This is a bit of a strange one for me to be reviewing. I’m not saying I’m always a watchmaker’s target audience – I’m relatively sure Hublot and Richard Mille aren’t building watches with my diminutive, retro slanted tastes in mind – but this time it’s different. That’s because Eone’s audience – and indeed their entire concept – is so specific and so specifically not me. Eone make watches for the blind and sight-impaired.
I’ve always been fortunate to have good eyesight and aside from an inkling that I’ll soon need reading glasses (I blame all the lockdown screen time) it’s still good. However, great design is still great design. How a watch feels on my wrist and how usable it is as a timepiece are not inextricably linked to the sight-seeing quality of my optical orbs. And so I went into this review with a different outlook than most of Eone’s customers – and honestly, I loved it. I’m not about to start learning brail, but the Bradley was a far more satisfying watch than I expected it to be.
The sleek, minimal design of the watch is tactile futurism at its finest, a tone-on-tone ring of raised indexes on a crystal-less dial. While that lack of crystal did take some getting used to visually, it does make perfect sense in how you read the watch.
Rather than hands, the minutes are told by a ball bearing that runs around the inner ring of the dial, while the hours are located on the outer edge of the case. You’re meant to read the watch with your fingers by judging where the ball is compared to the indexes, which are clear to the touch with longer indexes for three, six and nine, and a large triangle at 12.
Because it’s hidden over the edge of the case, I used my fingers all the time for the hours, but more often than not found myself reading the dial instead. I could do it – it’s actually incredibly intuitive – but I had to remind myself to do it. That’s not a downside of course, given how visually unique the Bradley is.
I tried out two different versions of the Bradley, a cobalt timepiece with silver indexes and a full steel version and honestly, there wasn’t much different between the two. The cobalt may as well be called black as even in direct light it was incredibly dark, just with a slight navy tint. I found myself leaning a little more heavily towards the monotone, but that was due to the incredibly comfortable mesh bracelet than any real aesthetic difference. They’re both cool.
Both sit on the wrist nicely thanks to the articulated lugs, set right at the bottom of the case to leave the case band free for the hour indicator. It makes the watch look like its sitting high on the wrist, but in reality it’s no thicker than your average timepiece.
The dimensions though do mean the crown is really low on the wrist and I needed to take it off to set. The flipside of that is that the Bradley uses a quartz movement, so there shouldn’t be any need to set it unless you’re hopping time zones, which none of us exactly are right now. I really enjoyed wearing the Bradley. Like I said, it’s an odd one for me to be reviewing and I can’t say with any authority that it’s the perfect watch for the sight-impaired. I can say that it looks fantastic, is a phenomenal concept and was the single most tactile watch I’ve ever worn.
For me, it’s no replacement for a traditional mechanical timekeeper, but if you are Eone’s target audience then rest assured that the Bradley doesn’t just work; it looks good doing it.
Price & Specs:
Model: EONE Bradley
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 11.5mm thickness, stainless steel case and aluminium dial (Voyager Cobalt) or titanium case and dial (Mesh Silver)
Water Resistance: Not intended for submersion in water
Movement: Ronda quartz movement with Swiss parts
Functions: Two magnetized ball bearings for hours and minutes
Strap: Italian leather with nylon stitching (Voyager Cobalt) or stainless steel mesh bracelet (Mesh Silver)
More details at Eone.