Borealis Porto Santo

Yesterday, I promised you something funky and here it is, the Borealis Porto Santo. Like all Borealis watches, it is ready and willing to dive right down to Davy Jones's locker (assuming said locker is no deeper than 300m); however, the Porto Santo is by no means your typical tool watch, if indeed you can call it that at all. It defies typical classification, but it highly stylish, massively capable, a great fun.

Borealis Porto Santo
I've got to start with the obvious – that dial is a treat. The orange fan tailed hour hand and bright yellow accents just leap off the deep blue background. And what about the groovy off-center small seconds counter at 4 o'clock, with the huge 20 and small 40? I love it. Orange crosshairs and radiating hash marks ensure that it is still perfectly readable, but the exaggerated yellow index just makes my day. It's eye-popping, but they didn't take it too far. The printed white BWG9 bar markers are pretty conventional and perfectly legible I appreciate the way the square-tipped minute hand travels right into the minute markers. An engraved brushed rehaut is another neat touch.

Borealis Porto Santo lume

This wild dial resides in an offbeat stainless steel cushion case with wire lugs. There are three finishes in play here: a polished bezel, fine circular brushing on the top, and coarse linear brushing across the sides. Thr shape vaguely resembles that of a Panerai Radiomir, but sharper and squarer, with flat sides showing drilled holes for the lug fasteners. At 44mm wide, 53mm long, and almost 14.5mm thick, it is a macho affair that wears every bit as big as you would think.

Borealis Porto Santo

The movement is a Miyota 8218 21 jewel automatic with a 40-hour power reserve. It is a reliable unit, but its 21.8k bph beat rate is not as smooth as some rivals and it does not hack or hand wind.

Given the level of creativity invested in Porto Santo's dial and case, I'm pleased to see that they did not slack off when they came to the strap. It is a thick, 24mm wide piece of sueded leather in a lovely milk chocolate color with blue stitching. 

Borealis Porto Santo strap

The distinctive roller buckle is every bit as unique as the dial and case. It has a thick, angled frame with flat sides, rounded corners, and an equally heavy, bent tang. There are two sets of hex fasteners in the frame, like the ones that hold the lugs. One of them holds the buckle to the strap, the other holds the roller. I appreciate that they have designed such a different buckle, and love the engraved roller; however, the hex fasteners bug me. I like the way they look, and I have found that hex fasteners are less prone to slipping tools or stripped heads, but that assumes you have the right tool. It can be hard enough to find the right size flathead screwdriver, let alone the correct Allen wrench, and Borealis does not supply one. Is an insurmountable problem? No, but it is an irritant.

Borealis Porto Santo

The Porto Santo is a little trippy, it isn't gaudy. It is tempting to call it a fashion watch, but its high water resistance, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and screw-down crown belie that definition. I'd prefer to call it a practical, yet fashionable watch. If the blue and yellow is too much, you can opt for a black and gray model instead.

This watch is not for everyone, and if is not for you, Borealis has more conventional divers that may be more to your liking. But if you are looking for a fun, graphic watch that can handle the elements, head over to where the Porto Santo sells for $385. Or better still, come to the 2017 Microbrand Meetup on November 19 in Washington, DC, and enter to win this very watch! ⬩

Borealis Porto Santo
Borealis Porto Santo back

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