Komrade Watches Urban
- 40mm sand blasted stainless steel case
- 46.5mm lug to lug
- 13.5mm thickness
- 20mm lug width
- Miyota 9015 automatic movement
- Sapphire Crystal
- 120 click unidirectional rotating bezel
- 300 meters water resistant
- Included with watch:
- 2 straps: 1 canvas and 1 leather
- Leather Watch Pouch
- Coffee Thermos
These days it seems there are many brands emerging from “down under”, (Is it still called that?). Komrade Watches is the latest brand to rise to the challenge of producing watches for the always critical watch enthusiast. No, it is not a Russian brand like some may be thinking, but rather the owner is former British Military and it was a way of referring to his fellow soldiers.
As Military was his background, he chose to design a watch that is easy to read, glows in the dark and has both civilian and Military time readouts. The size, which can be considered small by some at 40mm was used because he felt a watch did not have to be massive to be useful or of good quality. Of course Rolex has known that for years. Now, I’m in no way comparing Komrade Watches to Rolex, so let’s not get silly in the comments. I’m just pointing out that there are brands who barely budge from that classic size, and Komrade Watches first model follows suit.
Am I going to tell you how well this watch will work on deployment? Well, no. I’m not in the Military as we all know. I’m a regular guy who has an (unhealthy?) obsession with watches and most things related to horology. So, with all that said, how does the Komrade “Urban Diver” compare to the many offerings in the ever growing microbrand world? Keep reading to find out.
While normally I do not discuss boxes or packaging, I thought it appropriate here today, seeing as some of the things that come with this watch are normal, and some are not. Swag I think is the best way to describe the branded coffee thermos that accompanies the Urban Diver, and while it might be a bit kitschy, we can all use an extra thermos right? Also included is a branded leather watch roll, which is where you will find the extra leather strap. It is a nice enough travel watch roll, that I think you could possibly fit 3 watches in, or 1 watch, 2 straps or any combination you wish.
The Urban model is a 1 of 3 variations offered by Komrade Watches, all sharing the same case and specifications. The other two models, dubbed the Military Diver’s Watch and Military Field Watch will run you $50 more and have DLC coating applied to the bezel, or in the case of the Field version, all DLC coated. The Urban model is intended to be more understated, more fashion oriented if you will. A watch that does not scream tactical, but yet is more than ready for those type of tasks. What kind of tasks? I don’t know. Maybe diving, as it is a dive watch, or out on safari. Can’t you just picture this with the canvas strap on the wrist of one of those safari guys in his tan little shorts? Wait, where was I ? Oh, yes, the Urban diver is a little more subdued than its brethren, and could be dressed up or down a little easier.
An all bead blasted finish with polished accents on the sides of the case and screw down crown give it just the right amount of flair. It has been awhile since I operated the crown of a 40mm watch such as this, but even with the crown guards I had no issues with my medium sized hands. The crown itself is very solid and gives you confidence it should not have issues for a long time.
The dial of the Komrade Urban is the least colorful of the 3 variations, though that does not mean it is bland. The hands themselves are brass, and contrast nicely against the black dial. Blue lettering is used for the water resistance rating, while green was used for the 5 minute markers around the chapter ring, and white for the 24 hour time. When reading that it sounds like there are a lot of different colors going on, but when you look at the photos, I think you will agree it was done tastefully. Speaking of tastefully done, one of my pet peeves is the use of a magnifying cyclops for the date window. I am not sure why it bothers me so much, but I just rather not have a big bubble on the crystal (Sapphire in this case). It detracts from the watch for me. Fortunately, Komrade chose to use a cyclops that is under the crystal instead of on top, and it does function well. Would I still rather it not be there at all? Yes. But I can at least deal with it better in this configuration.
What is that bird on the case back you ask? Well, that is the Kiwi, a flightless bird which is native to New Zealand and is a national symbol for them. Some of you reading might have already known this, but I did not, so I got some education during the review process. While the case back is nicely engraved, I am not sure the bird itself was the way to go for a military/dive watch. But hey, I have seen some weird things put on case backs over the years, so I guess I can say at least it’s not another sword or knife or dive helmet.
The tan canvas that I show the watch on is well made with a soft leather backing and I feel it suits the watch well. I never did mount the leather strap though. While it is a nice mustard color and has an alligator pattern to it, I don’t feel it suits the watch. And it is not of the highest quality. It feels a little cheap to me. One nice aspect though is it does include a dual deployant clasp, so if you choose to wear it on your Urban Diver, it should keep its shape longer than a traditional buckle.
This is the part of the review where I point out the negatives, and there are two and they both concern the bezel. It looks decent enough at a glance but it turns way too easily, in fact it can be done with only one finger. The other is the Lume paint applied to it. As you can see in this photo, it is a little sloppy or outside the lines and does not fill the markers all of the way.
When it comes to the luminescence of the dial markers and hands, I have no complaints. It is bright and glows for a decent amount of time (about 4 hours) until it completely fades.
For $449 it is a nice package overall, and is right in line with the competition as far as Miyota 9015 based dive watches. The size will be appealing to many, as there is a large segment of the watch buying population that prefer a smaller or classic sized watch. It has many of the aspects we look for such as automatic movement, sapphire crystal, good illumination and comfort on the wrist. The issues I mentioned I believe can be easily rectified by Komrade Watches, and with this being their first watch on the market, I think some missteps are to be expected. And as I have always said, the issues I experienced might not be the same as you do, and this one might have just slipped passed QC.
7 1/2 inch for reference
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Nice review. I think $450 is not worth the quality.
Don’t forget the hefty 3.7 mm crystal. I was on the fence but went ahead and pulled the trigger on this one. It wears great on a silicon band with a strapcode seat belt buckle. My bezel is tight and the luminous compound is very well applied. If I’m not going to a dress function, this is my go to watch.