Audric Watches SeaBorne 500

Review and photos by Mike Razak

Audric Watches is a newcomer to the Singapore-based watch scene. With well over 50 brands operating out of the Asian city-state, it's getting crowded. In conversation with the founder, who named the band after his son, I was told, "We just want to make watches for everyone and let our watches create a story for themselves." I think that's about the purist motivation for a brand as I've heard, and I'm on board. Audric's first model is the SeaBorne 500, an entirely Swiss-made diver for the most adventurous of watchnerds.

The SeaBorne clocks in a hefty 43mm wide. While there are plenty of watches that big, including several fan-favorite Seikos, the case design of the SeaBorne does nothing to abate the feeling of its size. The case is a solid chunk of 316L stainless steel with a 51mm lug-to-lug and 15.4mm height. As if those numbers weren't grand enough, the watch — on the bracelet, as adjusted to my wrist — weighs half an actual pound. Thicc Boi Achievement: unlocked. So the watch is big, and wears heavy—you can feel this every second you have it on — but it's not nearly as much of an encumbrance as you'd expect from such numbers; it sat well on my wrist and at no point was it uncomfortable. Got it? Good. Let's go.

While the case may not do itself favors in reducing the feeling of heft, it does plenty to look good. The case sides feature a blast-finished cutaway, and then myriad angles in both brushed and polished finishes. If you've read any of my reviews, you'll know I am a fan of contrast and angles. I mentioned Seiko above, and the top-down view of the case is actually quite reminiscent of the Shogun, with abruptly sloping lugs and a general "boxy tonneau" silhouette. The overall profile of the case is a gentle curve, but as I mentioned, it doesn't ease the bulk (#easethebulk). I've also been advised that the finishing quality will be even higher on production pieces—I didn't notice any issues, but this can't be a bad thing.

Crown guards emerge from the 3 o'clock case side to protect a deep-grooved screw-down crown that is exceptionally easy to operate, even while on the wrist, and provides 500M of water resistance. That's right, this watch is ready for all your deep dives—and it won't explode on the way up, as it's equipped with a helium escape valve at 9 o'clock. Echoing the crown is a polished bezel with evenly spaced brushed grooves. The bezel is one of the best I've used: smooth turning (even when my hands were wet), no back play, with a fully lumed sapphire insert that matches the color of the dial. Magnificent.

While the case is engaging, the dial is what will likely draw most watchnerds in. A multicolor chapter ring encircles the entire dial, with different colors partitioning the first 20 seconds (10-5-5). It's a great pop of color on the grey dial, and I think it looks equally good on the black dial option. Stepping in from there, the cutouts of the sandwich dial offer a fully lumed minute track—a real treat when the watch lights up with lume but lost in daylight on the lighter dial options (not a huge issue, as the chapter ring also has minute markers).

The main dial is a gleaming epiphany of radiant joy. A textured sunburst pattern starts at the hands and shoots out to the chapter ring, making space for the various dial applications along the way. Bold applied hour makers alternate between pip and banner style (they look like tiny medieval banners, right? Or maybe bookmark tabs? Or shields?). Polished, partially cutout hands match the latter marker form; I've been informed that the hand width will be adjusted to match the marker width, which shows a good eye for detail in design. The rather diminutive seconds hand will also be enlarged. A date window with a polished frame sits at 3 o'clock and blends in well with the rest of the dial, offering limited disruption.

The dial is highly legible, despite the lack of contrast, likely owing to the size of the hands and markers. The Super-LumiNova BGW9 lume application is good, but will be further enhanced for production, and will only add to this ease of reading the watch at a glance. And as an added touch, all the shiny bits on the dial are rhodium-plating, meaning they'll tarnish less and last longer, should you keep this one in your watch box for the duration.

On the back of the watch, there's a sea turtle. While the sea turtle is ostensibly a symbol of strength, endurance, and agility, I'd accept it as simply a nice design. Around our new turtle friend is some information about the watch. Unscrew the turtle, and you'd see the Swiss Sellita SW200-1 Automatic movement. This movement is well established in the microbrand and even entry-level luxury brands (if that's what you'd call TAG Heuer these days). The movement is elaborĂ© grade—meaning some nicer hardware and a bit of decoration—and features 26 jewels and a 38 hour power reserve. Audric has the movements further adjusted to five (instead of three) positions. There's not much to be said about this ETA 2824 clone—it'll get it done without issue, which is one less thing to worry about one your ultradeep desk dives.

The bracelet is great. But the setup for it is not. Because of the lug hole position, equipping this watch with anything other than the included bracelet was not possible. And I tried just about everything I could. That said, the sheer size of the watch would dwarf all but the thickest straps, and a pass-thru strap would look laughable. The bracelet is a five-link offering with fitted, integrated end-links (they attach to the rest of the bracelet instead of coming off like in many microbrand watches). The screw-in links feature alternating polished and brushed finishes to complement the case. The best feature, however, is the ratcheting clasp, which is ostensibly for wearing over a wetsuit. In practice, though, it's used for hot days when your wrist swells a bit; the mechanism allows for an extra half-inch of fine-tuned sizing.

I know I went on a bit, repeatedly, about the sheer size of this watch. A big part of it is the heft, not the actual dimensions. It's heavy, and that's ok. This is a great watch for those with big wrists and big biceps, but it'll also work for people with average wrists and no biceps, like me. There's little to complain about here, and what little there is will be fixed for production. The case is a pleasure, with numerous cutaways and facets, and the dial only continues that with its texture and legibility. The Audric will be available on Kickstarter starting June 2nd, and early backers will be able to get it for just $600 (retail will be $1000). That's a great deal for a well-designed, rugged dive watch with a ton of panache. For now, you can sign up on the brand's site for updates and be alerted when the campaign launches. 
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