For well over a year now, I’ve had the pleasure of handling, reviewing, and owning most of the limited edition watches made for the Diver’s Watches Facebook Group (DWFG) with 45,000+ members and counting at time of publishing. All of the watches I’ve reviewed have been worthwhile, thoughtfully designed, and on the affordable side of things. The bulk of these watches have come from micro-brands often founded in Asia and with watches constructed in the same part of the world. Examples of such are pieces from Gruppo Gamma, Crepas, Borealis and Zelos. As mentioned, they’ve all been worth my time, so I was excited when Andreas Gregoriades contacted me about the group’s latest limited edition collaboration, the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT.
BOLDR Supply Co. describes itself as an “outfitter brand for the urban adventures of the world.” With that description in mind and by viewing the current lineup of five watches the Singaporean/Malaysian-based company trade is the selling of tough tool watches. Divers, chronographs, field watches and a quartz-powered GMT round out the catalog. Like some of the micro-branded watches we’ve looked at, BOLDR follows the formula of offering a lot of “bang for the buck” in terms of design and features. Enter the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT and we get to see the brand’s first mechanical GMTWhen the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT arrived, I opened up the zippered case (this is a prototype, so it was only the watch and a travel case) and the first thing that hit me was the details. This is a very different watch than previous DWFG collaborations and that’s not meant to slight any of those releases. As mentioned, those were fine watches, but the bulk of this 44mm stainless watch is carried off differently. Aside from the somewhat non-traditional case design – more on that in a bit – the rotating ceramic multi-city bezel jumps out immediately.
Some do or don’t like ceramic and it often comes down to the quality of the execution. In the case of the BOLDR, the insert is beautifully done. Between the lovely hue of the blue, finish, the sharpness of the cities, and pigmentation, I’d guess that the supplier for this piece is also producing for some larger household-name brands. By the way, all the cities are listed in white aside from Singapore (for obvious reasons) and Nicosia, Cyprus (Andreas’ home and store location) showing up in orange. Viewed from the side, the bezel is tall and features both smooth and ridged detailing. In some ways, it reminds me of the Seiko Monster.
When heading to the dial we’re met with more details. The dial itself on the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT is designed for legibility with bold, lumed applied hour markers and a nice balance of writing between the company’s logo and name on the upper half and the model name, DWFG logo, and depth rating on the bottom portion. The dial itself is in dark blue and when viewed head-on, it comes off as very dark, but this lightens up to reveal a sunburst quality when seen at an angle.
It’s a lovely finish and I didn’t take issue at all with the inclusion of a date window at 4:00. In fact, the date window is the same length as the other indices so it doesn’t truly break up the flow of the design. The sword-shaped lumed hands relate well to the indices, while the orange flavored GMT hand and sweep seconds hand add the right amount of pop and visibility to the overall look. One little detail I really loved was the fixed 24-hour inner ring. It’s a real precision-looking piece and a great addition. It also makes use of the GMT very intuitive where home time can be set with the arrow based on the 24-hour zone.
The BOLDR Globetrotter GMT will come with a 22mm rubber strap similar to what you see here and it’s attached to a highly functional stainless dive style deployant clasp with wetsuit extension. The strap has pre-molded lateral holes, so one will need to cut the strap to fit and then affix it to the clasp via a spring bar. It’s a relatively firm strap (not silicone), but soft enough to be comfortable.
The clasp is released by pushing a button on each side. A forward set of buttons allows the wetsuit extension to extend in several lengths. BOLDR communicated that the clasp for the production version will contain microadjust. Use of the prototype unit was easy and I like the finishing.
Mechanical GMT watches are one of the more seldom-seen styles of watch on the market. There simply aren’t a ton of movement choices available from third parties and this causes the watches to end up being somewhat expensive. In the case of the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT, the company chose a respected movement in the ETA 2893-2. With this movement, the GMT hand can be set independently. The date is a semi quick-set simply by rotating the arrow hand around the dial. And yes, the watch hacks as well. I’ve not had much experience with the 2893, but I played with this one a bit and can confirm that it’s a smooth operator that’s easy to use. Kudos to BOLDR as well for the use of a nice signed and tactile crown that screws down easily. Whether or not the bias is justified, many people will take solace in having a Swiss ETA inside the watch.
We’ve yet to talk in detail about the case design of the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT. As mentioned, it’s large at 44mm and the lug to lug comes in at 50mm. At 14mm thick and with a decent amount of heft, it’s not little. Still, it doesn’t overhang my wrist and the interestingly shaped lugs fall away to create a somewhat smaller look. Regarding the case, I like it. While I am certainly more of a traditionalist, if the well-executed rest of this watch were attached to another “me too” case I’d be disappointed. There are plenty of traditional cases out there or copycat cases from more expensive brands, that I actually applaud BOLDR for doing something different. The surface is nicely finished with radial brushing on top and vertical on the sides.
The lugs help disguise the fact that, yes, it is a bit slab-like when viewed from the side. As we’ve mentioned, straying from vertical case sides seem to be the toughest hurdle for smaller brands, but this is a decent attempt at breaking things up a bit. Regarding the case back, you can see that it’s nicely done with a cool motif.
As for improvements, there’s only one that truly comes to mind. The description of the watch states that it is, in fact, a dive watch and, after all, this collaboration is with the DWFG. The watch proves this has an astounding 300M of water resistance (thanks for “resist”ing the use of a helium valve). But, due to the use of a multi-city bezel, there’s no real way to time a dive. With the internal 24-hour ring already present, I’d love to see a version of this watch with a dive bezel as well or have it integrated into the existing bezel if it could be legibly incorporated. Still, we know that there are more travelers versus divers, so the full-on travel specs of the watch are useful. Add to that a ruggedness that would allow one to hit the beach, pool, or wear alongside a dive computer, and I’m sure that most will be more than satisfied.
The BOLDR Globetrotter GMT will be available in four color options: blue dial/blue bezel, white dial/black bezel, green dial/green bezel, and black dial/black bezel. 300 in total will be made and as of now there are no plans for BOLDR to use this case design on another model. Shipping will begin in December 2018. Pricing is graduated, so it’s best to act early. September pricing will be $619, October $679, November $739 and if any are left once shipments begin; the price will be $799. A mesh bracelet is available for $59. Head here for more details.
All told, the BOLDR Globetrotter GMT packs a lot of value into a very approachable price. Plus, the fact that that the watch houses a Swiss mechanical GMT makes it even more unique. All in all, it’s another job well done to Andreas and DWFG – let’s see what’s next!