I rarely get to follow the journey of a watch’s creation. From the early renders to a dummy prototype to the finished article, the Behrens 20G has been an exciting journey. That said, I am not a patient person. I’m not a fan of waiting for things. I’m sure we all know the frustrations of finishing a season of our favorite TV show only to have to wait a year or more for the next. It was like that with the Behrens 20G for me.

I first saw the initial renders about a year and a half ago, followed by the non-working samples at Time To Watches in 2023. Finally, I now have a final production watch in hand and on my wrist. This is not the first time I have written about this particular watch, but it is the first time I have gone into detail about the production version. It’s not the same watch as from the start of this journey. Behrens even made some (necessary) adjustments from the initial prototype. This includes increased hand finishing, a new in-house balance wheel, and the hour/minute scales now featuring white text for better legibility. I think that even the pictures do a good job of showing this thing is pretty special, so let’s dive in.

It feels like I’m wearing nothing at all

Over the last year or two, I found myself appreciating titanium watches more and more. For the longest time, my only watch was a Breitling Superocean. Despite appearing smaller on the wrist, it’s a 42mm chunk of stainless steel and over 15mm thick, so it’s always very “present” when I wear it. That’s not always bad, and sometimes I don’t mind it. Likewise, I have a 41mm Fortis Stratoliner, which carries an equally hefty wearing experience.

These watches are core pieces in my collection, and I enjoy both. That said, the lightweight properties of titanium have begun to take root in my mind. I’m not going to suggest I feel any wrist fatigue from wearing the aforementioned watches. Far from it; I’m more “aware” of them but not in a negative way. Nevertheless, titanium drastically reduces this awareness. Straps need adjusting and moving less frequently, and that’s no bad thing.

For those number crunchers among us, here are some finer details to get your teeth into. The 20G’s asymmetrical trapezoidal case measures 42mm long on the longest side. A 38mm width means it is nice and compact too. The watch measures just 5.2mm thick as well. Don’t buy this watch and plan to take it diving — water resistance is a meager 3 ATM. That said, many modern-style hype watches rarely exceed this. Even Richard Mille, for example, offers the same water resistance for watches costing 20 times more than the Behrens 20G.

Floating like a butterfly with no sting in sight

When wearing the Behrens 20G, it’s a whole different experience. Yes, it’s titanium, so you know right away it’s lightweight, but it’s even less than that. It’s featherweight in comparison to a regular watch. Combine that with a thickness of a tad over 5mm, and you have a watch that does its best to convince you it’s not there at all.

“Enough about ‘lightweight’ — how much does it actually weigh, Dave?” You’re right; let’s discuss the important details here. There is a lot in the name. If you haven’t worked it out, 20G refers to 20 grams in weight. That’s the weight of the watch head, but it excludes the strap. Is that cheating? Yes and no. Possibly more “yes,” but I won’t make a big deal of it. The watch with the strap and buckle attached weighs 34 grams. That’s a mere four grams heavier than Richard Mille’s thinner-than-thin RM UP-01, meaning the watch feels like it just floats on the wrist. Not everyone likes this sort of wearing experience (looking at you, precious-metal lovers!), but for me, it’s unparalleled. Of course, the recently released Ming LW.01 wins the lightweight battle at 10.8 grams (head only), making the 20G feel rather weighty in comparison.

Strap it on and forget

The white rubber strap is wafer thin and wears very nicely on the wrist. Compared to all other rubber straps I’ve ever worn (and I have worn a lot), this is by far the thinnest. It’s so thin that I was initially slightly concerned it may rip or tear, but in my day-to-day use, it hasn’t suffered. It only contributes to the featherweight experience of wearing this watch. I think I’d quite like to have a black and a white strap so I have choices. White is a bit more sporty, and the black allows the watch to be a bit more reserved (as much as a watch like this can be reserved, anyway). Since the case has no lugs, the strap attaches via tiny screws accessed on the case back.

The 20G has curves in all the right places

When discussing how watches feel on the wrist, we often highlight ergonomics. This is usually reserved for the lugs of a watch because the case back is flat. It needs to be to accommodate the watch movement. Because, you know, watch movements are flat, right? Well, what if they weren’t? Clearly, this is what the people at Behrens were thinking when they developed the in-house BM02 movement that powers the 20G. The 20G’s movement is curved, allowing the entire case to curve similarly for natural ergonomics. Each wheel of the BM02’s gear train interlocks at a 15-degree angle. This is just enough to allow for the gentle curve but also enough so as not to interfere with the watch’s functionality.

Now, it’s tough to gauge movement accuracy here. It’s something many of you reading this article will be questioning. Due to the lack of going seconds and the small scale of the minute track on the right-hand side (in five-minute increments), you can easily set the time, but tracking accuracy to the second is next to impossible. I did my best to monitor time accuracy over the first two weeks I wore the watch, and I have zero complaints to report. The watch required no adjustment for any noticeable deviation, but that’s not to say there wasn’t any. I don’t have a timegrapher to check the nitty-gritty, but I didn’t have to adjust it for regular use. That’s what matters here.

If I had to pick one thing that isn’t “perfect”

The aspect that could be slightly better is the legibility. I say “better,” but I don’t mean that it’s bad. This is not a watch you’ll glance at and read the time in a split second. If you want that, you’re better off with a traditional three-hand tool watch. The Behrens 20G is not a tool watch, nor is it trying to be. I like that it forces you to take an extra few seconds to read the time. You have to look at the watch and take it in. It makes you appreciate the hand-finished bridges and wheels. Really, just looking at the 20G is an essential part of the experience since there is so much to appreciate here.

Behrens 20G

Aggressive pricing for a brand making waves

It takes great skill to assemble a watch as intricate as this. Behrens has a small team of watchmakers trained to work on the 20G. Consequently, production capabilities are limited. Behrens has stated that the watch is not limited by total quantity but by annual production. At the time of writing, the brand has estimated 150–180 pieces per year. As far as I am aware, general reception to the release has been very positive, and orders are fully booked for a while. If you want a 20G, I suggest contacting the brand to reserve one. The price is very attractive for a watch of this ilk. The 20G will set you back US$7,600.

If this were Swiss…

With a watch like this, imagining where the brand will go next is interesting. I am not exaggerating when I say this watch is something special. If we saw a well-known Swiss brand name on the front instead of Behrens, the 20G would cost at least two or three times the price. When we look at comparable watches from a technical perspective, that’s a somewhat conservative suggestion.

I’m saddened that this watch was overlooked for a final GPHG nomination in the category Behrens submitted it. I can only surmise that Behrens is perhaps not yet as well known in the broader industry as it deserves. As a result, it may have caused some voters to overlook the 20G as an unknown. The lack of real-life photos at the time probably also did not help, but I maintain that it’s a travesty this watch was not recognized.

That said, Behrens made it to the semifinals of the LV Watch Prize this year. First place was ultimately awarded to Raúl Pagès with his RP1 – Régulateur à Détente, but Behrens sat alongside some other movers and shakers of the independent circuit, including Auffret Paris, Petermann Bédat, Chronomètre Artisans (Simon Brette), and Barrelhand. I believe Behrens is the first Chinese brand to make it this far, so the tides are turning, and recognition is happening slowly.

Behrens 20G

So, where does Behrens go from here? How does it improve upon the success of the 20G?

The 20G shows that Behrens has the technical watchmaking chops to go toe to toe with the big boys. Even my more classically minded watch-collecting friends have seen this watch and been impressed by its looks, quality, and price. For a brand looking to show how serious it is and now operating around the $10K price point, does it make sense to continue offering lower-priced watches? Behrens released the somewhat crazy Orion One earlier this year, using a complicated in-house module on a Sellita movement, at US$3,600.

But when you see what the brand can do at the higher price point of around 10k, it makes you wonder if that should be the brand’s focus moving forward. If Behrens can make and sell this watch for $7,600, what could it do for $15,000? We could see something truly remarkable. Unfortunately, I am unaware of what is on the horizon, but seeing this trajectory is exciting. Let me say it here first: Behrens is a brand to watch over the coming few years. I can feel excitement brewing. And if the 20G is anything to go by, “exciting” could well be the understatement of the year.

Behrens 20G wrist shot

Closing thoughts on the Behrens 20G

The Behrens 20G made my list of the best watches of 2023 for a reason. There is a lot to love for the aggressive price of US$7,600. It is certainly not a cheap watch, but, compared to its peers, the value is very much weighted towards Behrens. I am relieved and thrilled that the watch met my lofty expectations and smashed them out of the park. This was a watch I had been impatiently waiting to see completed for quite some time. They say never to meet your heroes for fear of disappointment, and that worry was real here. Thankfully, it’s safe to say that my worrying was in vain. The 20G has only cemented my love for the brand. You can officially call me a Behrens fanboy now, and I’m OK with that.

Behrens 20G

I’m keen to hear your opinions too. Have you seen this watch or any other Behrens watch before? If so, what do you think? What do you make of the 20G? I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts on the design and what you get for the money here. I want to know if others are quite as impressed as I am! Let me know, and let’s talk!

You can find out more about Behrens and the 20G on the brand’s official website. For anyone planning to make the annual pilgrimage to Geneva for Watches & Wonders in April, Behrens will exhibit at Time To Watches, which runs during the same week. So be sure to swing by if you want a closer look at the 20G in person. I am told the brand is launching something new, but at this point, I have zero idea what that might be. I guess I’ll just have to work on my patience!

Watch specifications

Matte gray mainplate with open-worked movement construction, hour and minute scales printed on the crystal
Case Material
Grade 5 titanium
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 42mm (length at longest point) × 5.2mm (thickness)
Curved sapphire
Case Back
Grade 5 titanium
Behrens BM02: in-house curved caliber, manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, brushed and media-blasted finishes with polished bevels
Water Resistance
White FKM rubber with titanium pin buckle
Time (retrograde hours and minutes), power reserve indicator