The Bōken Nomad combines grade 2 titanium and a Swiss-made movement

The Bōken Nomad combines grade 2 titanium and a Swiss-made movement

Borna Bošnjak

Like many new microbrands, Bōken was created from a desire to do good in an industry that has only recently become interested in conservation efforts, alongside making great watches, of course. Built with a brushed titanium case and housed in a contemporary cushion shape, the Bōken Nomad takes a premium position within the microbrand realm by being Swiss-made. What is even more commendable, Bōken is pledging to donate £50 for each Nomad sold to the Just One Ocean foundation, an organisation supporting a variety of ocean conservation projects.

boken nomad ember blaze rubber strap

The Nomad is available in four different dial variations, each a fitting pairing with the clear ’60s and ’70s case inspiration. The bright yellow and orange revive the funkiness of the era that spawned many colourful divers, while the white and blue models offer a more restrained take. I was really surprised to find no black dial option, which is usually a no-brainer when it comes to launching your first-ever watch. Seeing the colourways available, however – I can’t say I miss it, with great variety on show. All of the dials are accented by a steep white rehaut containing the minute markings, matched by the white infill of the bold indices and hands. The bezels have a distinctly chunky coin edge, with black ceramic diver scales, with the exception of one of the two white-dialled Nomads sporting a dial-matching insert. Finally, all of the dial variants come with black-on-white date wheels.

boken nomad midnight sapphire lume rubber strap

Bōken’s intentions for the Nomad are clearly tool-oriented as shown by the chunky bezel, and further proven by the generous application of SuperLuminova. The one thing that does detract from the tool-tastic experience is the overly large Bōken 1988 branding and spec sheet below the pinion – I’d really love to see the size and amount of this printing pared back a touch.

boken nomad arctic frost 1

Apart from the subjective appearance of the Nomad, it’s biggest selling point will certainly be the titanium case – in this instance being the grade 2 variety. Completely brushed in appearance, it’s on the bigger side, at 42mm in diameter and 48.5mm lug-to-lug. Considering the 13.4mm thickness and titanium construction, however, I wouldn’t expect it to wear overbearingly large, as its proportions are well-considered. As the Nomads’ dials suggest, the watches are rated to 300 metres of water resistance, meaning that they’ll have no issues with pretty much any water activity you throw at them.

boken nomad collection

It’s also worth mentioning that the Nomad is accompanied by both a brushed, grade 2 titanium bracelet and a dial-matching rubber strap with titanium hardware. The bracelet is a very simple three-link construction finished in a double security pusher clasp that Bōken calls a T-Fit, though I wouldn’t expect on-the-fly adjustability as Tudor’s namesake. Both the bracelet and straps have quick-release spring bars, making swapping between them much easier – something that should honestly be standard across the entire industry.

In my opinion, this is one way microbrands can easily get an upper hand on opposition, as the alternative strap option is often higher quality than we see with many mainstream brands at this entry-level luxury price point. Furthermore, the lug width is 22mm, so you’ll have no trouble finding aftermarket options – just imagine the orange-dialled Ember Blaze on a cool Isofrane number.

boken nomad movement caseback

Finally, the movement, and likely the biggest contributor to the Swiss-madeness of the Nomad. I’ve got to give props to Bōken for openly stating just how Swiss-made their watches are, sitting at 60%, which isn’t something we see often, especially from budding brands looking to make a name for themselves. The Nomad is powered by a Sellita SW200, the entry-level option for a Swiss calibre, with a 4Hz beat rate and a 38-hour power reserve. While you’re not likely to have any issues with performance or expensive servicing considering its “workhorse” status, the SW200 is met with some very harsh competition at this price, though the titanium construction strap should also be considered here.

Bōken Nomad pricing and availability

The Bōken Nomad will be available for pre-orders on Kickstarter starting October 15th, 19:00 BST. Price: £995 (pre-orders), £1,395 (retail price)

Brand Bōken
Model Nomad
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 13.5mm (T) x 48.5mm (T)
Case Material Grade 2 titanium
Water Resistance 300 metres
Crystal(s) AR-coated sapphire
Dial Yellow, orange, white, blue
Strap Colour-matched rubber with grade 2 titanium buckle
Grade 2 titanium bracelet, titanium clasp
Movement Sellita SW200, automatic
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability October 15th, for pre-orders
Price £995 (pre-orders)
£1,395 (retail price)