Watchmaking is an industry with a long history and even the youngest brands can pull on the plethora of historic icons that exist for their inspiration. BND Watches might be a relatively new microbrand on the block but they knew precisely what kind of watches they wanted to create from the outset: vintage inspired divers that reference the iconic watches of the 50s-80s. It’s a very specific vision and the resulting watches are equally exacting.
Picking up the MNBLU, the blue version of their flagship model, I can immediately see the less is more approach to its vintage styling. The matte dial is a deep blue that in certain lights looks almost black, with the only adornments being the sandy coloured hour markers and logo. If you hear someone complaining that watches should only tell the time without all the added complications, point them this way because no one can call this watch over-engineered. It’s pure timekeeping at its retro best.
That attitude of simple refinement continues on the case, which sits well on the wrist at a 39.5mm diameter. It comes with 100m water resistance despite not having a screw down crown, while most contemporary divers do, which is testament to the internal engineering of the piece. But the most interesting factor in the case’s refinement is the fact that the caseback is entirely bare, without so much as a hint of inscription, letting the watch speak for itself instead of having an exhaustive list of its specs on the back.
The NATO straps, in dial matched blue or hour marker matched sand, are a little stiff, but what new straps aren’t and after a short time that won’t be a problem. I was surprised how much the two colours change the personality of the watch: with the blue strap on, it feels like a thoroughbred diver ready to hit the waves, while with the sand it has the air of a field watch, emphasising the cream elements across the dial and giving the impression of a quasi-khaki.
Internally, it’s also a case of simplicity well executed. It houses the Seiko NH35A automatic calibre, an off the shelf movement that is used in a lot of watches for its versatility, 41-hour power reserve and, ultimately, its accessibility.
The MNBLU costs just €396 (approx. £340) in a limited run of 150 pieces. Similarly, the MNBLA and MNBRO, which are exactly the same as the watch I have here except in black and brown respectively, are also limited in numbers. Living that microbrand life of limited production, which comes with the bonus of making them very exclusive.
For the price, it’s hard to call these watches anything but an absolute steal. For the movement alone they could charge a lot more with a straight face. Throw on top the classic aesthetic and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Price & Specs:
Model: BND Watches MNBLU
Case/Dial: 39.5mm diameter x 11.3mm height, stainless steel, blue dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Seiko NH35A calibre, automatic, 24 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 41h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Blue NATO and Sand NATO interchangeable straps
Price/availability: €396 EUR (approx. £340), limited edition of 150 pieces
More details at BND Watches.