The Vilhelm Prism is a unique watch, one that takes inspiration from a few watches, most prominently would be the Bvlgari Octo. So, it is an homage, but not a direct homage, and Vilhelm has made it distinctly their own in my opinion. It is funky with its octagon shape, heavy verticle brushing, and U shape bracelet, not to mention quite a striking dial. Vilhelm, for those who are not familiar, is a Singapore brand, which is partnered with Elshan from Zelos. You may be wondering if this is a new company, and the answer would be no. They have actually been around since 2016 but unlike Zelos, they are not releasing multiple models each year, but each model they do release is distinctive and unlike anything Zelos produces.
Before I get into all the specs, I do want to mention, for those that have not seen the video yet, that is a watch I would most likely never wear. Now, I sized and wore it in preparation for this review of course, but the style is just not something that I would wear on a regular basis on my wrist. Yet, I do really love this watch. I love the fashion-forward design, the multi-level dial, and the fact that there is a microbrand out there that is not afraid to push the limits and create something outside the box. This is not a dive watch, nor a pilot watch and even though it has a brushed and blasted titanium case, some would call this a high fashion piece. Whatever it would be classified under, I do certainly do appreciate the look and the quality of this piece, but it is just not a piece I would regularly wear. All that said, I have found little to fault with the Vilhelm Prism, as you will see in the rest of the review below.
Let’s start with what you get for your money. Yes, you can read the specs above, but take a look at the microbrand market, and look at what you can buy for $1000 and under. You are probably not going to find too many watches such as this one, with this design, finishing, and attention to detail. The entire case and bracelet are machined from Grade 2 Titanium, and Vilhelm opted to go for a more subdued look and feel, utilizing a vertical brushing around part of the case and the areas a light sandblasting or bead-blasted finish. This is carried on with the bracelet, where the inner part of the large U links (or are they V’s?), are blasted as well, creating a nice contrast. Even though the Prism is only 100m water-resistant, they did use a screw-down crown, the bracelet uses one-piece screws and you get sapphire crystals front and back. More importantly, with all these angles and curves, there are no sharp edges on the watch case or bracelet.
There are 3 dial colors available, the Smoked Blue as shown here, a Smoked Grey, and what I call Radiant Red, but it is a Smoked Red as well. All the dials have a distinct multi-level pattern, which I consider to be very attractive, but also easy to read. The color will be most vibrant in the middle of the dial and as you get to the outer portion, almost a black color and even though the dial is somewhat matte, it really bounces off the light nicely, allowing for darker or brighter hues as you wear it on your wrist. Another feature, that most will probably not think of as a feature to highlight, is that the dial is void of unnecessary text. Prism is somewhat small on the dial as well, and beyond the brand name and logo, it is clean. The date wheel is framed by the dial design and even though the indices are a polished chrome look, this is not exactly what I consider an over-the-top dial.
You can see the Spartan logo on the dial, crown, and buckle closure, but where you won’t find it it is the case back. Well, it is on the rotor, but Vilhelm chose to go with a sapphire opening, showing the gold-plated SW200 movement, and the opening is in the shape of a Prism. I like this little touch. Furthermore, the design reminds me of Tony Stark and Ironman, so a bonus for that as yes, I am a huge Avengers fan. Like the dial, the case back is not loaded with text-matter of fact, no text at all. That is rare and makes the case back design that much more appealing.
Even though this is not a piece I would wear, the Vilhelm Prism is crazy comfortable on the wrist. This is due to the titanium construction and the fully articulated bracelet, that really does drape around the wrist. Two links were removed for my 7 1/2 inch wrist, and while normally I have issues getting a dual deployant bracelet to fit me properly, due to lack of micro-adjustments this one was an exception, as it fits perfectly.
If I decided to choose this watch to wear, I would do so on the included rubber bracelet. Oh, did I forget to tell you that you also get a custom-molded rubber strap as well? This rubber strap is not only very comfortable, but really does change the look of the Vilhelm Prism, or tone it down a bit. The strap is ventilated, is made of natural rubber, doesn’t have that crazy vanilla smell, and also has a nice signed buckle.
And while it may not look like it, the Vilhelm Prism actually has a decent amount of Superluminova applied to it. For those that know how lume works, the brightness and intensity have to do with a lot of factors, and even though this looks nice when fully charged up as in the photo below, do not expect it to be a Seiko Monster. That said, with your eyes adjust for darkness, expect it to still glow for about 3-4 hours.
As it goes, most watches that arrive for me to review are ones I would wear or consider purchasing myself, but I knew that the design of the Vilhelm Prism was not for me from the start, yet I still wanted to review and glad that I did. The watch is a design that will not be for everyone, but I can definitely see the appeal, and I guess so can others as a few colors are on backorder as I write this review. Again, the design is not exactly original, but it is not a straight-up copy either, and to those that possibly always wanted a Bvlgari, this could be a much cheaper alternative, or for those just looking for something different in their collection. Either way, it is great to see other options in the microbrand space, and seeing what Vilhelm has produced in the past, I am intrigued to see what the next funky design will be.
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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