I’m a huge believer in value when it comes to watches and when a company presents beyond decent specs for the price, it definitely gotten my attention. BOLDR is a young microbrand company that I’ve seen trending recently based out of Singapore and currently has 8 collections to date. Adventure and ruggedness appears to be the theme of their watches. The watch that we’ll be looking at today is the field watch Venture collection and in particular the Venture Jet-Black variant. I love field watches and that can be seen in my previous article where I modded a Seiko SRP269J1 to have it DLC coated. Let’s get straight into it.
Case: Titanium with DLC black coating
Case Diameter: 38mm
Case Length(lug to lug): 47.4mm
Movement: ETA 802.102 quartz
Water Resistant: 100m
Crystal: Sapphire with inner anti-reflective coating
Lug Width: 20mm
Strap: NATO canvas with titanium buckle
What’s In The Box
The watch comes in a petite black textured box and I couldn’t be happier as a watch collector where storage of empty boxes becomes a headache. It comes with some marketing stickers, warranty card as well a brief introduction to the company. I’m also pleasantly delighted to see a watch roll being included in the box. It can hold up to four watches and it’s made of canvas material. I believe the color of the watch rolls matches the strap of the watch that you picked and mine comes in black with brown PU leather strap. A handy accessory to have when going to meetups or when traveling.
There’s actually two main finishings of the Venture case to choose from. There’s the matte finish while the one for review is the black DLC coated version. The case is made of titanium and it’s generally regarded as significantly stronger than the most commonly used grades of steel. Where it pulls ahead is in terms of weight where it’s nearly 50% lighter than steel and also corrosion resistant (e.g. its resistance to rusting). With the DLC finish, it should harden the timepiece further, making it more resistant to wear and scratches. Just like titanium where there’s different grade levels, only time will tell how the DLC-finish will hold but it’s still remarkable to have it at this price point.
Coming to the design of the case is where it becomes bolder (pun intended). Unlike your typical field watch where the crown is normally located at 3 o’clock, the Venture has it shifted to 4 o’clock. It works well as the very sharp angular lugs seems to be able to give partial protection without needing crown guards. It’s unlikely you will get knocks to it at this angle but the drawback is that it’s harder to pull it out to set the time. The crown is also etched with the BOLDR logo. If I have to nitpick, I wished it was a screw-down crown.
Resting on top is a flat sapphire crystal with inner AR coating and protrudes ever so slightly to provide a little protection to the case. There’s still some reflection from certain angles but it’s a great feature to have.
I would say the angled lug design is not typical and I grew to appreciate it when I was testing it out. It works very well on smaller wrists where it doesn’t sit flat like on some watches creating the illusion that it overhangs the wrist. The lugs are long just like the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical where there’s an unsightly gap if you’re wearing it with a two-piece strap. That is why this works best with a NATO strap and again because of the sharp-tapered lugs, you can admire the complete case from all sides.
Normally I would trust the official dimensions stated by the company but I decided to measure it anyway with my caliper and the results are quite surprising. The lug-to-lug is measured to be 47.4mm which is quite a disparity from the official 45mm stated on the website. I remeasured multiple times to be sure and this is to the tip of the lugs and still gotten the same results. Now the watch does not overhang on the wrist because of how the tip of the lugs are shaped to a steep downward slope to the sides. Also the thickness is measured to be thinner at 9.5mm compared to the 11mm stated. The rest of the dimensions seems to be correct.
The caseback which I believe is also titanium has a cool gunmetal look that matches well with the black case and comes with an engraved ‘X’ design which seems to have words that are mashed up to form the letter. Maybe BOLDR will reward you if you find out the hidden message?
The matte black dial is your typical field watch which has both 12-hour markers and also the smaller 24-hour markers. The layout is done well with the BOLDR logo the right size along with the extra text at the bottom which does not make the dial look too cramp or busy. There’s also no date complication which makes the dial look more balanced without needing to fight for symmetry with the crown position. The 12-hour Arabic numerals uses a slightly longer font and it’s highly legible at a glance.
The syringe hands are brushed which gives out a nice sheen under certain lighting conditions. The seconds hand has a nice orange accent at the tip to give that right amount of pop in color in an otherwise monochromatic dial.
According to the specifications, the Venture is using luminescence called Superlume which is found as tiny pips above each hour marker and also on the watch hands. The lume is decent as it’s legible under pitch black conditions but not noticeable under brighter environments.
This is a quartz-powered watch which uses a Swiss-made movement ETA 802.102 that lasts up to 36 months of battery life. Nothing fancy but it is a reliable Swiss movement and one thing to point out is if you’re like me, you might might have OCD with how the seconds hand line up with the markers on every tick. I’m please to say that it’s among the best that I’ve seen on any analog quartz watch that I’ve owned besides the Grand Seiko which has a 9F movement. It’s only off fractionally and hard to beat at this price point though I’ve seen others who mentioned that it was way off. Maybe BOLDR fixed it in future releases with better quality control.
All variants of their Venture collection comes only with NATO straps but in different colors:- jungle green, khaki and black. Personally, I prefer the black. The strap fabric is soft and comfortable with the buckle mentioned as being made of titanium. The buckle is also subtly etched with their logo. However, I have to mention that the position of the hardware is odd and might need some getting use to. You might need to test out various positions to get the best fit on your wrist. The 20mm lug width means that you can try out many different strap options out there if you don’t like the stock ones. I tried it on various straps that I already own and like the pairing with the NATO khaki with black hardware. Also one thing worth noting is that the case does not come with drilled lugs but since the primary choice of strap would be NATO this isn’t a big negative.
On The Wrist
So how does the watch wear on the wrist? I have to say I’m pleased that it wears very well on my small 6.1 inch wrist. The 47.4mm lug-to-lug length that actually wears smaller and sloping lugs does make a difference where it does not overhang from all angles. And being 11mm thick and lightweight, it sits comfortably almost not feeling it on your wrist. Also, the black case makes it visually smaller than the 38mm diameter suggests.
Overall, I ended my trial run feeling rather impressed with its unique design and finishing. Everyone needs a beater watch in their collection and this being quartz means you can go all out with it without worrying about mechanical parts. Packed with a solid lightweight titanium DLC-coated case, sapphire crystal with inner AR coating and 100 meters water resistance, this is a great looking stealthy everyday watch to have. At $149, it presents exceptional value and hard to beat at this price point.
It’s interesting to see how BOLDR will continue to come out with more interesting designs in the future and if you’re into tool watches, do check them out. Learn more about the BOLDR Venture here. For a limited time period, use the promo code BWB10 for an additional 10% off the price.
*Update: The BOLDR Venture quartz version has since been discontinued and is replaced with the automatic version. It retails for $299 and is also available at Amazon.
Disclaimer: BOLDR kindly sent us the Venture watch for this review