Borealis Bull Shark
So, we have another homage here. This time it is a touch different. The Borealis Bull Shark homages a watch that is not currently produced. That would be the Original Rolex Sub from 1953. (I incorrectly misspoke in the video and said Tudor). Microbrands have their place in the watch world, and it is great when one of these brands produce something original and for a more affordable price than the big boys. That is not the case here. I doubt Rolex will ever produce something similar to their original sub, Tudor might do something close though. That is why I incorrectly stated in my video review Tudor, because if you look at the 1954 Tudor Sub, you will see why. Anyways, that is when a brand such as Borealis (and a few others) step in and produce something similar. So, yes, it is an homage watch, but man it is a well made and beautiful one.
Borealis Bull Shark Specifications:
- Case Size: 42mm x 50mm
- Screwed down crown
- Double Domed Sapphire Crystal with A/R coating inside
- Helium valve a 9 o’clock
- 120 clicks unidirectional glossy ceramic bezel with BGW9 lume applied to indexes
- Miyota 9015 Automatic Movement
- 316L Stainless Steel Case
- Lug Width: 22.00 mm
- Water Resistance: 2000 meters
- Viton gaskets on case back and tefzel gasket for glass
- Case height: 14.05 mm
- 316L Stainless steel bracelet with precision adjustable buckle
- Swiss Made BGW9 Superluminova applied to dial, watch hands and ceramic bezel
- Gilt hands (hours, minute, seconds)
- Screwed Case Back with engraved mermaid
Price: $475 USD
The original Rolex model that the Borealis Bull Shark homages was 37mm. Of course this being 2017, Borealis chose to go with 42mm. I have seen many post that they would have preferred 40mm. For me, 42mm is my normal daily wearer. That is my sweet spot these days. I will go up to 46mm and down to 41, anything under that and it is just too small. There are many things to love with this model, and the case finishing is one of them. Fine satin brushed with a polished chamfer on the sides of the case allow for an elegant look over an all brushed tool diver. It is amazing what a little highlight like that does, subtle but it works. The screw down crown is solid and has very tight tolerances, yet it operates seamlessly. Borealis has really upped their game.
The star for me though is the dial. A beautiful black dial (green and blue models also available, with or without date) with gilt hands. Gilt means the hands have a thin coating of gold applied to them through the process known as gilding. I am not a gold wearer, but gold accents to a dial, especially to a black dial really make the watch stand out. Would it look okay with silver colored hands and markers? Sure. It wouldn’t have this classic look about it though. It really adds that luxury element to it, even though the Borealis Bull Shark is an affordable diver. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the black dial is sold out in both date and no date options. I have not been told whether or not more will be produced, so if the black dial is what you want, you will have to search on the secondary market.
I love the high gloss ceramic bezel insert, especially the with red enamel in the triangle pip, for some reason just makes the bezel, and whole watch pop just a little bit more. The bezel itself is easy to grasp and turn, and if you find yourself at the bottom of the ocean anytime soon in a dive chamber, well you have the microbrand dive watch regular, the helium escape valve.
I know I have been all sunshine and rainbows so far, but there are a few things I think could have improved the look of the Borealis Bull Shark, and here they are. One, the raised sapphire crystal. Anyone who reads my reviews knows I am not a big proponent of these. I just prefer a very slight dome, or a flat sapphire. On the subject of the crystal, a clear AR coating would have been much better here, as the blue/purple hue combined with the massive crystal really detract from the black dial. Whether in pictures or in person, the dial in most lighting does not come off as black because of this. The other issue I have is the use of the ratcheting clasp. Now, I love this clasp and appreciate it on most watches because of its ease to adjust on the fly. In this instance though, I feel it overpowers the bracelet and the watch and takes away some of that vintage appeal. A standard flip lock dive clasp would have kept that vintage feeling intact.
I normally take watches off bracelets these days, as I prefer straps. I did not with the Borealis Bull Shark because I felt this is more a bracelet watch and changing it would ruin the look. One sided screws are used to hold the links together, as such, sizing is a breeze. Anyone can size this bracelet in a matter of minutes, no need to go to a jeweler. I size almost all my own bracelets as I have all the tools, but some folks do not. Any jewelers or eyeglass screwdriver will do the trick here. I removed 4 links to get a perfect fit for my wrist. Size wise, it is perfect for me, and is very comfortable.
7 1/2 inch wrist
One thing I would like Borealis to change is the case back. Not for any real reason besides the fact I would like to see something else. The Borealis Bull Shark uses the same mermaid as their very first release. Now, an argument can be made that it has become synonymous with Borealis and is their signature, and I get that. I guess I just would like to see something different; a bull shark engraving or stamping would have been cool.
Overall the Borealis Bull Shark is fantastic watch. I love it. It is easily the best watch they have produced to date, and I hear the upcoming Cascais might be even better. I guarantee most would not think this is a $475 watch when seeing it on the wrist. I do my best to take realistic photos and video, but trust me, in person this watch looks even better. It really is one that pictures do not do it justice. It is a solid watch with a solid movement and I can see why so many grabbed one of these in the preorder.
Borealis Bull Shark: Beautiful and well made.