Way more interesting than it has any right to be...
I often wonder if industrial designers and decision makers at microbrands are having fun, or stressing out. I mean, there are only a few geometric shapes that are actually viable for a watch case, and only so many movements, hand types and materials you can choose from, especially at the budget these outfits are operating at. And even then, you constantly have to be aware of the genre. If you try too hard and break the mould, you might alienate your market. And if you play it too safe, you’re the one in a top 20 list that everyone ignores. Close, but no cigar.
Taking all that into account, it speaks volumes about just how “on to it” Boldr has been from its early days. The brand’s origin story is compelling, and speaks to the resilience of its founders. Browse through their catalogue (here and their own website), and you’ll see a theme emerge with their designs, that of embracing the challenge of making rugged tool watches that offer something a little cheeky and a little heartfelt.
With the Pink Fighter Project Venture Earth, Boldr pushes the envelope. They have never been shy of getting behind some very engaging causes and the PFP gives the designers an interesting palate to work with.
The case is 38mm and made of recycled Titanium - hence the "Earth"...
...in the name. Imagine a 70s integrated bracelet piece (a la the Tissot PRX) with all the excess bits chiseled away micron by micron to ensure a more comfortable wear. You lose the decadence, but gain disproportionately more in comfort in all-day wear.
The Titanium, dimensions, case construction and 200m are all core to the Venture line, and are some excellent foundations for a platform.
You can dress the PFP Earth up or down, which is something you can’t do with too many field watches. For me, this is for two reasons.
Firstly, the Venture comes with a fixed bezel that rises from the mid-case and slopes gently upwards to meet the sapphire crystal flush. This invokes some classic pieces that can be both dressy and sporty like the Alpinist, and, ahem, the Explorer. Except here, the scratches the bezel picks up won't show as much.
Secondly, the dial exists to disappear. In low light, it presents as an earth tone ash. Yet when the light hits, you can make out the finer details that can allow it to be versatile. The brand wordmark is not used. Instead, we see only the logo and the words Recycled Titanium above the 6. The arabics are colour-matched to the dial, and like the minute markers, are raised just enough to add depth,
The hands are also ashen but can be easily read with the lines of some very decent application of - what Boldr calls - Japanese Superlume. These not only differ in size but also width, and add to the legibility.
Rather than pay pink a furtive glance, the designers have given it a full embrace, with a bold and serious pink seconds hand with a delicately machined Boldr logo counterweight.
Combine this rather minimalist canvas with drilled 20mm lugs, and, if you’re into the look, or the values this watch represents, you could have a watch for all seasons. Sure, the high quality double-pass nato adds some extra height, but that’s the genre look. If you’re going out for the evening, chuck it on some leather, and if you’re going camping, a rubber. Choose the right colours and this will pop.
It all adds up to very compelling wearing experience.
I would say it was a pebble on your wrist, except that would be to indicate a kind of organic roundness. Curvy this is not. All the lines are smooth yet brutal. You get the tiniest bit of creamy light play off the case and almost no reflections off the crystal.
The ticker is the ever reliable Seiko NH35. Because this hand winds, and hacks, it allows the Boldr to tuck in as part of a larger collection. It plays hide and seek behind an entirely appropriate pink ribbon printed on the case back. The precisely machined signed crown is at the 4. The thin line that bisects is painted in with the watch’s signature pink, and adds another dash of detail.
At its core, the PFP Venture Earth is an extremely durable time-only automatic with a rock-solid movement. Its looks aren’t for everyone, but neither will it offend. It's just the right amount of legible and is a testament to just how confident the Singapore outfit has become.
After all, if you had one of the best field watch platforms - at any budget - you’d be having fun too.
Find out more about this watch and to purchase online click here.
25% of all sales goes to cancer related fundraising.
FYI - one of these watches is the first prize for a raffle ( to be drawn 21st August), in-store now - so if you are in store, please pick up a ticket ($5 each) to help Mal's daughter's netball team get to her AIMS games in Tauranga in September.
Special thanks to Fahmi Ebrahim for providing an excellent Boldr Venture Earth Fight Cancer watch review.