These days, people are looking for value more than ever, and the Vancouver Watch Blood and Thunder has that in spades. Between ongoing inflation and of course the pandemic, we are seeing prices rising for all products, including microbrand watches. The Blood and Thunder is almost a nod to the past, where we could get a quality watch with a quality movement for under $400, one of the things that made microbrands so attractive in the first place; an alternative to the mainstream watches, even if you were looking at grey market prices. This model sells for $329, and at that price, you are probably expecting something of substandard quality, but you would be wrong. Comparing this piece to many others out there in the microbrand watch world, many would believe you paid at least $5-600 for the Vancouver. Yes, it really is that good.
43mm Diameter Case Solid 316L Surgical Grade Steel Case
50mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
Miyota 9015 Mechanical Movement
300M Water Resistant with XL 8mm Easy-Grip Screw-Down Crown
120 Click Uni-Directional Rotating Solid Bezel with Super-Luminova Markers
Sapphire Crystal with AR (Anti-Reflective) Coating
As you can see from the specifications, this Vancouver Watch Blood and Thunder uses a Miyota 9015, for a price of $329. No Seiko NH35 here, though these days that is what you would expect for the price, if not even more, especially if you have been paying attention to recent reviews I have done. AND, this is not just a hi-beat movement slapped into a generic and cheap case. No, no, no. This attractive piece is just as well put together and finished as almost any $600 micro out there, yet for basically half the price.
The Blood and Thunder pretty much has all you could ask for, 300m Water Resistance, screw-down crown, good automatic movement, solid end link bracelet, sapphire crystal, 120 click bezel, and a sandwich dial. Yes, this watch has a sandwich dial, though you may not notice it at first glance. Looking beyond the candy bar style markers, you will see lume dots surrounding the dial, and those are actually cutouts with the lume coming from underneath. Suffice to say, there is a lot of lume on this piece when you turn off the lights.
Another thing to note is the actual color of this dial. The website just lists it as yellow, but it is more of a golden or mustard color, and has a slight sparkle to it, meaning it is not just a matte dial. Another great feature is yet another color-matched date wheel, located at the 6 o’clock position. This is the third watch I have reviewed in the past few months that utilizes a color-matched date wheel, something many brands just don’t do. Something else I really like is that Vancouver went with black for the outline of the markers and the hands. Yes, these are actually black, not just steel-colored that can look black depending on how the light is hitting it.
Quite the unique handset as well, and compared to past Vancouver(or Cobra) models, much more restrained in dial decoration and font. This is a more traditional style than what they have done in the past, yet, still has a little flair. If you want a different color, there are blue, white, and black dials as well as some of those art pieces if you prefer something much funkier. You can also get a few colors with an all DLC case and bracelet, yet not this yellow one, which I think is a mistake as that would look great in my opinion.
With the exception of the case back, you will see the entire watch is satin-brushed, with striking vertical brushed case sides, and you will notice drilled lugs as well, for easy strap changes. Being a dive watch, the Vancouver Watch Blood and Thunder has a massive screw-down crown, and a 120 click rotating bezel. Both the bezel and crown are very solid and smooth and the bezel action really is superb with precise clicks and just a great solid feel with no play. And for those that love lume, the bezel is fully indexed and the dot markers are lumed as well.
Unlike the current trend of smaller watches, this cushion style case is 43mm and if you are someone with a large wrist, has a massive H-Link style bracelet that can easily fit up to an 8 1/2 inch wrist, if not more. If you actually plan on putting this watch over a wetsuit to head into the ocean, it has the ratcheting extension dive clasp, which is also good if you need a little extra length due to sizing issues or just because of a really hot day. The one thing this bracelet lacks is screw links as the Vancouver Watch Blood and Thunder uses friction pins, though I don’t know if I really consider that to be an issue. I like the ease of screw links, as a mini screwdriver is all you need and only takes a minute or so, but you usually need to Loctite them, especially on Hong Kong manufactured microbrand divers, and in my experience, friction pins have never let me down.
On my wrist, the Blood and Thunder feel like it’s 5 or 6 years ago, at least for me. What I mean is, its a 43mm square case, and is a larger watch than what I normally review these days, and with the cushion style case and short lugs, I still think it wears very well, though that bracelet does add some heft as overall the watch weighs 225 grams.
wrist shot on 7 1/2 inch wrist
And of course, we have the lume, and as you can see below the SuperLumiNova is everywhere on this dial and bezel and really looks great in the dark, and it will last a good many hours, if not all night.
As you can tell, there are not a lot of watches are out there like this these days, especially for the price. How is Vancouver Watches pulling this off? I don’t know, but I doubt these prices will last forever, and while I never want to sell a watch to anyone reading a review or recommend you buy a watch, this really is a fantastic value that may cease to exist down the road. And even though I don’t think it is fair to say the brand owner, John Lee, has great customer service and decorum, because I expect that when he is dealing with a reviewer, I have heard the same from many customers over the years. Hopefully, we see a new design from him in the next year or two, and here’s hoping it has the same great value this one offers.
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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