Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seven Days with the Lundis Bleus

So I have a very honest confession to make.  I am in the doldrums right now and have been for awhile regarding most of the new watch brands hurtling out of the ether of crowd funding or other financial means. While there have been a few that have caught my attention, very little has really stood out.  Until now.

Lundis Bleus is the collaboration of two watch makers who met while learning their craft in La Chaux-de-Fonds back in the mid-90s.  Johan Storni and Bastien Vuilliomenet went their own ways after completing their studies, worked at their craft and nearly 20 years later, they have come together to launch their watch and I have to say that I like it.

And if I'm very honest, I like it because I'm not receiving multiple goofball press releases drenched in the hyperbole of "restoring authenticity to watchmaking..."  blah, blah, blah!

Nope!  It's a pretty straightforward proposition.  2 guys who have made some pretty impressive and expensive watches for some pretty fancy-pants brands wanted to do their own thing.  Oh, and they wanted to make those watches themselves and sell them at a fair price.

The Lundis Bleus model that was sent to me for review was the 1100-01.

Courtesy of Lundis Bleus
And it was pretty swell!

Before I go into my own rundown, here are the vital statistics -

Design specifications
The basin-shaped case band design is extended by the radius of the box type crystal on the top and the radius of the case back at the bottom. The lugs, which are a part of the case back and therefore visibly separated from the case band, enhance the basin-shaped design by giving it a subtle visual effect made of curves.The logo on the case back is emphasized by the inner colored crystal, giving a stained glass feeling to it.

Case band

Round shape. Ø40mm. Stainless steel EN1.4404 (316L). Water-resistant to 3 bar. Material indication «316L» and individual number are made by deep acid etching between the lugs. Stainless steel casing ring. The assembled watch has a total thickness on 11mm.

Crown and tube

Crown in stainless steel EN 1.4435 (316L) with 7 notches, all polished (except the micro-blasted notches). Ergonomic shape that prevents the crown from scratching the wrist and is still very easy to use.

Case back

In stainless steel EN.1.4404. Top surfaces of the lugs have a satin finish and the area around the logo is micro-blasted, the rest is all polished. «Lundis Bleus» is done by stamping. The logo is made by cutting and then is soldered. The case back is assembled to the case band by 4 screws in stainless steel.

Top crystal
Domed box type shape in sapphire. Ø37.65mm for a total thickness of 4mm to the apex. Both sides hard, colorless, and have multi-layered anti-reflective coating. Press-fitted on a non-visible I-ring. 

Bottom crystal

Flat shape in hardened mineral glass. Colored in blue from the block. Press-fitted from the inside of the case back on a non-visible I-ring and held in place by a stainless steel ring.

Double plate design (in brass). Plates in galvanic silver plating. All applied parts have a galvanic rhodium plating. Bottom plate with grained pattern made by stamping. Upper plate cut and decorated with a circular satin finish. Domed circular applied logo, Ø4.00mm. 12 stick-shaped applied indices. Polished applied date window at 6 o’clock. Polished applied central chimney used to enhance the lateral view on hand-fitting. Date disc with specific Lundis Bleus font and background color matching dial main color. Minute track is pad printed in a dark matte grey varnish. Opening of Ø33.00mm. 


Flat cut hour and minute hands, in brass, with galvanic rhodium plating. Skeleton type with specific Lundis Bleus shape. Flat cut central second hand with long counterweight, in brass, with galvanic rhodium plating.

Leather strap

Width 19mm, straight. Long part 115mm, short part 77mm. Rembordé construction (turned-in) without stitching. Large fixed loop and narrow removable loop. Top surface in taupe color split cowhide leather. Lining in electric blue color split cowhide leather. 8 holes.

Tongue buckle

Stainless steel EN1.4404 (316L). Top surface with satin finish, sides polished and back microblasted. The sides are slightly sloped echoing the lugs.

Japanese Miyota 9015, automatic unidirectional winding. 111/2’’’ (Ø25.60mm, thickness of 3,90mm, hand-fitting excluded). Autonomy of 42h for the watch fully wound and not worn. Theoretically the automatic watch has an endless autonomy if it’s regularly worn. 24 jewels. 28’800 vibrations/hour. (4Hz). Oscillating weight with specific pad printing done at the workshop. Rate accuracy checked and adjusted at the workshop to +-10seconds/day. 

Your Lundis Bleus watch is covered for 5 years again manufacturing defects. The first overhaul is free of charge and must be requested within the 5 years period. Your watch is delivered along with its engraved stainless steel warranty card. 

And that last seemingly small print item - the warranty - is actually where I want to start.  Think about that for a minute - a 5 year warranty!  A five year warranty is a very real statement about how much a brand is standing behind what they are selling.  Most do 2 years, a growing number of so-called micro brands offer 1 year.   Five years is something that really sets Lundis Bleus apart.

The Lundis Bleus is very good looking watch.  And a lot of this is down to design. The dial is in many ways the star of the watch.  It is described as a double plate design, and is crafted of brass.  The textured finish of the inner dial is wonderfully counterbalanced by the outer ring.  The textural difference actually adds a very soothing feel to the face itself.  The date is not a mere cut-out but a proper window at 6 o'clock.

The watch was incredibly comfortable to wear.  It sits well on the wrist, and owing to the curvature of the lugs, it sits snugly and securely on the wrist but the smooth finish of the lugs, case and crown ensures a truly pleasant wearing experience.  

The case back is really a treat for the eyes as well.  It is stainless steel with a great depiction of the Lundis Bleus logo (which reminds me of the Brussels Atomium).  In fact, the logo is based on the alcohol at the molecular level -

Courtesy of Lundis Bleus

What does alcohol have to do with Lundis Bleus?  More than you might think, but will get back to that.  Surrounding the logo are the words Lunds Bleus.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Although the case back is not solid, the display crystal is blue hued mineral crystal.  You can glimpse the self-winding Miyota movement.

Wait - you said Miyota?  Yes watch fans, a pair of Swiss watch makers are using a Japanese movement that has been gaining fans as more and more "micro" and not-so-micro brands began using them.  And so far the feedback has been very, very positive.

To be honest, my experience with the movement was unremarkable.  And I mean that in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY.  It was pretty much a "set it and forget it" experience.  It ran flawlessly.  I'd love to share more, but frankly when a watch functions as well as this one did, there isn't really much to share other than satisfaction.

So getting back to alcohol and Lundis Bleus...

well, no.  You're going to have to visit their site to learn more about it ; )

But the unvarnished truth is that this is a wonderfully charming watch.  It is good looking, wears comfortably, and is priced very well.  You could go and spend a bunch more money, get a watch almost as good with a sports star or model telling you to buy it.  And get 24 months of warranty...

I view Lundis Bleus a lot like I used to view ochs und junior when they were getting started.  A fun brand with a great story and a real sense of what their customers might want and be interested in.  Some watches and brands are great for the masses.  And that's fine.  When it comes to folks who love watches, some find comfort in the obvious, and some of us look for those things that are out of the ordinary.  I could put it more bluntly - if you like being spoon fed, led by the hand, marketed (and sometimes condescended to) like a sheep?  Well then this might not be your baby.  But otherwise, I think you could do a lot worse for 1,350 Swiss Francs.

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