I've always loved buying and collecting minimalist watches, and I found the Brathwait automatic to be quite nice.
Brathwait Company History
Brathwait is an American watchmaker that has been in business since 2014. They are calling themselves the only transparent watchmaker in the world. Meaning they are showing exactly what it means to make watches and illustrating where some watchmakers take shortcuts or cut costs. Personally, at first glance, I thought it was a shtick, but after digging into the company, I changed my tune. I am intrigued by the way they break down their cost and show exactly why they charge what they do. And bottom line, looking at the components, the products look to be good value, in general.
Brathwait was founded by Henrik Torp. He wanted to create a company that could claim transparency and really, honestly mean it. It looks to me that he is doing just that. They are not Rolex or Omega. They are purchasing movements and straps and assembling the watches, so they are not hand-making the product, but they are putting together a good product. It makes me think of Shinola, but comparing costs, you will see what you get for 800 dollars from Shinola, you will probably get for about 150 dollars from Brathwait.
Brathwait is located in Delaware. They currently have a fairly large selection of watches, mostly revolving around a minimalist look. If it is a look you like, I would suggest you take a look at what they have.
The Brathwait Automatic Minimalist has some very nice specs for a watch for under 300 dollars. It has a Miyota movement, and a sapphire lens, as well as a leather strap. Those are things you will be hard-pressed to find on a watch for under 500 dollars. It is impressive to me.
- Case: 40mm wide 316l stainless steel. 20mm between strap lugs.
- Glass: 1.9mm Sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
- Movement: Miyota 9015 caliber automatic movement with date, 24 Jewel with 42-hour power reserve. 28,800 BPH.
- Water Resistance: 100 meters/10 bar
The watch has excellent components. Do the components make the whole just as good?
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My Opinion of the Brathwait Automatic Minimalist
If you haven't already guessed, I am going to give this watch a very good review. I think that pound for pound, you are getting a whole lot of watch for the cost. Let's start from the inside and work our way out.
The Miyota 9015 Movement
Miyota is a Japanese movement maker that has been making movements since 1956. They are a 65% held subsidiary of Citizen Watch Group, and they are the maker of all Citizen movements. On top of that, other than ETA, I believe they may be the most popular movements available today.
The Miyota 9015 is an automatic movement. Meaning it is a mechanical self-winding movement. It has been in production since 2009. It has 24 jewels with a 42-hour power reserve and a ball-bearing rotor. It has hacking seconds and date, and it runs at 28,800 BPH.
The specs for the movement are solid for what I would expect from a sub-300 dollar watch. And it is a movement from a well-respected company. This is a positive for this watch, as far as I am concerned.
The Watch Case
The watch case is machined from 316l surgical grade stainless steel. The elemental composition for 316l is similar to most other stainless steels, with a lower carbon content. It has a yield strength of around 25,000 psi and has great wear characteristics for an everyday watch. The case is machined from one piece. The backplate is a separate piece that is threaded into the case body. The crown is also stainless steel. This isn't groundbreaking technology. Probably about 75% of watches are made from stainless. It is a cost-effective metal that can be in regular contact with the skin without having an abundance of possible chemical reactions.
It is really hard to find a reasonably priced watch with a sapphire lens. At this price point, I would usually expect some proprietary material (which basically is either glass or plastic) or just an acrylic lens. A sapphire lens is the standard for high-end watches and I really am impressed that they include it with this watch.
The band is Italian leather. It doesn't wow me. But in my mind, it doesn't have to. Bands are replaceable and are generally going to give you a few years of use before they will require replacing. I cannot give you a true opinion of the band without actually wearing the watch.
Overall I think the Brathwait Automatic Minimalist is a really nice watch. And I think it is doubly nice for the price-point. Generally, at the 200–300 dollar range you are going to get a quartz watch. Or you're not going to get a sapphire lens. And both of those are really what put this watch over the top.
© 2018 Leonard L Sampson