Boldr Venture Blue FuelJamie Weiss
I’m of the opinion that no proper watch collection is complete without a field watch. Simple, practical, rugged… Field watches make perfect daily wearers. The problem? You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to field watches. But not that many are made out of titanium – which is strange, as titanium is in many ways the ideal material for a field watch and a material that’s commonly used in all sorts of military equipment. It just makes sense.
Enter the Venture from Singaporean microbrand Boldr Supply Co., which isn’t just one of only a handful of titanium field watches on the market but arguably the best-value titanium watch on the market full stop. I’ve long suggested the Boldr Venture to friends and family looking for a tough, stylish and capable field watch, but until recently, I’d never had the chance to wear one for an extended period of time. Until now, that is. I’ve been wearing a Boldr Venture – specifically in ‘Blue Fuel’ – for just over two weeks now, to see if this almost-unbelievably affordable field watch really lives up to the hype.
Less is more
The thing that really struck me about the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel is how pure and unique its design is. Unlike most field watches, it features an oblique 38mm cushion-shaped case, which makes it feel particularly modern – like something a current serviceman or woman would wear (even if most mechanical field watches are a bit of an anachronism). Its uniformly sandblasted finish adds to that contemporary feel. Form follows function: it’s an exceptionally clean design but one that’s clearly differentiated from other field watches.
The colour scheme of this Blue Fuel model, which features a petrol blue dial and strap, really complements the dark hue of the Venture’s titanium case, too. It’s quite dressy – as dressy as a field watch can be, I suppose. If, like me, you wear a lot of blue (especially denim), you’ll find the Venture Blue Fuel to be a particularly versatile accessory.
The Boldr Venture Blue Fuel’s dial is also executed to a very high standard, with crisp applied numerals and minute track, syringe-shaped hands and a date window at 4 o’clock – which is even colour-matched to the dial. This is a little touch that watches ten times as expensive as the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel don’t bother with; it’s a real bugbear of mine and it’s nice to see Boldr go that extra mile with that small detail.
Under the hood beats a Seiko NH35, a workhorse movement that you’ll often see in microbrand watches – it’s nothing special, but again, you’re getting a titanium field watch with 200m water-resistance, a sapphire crystal and an automatic movement for A$550. That’s crazy money.
Pleasant little surprises
The Boldr Venture Blue Fuel’s price tag is a pleasant enough surprise on its own, but I found that beyond its prima facie value, there are plenty of little design choices that’ll impress you. Case in point: its lume. The Boldr Venture uses Japanese C3 Superlume, which is unbelievably bright. We were all pretty taken aback in the office when we shone a lume torch on this bad boy in the dark – I can’t recall the last time I saw lume that bright on a watch.
Slip the NATO strap off the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel and you’ll also find a fun X-shaped artwork made up of inspirational phrases about adventure. Other bits of visual flair, like the crown and date window at 4 o’clock and the Boldr ‘b’ logo counterweighing the seconds hand, also give the Boldr Venture a bit of character.
It’s gauche to harp on about a watch’s price but I think it’s entirely warranted with the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel. I don’t know how Boldr does it for the money: it ticks so many boxes and features a level of fit and finish that embarrasses just about any watch in its price bracket.
The only thing I can really critique the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel on is its NATO strap. It’s got titanium hardware, which is a plus, but the fabric just feels a bit cheap. But again, this is an affordable watch. The buck’s gotta stop somewhere. Also, that strap does balloon the thickness of the watch out to 14mm, which is pretty tall – but that’s also par for the course for watches with pass-through NATO straps. If you’ve got bigger wrists like me, you won’t be bothered by it – nor will you find its comparatively small 38mm diameter too titchy, either.
In general, I was utterly impressed by the Boldr Venture Blue Fuel. It’s a total no-brainer if you’re looking for a field watch, especially if you’re looking for one to wear around the city as much as the bush.
Boldr Venture Blue Fuel pricing and availability
The Boldr Venture Blue Fuel is available now from the Time+Tide Shop. Price: A$550.
|Boldr Supply Co.
|Venture Blue Fuel
|38mm (D) x 12mm (T) x 44mm (LTL)
|200 metres, screw-down crown
|Sapphire, anti-reflective coating
|Matte petrol blue, applied C3 Superlume
|NATO with titanium hardware
|Seiko (SII) NH35A, automatic
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date