BOLDR Venture Automatic

Someone must have declared it "Field Watch Year" when I wasn't looking because the BOLDR Venture Automatic is the fifth such watch we have reviewed this year, and it's only March. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. Given the constant stream of divers that come through Time Bum Headquarters (ten in the same period), a few field watches make for a nice break, especially when they are as well-conceived as the Venture. For this review, BOLDR gave me the option to keep the titanium and white Sand Storm sample. I believe I will (thanks guys!) because I've worn it every day for the past week.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm
This is the second iteration of the Venture to pass my way. I reviewed the earlier model in October 2018 and loved its modest size, titanium case, and crazy cheap price ($141 retail). My only caveat was its ETA 802.102 quartz movement, which I knew would put some people off. As you probably surmised from the title, the new Venture packs a mechanical movement, the tried and true Seiko NH35A. You know the one: 24 jewels, 21.6k bph, hacking, and hand-winding. It also has Diashock protection, is rock-solid reliable, and easy to service — exactly what you want in a field watch.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm wrist shot

Like the previous version, the new Venture sports a titanium case, so it is tough but feels light as a feather, and the matte dark gray finish is just badass. It has a flat, AR-coated sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, and a whopping 200m water resistance rating, so if your fieldwork happens to be under the sea, have at it. The Venture will handle just about anything. 

BOLDR never skimps on their case backs. For the Venture, they went for a huge "X" etched with an overlapping pattern of their logos and tag lines. Maybe not quite as ornate as some of their others, but striking nonetheless. 


BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm case back

While the watch is still only 38mm wide, its new, angular shape appears slightly larger on the wrist. Short, sheer lugs keep the overall length to just 42mm. With these dimensions and a listed thickness of 14mm, you would think it would wear like a brick but the main case is low and slimmed by a generous bevel along the sides. The rest is all bezel. Also, my precision instruments tell me it is actually just 12mm thick from case-back to crystal. I don't know where they hid the other two, and that is just fine. The large crown is sculpted in BOLDR's signature style and tucked out of the way at 4 o'clock. It all adds up to a compact watch that conveys a utilitarian bearing without resorting to unnecessary bulk. Kudos to the design team for this one. As I mentioned above, it works so well on my 6.75" wrist, I really don't want to take it off.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm

The dial is a traditional field style, albeit with some BOLDR twists. You have large, slim Arabic numbers for the 12-hour index with lume dots behind, and a smaller 24-hour index inside. The excellent BOLDR logo up top and the remaining text (model name, "Automatic," and water resistance rating) is stacked below, filling out the dial without cluttering it. 

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm

For me, the handset really makes the Venture's face. Black syringe hands and an orange, paddle-tipped second hand offer a nifty late 60's dive vibe. All benefit from tan Japanese SuperLume that glows nice and bright when your surroundings go dark. That creamy color also happens to look fabulous against the white dial. Of course, if Sand Storm White is not your thing, BOLDR will be happy to sell you one in Carbon Black, Navy Blue, or Jungle Green.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm lume

Field watches practically demand NATOs, and the Venture arrives on a heavyweight nylon weave with titanium loops, including a removable buckle. This is great because it is nearly impossible to find titanium strap hardware as a stand-alone accessory. BOLDR's NATO looks cool but did not work for me at all because once it was cinched down to my skinny wrist, it left a thick, uncooperative tail that resisted my best efforts to tuck it back. Bigger guys won't have that issue, but on my little wrist, it was too much.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm wrist shot

Accepting that this was a look I was never going to pull off, I switched to a thin, soft leather pass-through from Cheapest NATO Straps for a snug fit, and later to an olive canvas two-piece (from an old Bulova) on the Venture's signed titanium buckle.

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm

So the BOLDR Venture is rugged, stylish, and practical. If that is not enough to entice you, it is also inexpensive; $299 direct from BOLDR Supply Co. For one of the better field watches I've encountered as of late, that is a very nice price. Head over to BOLDR and check it out yourself. ⬩

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm

BOLDR Venture Automatic Sand Storm



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