $299 CAD, or about $230 USD, which is still an appealing price and a full 37% off expected retail. International shipping is included. For more information or to place an order, see the Whytes 150M Kickstarter page.  ⬩





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