I love watches that refuse to stick to a genre and offer a clean-slate perspective that doesn’t look back in time. Going hands-on with the J&Berg B2, I see both of these qualities and put Finland on the map of microbrand cool.

Titanium is very much the material du jour, but I have a conflicted relationship with the light metal. Don’t get me wrong; its prowess is undebatable. With its corrosion-less and lightweight properties, titanium is great for sports watches. I’m just not overly happy with the light feel of titanium bracelets, but on a canvas strap, it works great. Add a slim 38mm case design, and we’re really talking.

The J&Berg B2

J&Berg and the freedom of small brands

Finland and the Nordics, in general, are not known for an abundance of microbrands. But their small brands are a curated lot. In Finland, we have S.U.F Helsinki, Stepan Sarpaneva’s affordable brand of field watches, along with the new brand Jurmo, while Maen, Nezumi, and Straum make a great case for Scandi-cool. Importantly, they have carved their very own design paths. But today’s review example is J&Berg’s debut offering, an elegant tool watch. Clean-cut modernity, crisp graphics, and an unusual sandwich dial define this timepiece. With brushed, colorful dial centers, the B2 embodies quirky tool-chic from the North.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

Being from the subarctic myself, I see a common thread where the reliance on homage-filled retro designs is disappearing in favor of strong brand identities. This is at the core of why micro and small brands mean so much to many fans while being a bit polarizing. But being unafraid of divisive opinions is exactly why “bold and small” is so appealing and why I respect J&Berg’s outlook. With the B2, 38.5mm is a great size choice. First impressions are good with the lightness of the titanium case and comfortable canvas (nylon-based?) strap with a soft leather lining. The gray-green color is standard for all three models, and it’s a slim, soft-fitting strap with a logoed titanium pin buckle. So far, so good.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

Introducing the J&Berg B2 trio

Mikko and his team at J&Berg will offer three colors in the new B2, with a starting batch of 50 watches in each. The case, with its 38.5mm diameter and smooth-blasted Grade 5 titanium build, is impressive for a debut watch. The crown has slightly “twisted” knurling and is functionally big, which is always a plus in my book. The case also has a 45.2mm lug-to-lug, perfect for many wrists. But not all brands remember the all-important curvature and angle. Short, stubby lugs that stick straight out are as comfortable as beach shorts in an Arctic snowstorm, but the J&Berg team knows this.

Crucially, the B2’s lugs curve dramatically down, ending up a millimeter or two below the all-titanium case back. Under that, you’ll find the microbrand-favorite automatic Miyota 9039. The winding rotor adds some thickness, so making the caliber fit within a 10.4mm-slim case is good design work. And while the B2’s aesthetics might say “tool,” it is also of a remarkably versatile size. With massive lumed hands, the visibility is ace, and the watch goes well with (and under) any shirt or knit. Well done, J&Berg.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

Small-batch success

Being bold means dividing opinions; we all know that. And that makes it even better when start-up brands like this Finnish debut go a different way. I’m sure that enthusiasts will snatch up 50 of each B2 colorway because the design elements gel. J&Berg has cleverly, for ease of production, made the recognizing features of each model a colored dial center. I’d also like to give the brand kudos for a non-standard use of colors to my contrarian liking. Yes, gray, sand, and all-black dials would be more versatile, but thank you, J&Berg, for sticking to your quirky guns.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

With a circular-brushed deep turquoise, salmon-esque copper tone, and deep brown, there are three distinct personalities here. I love the pop of the copper and deep, greenish blue, while the understated mocha brown appears tonal black at dusk. But it will surprise you with a metallic shimmer pop in the sun. This Easter egg feature makes it my favorite, though the turquoise dial is lush as well.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

J&Berg B2 — pricing, availability, and final thoughts

Coming in under €500, the J&Berg B2’s non-homage goodness is easily matched by its small-batch desirability. Judging by a few other new brands, its modernity also puts it ahead. Sure, you’ll find great modern titanium sports designs from Boldr and RZE at the price point but not with this modern vibe of minimalism, which still exemplifies a tool/field watch. With a distinct touch of pilot’s watch legibility, see? Genre-busting makes it work.

Hands-on With The J&Berg B2

With this strong start, I’m already very interested to see what’s next for this brand. To me, the J&Berg B2 as it’s one of the better debuts this year. The presale is now open on the J&Berg home page, and deliveries are expected to start in June, just around the corner. As mentioned, this first batch will be 50 pieces per color, and the price is €475, excluding shipping and VAT.

What about you, Fratelli? Do your watches need to adhere to the dive, field, or pilot parameters? Or do you enjoy the freedom of crossing a few genre boundaries to achieve a sharp result? Let me know in the comments.

Watch specifications

Two-layer sandwich construction with turqouise, copper, or dark brown center and Super-Luminova BGW9 indices
Case Material
Grade 5 titanium
Case Dimensions
38.5mm (diameter) × 45.2mm (lug-to-lug) × 10.4mm (thickness)
Flat sapphire with inner AR coating
Case Back
Grade 5 titanium, screw-in
Miyota 9039: automatic with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100 meters)
Gray canvas (20mm width) with leather lining and Grade 2 titanium hardware
Time only (hours, minutes, seconds)
€475 (excluding shipping and VAT)