BOLDR Voyager Caspian

When BOLDR Supply Company launched the Voyager last December, the brass case diver quickly sold out. They are currently taking orders for the next batch that should ship in July 2018. In the meantime, they let me test a brown dial Caspian model to see what all the fuss is about.

When unboxing the Voyager Caspian, it is hard not to think of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze. Obviously, the $299 BOLDR is not playing in the same league as the $3975 Tudor, but the two watches do share a similar purpose, Explorer-style layout, and gold-on-brown color scheme. That said, every detail of the BOLDR ‘s design is different, creating a watch that stands entirely on its own while still being an appealing, budget-priced alternative.


The Voyager’s brass case measures 42mm wide, 48mm long, and 13.5mm thick, not including the AR-coated, double domed sapphire crystal. These proportions are standard fare for a modern men's diving watch, and it fit me exactly as I expected, filling my 6.5” wrist without overwhelming it. The case is brushed with a soft-edged bevel running from lug to lug. On the flip side is a stainless steel screw down caseback featuring a detailed engraving of a helmeted octopus. Water resistance is 200m.
Inside, is a Seiko NH35a automatic. This 24 jewel, 21.6 bph unit hacks, and hand winds. It is a smart choice for a budget diver as it is relatively inexpensive but also reliable, familiar to just about every watchmaker, and Diashock protected.


The watch arrived clean and shiny, but that won’t last long. Like bronze, brass is a living metal that gains a unique brown patina with exposure to air and moisture. The dual-lock screw down crown is also brass. Its design is nearly identical to that of the BOLDR Odyssey, sharing the same aggressive texturing and center channel. I particularly like the raised and polished logo on the head. I usually let my bronze and brass watches age without interruption, but I’d be inclined to keep that one little logo shiny as it is just too cool a detail to be obscured by oxidation.


BOLDR’s dials never disappoint, and the Caspian’s is no exception. The hands are brass and filled with lume, as is the second hand’s orange paddle tip. All three are a proper length. Cutaway markers and numbers in the matte brown surface and reveal a layer of bright Old Radium SuperLuminova beneath. It seems quite traditional at first but details like the deep shadows cast by the cut-outs, the clipped corners at the tips of the hour and minute hands, and the segmented index enliven it. 


The Voyager’s bezel is 120-clicks, unidirectional. The brown aluminum insert is printed in gold with the exception of the luminous pip. It moved with firm, positive action and no back play. Is the brown Caspian not your thing? Not to worry. BOLDR also offers the blue Pacific and green Atlantic.


Unlike most 42mm watches, the Voyager wears a comparatively narrow 20mm strap, allowing a slightly more dramatic taper to the lugs. The supplied Zulu is greyish brown nylon with blasted brass hardware. The understrap retaining loop below the bottom lugs is signed with the BOLDR brand name. Like all Zulus, it was deceptively thick on my wrist, but I was able to position the watch head so that it did not have any excess tail that needed to be tucked back - although not until after I had taken my wrist shot. Just trust me on this one.


All in all, this is a damn handsome watch. Even Ms. Time Bum noticed and appreciated it, and she is all but numb to the parade of sports watches that pass through my possession. Pair it with a distressed dark brown leather strap, and you will have a versatile timepiece that is just brimming with character. I know some will say that brass is not as desirable as bronze (I disagree) and it may not have the sexiest movement, but for the price, it is one heck of a deal. For more information or to place an order, see boldrsupplyco.com. ⬩


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