When it comes to unique looking watches, we’ve had our fair share. We’ve had the Zinvo Blade Phantom, Aegaon Watches and Lobor Watches. But today we have a watch brand which triumphs over all the unique looking watches we’ve ever reviewed. This brand is Svalbard and they are a company based in the UK.
So who is Svalbard?
We are pretty sure you are having some problems pronouncing ‘Svalbard’, don’t worry we are having this problem too. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The reason for calling the brand name Svalbard is because; these watches have been inspired by beautiful, extreme and challenging landscapes of Svalbard and are valued more for their elaborate artistry, aesthetic appeal and fashionable design than for simple timekeeping.
Going back to the question, Svalbard is part of a company started in 2012, Lanswood Commerce, in Greenwich, UK. They produce small batches of custom watches and in 2013 they started another brand called No-Watches. With No-Watches, they have two categories of watches, a low-cost and medium-priced electronic-based watches with quartz movements and a more expensive collectible watches that have purely mechanical based movements and are powered by springs.
But they were not done yet, 5 years later, 2017, they founded Svalbard. These watches were created to reflect Svalbard landscape. Svalbard do not follow the norm. They are purely unusual and non-standard with 24-hour dial (military time), single-handed (12-hour and 24-hour) and backward (reverse movement) watches that are not actually everyday use watches.
The Designer of Svalbard
The watch collection designer is Gustaf Bergström. Since a young age Gustaf Bergström had an eye for intricate architecture and small nuances in nature. However he only realised his talent after college when he won an honorary award in graphic design from a prestigious contest based out of Sweden.
After traveling the world showcasing his talent is various countries through his stunning visual art, which encapsulated his love for all things beautiful, he developed an interest in the design of watches. He started his watch journey through a couple of watch sketches and he has not looked back since.
Since then, Gustaf has designed dozens of unique and gorgeous watches that are seen on the wrists of many professionals, creative’s, and adventures around the world.
Review of the Svalbard Isfjell BA21B
We know you have trouble with ‘Svalbard’ and we also know you are finding it hard to pronounce ‘Isfjell’. The name actually means “Iceberg” in Norsk language.
Before we get into our detailed review, here are the specification of the watch.
Individually numbered Limited Edition of 500 pieces
- Glossy polished Hard Steel case
- Screw down back cover with engraved serial number
- Case diameter 40 mm / 1,57 in (excluding crown)
- Case length 48 mm / 1,89 in
- Case height 9.5 mm / 0,37 in
- Push-pull crown. Crown size 5.5 x 3,5 mm / 0,22 x 0,14 in
- Light silver dial
- Metallic blue hands/Red seconds hand
- Flat hard mineral crystal
- Swiss quartz movement Ronda 515.24H
- Battery SR920SW (Renata 371)
- Water resistant 3 ATM
- Black leather 20mm band with SS buckle
- Compatible with Svalbard NATO straps
- Maximal wrist size 220mm
- Weight 55 gr / 1.94 oz
The watch came in a usual rectangular watch box with Svalbard logo printed. Inside was also a nice blue nato strap and the watch was tucked inside a brown soft touch pouch.
When we first took out the watch, we were quite confused. The numbers on the dial were all over the place and it did take some time to get used to this new look. Our overall first impression of the was pretty good. The white dial, black strap and the glossy silver casing goes well together. It is not a watch which is going to shout and scream in terms of design, that being said, people will definitely not miss the watch.
So lets find more about this dial. It is a 24 hour dial. You have an outer ring with line which is for the minutes indicator and they go in 5 minutes increment. Then you have an inner ring for the hour, in large numbers and a ring in the middle for the odd hours.
This is the first time we’ve had a 24 hour watch and it did take us a while to figure to time the watch. We did struggle a bit at first as we kept thinking the position of the 24 hour were your normal 12 hour. For example, the position of the 8 hour is your 10 o’clock on your normal watch. However after a while, we got used to the dial and it was pretty fun to show people the dial and ask them what time it was.
We definitely love the logo centered below the 12 o’clock hand, reflecting the brand and the metallic blue hands and red seconds hand are neat and make sure the dial stands out. To finish off you have a nice flat hard mineral crystal glass to give you a clear look and is also not too reflective.
Inside you have a Swiss quartz movement Ronda 515.24H and a Renata 371 battery which will give you at least 3-4 years of life. It is really great to see that watch makers are still producing quartz watches and this movement definitely suits this watch. As you would expect the movement is flawless and no problem to mention here.
On the wrist
The watch sits pretty well and the size of the casing, 40mm in diameter, and 9.5mm in height is perfect for us. We’ve had many 40mm watches and like the others, the casing size is not an issue. We’d actually like to see a bigger size casing for this watch, maybe a 43mm. In terms of comfort, the leather strap was just a little hard but it should be fine after a couple of use. However an extra hole is needed to suit the smaller wrist. At 55g, the watch is very light on the wrist. We do like our watches heavy and this was a little downfall for us. Otherwise, if you like a light watch, this will suit you well.
We’ve got a couple but not too major. Lume numerals and hands would be great for this watch, quick release pins will just make changing the strap very easy and also couple of extra holes on the strap would help fit smaller wrists.
This watch was not built for its practicality, it was built for people to appreciate its design and unique dial. It will take some time to get use to the dial but you should be fine. The watch is well made and the quality does show on the watch.
So how much does it cost? The watch retails for $199/ £140/ €162. It is a reasonable price and it is also a limited edition watch with only 500 pieces ever made.
So this was our review of Svalbard Isjell BA21B. If you would like to find out more about the watch and Svalbard Watches, do visit, http://svalbard.watch/
Before we leave, we would love to know what you think about the 24 hour watch? Let us know in the comment below.
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