Stealthy, all-rounded, utilitarian, stylish, versatile… I could give you any amount of words to describe just how much we love the BOLDR Expedition, but I believe the most suitable description here is ‘exceptional’, simply because it speaks volumes about what the Expedition is, and how BOLDR Supply Co has evolved as a brand in recent years.
To me, BOLDR Supply Co has evolved into a brand that requires no further introduction within our ever-growing watch community, let alone in the highly competitive world of microbrands. At this point, I am positive that both microbrand and casual watch enthusiasts alike would no longer be strangers to BOLDR’s well-executed, utilitarian-centric designs. Five months ago, with some help from my good friend, Isa from the BOLDR team, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Expedition in my favourite colour variant – the Expedition ‘Kilimanjaro’. Before we dive into the review though, I’d like to express my gratitude to the BOLDR team for allowing me to spend a solid five months with this watch. Without dwelling too much on introductions then, here’s a long-term wear report on some of the elements of the Expedition which stood out to me.
I think BOLDR has found the perfect balance of ruggedness in its design; it’s sleek, sexy, with just the right amount of “boldness” from the contrast on the dial.
Design and variations
A quick visit to the BOLDR website reveals six different colour variations for the Expedition, all named after world-renowned mountains – Kilimanjaro, Everest, Eiger, Rainer, Fuji and Rushmore. I thought this was a very clever move from BOLDR, as it nicely demonstrates the virtues of exploration and adventure so dearly championed by the brand. Though the only real difference between the variants is the use of different colour combinations, they are distinct enough such that each variant has its own individual character.
Due to my own affinity for stealthy-looking cases and blue dials, I found both the Kilimanjaro and Everest variants to be quite the pleasers in my books, as they both possess somewhat ‘iconic’ looks due to the clever use of colour. If BOLDR were to ask me to choose one Expedition variant to headline the lineup, it would have to be either one of these. The overall heft of the Expedition’s case and intricacies found on its dial also really spoke to me from a design standpoint. Despite the Expedition possessing a rather ‘aggressive’ vibe, it is never overdone, instead it is expressed in a very articulate yet subdued manner. A standout is the Expedition’s relatively conservative case diameter (41mm), making it suitable for the wrists of both genders. With the Expedition, BOLDR has come up with a near-perfect equilibrium of design, which is why I firmly believe that the Expedition stands to be BOLDR’s strongest offering to date.
The Expedition’s inner-bezel feature serves to remind us that watches with such a characteristic are somewhat of a different breed. For most people today, the presence of a bezel, external or otherwise, merely serves as a time-elapsed function. From that perspective, the inner bezel design, as found on the Expedition, is no different to the more commonly seen external bezel design. Obviously, with the internal design, you simply operate the bezel by turning the specially marked screw-down crown at the 2 o’clock position.
Personally, I’m partial to the internal design as I find it to be that much more intriguing and unique compared with the standard external bezel found on most dive watches. There is a distinctive appeal with the internal design as it is a little bit off-the-beaten-path (and arguably a bit more stylish), another reason why I love the Expedition so much. Also, with the internal design, you won’t need to worry as much about misalignment or damage to the bezel, cosmetic or otherwise.
Throughout the past five months, the people who noticed me with the Expedition generally made remarks about how its dial was busy and contained too many elements. Fortunately for me though, that wasn’t the case, because if one were to consider the Expedition’s spirit of adventure, and the fact that the original inspiration for its design had a practical function to it, I’m certain that you would agree with me when I say that the dial’s layout is appropriately balanced for what it is.
Another feature I enjoyed was the small 24-hour indicators printed on the inner side of the hour markers, showing only the odd numbers. They work well for filling up the blank spaces between the main numerals, and frankly they look pretty good because they give the dial a very balanced and symmetrical look.
Caseback and Movement
The caseback is equipped with a sapphire crystal, laser-etched with custom artwork of a contouring pattern belonging to an unnamed mountain. This allows you a peek into the inner workings of the Expedition. Perhaps BOLDR could have taken this feature a step further by laser etching an image of the individual mountain (or perhaps contours of that specific mountain the watch is named after, if that’s possible?) after which the watches were named.
Behind the exhibition caseback, the Expedition is powered by a humble Swiss Sellita calibre SW200-1, which features a hacking seconds hand and a power reserve of 38 hours along with Diashock support.
What can I say? The lume on the Expedition was no less than outstanding in terms of legibility due to the two-tone colour combination, with blue lume on the numerals and hands, and green lume for the other indices. Not only was it very visually appealing under low-light conditions, it also created a good one-two punch in terms of visual impact.
Another one of my favourite features of the Expedition is the strap that comes along with it. Being very particular about straps, it is appropriate and thoughtful for BOLDR to not have skimped on this component, unlike many other makers out there. The strap material was comfortable and from I could observe, durable as well. It’s made out of canvas and lined with padded calf leather to prevent skin from coming in contact with its semi-abrasive surface, which promotes better overall wrist comfort. The brass eyelets are a great touch and they really do add to the longevity of the strap (so you can say goodbye to worn-out hole linings!). Clearly, BOLDR’s attention to this fine little detail speaks volumes about the brand’s meticulous approach to building its watches.
I wrote in the introduction that I like the Expedition the most out of all of their current offerings. Why? Well, as a guy with a relatively small wrists, I find the Expedition to be a lot friendlier to my wrist compared with most of BOLDR’s other releases. I believe this could be attributed to the Expedition’s case size and impeccable proportions, thanks in no small part to the clever implementation of its inner bezel. With the Expedition, I think BOLDR has found the perfect balance of ruggedness in its design; it’s sleek, sexy, with just the right amount of “boldness” (pun intended) from the contrast on the dial. And to top it off, the Expedition’s stealthy and tactical aesthetic reminds me of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver, a watch I am personally very fond of. With the release of the Expedition though, I may have just found the perfect affordable alternative.
I would’ve said it a million times at this point, but I will say it again – out of all BOLDR’s previous and current releases, the Expedition is, to me, their strongest offering to date. Through my ‘wrist time’ spent with the BOLDR Expedition over the past five months, I still can’t get over just how wearable the Expedition is. It’s simply impressive.
If you’re looking for an everyday watch, or even a watch meant solely for your outdoor adventures, the Expedition is a watch that should be right up your alley, and one that you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on, period.
The Expedition is currently on sale for USD499 and available on their website.
Thanks for reading! See you all soon!
For Team Matick,