Ventus Northstar

Last September, Ventus Watches sent me a pair of 300m dive watch prototypes to display at the District Time event in Washington, DC. At that point, they had unsigned crowns, no case back engravings, and no name, but all the critical pieces were in place, and I couldn’t wait for them to be released so I could write about them. Well, today is the day. The Ventus Northstar, as it is called, just launched on Kickstarter and in the first day has already far exceeded its funding goal. It's not hard to see why. This is a beautiful watch and with a pre-order price of about $220 USD, an excellent value.

Ventus Northstar Forest Green Brass and Admiral Blue
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Ventus designed the Northstar with a 1960s aesthetic in mind, striving for wearable proportions and a classic appearance. To that end, they employed a barrel-shaped case and short lugs for overall dimensions of 40mm wide, 45mm long, and 13mm thick. It is brushed on top and polished along the sides. The 4 o’clock position of the screw-down crown contributes to its compact appearance, and a double domed sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating tops it off. I found it to be a perfect fit on my 6.5” wrist, trim enough to slip under a buttoned shirt cuff while still projecting an appropriately sporting presence. My favorite detail is the chamfer that gradually opens up from the upper edge to the lug ends. Inside each Northstar is a Seiko NH35 Automatic, a hardy, 24 jewel, 21.6k bph unit with Diashock protection and a 41-hour power reserve. 

Ventus Northstar  Admiral Blue wrist shot

I sampled two of the Northstar’s seven variants: an Admiral Blue dial with a ceramic bezel in a stainless steel case, and a Forest Green dial with a brass bezel and brass case. The ceramic and metal inserts are engraved and filled with C3 SuperLuminova save for the hash marks between the pip and 15, which gives the insert a little more complexity. The brushed version offers a tool watch look that blends with the same no-nonsense finish of the case, and on the brass, will grow ever more rugged as its patina forms. On the other hand, the glossy ceramic presents a fine contrast to the case and a closer tie to the brightwork on the dial, dressing it up just a bit more, particularly in the rich stainless/blue combination.  
Ventus Northstar Forest Green Brass and Admiral Blue

The dial is clean and handsome with just the right amount of flash. It features applied and polished bar markers and faceted baton hands that match the cases. All have lumed channels. A broad minute track gives way to a brilliant sunray effect at the center. Have a look at that 6 o’clock date window. It reveals a color-matched disk, a detail you don’t often see at this price. Dial text, my old nemesis, is limited and printed in a distinctive, soft-edged typeface that matches that of the minute index. Note the open 6 and 9, and the round corners on the 3 and E — very nice.

Ventus Northstar  Admiral Blue

Bezel action is one of those things that tends to change from prototype to production, but I had no issue with these. The bezels traveled their 120-clicks with proper pressure and no wobble. Given my experience with previous Ventus watches, I have no reason to believe the final pieces will be any less satisfying. 
Ventus Northstar Forest Green Brass and Admiral Blue

I sampled the prototypes on rubber “tropic” straps that were comfortable, practical, and fit the Northstars’ ‘60s vibe. In addition, Ventus just unlocked the stretch goal of a $50 steel bracelet option for the stainless and black PVD versions. Brass fans will have to make do without. Given the reactive nature of brass, you wouldn’t want it wrapped around your wrist. 

Ventus Northstar Forest Green Brass

Super Early Bird rewards are already gone, but you can pre-order a Ventus Northstar for S$299, or $220 USD, with deeper discounts still available for multiple purchases. This is about 40% off of expected retail. That is a bargain price for this watch. Head over to the Ventus Northstar Kickstarter page by April 10, 2019, to get on board. ⬩

Ventus Northstar lume









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