Hands-On: The Balmont BDX004 — A Versatile Everyday Watch From A Fledgling French Brand
New watch brands pop up regularly these days. And though it would be impossible to cover them all, sometimes, for one reason or another, one will catch our eye. This was the case with Balmont. The young French brand marks its debut with a series of four well-specced, nicely designed, understated, and versatile watches. These models carry the BDX name, with numbers designating the color of the dial. Silver and anthracite sunburst-dialed models complement the black and white options. There is also one special version with a black California dial, ton-sun-ton hands, and smoky-orange color accents on the minute track, dial text, and outline of the numerals. The brand gives this model, limited to 100 pieces, the special designation “LAX001, a reference to the Los Angeles Airport’s three-letter code name.
But what was it that set this brand apart from the crowd? To me, it was Balmont’s interesting concept for creating a community of daring ambassadors. Each year, the brand’s team will bury a hermetically sealed capsule with a watch inside. The person who purchases this special watch will have to undertake a quest to find it, guided by materials provided in the box. The watch could be anywhere in the world. Two things are guaranteed — an adventure and a watch. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at one of Balmont’s watches now, the BDX004.
The Balmont BDX004
When offered the opportunity to get one of these new watches in for review, I opted for the icy-white-dialed Balmont BDX004. Why? Honestly, it was just a mix of personal preference and some curiosity. I already own a watch with (broadly) similar styling in the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, so opting for something familiar yet quite different seemed like the way to go. Plus, having a collection comprised mostly of black-dialed stainless steel sports watches, it’s nice to get a palette cleanser. Before I share my thoughts, let’s take a look at some specs. The Balmont BDX series of watches share the same 40mm × 12mm × 48mm case. They are all equipped with drilled lugs fitted with a 20mm leather strap. However, to ensure that the watch can accompany its wearer almost anywhere, it comes with a nylon two-piece strap as well.
The BDX watches all use the Soprod P024 movement, which is visible through the exhibition case back. Both the signed crown and case back screw down into the case, giving the watch a 200m water resistance rating and its wearer the peace of mind that this spec provides. The green suede strap — a great choice for this piece — was supple and comfortable from day one. Finally, the Balmont name and shield-shaped crest can be found on the dial, rotor, and pin buckle.
Sporty? Dressy? Versatile!
At first glance, you might have thought the watch was slightly dressier than sporty. Perhaps that is due to the clean dial, its three-hand layout, and the polished bezel. That was my first impression too, but when wearing it, I found that there’s a great versatility to the Balmont BDX004. And as good as it looks next to a shirt cuff, there’s something about the watch that invites a sportier wear. Is it the water resistance? The 40mm size? Or is it the field-watch-adjacent styling? I’ll let you decide.
For me, though, it really struck a great balance. Do I wish it had been a little smaller? After all, it seems that for a bezel-free watch, 37–38mm is the sweet spot. However, thanks to the reasonable lug-to-lug length and slim profile, the Balmont wears well enough not to have had me wishing it was smaller. The combination of the white dial and black hands is as legible as you might expect. The lume here is Super-LumiNova BGW9 — a point that not all microbrands get right the first time — and it was suitably bright in low-light conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the handful of days I spent with the Balmont BDX004 on the wrist. Its unobtrusive and versatile design made for easy daily wear. At the same time, some of its subtle design features, such as the red “Automatic” text on the dial, kept it from getting boring. Overall, for the pre-order price of €790, you get a great watch with a reliable Swiss movement, good dimensions, and decent water resistance. Plus, each watch is delivered with a couple of thoughtful extras, including a two-watch leather pouch, a second strap, and a spring bar tool. Talk about a full kit! For more information on the brand, the BDX004, and other offerings, check out the Balmont website.
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