Bernhardt Binnacle Timer Hands-On Review

Bernhardt Watches Hands on Watch Reviews

Bernhardt Binnacle Timer

Bernhardt Binnacle Timer

As I was preparing this Bernhardt Binnacle Timer review, it occurred to me that next year, Bernhardt, based in North Carolina will be twenty years old. Yes, Bernhardt is one of the OG microbrands and next year they will have been producing watches for two decades. Now keep in mind part of why it just dawned on me as I can’t believe it’s going to be 2025 next year, because in my head it is still like 2002, and the ’90s isn’t 30 years ago!
Back to the present though, and late last year Bernhardt released their latest model, using their popular retro case, the Binnalce Timer. This new model takes that ’60s case design and in it we get a new dial and hands as well as a new inner bezel, this time more dive-orientated with a countdown and elapsed timing bezel, which is operated by the screw-down 2 o’clock crown. The Binnacle Timer also has a slightly domed sapphire crystal, comes in two dial colors (porthole gray and burgee green ), and uses the reliable Miyota 9015, all for $499.

Bernhardt Binnacle Timer

Specifications:

  • 41mm Satin Brushed Stainless Steel Case
  • 13mm Thick
  • 22m Lug Width
  • 47mm Lug to Lug
  • 164 Grams in Weight
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Miyota 9015 Movement
  • 200m Water Resistant
  • Screw Down Main and Inner Bezel Crowns
  • C1 SuperLumiNova
  • Mesh Bracelet
  • Manufactured in Asia, assembled in North Carolina

Price USD $499

BERNHARDT WEBSITE

Bernhardt Binnacle Timer

For those who are loyal followers of the Bernhardt brand, you probably know that Fred Amos, founder of the company, passed away in 2022. His wife, son, and a few others are still running the company though, and this Bernhardt Binnacle Timer is the first new release since his passing.  You probably also know that this case design is not exactly new, as it dates back to 2013 with the Binnalce Retro, and a few years later the Retro World. There may have been another variation I missed, but this case design has been used for a few models now. Retro watches are still just as, if not more popular than when this case design was first released, and now taking that ’60s cushion case design and using it for a dive watch, was a good decision.

Bernhardt Binnacle Timer

At 41mm and 13mm thick, this entirely satin-brushed steel case isn’t exactly svelte, and due to the case not tapering in thickness to a bezel, it makes it look even chunkier, so it’s somewhat a chunky piece without exactly being chunky. To my eyes, it looks bigger than it is when not being worn, especially from the profile view, yet on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, it feels substantial yet it doesn’t feel like I have a 16 or 18mm monster on my wrist either. As a matter of fact, due to the short lug to lug, the flat case back, and just the overall profile, this is a very comfortable watch on the wrist, and I didn’t find the two crowns digging into the back of my hand. Yes, it may not slip under some shirt cuffs, but this is not a dress or office watch per se, more of that purpose-built style of watch or more of a casual weekend piece.

The dial here is pretty straightforward, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. No gimmicks, no unnecessary text or symbols, and the gray asphalt textured dial with the black and inner bezel and the touches of orange on the bezel and the orange second hand are just enough contrast to keep this watch from looking too plain, and the contrast of white. black and orange allow this Bernhardt Binnacle Timer dial to be very easy to read at a glance.
The inner bezel is operated by the 2 o’clock crown and as I mentioned earlier, you can use it for elapsed and countdown timing, as there are two sets of numbers. The bezel is bi-directional and in my example, it works smoothly and the crown locks it back down into place with authority.

Speaking of those crowns, both crowns are large but the main (time and date) crown is massive at just over 8mm, and not only is it a cool aesthetic, but this means you will be able to use this crown no matter how big your hands are. And this crown as large as it is, doesn’t look out of place on this watch due to how the case is all one piece and kinda blocky, it all just seems to work together. The bezel crown is a little smaller, but still large but can be a little harder to grab with the cutout into the case, but still doable, at least for my fingers.

On the back, you will find a laser engraved hourglass and all your pertinent info, but otherwise, this is a pretty simple case back, again, all brushed steel, and it’s pretty flat, though you’ll notice how it isn’t just flat, but how this area is almost sunken into that large, case, which is why this watch fits so well on the wrist, as it’s not being raised off your wrist at all.
The movement behind it is the Miyota 9015, a very popular and reliable movement and while countless brands use this movement in their watches these days, one thing that has become a rarity is seeing it in watches at $500. I  have had a lot of watches this past year or two come my way in this price category and they had a Seiko NH35 movement. Nothing wrong with that movement, but it is a cheaper and well, a lesser movement, so it is nice to see the 9015 being used in the Bernhardt Binnacle Timer.

The Bernhardt Binnacle Timer still comes with the mesh link bracelet that its predecessors had, and this is one area that I wish they decided to upgrade as well. The mesh bracelet is admittedly never been my favorite so I absolutely have a bias, but I just think this watch could use a different style of bracelet, or maybe even a good rubber strap.

The bracelet is a nice tight weave and the links are easy to remove, overall it feels good quality. With the design of this case, and 22mm lugs, switching out to a third-party strap or bracelet should be a breeze and this is the type of watch that would look good on almost any strap. I didn’t have a 22mm rubber handy, but I did have this brown minimal stitch strap, so I threw it on to show you an alternative to the mesh. Again, this is one of the straps I had lying around and not a Bernhardt strap.

As usual, here we have the lume and it is listed as C1 SuperlumiNova, even with the small indices, this watch does a good job of lighting up in the dark, and it looks to be a good even coating on the indices and hands. The stick second hand is fully coated in orange lume. I originally thought the second hand had no lume and though it doesn’t light up like the hour and minute hands do, it is in fact lumed. In my testing, it’s not going to last all night, you’re probably looking around 3 hours before it completely fades out.

I am glad to see that this long-standing microbrand is still in business and the Bernhardt Binnacle Timer is a fun watch, with a great retro case, a clean, easy-to-read dial, and the practicality of a dual-use bezel. I like the grey and the green dial, which kind of has an emerald green look about it looks nice, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a few other colors, maybe a blue, orange, or white, which would be striking.
The price is great for all that you are getting, even if this case design has been used a few times but at $500, you don’t see a lot of Miyota 9015-powered watches, even fewer that are assembled in the USA. I can’t wait to see what Bernhardt has in store for 2024, and hopefully, I will be covering their next model here on the site. Head over to the Bernhardt website to see all the other models they have available and learn more about their history.
Bernhardt Binnacle Timer
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.

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