Sweden is the land of Ikea, Volvo,
Saab, Nils Holgersson but also of a few watch companies, including Bravur. Based in the capital Stockholm, Bravur was founded in 2011 by Johan Sahlin and Magnus Äppelryd. Two industrial designers by trade, who wanted to design and create a watch that stands out from the crowd, have a great price-quality ratio and targets on an audience that can’t identify themselves with the pilot, divers and racing watches that are out there in large numbers.
According to themselves, they wanted to create a watch with the urban fashionable audience in mind. To be honest, that almost made me cringe a bit. But, I also understand you need to have some mission statements or principles, so let’s leave this for what it is and have a look at their Bravur BW003 Automatic watch.
Available with a sun burst silver dial and a black dial, and a variety of straps. The black dial version has a touch of silver and the silver dial version has a touch of black as well. This is a 39mm round watch that is definitely not a sports watch, but I also wouldn’t classify it as a dress watch either. It is somewhere in between, and this is probably what they had in mind when targeting a more (urban) fashionable audience. Somehow, the watch and its quality reminds me a bit of the Seiko Presage collection. Funnily enough, when people ask me what to buy below €1500 I often refer to Seiko for the short and simple answer (to a short but not so simple question). The stainless steel case, case back (in both transparent and solid versions) and crown all feel very well made. I am actually very impressed and a bit surprised. I’ve seen many so-so watches in this price range last year, that this is actually a bit of a relief and the proof that it can be done: designing and producing a good quality watch – being an independent – for a very fair price.
The 39mm case is made of stainless steel from Sweden and Bravur refers to it as the Solitär case. On top you will find a (very) domed crystal made of sapphire. The case itself is actually quite slim, also because Bravur used a slightly domed dial as well. The profile of the Solitär case is interesting, the brushed mid-case part appears to be very slim as the lower part of it is under an angle and suddenly all polished. It creates the effect of having a very slim watch. As an upper part of the case, you will find a bezel that has been fluted on the side and polished on top. The case back has been polished and around the sapphire crystal you will find a fluted part again. The version with the solid case back is slightly different of course, showing instead of the movement, an interesting design pattern with the brand name engraved in it. The case backs have been screwed to the center case, with 6 screws.
Just like the case back, the dial also has received the phrase “Swedish Soul, Swiss Heart”, referring to the country of origin of Bravur and the Swiss made movement. A Sellita SW300-1 to be precise, an equivalent of the highly praised ETA2892-A2. The type of movement you would find in many well-known brands a couple of years ago, like IWC and Omega, be it with a bit more refined finish. The SW300-1 movement is nicely decorated, with some perlage and snailing on the bridges. This was done for all SW300-1 movements though, it isn’t something specific to Bravur. But nevertheless, it looks nice! The rotor has been engraved with Bravur’s signature pattern, similar to what you can find on the closed case back version.
The Sellita SW300-1 has a power reserve of 42 hours, and ticks at 28,800vph. It features an Incabloc anti-shock system, a quick-set date and the rotor winds the movement in both directions. A great performer that will give you a lot of joy from this Bravur BW003. I think it is a smart choice of Bravur to go with this movement instead of the SW200 or a Miyota or TMI (Seiko) movement. Those are all solid movements as well, but this is definitely a step-up from those while still playing in a price category where one of the other movements are common practice.
I haven’t said much about the dial yet, so let’s have a look at that now. In the end, that’s the face of the watch that you will be looking at most of the time, right? Bravur was so kind to send me both versions of the Bravur BW003 watch. The black dial with silver rim and the silver dial with black rim. Except for that, the dials are equal in terms of design and used materials. The dial is slightly domed, which enabled Bravur to keep the watch relatively slim. The center piece of the dial has the applied hour markers, filled with Super-LumiNova (C1) for better readability under low-light conditions. Now I know that for many people out there, the lume of a dial is very important, but to be honest I don’t care that much. Often, whatever watch is next to me on the night stand, I still look on my phone or alarm clock when I want to know what time it is in the dark. I’ve never had a watch that would tell me the time in the absolute dark at 5:30 in the morning to be honest, at least not without having to hold it and stare at it for a few moments (making me more awake than I want to be). Anyway, I used my UV Pocketman torch to make the lume work and it does its job. There is also a bit of lume applied to the hour and minute hands, and those work as well. On the center part we also find the minute markers, printed, between the applied hour markers. These are printed in white on the black dial, and in black on the silver dial. The same is applicable for the Bravur name at 3 o’clock and the ‘Automatic’ wording at 6 o’clock. The outer dial shows the seconds track, with Arabic numerals every 5 seconds. The hour marker at 6 o’clock is cut away a bit to make space for the round and silver rim date aperture. The date disc is black on the black dial version and white on the silver dial version of the Bravur BW003. The long and sleek seconds hand reaches all the way to the rehaut and the minute hand nearly reaches the outer dial. The hour hand is relatively long, but still leaves some space between the hour markers and itself. The hour and minute hands are skeletonized, which give them an elegant look. All the way down on the dial, you will find – as mentioned – Bravur’s slogan again. To be honest, I didn’t notice it when wearing the watch, it is much more present on the photos than it is in real life. Which is fine.
The Bravur BW300 is available on a variety of straps and you can choose them when ordering the watch in their on-line shop. The black dial version of the Bravur BW300 I have here is on the brown strap and the silver dial version came on the black strap. Bravur offers them in black, brown and tan and with a couple of options for the stitching. All straps are made from organic leather, from either Sweden or Italy. Important to know is that all straps are made of vegetable tanned leather, without using chemicals or chrome. Their Swedish supplier is Tärnsjö Garveri, who has a 140 year history of producing leather while their Italian supplier is a small family-owned business in Tuscany. The straps come with a folding buckle, again engraved with Bravur’s slogan on the inside and the Bravur signature pattern on the clasp. The straps have this little mechanism to have them easily swapped for another strap, so you don’t have to use a tool, risking a bit of damage on the lugs (always use 3M tape when using a tool anyway).
The Bravur BW300 watch comes at the attractive price of $1350 USD. But wait, that’s without the optional sapphire case back (adds $115 USD) or a strap with edge seam (add $30 USD). The most expensive Bravur BW300 comes at $1495 USD, excluding VAT. If I want to have it shipped to The Netherlands (or any other country within the EU), I have to pay another $373.75 for taxes. This brings the watch to a total of $1868.75 USD. Is it still a good deal for that kind of money? In the end, that is up to you. With this price tag, Bravur is among strong competition from brands like Sinn and Oris for example. In the end it boils down to which style you prefer. There is a lot to choose from, including an entire army of micro-brand watches funded by Kickstarter, but these often lack the quality that this Bravur definitely has.
If the style of the Bravur BW300 speaks to you, you won’t be disappointed by its quality. Personally, I could have done without the Bravur logo on the sapphire case back crystal or the folding clasp but besides that, it is a watch that definitely surprised me in a very positive way. Bravur delivers a watch with an original design, good movement and very comfortable quality strap. Everything comes in a nice leather pouch, with an instruction manual and polishing cloth.
For more information or ordering one of the Bravur BW300 watches, click here.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more