BOLDR Odyssey Bronze
The BOLDR Odyssey Bronze is the latest release from the Singapore-based company. When BOLDR Watches first debuted about a year or so ago, I did not care for the name. I am sure most of you reading this have felt that way about many watch companies over the years. We all have our little reasons that keep us away from purchasing a watch at times, and for whatever reason, I just did not care about the name. It reminded me of a water faucet commercial. Then I started looking at the watches on Instagram. I saw the Odyssey and just really liked the case shape and design. Then I started seeing some other models they released and thought, okay, this brand does have something going on, as I liked every model they put out. It was a few weeks ago that I finally got one in hand. This version, the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze is the latest version of this very popular model and now comes in bronze, and has a few different dial options. The one you see here today is the black meteorite version. This one is currently up for pre-order on the BOLDR website for $639. If that sounds a little pricey, it is, but keep reading to see if this one is for you or not.
BOLDR Odyssey Bronze Specifications:
- Case: 45.5mm CuSn8 Bronze Case with brushed finish
- Bezel: 120-click unidirectional dive bezel Bronze, with elapsed time function
- Movement: Seiko NH35A automatic movement, self-winding and hacking mechanism, 42-hour power reserve
- Water Resistance: 500m (1650ft) / 50ATM
- Winding Crown: Triple-lock screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
- Dial & Hands: Meteorite dial
- Lens: Double dome sapphire crystal with AR-coating
- Strap: Premium Horween leather strap AND natural rubber dive strap
- Thickness: 14.2mm
Price: $639-Preorder Price*
First things first. I find the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze to be aesthetically pleasing, whether it be this bronze version or any of the steel or PVD versions. Despite the 45mm size, I find it to be comfortable on my 7 1/2 inch wrist and overall a watch I do like. That said, there are a few design choices I would have rather they stayed away from. The case itself, as far as I can tell, is original, and one they came up with, or one I have not seen used before. It reminds me of a Lum-tec 500m, which is long out of production, but only at a glance, in terms of the fat lugs and angled case. It is unique without being over the top.
What makes me shake my head, is that with such a unique case design, BOLDR chose to use elements that clearly homage other brands, such as the bezel, which is very similar to a Panerai Submersible, and the use of the Rolex type text on the rehaut. These two things could have easily been left off and they could have made the whole watch stand out as their own. With the current design choice, at a quick glance, it looks like a watch made from an homage parts bin. Notice I said, from a quick glance. When you look closer, you can see this is not the case, but if you are someone scrolling through Instagram, and you see a picture of this, and you know watches, it is easy to see why some may immediately dismiss the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze.
The rest of the dial is pretty clean, and obviously, on this particular version, there is the black meteorite, which I have to say is quite attractive. This is easily the nicest looking meteorite I have seen from a microbrand to date. Unfortunately, no two dials will be alike, so if you were to buy one, it could look very different from this. The one I have in hand is a sample prototype and has been passed around from a few different reviewers before it made its way to me. Because of that, a patina has set it in and the watch has many visible scratches and marks. I trust that a brand new model will look a little more gold in color and of course be free of marks or defects.
To be honest, with so many watches I look at, review, see in hand or see in photos, sometimes it is hard to remember if I have seen a certain aspect before or not. To the best of my knowledge, the screw-down crown is unique to this model, or at least rare. If I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me. What I enjoy about this crown is the grip. While a design like this would not work on every watch, I wish more companies paid attention to the crown. It is one of the most important aspects of a watch, as it is what is used to set the time, date or complication and if not easy enough to grasp and operate, it can be the cause of damaging the watch.
The elephant in the room is the movement that is used in the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze. I will not shy away from it either. I have been very vocal in many reviews that I feel the Seiko NH35 movement is fine up to $500 watches; beyond that, I want to see a better movement choice. I understand that this model has a meteorite dial and that raises the price, but this watch after the preorder phase is to be over $700. Two other variations of this watch have been offered in steel with the STP1-11 movement, for less than this bronze preorder. The standard bronze versions are over $500 for the preorder price as well.
The lume compound used on the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze is SuperLuminova and is done in the old radium or vintage color. I think it works with the bronze, it gives the watch a warmness, as opposed to a white or green hue that you normally would see. Since this is a sample, I can not say if the lume will be brighter on production models or not, and this is all I have to go on. I would give the lume a B-. It took a bit for me to get it to glow evenly, hitting it with my flashlight and studio lamps, and still the lume pip is not bright at all.
As you can see, I am conflicted. On the whole, I very much like the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze. The case is distinct, it wears comfortable on my wrist, I love the meteorite dial in this example and the build quality is very good. The leather strap, which I really did not mention, is also a beautiful distressed tan and very supple. The Odyssey even has my favorite date placement. So, there are a lot of things to put into the good column. The issue is, for me, there are quite a few for the bad column as well. I think it aggravates me more than anything at the choice of the bezel and rehaut, and even more so, at this price point, I want to see a different movement. Had this watch had the Miyota 9015, I would not have said one peep about it. I have said this many times before, and I will state again. I am one man, and it is one man’s opinion. For you, what I state as issues, could be nothing to you. You may love the bezel, or rehaut, or the movement just does not matter to you. If that is so, the Odyssey is a solid, good-looking watch.