A lot of us dream of owning our own brand. Having complete creative control of not just the watch design itself, but also the whole concept surrounding its creation sounds like a heady lure. But with that kind of power comes the responsibility to get it right. More importantly, perhaps, for the kind of ego that is required to believe breaking into the current watch market is in any way possible, you also have the responsibility of “wearing it” when things go wrong. Thanks to the founder’s previous foray into watchmaking, Reise watches takes the right kind of risks and comes off looking very clever indeed.

The fear of being wrong leads many microbrand owners down the same path. When faced with years of easily-found feedback, it is understandable (if somewhat disappointing) when new brands plump for the “safe” option. Derivative timepieces are everywhere. Perhaps the most annoying thing about that for those of us that crave, if not disruptive novelty, something with clear originality, is that derivative timepieces continue to sell.

Travis Tan, previously involved with popular microbrand Boldr has taken a step away from his old company to set-up Reise watches. Boldr watches are known for their interesting case designs. Tan brings that angle with him but pushes the aesthetic in a new direction. The result? The Reise Resolute.


Love at first sight

I loved the Reise watch head at first sight. It is an ambitiously angular affair, crafted from titanium. The case measures a balanced 40.5mm, which, given the visual presence of the lugs and case flanks strikes me as a good choice. A couple of years ago, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see this model being released at 42mm. That would have been too much, in my opinion. As it is, the case (which measures 11.5mm thick) comes off as extremely contemporary.

…an ULTRAHex Coating…

Most importantly, however, is the fact it has an ULTRAHex Coating (which adds up to ~1200Hv hardness). With a striking design, compact 46mm lug-to-lug length, 100m of water resistance, and an incredible weight/durability ratio, the Reise Resolute series promises to be a great daily option.


A project born on Kickstarter

And that proposition becomes even more attractive when you consider the price. For me, Tan made the right decision to power his latest design with the SII NH35A automatic movement. It is a cost-effective, reliable tractor movement that suits the rough and ready exterior of the Reise Resolute. I also really like the fact that the brand resisted the temptation to open the case back, which would have been unnecessary for this kind of timepiece.


Perhaps most impressively, the case back is blank. While I normally enjoy the creative use of this real estate, I have criticized Boldr watches in the past for clunky, pointless designs used in this space. This option — to have pretty much nothing instead — is, I believe, a conscious decision, and one I quite enjoy. It will be interesting to see how the brand decorates this space in follow-up models. I suppose it is possible it could go either way — there is scope to further brand a model or limited range appropriately, but just as a big an opportunity for the brand to dig its heels in and leave it blank. This is a tool watch, no? Who needs a fancy case back, right?


A tool through and through

And given this tool-like vibe, it is essential for the watch to function as it should in all environments. The screw-down crown with a nicely engraved logo secures the watch from dust or water ingress. But the dial s where things really come to life. Four colors — black, gray, drab green, and teal — present a pleasingly muted and versatile palette from which to choose.


Applied indices and set against a “sand” textured dial work wonders in daylight. But, man, that lume is nice. Using two colors of lume is an underrated and annoyingly seldom practice. Here it works well, with those applied indices glowing three-quarters green, one-quarter blue. The sapphire crystal’s interior anti-reflective coating does its job when it comes to minimizing “glow bleed”, ensuring the nighttime light show is a thing of beauty.


Final thoughts

Up to eight times harder than stainless steel? Viton gaskets? Super-LumiNova? 40.5mm across, 11.5mm thick, 46mm lug-to-lug delivered on leather-lined, hard-wearing canvas straps? Available on Kickstarter (until Friday, September 4, 2020, 4:57 AM CEST) from 399 Singaporean Dollars (that’s about €247 at the time of writing)? Color me interested. I’m a sucker for a strong case shape around which I believe a brand can build a collection. As such, I think there is quite a bit to come from Reise. And with such a reasonable buy-in price, I’m happy to go along for the “journey”. Stretch goals include an entirely luminous “arctic white” dial, and the option of a bracelet. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.