It seems like every week, another Kickstarter microbrand comes forward with its own take on a diving watch. Some of these are more successful than others, but the one certainty is that in order to stand out, companies have to increasingly think outside the box. AUDRIC Watches have done so with the home-run combination of outrageous value for money and exciting, bold design. In fact, the AUDRIC SeaBorne 500 M doesn’t just take the fight to the best of the microbrand world, but challenges the greats of established Swiss names, too.
The main thing to understand about the SeaBorne 500 M is that it’s an absolute spec monster for its price. Compared with the big-brand Swiss divers up to double its RRP, the elements and features are equal, if not improved.
You get the often-found Sellita SW200-1, a movement that can be found powering watches from the likes of Oris, Baume & Mercier, Bell & Ross, Sinn and many more.
On top of the components level, the manufacturing complexity is also elevated above its pay grade, with the inclusion of a double-domed sapphire crystal, luminous sapphire bezel insert, and an incredible 22mm 5-link solid steel bracelet, with a perlage-decorated milled clasp that has three levels of micro-adjust plus a quick-release extension. The addition of a Rolex-style helium escape valve allows the SeaBorne to plunge to its titular depths of 50ATM, without adding any more bulk to the case.
That list of specifications may seem impressive, but then you also have to consider the achievements of the design. It’s easy to fall into the trap of putting great parts into an homage design, or make a wild design as cheaply as possible, but AUDRIC manages to pull off the best of both worlds. The most obvious standout of the watch is the dial, at first appearing as a lush sunburst finish, but upon closer inspection reveals itself as a fine guilloché.
Each dial colour variant is equally stunning, from the standard black, the sleek silver, electric blue, pale green, and my personal favourite, oxblood red. No matter your choice, however, you’re treated to the multicolour chapter ring. Not only does this add a fun, colourful character to the watch, but it also acts as a primitive depth gauge, as the water’s absorption of different light frequencies will gradually dull the colours the deeper you go.
The dial’s tricks don’t end there, with its sandwich construction creating an incredible sense of depth beneath the crystal. While the luminous hour markers are applied to the face, each minute marker has a small dot of dial removed, allowing the glowing paint to shine up from beneath and light the dial like a torch. Masses of blue-toned BGW9 adorn the hands too, meaning that the SeaBorne won’t lose any of its legibility after dark.
From front-on, the case definitely appears chunky, but it’s not until you see it from side-on that its uniqueness is shown. The case sides are strongly sculpted, with heavy brushed surfaces interrupted by small areas of high-polish, giving great contrast for light to bounce around it. The crown guards are very well integrated into the case, leading down into a satin chiselled section which almost looks sandblasted. This is all complemented by the cog-shaped crown and bezel, offering exceptional grip for ease of twisting or screwing. One thing to be wary of is the size, as this diver embraces what it means to be big. A diameter of 43mm may not seem like too much, but the crown guards and 51mm lug-to-lug length demands a solid amount of wrist beneath it to remain stable. That said, the lugs are curved quite extremely, so it’s unlikely to hang off an average wrist too much.
There’s so much more to say about this watch, but the AUDRIC SeaBorne 500 M offers some of the most exceptional value for $1000USD that can be had, and is certainly a contender to stand amongst the giants of microbrands we’ve seen rise up in recent years. Little touches, like the luminous logo on the signed crown, engraved turtle caseback and the funky coloured chapter ring, are exactly what will help this model stand out amongst the torrent of three-hand divers on offer nowadays. If it was 40mm diameter and 48mm lug-to-lug, I could see this model being an absolute favourite of the growing watch community. Though the Kickstarter campaign has already been fully funded, you can visit AUDRIC Watches’ Indiegogo for more details.
AUDRIC SeaBorne 500 M price and availability:
The AUDRIC SeaBorne 500 M is US$750 and is available for pre-orders, with orders shipping in December. For more details, click here.