The phrase British Design, Swiss Precision has become a bit of a rallying cry for a good cross-section of our homegrown horological industry. We don’t make movements here in the UK – at least not outside of some serious specialists that keep their calibres to themselves. But we do design some stellar timepieces, and it’s an approach that brands like Christopher Ward, Farer, BŌKEN, and plenty more have embraced.
Along with a distinctive approach to design however, the majority of British watch brands have one thing in common: affordability. We have a watch culture here of fun, funky creations that won’t break the bank, the complete opposite of the traditional Swiss classicists. There’s a healthy dose of tool watch practicality too, but everything’s underpinned with a price tag equivalent of a Churchill-esque two fingers up to the older, more established brands.
And yet despite being one of the younger British brands to come to the table, BŌKEN are hoping to take things further. Much further. BŌKEN have already established themselves as a pretty exciting new brand with the Nomad, a seriously impressive titanium diver with specs far outstripping its £1,395 price tag. We’ve covered it before. We like the Nomad. It’s solid, colourful and everything we tend to look for in a funky tool watch, complete with 300m water resistance and a Sellita SW200-1 Élaboré automatic movement.
There’s a lot to love. In fact, it’s hard to pick out any singular element that might make it better. Sure, you could update the movement, but that would shift things into pricier arenas, given solid Swiss movements are like gold dust right now.
Instead, BŌKEN have gone the complete opposite direction, working in antithesis to the majority of the industry and are actually lowering prices. Not by a little bit either – the BŌKEN Nomad is dropping to a starting price of £895. That’s £400 less than its original retail price, showing that the British brand are using ‘affordable’ as more than just a buzzword. They’re serious about it.
It’s worth hammering home that this isn’t just a headline grabbing part-time move either; it’s permanent. What that means with inflation and cost of materials, we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s the kind of commitment that’s incredibly rare from any watchmaker, especially one of BŌKEN’s smaller scale.
The quality of the Nomad will still be the same of course; given that £895 is just a bit lower than their pre-order price, BŌKEN have proved they can produce the watch for that. So expect the same solidity and retro good looks as ever. In fact, you could argue that it’s now an even better watch experience, given the new customisation options.
We use customisation relatively loosely here. There’s not yet any way of switching up the bezels or opting for custom colours, let alone movements. What customisation means in this context is choosing your strap or bracelet. If BŌKEN were launching that tweak by itself it probably wouldn’t be worth dwelling on, but when in tandem with lower prices, it just means that they’re offering more for less. And honestly, more options are always better.
This is just the start for BŌKEN’s plan for global domination of course. Along with the revamped Nomad, they’re continuing to raise money for environmental charity, Just One Ocean and are looking to create a community of watch lovers around the world. How exactly that will manifest, time will tell. But if you’d like to get a hint of what’s to come first hand, you can always stop by their stand at the British Watchmaking Day. After all, it’s only the beginning of the year! And for BŌKEN at least, it’s going to be a good one.
Price and Specs:
More details at BŌKEN.