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Is it safe to buy pre-order watches on Kickstarter?

Nardi scam watch

“No need to worry, Mark is just taking his time, focusing on perfecting our watches rather than updating the backers on every single detail.”

The comforting words are coming from a fellow project backer on the ‘backers only’ Facebook group. Here, Mark Rogers, founder of Nardi watches has been communicating regularly with his backers for the last 17 months, all while the Corona virus has created chaos in the world and stopped engine in most factories, Nardi’s included.

But lately communication has started to slow down, with longer and longer silence between the updates. What we’re all waiting for is a gorgeous dive watch made from a UK battle ship scrap metal, paid for up-front to finance the making of it. That is how Kickstarter works. They are quick to say that you’re not buying a product on the crowdsourcing platform. You’re backing a project which may or may not succeed to deliver the final product.

With no guarantees offered from Kickstarter, this makes the platform ripe for abuse from scammers ready to take your money and walk away. We fear this is what Mark Rogers has now done, and there is nothing we can do about it. A few lucky manages to get a refund from their credit card providers. Others are not so lucky.

Angry and upset backers of Nardi Watch Company.

Watches on Kickstarter

Watch projects on Kickstarter are common. Most of them are bland off-the-shelf white label products from Chinese factories. Pick a catalogue design, add a custom logo and a soppy background story about how your grandfather got you into horology. Since you can’t find a good and affordable watch on the market you feel obliged to design your own to honour him and give the market the timepiece we all need.

Hit ‘Go live’ and watch the money roll in.

That should be a crime in itself. But if there’s demand there’s a market, and good marketing works. Scams on the other hand there is no way to sugarcoat. It’s the lowest of low and it’s sadly common on Kickstarter.

There are of course also genuine, honest and great looking watches available on the platform. I’ve been a backer of several, of which the Pancor P02 was a great unique looking piece, and the Wolbrook Skindiver WT is one of my favourite watches.

The tricky bit is to detect which ones are too good to be true, or look like they can’t make it all the way to delivery.

Pancor P02 was successfully launched via Kickstarter.
Pancor P02 was a successfully launched via Kickstarter.

How to avoid scams and bad projects on Kickstarter

Since Kickstarter doesn’t provide any type of guarantee at all, it’s up to you as the backer/consumer to do your due diligence on the maker.

Is this the maker’s first project? Risky business. The more established a company or maker is the more likely they can be trusted with your money. Still no guarantee though.

Where are they based? Is there a way to contact them, ideally in person, if things go awry? Anonymous mail box addresses won’t get my backing.

Is the communication open and honest? Is the pricing and delivery timeline realistic? Are there prototypes out for review with the regular YouTube channels? Don’t get fooled by lofty promises without real world backing.

Is the campaign page well made, without typos and stock art imagery? If the maker doesn’t care about the detail of the campaign, why would they care about the details of the project?

Kickstarter is beyond its expiry date

If Kickstarter wants to continue to be a well used platform they need to take accountability for scams. Launching watch projects on Kickstarter is still popular, but it’s passed its expiry date. Microbrands are ditching the platform for their own website pre-orders and consumers are not willing to take a risk on a pre-order without refund guarantees.

Be careful if you do choose to back a watch on Kickstarter, or if you want consumer rights, why not have a browse of Gloriousdays bamboo watches or my used mechanical collection?

So what happened to Mark Rogers and his battle ship watch in the end? No one knows. It’s still a mystery, and thanks to shady policies and lack of consumer rights we’ll probably never find out.

Wolbrook Skindiver WT was successfully launched via Kickstarter.
Let’s end on a happy note. The Skindiver WT Two-tone by Wolbrook was the result of a very very successful KS campaign. And it makes me happy every time I wear it.
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What complications and features should I look for in a watch?

Pancor P02 mint green dial mechanical watch

In this day and age we rarely wear watches with time keeping as the main reason. If you haven’t opted for a smart watch you are most likely wearing one as a style accessory.

That was not always the case however. Wrist watches, and pocket watches before that, were crucial tools in both professional and casual settings, as we’ll see in this post. Nowadays we mainly enjoy these mechanical wonders for their beauty and historical significance but it doesn’t hurt to know what each complication and feature can do for you, should you have to rely on it one day.

Let’s take a look and see what watch complications can do for you and if it’s something you should look for in your next watch.


Aquatico Aqua One with date window at three o clock.

A very common feature in a watch is to show today’s date. It can sometimes interfere with an otherwise clean dial layout, but personally I would usually opt for a date version if I can. I just find it really useful. You do have to set the date every other month if it’s an analogue watch but that doesn’t bother me.

Day date

Merkur Seizenn pepsi dial and day date function.

What’e even better than having today’s date on your wrist is having today’s date and week day! I find this super useful, maybe because my head is in the clouds more than often. I also think this can look really good when it’s incorporated nicely in the dial layout and oftentimes offer better visual balance than simply a small date window that doesn’t significant enough to hold its own.

Dive bezel

Seiko SKX007 with a unidirectional 120 click dive bezel.

The dive bezel is mandatory on any dive watch. It’s used to keep track of elapsed time and can be used for knowing when to surface or make a decompression stop. Because of the risk associated with miscalculating time under water, the dive bezel would normally be unidirectional. If the bezel would accidentally be moved during the dive it will only shorten the dive and not fool the diver into staying in too long.

Dive bezels look great and give your watch a sporty look. There are also inner dive bezels which are operated with a crown.

World timer bezel

Wolbrook Skindiver WT with world timer bezel.

This is an interesting solution for globetrotters and pilots alike. It displays major cities around the world, and the time difference against GMT (Greenwhich Mean Time). Maybe not that useful nowadays, but a cool and different looking design element with a rich history in aviation.

12 hour (2nd time zone) bezel

Baltic Aquascaphe with 12 hour bezel.

If you like the look of a dive bezel but find the count-up bezel not so useful you can look for a 12-hour bezel. It’ll still allow you to time things, but the hour markers on the rotating bezel allows you to easily track a different time zone. Is this useful? A bit maybe, but it’s mostly a god looking bezel.

GMT hand

Grand Seiko GMT with GMT hand.

The GMT hand combined with 24 hour bezel lets you track a 2nd time zone, just like the 12 hour bezel. This is a more advanced feature though as it requires a more complicated movement. The advantage is that you can differentiate AM from PM for the 2nd time zone. If you can do basic arithmetic you don’t have to pay top dollar for a GMT movement to tell you the time, but it’s a cool looking complication with a bit of a globetrotter vibe to it.


Vertigo Pilot One powered by the manual wind Seagull ST19 mechanical chronograph movement.

One of the most iconic wrist watch complications is the chronograph. Chronographs come in all sorts of variations, both functionality and aesthetic-wise but it’s basically a stop watch combined with your regular time keeping function. Useful for measuring distance travelled, speed and other more complex calculations used in both aviation and racing. On a chronograph the main dial second hand is used for measuring chrono time. Just like a stop watch, it’s operated with the omnipresent pushers on the case. Normally there is also a continuous second hand in one of the sub-dials, but not always. I love the looks of chronographs and also find the timer function useful in all sorts of situations.

24 hour dial

Panda dial Seiko chronograph with VK63 and 24 hour dial.

A 24-hour dial is normally one of the sub duals on a chronograph, although it can also be seen on it’s own. Since most watches have an hour hand that moves 12 hours per cycle it will rotate twice in a day; AM and PM. If you were stuck in a room with no windows for a few days (or a cave) there would be no way to tell if it’s day or night from your watch – unless you have a 24 hour dial! So that’s when that’s handy. In all other cases you would usually be able to tell AM from PM without a 24-hour dial. So why does some chronographs have them? Probably to have something to show in a sub-dial that’s there for layout symmetry’s sake.

Power reserve indicator

Pancor P02 with power reserve indicator at 12 o clock.

Speaking about useless features that’s mainly there because they look good – A power reserve indicator is just that. Here is one combined with the also useless 24-hour dial (which doesn’t even show numbers so it’s literally useless). A power reserve indicator is there to show you how much energy is left in the spring that powers your mechanical watch. If it’s low you might want to wind your watch. But if it’s an automatic watch, with a self-winding movement powered by kinetic energy from your moving wrist, it’ll be fully powered most of the time anyway (a mechanical watch can normally hold energy between 30 and 80 hours, so leaving it to rest while you sleep is not a problem.)

Display case back

Vertigo Pilot One showing its Seagult ST19 through the display case back.

A display case back is not a function, but it is a feature that many watch enthusiasts enjoy. It allows them to see the movement in action, which can be a joy if it’s a nice mechanical movement housed in the watch. Especially for more high-end timepieces the movements are finished to such a high standard that it would be a crime to cover it up and hide its beauty from the world. Low-end movements on the other hand look rather bland and showing it is more of a sign that the manufacturer is taking the piss and is trying to sell a low-end piece to naive buyers who thinks that anything mechanical is luxury.

What functions do you find useful in an analogue watch?

Which feature on this list would you pay extra for and which ones would you rather avoid? Is less more and a clean dial takes the win, or do you want a busy dial crammed with features? Let me know in the comments below. Personally I mainly choose the watch based on looks, but I do find some of the timing functions useful sometimes. There is one BIG no-no for me though, and that is watches that imitate a function without it actually working (a non rotating dive bezel, chronograph dials that don’t operate etc. ). This is a total piss-take sometimes seen in fashion and mall watches and to me it feels like a slap in the face.

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7 sexy 70’s styled chronographs from affordable to luxury

The 1970’s produced some of the most interesting watch designs of modern time. It was a time where mechanical watches still filled a function, be it for diving, racing or navigating. That combined with the funky aesthetics of the decennium produced some bright and iconic chronographs. The chronograph watch face in particular lent itself to some very interesting colour and shape combinations.

Well working 70’s chronographs are expensive and hard to come by nowadays, but thankfully there are more than me who adores this particular watch style. Re-issues and new designs paying homage to the 70’s classics can be found in all price classes and for all budgets.

Take a look at this curated list of seven of my favourite chronographs that could’ve been taken straight from the 70’s.

Vertigo Tornante

Vertigo Tornante 70's styled chronograph in brown.

Starting at the bottom of the price range, we have the very affordable and strikingly 70’s styled Vertigo Tornante. Especially the brown version is worthy a cameo in any movie taking place in the 70’s. It features a mecca-quartz movement and costs €230 from Vertigo’s website.


ROUE TPS vintage looking chronograph

Roue definitely got it going for them. A design-first, young company that seems incapable of releasing something less than mouth-watering. My favourite model has to be the TPS, which houses a mecca-quartz movement and costs $305. There are plenty of colour combinations to choose from but they all share a strong 70’s vibe.


Brew Metric

Brew Metric Retro chronograph

Next up we have another funky design to say the least. Already sold out on Bew’s website, they are clearly doing something right. Brew has recently developed a lot of retro loooking, yet timeless models and the Metric is no exception. Especially the Retro dial is so 70’s cool you’d be excused for ogling. When it comes back in stock it can be had for $395 at Brew’s website.

Maen Skymaster

Skymaster 38 MKII - Thunder Grey Dusk

I remember when Maen launched their first model via Kickstarter, somewhere around five years ago. Since then they’ve kept pushing the envelope, always with a keen eye for detail. Maybe their most seductive model yet, the Skymaster is a 38mm Swiss automatic chronograph with a price tag at €959.

The Skymaster comes in various colours, but if you want that bold 70’s look you should look at the Thunder edition.

Christopher Ward C65 Chronograph

When CW published the C65 Chrono my heart skipped a beat. I love the sea and I love 70’s styled chronos. With the C65 you get a regatta/nautocal themed 70’s styled automatic chronograph. It’s yours for £1,470. Still not as iconic as the final item in this list, but not far from it in terms of perfection.

Oris Chronoris

Oris Chronoris limited edition

Oris know a thing or two about retro looking timepieces. Their Oris 65 is a best-seller, and the Chronoris is equally well brought back to life for the modern age watch connoisseur.

Now, it is a limited edition so you won’t find one guaranteed. But if you do, you’re guaranteed to stand out with a unique 70’s true-to-its-era timepiece. RRP £3,050.

Tudor Heritage Chrono

Tudor Heritage Chrono in white and blue.

Final entry on today’s list is a reinterpretation of a 70’s classic, and one of my grail watches. The Heritage Chrono is a pretty chunky piece in 2022 but I’ve tried it on and can still pull it off. It screams summer, sports and the 1970’s.

From what I understand, this sexy beast is not in production any more so it might just become a sought after cult classic just like its predecessor. Snag one while you can at a mere £3,480.

70’s styled chronographs are here to stay

It’s safe to say that I’m not the only one with a sweet spot for 70’s chronos. The bold colours, funky shapes and utilitarian looks speak straight to people’s hearts and it’s easy to picture yourself in a car chase, spy movie or dive adventure when you look down at your wrist watch.

What 70’s styled chronographs did I miss? Leave a comment and let me know what watches you love from the 1970’s.

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My two grail watches

Tudor Black Bay Chrono in two tone

A grail watch is a watch collector’s term for the most desirable watch a person can think of. It’s normally an expensive watch, hard to obtain. If money or scarcity wasn’t an issue, the grail watch is the watch the person wants the most.

I have two grail watches. They are not the normal Speedy, Daytona, Submariner or Calatrava. They’re actually so unusual that I’ve never heard anyone name them as their grail watch, nor have I ever seen anyone wear one.

They’re not even that expensive. But they cost more than I’m willing to spend on a watch and for that reason they safely stay in the unattainable space and remain grail watches.

Interestingly both designs are from the 70’s and both watches are chronographs. But that’s about where the similarities end.

La Cote des Montres: The Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue watch - A reminiscent  of carefree Mediterranean warmth and glamour

Tudor Heritage Chrono

First out we have Tudor Heritage Chrono in white and blue. This sporty piece screams summer and has been a favourite of mine since 2016 or so. It can be found used for about £3,000 and part from looking gorgeous it also represents my somewhat left field, “let’s be different” attitude.

Sinn Uhren: Modell 103 St

Sinn 103 St

Second up is a watch that has sneaked into my awareness and refused to leave. Sinn 103 St is as much tool watch as any watch can be. I love the utilitarian look and this watch can be matched with so many styles and be dressed up and down and put on a large variety of straps.

I’m also a sucker for all black bezels on stainless steel watches. And acrylic domed crystals. And syringe hands. And day date complications (so handy!). Sinn 103 St has all of this and can be had used for around £1,500. If I were to ever pursue my grails, I’d probably start with the Sinn.

Some watches not far from the grails

Over the years a few other watches have captivated me as well. Maybe not as much as the grails, but they deserve honourable mentions.

  • Tudor Black Bay Chrono Two Tone – Just so freaking hot. I’m a sucker for two tone.
  • Doxa Sub 300 Professional – Here we go again with the 70’s style. Cleary my decade. Super original looks and that boxed crystal!
  • Porsche Design chronograph – More 70’s. Black steel, chrono, simply beautiful

So, what is your grail watch? Leave a comment and let me know!

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What affects the fit of a wrist watch?

When I started wearing watches I didn’t even consider what size it was. I assume a lot of people don’t until they try on a watch that is so over or under sized that it doesn’t feel right.

Well, that feeling depends on a couple of parameters in the watch. Today we’re looking at those to understand exactly what affects a wrist watch’s fit.

One would be forgiven for thinking that all that matters is the diameter (or length x width for square watches) of the watch. After all, a 44mm watch will look bigger than a 36mm watch. No one will deny that.

But what’s interesting are all the other factors that we often don’t consider until the watch is on our wrist and we feel that it’s not a good fit. To understand these factors becomes really important if we’re buying online and can’t try the watch on before we buy.

Factors that affect a watch fit on the wrist

  • Case dimensions
  • Lug to lug width
  • Lug width
  • Bracelet type
  • Watch type
  • What you’re wearing
  • Your preference
Man wearing a brown leather belt and a black leather strap. You do you. Size is spot on though.
Brown leather belt and a black leather strap. You do you. Size is spot on though.

Case dimensions

Let’s start with the obvious one – dimensions. Most men’s watches are somewhere between 30mm and 50mm wide in diameter. Those 20mm makes a huge difference. Most watches today are made around a sweet spot of 40mm, but that sweet spot tends to move. In the 50’s and 60’s watches were supposed to be discreet accessories and the sweet spot were closer to 35mm, and in the 00’s large watches were in vogue and 45mm was not uncommon.

The height is also important. Taller watches will appear larger overall. Quartz watches are usually fairly slim thanks to the compact movement, whereas mechanical watches, especially automatic with various complications like a chronograph will add visual heft.

Gloriousdays watches are on the larger side with 44mm and 46mm, but there’s also Bambijou with a more modest and unisex sized 32mm. These numbers are just guidelines to a good fit though, as you will learn as you read on.

Wrist shot of male model wearing Bambijou bamboo watch in UK.

Lug to lug width

Lug to lug refers to the length between the lugs on each side of the case. The length of the watch if you will. This measurement matters a lot and many people value this information even more than the case dimensions when they size up a watch. This is because wide “l2l” means that the watch won’t hug the wrist and will stick out when the wrist curves. This is not considered a good look by many.

Men with smaller wrists need to be aware of watches with larger lug-to-lug than 48mm. A seven inch wrist can normally get away with 50mm lug-to-lug, but then it gets tricky. Compact watches like the Seiko SKX are popular for that reason, because even with 42.5mm diameter it doesn’t feel very large because the l2l is only 46mm.

Lug width

Another easily missed detail that affects the visual impression of watch on wrist is lug width. The lug width is normally paired with the case diameter to create a harmonious flow from watch to bracelet. A 42mm watch would usually have 22mm or 20mm lugs and bracelet or strap, but a 38mm watch might have 20mm or 18mm to look proportionally right.

The wider the lug width is, the larger the strap or bracelet is going to be, and thus aid in offering wrist presence. So a 42mm watch with 20mm lugs might actually look smaller overall than a 41mm watch with 22mm lugs.

41mm Vertigo Pilot One chronograph with 22mm nato strap.

Bracelet type

Metal bracelets are chunky and will make your watch look larger. Leather, canvas and rubber straps could be chunky as well but will normally give the watch less presence.

What is more important than the material though is if the band tapers or not. Most steel bracelets tapers a few mm, whereas a nato strap for instance doesn’t, and will keep the lug width all around the wrist. This affects the impression a lot, so if you’re going for a non-tapered bracelet I’d suggest sizing down the lug width from what you normally wear.

Watch type

The style of the watch will have a huge impact on wrist presence. A dive watch for instance is normally on the larger side so it can be legible under water, but it always has a dive bezel, and because the diameter is shared by the watch face and the bezel, it appears smaller. A dress watch on the flip side is normally clean in aesthetics and the watch face goes all the way to the edge of the case. This makes it appear larger.

The shape is also important. Square watches will appear larger than round ones, so you can go down in size with confidence. Gloriousdays watches are square and large, so they will look large and proud on most wrists.

Bambu Black oversized mens bamboo watch on a male model.

What you’re wearing

It’s easy to forget that what you’re wearing can play a big part in how the watch looks on your wrist. Showing some skin is good for large watches. They normally look better paired with T-shirts than with sweatshirts. Tight shirts and jackets will make your watch look larger and baggy clothes makes the watch disappear a bit and is better paired with a large watch. For that reason it’s always to have a few watches of various sizes so you can match it with your attire.

Man in tshirt, large watch and baggy pants crouching in the street.

Your preference

In the end, how a watch fit your wrist is preference in the end. Your preference because you’re wearing it and it’s nobody’s business whether it’s a good fit or not in their opinion. There are some general guidelines, but in the end you do you and wear whatever makes you feel good. And feeling good is what Gloriousdays Bamboo Watches is all about.