Borealis Portus Cale

It’s no secret that the Bum loves Borealis. The Portuguese diver’s watch company consistently turns out high-quality timepieces for excellent prices - particularly if you can catch them in the pre-order period. Their latest, the Portus Cale, is no exception. They let me test drive two prototypes for this review.

Borealis Portus Cale Black and Blue Fade to Black
At first blush, the Portus Cale appears quite conventional. The face presents the familiar dots-and-bars layout, pencil hands, and 60-minute timing bezel common to many divers. Look a little closer, and you start to notice the fun stuff. The case is 41.5mm wide, 48mm long, but just over 11mm thick, which makes it appealingly slim. Tapered, faceted lugs give it a modern look that is heightened by their crisp edges, and their polished chamfers and upper surfaces. The area between the lugs is also polished while the sides are vertically brushed. The 4 o’clock crown is domed, signed, and polished. In keeping with the other lean lines of the case, it is modestly sized. Taken together, these elements streamline the watch in a manner not often found in the world of generally bulky dive watches.

Borealis Portus Cale Black and Blue Fade to Black

Of course, the Portus Cale has all the attributes you would expect in a 300m diver: AR coated sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and case back, Viton and Tefzel gaskets, and a 120-click unidirectional bezel that moves decisively without any slop or back play. That bezel is another signature element on this watch. It is a single piece that is engraved and PVD coated. Best of all, the entire thing is filled with SuperLuminova as are the dial's markers and hands. Clearly, the folks at Borealis are lume freaks. They even mentioned in a forum post that they chose printed markets instead of applied so that they could maximize the area of lume application.

Borealis Portus Cale white lume

Borealis offers multiple variations of this watch. Buyers may choose from black dial/bezel, white with a gray bezel, or blue dial/bezel, each with date or no date faces, and three colors of SuperLuminova: C3X1 white-green, X1 Old Radium, and White. My review samples were black and blue “Fade to Black” both with white lume. True to its name, the Fade to Black is lighter at the top of the dial, gradually darkening to an inky midnight at the bottom. It is a lovely, subtle effect that really sets the watch apart from the competition. A vibrant blue bezel only makes it better. The black watch is a highly attractive piece in its own right, but for my money, only the blue will do. It is just that cool.

Borealis Portus Cale blue Fade to Black

The movement is the smooth Miyota 9015, a 24 jewel, 28.8k bph automatic that hacks, hand winds, and will run just over 40 hours when fully wound. It is a popular unit, reliable, accurate, and easily serviced.

Borealis Portus Cale blue Fade to Black

The watch arrives on a three-link bracelet and signed flip lock clasp. As you would expect, the end links are solid and neatly fitted to the case. I particularly like the way the case’s polished sections frame the brushed bracelet links. Both the clasp and the bracelet offer a wide range of adjustment.

Borealis Portus Cale blue Fade to Black wrist shot

I found the Portus Cale to be an easy fit on my 6.5” wrist. It isn’t exactly a dress diver, but its sleek lines and low profile make it a suitable companion for the office. I am not a proponent of the “one watch for every occasion” theory but I do appreciate versatile designs. If I can wear a watch in multiple situations, I am likely to wear it more often. The Portus Cale is one of those watches, a perfectly capable diving tool that also looks at home with a coat and tie.

In typical Borealis form, the pricing is spot-on, just $320 USD ($160 deposit, $160 due before shipping). At that price, the Portus Cale is almost irresistible. For more information or to order one for yourself, visit BorealisWatch.com. ⬩

Borealis Portus Cale Black
Borealis Portus Cale clasp
Borealis Portus Cale Black and Blue Fade to Black
Borealis Portus Cale Black and Blue Fade to Black
Borealis Portus Cale Black


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