The SEA SPIRIT by REVERIE WATCHES
First things first – a big thank you to the founder of Reverie Watches, Samuel, for your patience and for granting us the opportunity to experience the Sea-Spirit in the flesh. Our time with the Sea-Spirit has given us some invaluable insight into the brand and its design philosophy, which is something we will be discussing to some extent today. Before jumping right into the content, I would like to apologize for the untimely delay in posting this review; it was entirely my fault for not being able to foresee my hard-pressed workload. Just to make it up to everyone, we decided to talk about the Sea-Spirit in a bit more detail than usual.
Thanks again Samuel, just want to emphasize that we really appreciate this opportunity.
So let’s get to it!
Aesthetics, overall design and concept
I had a short discussion with Marshall and we came to the conclusion that whenever we look at the Sea-Spirit, we automatically associate it with wristwatches from the 1930s which utilize a cushion case design, which is quite a desirable design cue because I believe it adds to the wearability of the watch. Apart from that, I do like the guilloché pattern on the dial as it shimmers quite wonderfully under different shades and angles of light.
On top of that, you don’t actually see a lot of watches in this price bracket with such detailed and meticulous dial layouts. For that reason I feel that the adoption of the cushion case design coupled with a modern looking dial in some way contributed in the exceptional wearability for many different styles and occasions (see ‘wearability’ below for elaborated discussion).
The watch comes in a rather nice-looking leather case. I didn’t really like the somewhat uneven cut-outs of suede-like lining which are glued to the upper-tab of the case. The front section of the case is hollow; be prepared to see dents over time due to the force from repeated opening and closing of the tab. Practically speaking, one needs to be very careful with this and use only a teeny bit of force when doing so.
The Sea-Spirit’s case is easily transportable. As it is only able to accommodate a single timepiece, I wouldn’t recommend it as a watch travel-case if you bring multiple watches out and about.
Case, finishing and dimensions
The case of the Sea-Spirit is constructed from 316L stainless steel and has a satin finish on the topside of the lugs. The rest of the case is polished to a mirror-like finish. That being said, I felt rather conflicted when it came to the overall construction and feel of its case.
Why? You may ask. In my eyes the overall construction of proportions of the case (Sea-Spirit) projects different images under different angles of light, there are certainly some instances where the projection of the light on certain angles would produce a very desirable looking shade around the area of the bezel and the lugs (see the pics), but there were also certain times where overexposure of light onto the watch would make the overall construction look shoddy – I think it’s got to do with the mirror-polished finishing around the entire case, which I am not a fan of. But objectively speaking, the sturdiness of the case is acceptable in this price range.
The Sea-Spirit measures 41mm in diameter and 47mm from lug to lug. 40 – 41mm seems to be the sweet spot for most modern wrists, including yours truly, so no complaints there. The Sea-Spirit’s pillow case styling sits nicely on most wrists and this undoubtedly contributes to its wearability. The Sea-Spirit also features a water resistance rating of 10ATM which is equivalent to 100 metres underwater.
The Sea-Spirit utilizes a Citizen calibre, a Miyota 8218 movement, which is an automatic non-hacking movement with a 40-hour power reserve, as well as the ubiquitous hours, minutes, date calendar function and a seconds sub-dial at the 4 o’clock position. The 8218 is a solid movement and to the best of my knowledge, at the time of writing, Reverie is the only known brand to utilize this calibre in their Sea-Spirit line.
Strangely, there was what appears to be some minor cosmetic damage on the movement itself. Close examination of the area around the centre pinion reveals some light scratches; I also noticed a little smudge on the rotor. These minor imperfections likely comes from the watchmaker himself and perhaps his tools.
UPDATE: It appears that we weren’t the only ones who experienced this issue. Apparently, Federico (a fellow watch enthusiast and a YouTuber) also encountered the exact same problem with his unit. You can check out his video review here.
Inspiration and Origin Story
After reading the press pack that was provided on their website, apparently it seems that the design of the Sea-Spirit was inspired by seafaring adventure. The ‘signature’ guilloché texture on the dial represents the ocean waves and the sub-dial takes after a nautical gauge. On top of that, the additional strap mirrors the sailcloth material used on sails.
Many of you may know this already, but I am a sucker for a good story when it comes to watches. I’ve always had a thing for brands with genuine inspiration, and I think that an inspiring origin story is definitely a plus for brand image. I’m not so sure about Reverie here: did their inspiration come from a personal connection between the founder and seafaring, or was it an artistic illustration to show that Singapore is essentially an island surrounded by the Indian ocean? This is definitely an element worth exploring.
With all that being said, this is not something that the casual watch enthusiast needs to be overly worried about. I just think that it would be great if Reverie is able to help its consumers and fans understand its direction and origin story. By making such a connection, I think that consumers and fans of Reverie will experience a significantly deeper sense of appreciation for the brand and its watches in general.
Strap and buckle
I personally like the CSC design function on the deployant strap, this particular system really makes it easy for strap changing and definitely convenient for those who are not too familiar with using spring bar tools. In addition to that, the leather on the strap feels like a very good quality strap, I also love the little detail on the ‘Reverie’ signed buckle. The additional sailcloth strap is also a nice touch to the overall package as an effort to reflect on the identity of the watch itself. Good stuff.
Looking at the Sea-Spirit, one cannot help but associate its case design with older vintage watches, but with a modern twist. Watches that project this sort of ‘modern-vintage’ vibe tend to work very well with modern fashion sensibilities, and the Sea-Spirit undoubtedly embodies that sort of character. Dressed up or dressed down, it will always be appropriate for the occasion. Again, this contributes to the Sea-Spirit being an extremely wearable watch for most occasions. Kudos to that!
According to the website, the Sea-Spirit comes in a limited production quantity of 125 pieces in each variation (blue and black). At this point of our review, the blue variation has already been sold out. Anyway, I still like the fact that Reverie decided to make it a limited production piece, so definitely more plus points for that.
As I have already mentioned in the above under the ‘case and movement’ heading, the finishing on the case left me sitting on the fence, as I believe that there is much more to be desired. I believe that only standard round cases would look good with a completely polished look. I think Reverie should consider implementing more layers of different finishing on its 1930s inspired cushion case to give it a more sophisticated overall finish.
I am not particularly fond of the overall combination of the Sea-Spirit’s case and dial layout due to the fact that it reminds me too much of the Longines Heritage 1935 model, but that is my own subjective opinion. From a regular consumer’s standpoint, there is definitely appeal in the Sea-Spirit’s ‘modern-vintage’ vibe, which contributes to its versatility and wearability.
A major drawback for me is the lack of luminous numerals. This leaves much to be desired, especially for a nautical-themed watch and at this price point.
In regards to the visible cosmetic damage on the movement, perhaps a higher level of standard of care is in order – something Reverie should take note of.
I believe that Reverie, though requiring improvement in some areas, has much potential as a watch company. Though I can’t say if this was Samuel’s intended purpose of the brand, the fact is Reverie still lacks presence in the microbrand watch scene, and this might detract potential customers.
Despite the room for improvement in some areas, it is safe to say that the Sea-Spirit is a solid piece regardless. Although not necessarily suiting my specific preferences, the Sea-Spirit will appeal to its intended audience due its clever use of iconic design cues such as the cushion-style case and the guilloché finishing on the dial, a feature you probably won’t find from many microbrands in this price segment; that style of finishing is a reflection of the Sea-Spirit’s character, living up to its name, the ‘Reverie’.
The Sea-Spirit is an extremely wearable piece for all occasions and I have no qualms in recommending it as an entry level acquisition for microbrand enthusiasts, as well as individuals who are looking for an affordable timepiece with a slightly unorthodox design and branding.
Design and fun factor: 4/5 timeless case design, interesting guilloché texture on the dial
Built quality: 3.5/5 leaves much to be desired.
Movement: 4/5 relatively reliable and solid Miyota 8218
Wearability: 5/5 extremely wearable with any outfit and look.
Affordability: 4/5 relatively affordable for a microbrand.
Currently the Sea-Spirit come only in black, which can be found here, and it is on sale for 380 USD as opposed to its original price of 420 USD.
By Meor and Marshall,