Nethuns Lava Bronze
I believe it was a comment on Youtube, where I posted the unboxing video of this Nethuns Lava Bronze, (If you have not checked them out yet, go to our Youtube channel for unboxing of all new watches that come in for review), where someone said that the bronze “fad” is over. Now I have always been upfront when reviewing a bronze watch that it is not my first pick at all. I do realize though that bronze is not a fad, and if it is, it is one that is lasting a long time. Tudor just released a bronze watch and many other mainstream brands have been as well, along with many microbrands of course. Bronze is interesting, especially when being used to make watches. It is a somewhat softer metal than steel, it will patina, or age, and get a protective coating on it, how much of a patina depends on the type of bronze used and how the wearer takes care of it. The Nethuns Lava Bronze is a big ol’ chunk of bronze that comes in right around the $600 mark and while I would have liked a higher beat movement, the design and overall case finishing are on point.
Nethuns Lava Bronze LB112 Specifications:
- 45mm Bronze Case
- 50mm Lug to Lug
- 16mm Thick
- 24mm Lug Width
- Sapphire Crystal
- Lumed Ceramic Bezel
- Seiko NH35 Automatic Movement
- 300 Meters Water Resistant
- Leather and Canvas Strap
Price $570 USD
Speaking of types of bronze, I am not sure what type of bronze this Nethuns Lava Bronze is. I know, I should know that, but I assumed it would be on the Nethuns website, and it is not. I will update this review as soon as I know what type of bronze it is. *It has been confirmed that the Lava is CuSn8.*
When you take a look at the case, if you are familiar with the microbrand watch world, you may think it looks similar to another brand. I was told by a fellow watch nut that it looked like a Vintage VDB 14. I am familiar with VDB watches but every model is not on my immediate radar so I didn’t recognize the similarity to that model. If you go ahead and take a look, you will see the case and bezel are basically the same, though the crown placement is different, as well as the dial and bezel insert, and also the size; The VDB is an even larger watch.
Okay, so we have determined that the Nethuns is not exactly an original design. You can make you own mind up on how you feel about that, but I thought I should mention it. So how is the Nethuns though? It really is a fantastic watch in terms of build quality and machining. Take a look at all the pics and the video and you can see this watch was not slapped together. While I do not wear large watches or even bronze watches on the regular, I have to say this big watch is comfortable and molds right to the wrist. The strap is a little stiff at first, but it should break in and it is quite an interesting choice to go with a camo leather and canvas strap. Obviously not everyone is going to like that, but with 24mm lugs, it is easy to replace with one of your own.
When it comes to dial color on the Nethuns Bronze Lava, some of the pictures look like the color is more of a blue green, but that is the way the light was hitting it through the domed sapphire crystal. It is more of a light hunter green but as usual with any watch, when you are photographing it at different angles and such, it will appear to be a different shade. The ceramic bezel matches the sandwich dial and this version I chose for review is very clean, no date, no unnecessary or large text, and the time is easy to read at a glance. Just how I like it. The bezel is easy to turn, which surprised me as it does not have any edging or knurling to grab on to, but it turns out that is not a problem at all due to the shape and design. The crown on the other hand could use a more aggressive texture, as I do find it hard to grasp.
The Nethuns Bronze has a beautiful backside, and not really because of the engraving on the case back itself, but the way the case back is finished and how the back of the lugs are brushed in a such a fine pattern. Being honest, it is rare to see this type of machining and finishing on a watch of this price point. Which does bring me to my one disappointment – the movement. There is nothing wrong with the NH35, I have said that many times before. I do wish a watch of this caliber had a better movement though, even if it drove the price up another $50, I think it would have been worth it and people would have gladly paid it.
With a big watch such as this, comes a big buckle. It’s inevitable. Nethuns did not put a standard PRE-V type buckle on here though, they have a custom massive buckle that despite its size, is made to sit against the strap and your wrist and not jet out like so many large buckles do. This is a massive buckle though, about 35mm. If you are not sure off hand how big that is, I took some photos of the buckle with a quarter next to it, to give you a reference. 35mm is only 10mm shorter of the width of the watch case itself.
Nethuns Lava Bronze Lume
As you can see in the photo above, the lume is applied nice and even and is done all around the ceramic bezel insert as well. Nethuns has the lume covered. So the one and only real issue I have with this watch is the movement. I just wish for this price point, it was upgraded from what I consider a pretty mundane movement. The Nethuns Lava Bronze has a lot going for it for sure and the design and build quality might be enough for you to overlook the movement, or the movement is just not something that affects your buying decision, and that is fine. Nethuns seems to like big watches, as do brands like Ancon, which are somewhat similar. I would love to see some 42-44mm models in steel or titanium in the future, but in the meantime, if you like bronze, you might want to give them a look.