HANDS-ON: The Briston Streamliner Urban and its retro-modern inspirationFergus Nash
After working for lofty brands such as Cartier, Baume & Mercier, and Zenith, Brice Jaunet needed to forge his own path. Briston was founded to be the culmination of his experience, as well as a blend of French and British styles to represent both his homeland and university days. Small watch brands can sometimes struggle to find an identity of their own, especially on the affordable end of the market, however, Briston have capitalised well on a truly unique case philosophy. The Briston Streamliner Urban kicks things in a much sportier direction while retaining their signature flair.
The Briston Streamliner Urban sets out to make an impression, and it does so through many avenues. Firstly, the silhouette of the case lies somewhere between tonneau and rectangular, with an inverse set of lugs for an integrated strap effect. It strays towards a sporty chic, grabbing attention without seeming overly garish. The finishing backs this up with largely brushed surfaces, allowing the small section of polish along the bezel’s edge to really shine. Briston’s defining feature as a brand is their use of acetate in cases, often opting for tortoiseshell colourings to evoke a nice pair of glasses. Its use isn’t as extensive here on the Streamliner Urban, but the acetate wings on either side of the case do add a distinctive charm.
All of Brice Jaunet’s knowledge is easily seen through the dimensions of the Briston Streamliner Urban, as they ride the line between bold and comfortable well. The main width of the case is 40mm, while the lugs stretch out to 47.5mm to nicely suit an average wrist. The thickness of 12.8mm accommodates the automatic movement as well as the multi-tiered case design without too much trouble.
Besides the use of a brushed steel bezel, the Briston Streamliner Urban achieves its streetwear vibe mainly through the dial. The waffle pattern is deeply textured, with a stamped guilloché base and smoother finish to the square surfaces for a bit of contrast. The Arabic numerals at the even intervals use a stencil typeface, giving off an air of military or even sci-fi. The futuristic themes also travel throughout the skeletonised hands, with easily distinguished sections of lume for the hours and minutes. The baton hour markers on the odd intervals are actually recessed into the chapter ring, which is marked for accurate timing and legibility.
The Streamliner Urban is quite true to its name, and its appearance is further streamlined thanks to the symmetrical date display at 6 o’clock. You can see that we got our hands on the white-dialled model, however Briston also offer references in various shades of black, blue, green, as well as cases with a rose gold PVD coating.
As the Briston Streamliner Urban has a rather unique strap system, it’s a good thing that it’s available with two solid options for versatile wear. The first and more affordable option is a vulcanised rubber strap displaying the Briston shield and sporty ridges, which is great for casual character. A more robust option is the solid steel bracelet, with an all-brushed H-link design and costing an extra €100. The rubber options are colour-matched to each dial, with black serving the white dial variant as well.
Powering the Briston Streamliner Urban and visible from the display caseback is the Seiko NH35 — one of, if not the most, popular movements for affordable watches in the world. Known for its reliability, these movements offer pretty much everything you could want from a mechanical movement including automatic or hand-winding, hacking seconds, quick-set dates, and a decent accuracy. They’re also very accessible, so you or a watchmaker can adjust the balance to improve the timekeeping further. Should anything go wrong, it can even be cheaper to replace the whole movement with a new one than to service it, but serviceable components are easily sourced all around the world. It operates at 21,600 vibrations per hour, and has a power reserve of around 41 hours.
The Briston Streamliner Urban pricing and availability:
The Briston Streamliner Urban is now available from the brand’s website. Price: €460 (rubber strap), €560 (steel bracelet).
|Case Dimensions||40mm (D) x 47.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel and acetate|
|Water Resistance||50 metres|
|Dial||White, black ,blue, grey or green|
|Strap||Integrated vulcanised rubber or steel bracelet|
|Movement||Seiko NH35, automatic|
|Power Reserve||41 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Price||€460 (on rubber)
€560 (on bracelet)