Spinnaker Bradner Review: Vintage-Inspired Dive watch

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2019)

Based on my experience with dive watches, we’ve come up with this Spinnaker Bradner review. Considering the budget-friendly approach, bold and quirky design, packed with automatic and unique qualities, the Bradner is easily one of the best models produced by Spinnaker to date.

Spinnaker named the watch after Hugh Bradner, an American physicist and diving pioneer who worked in the Manhattan Project, where they created the first Atomic bomb during World War II. Using neoprene wetsuit, he solved the issues with diving in cold water for long periods. As an homage to this great man, every detail on the Spinnaker Bradner reflects his ingenious solution.

Today, Spinnaker is a reputable brand known for making attractive timepieces for enthusiasts or collectors looking for something different. Unlike other watch brands, it uses the wetsuit, and a compressor-style bezel meant for Scuba diving. Although there are some arguments that the Spinnaker Bradner collection only looks and feels like a dive gadget. Regardless, the watch is suitable for snorkeling, swimming, and definitely your fun weekend getaways.

Pros – Spinnaker Bradner Review

  • Quality Build up
  • High water resistant
  • Reliable movement
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Affordable price

Cons – Spinnaker Bradner Review

  • A bit ill-fitted at the lugs
  • Limited dive ability
  • Hard to turn the bezel

Benefits / Drawbacks – Spinnaker Bradner Review

One of Spinnaker Bradner’s charm is the vintage design and yet modern look of the watch. The impression is not to follow the usual style of most dive watches in the market. It has a unique and alluring look that you can easily spot from far away.

While we can always speak about the watch aesthetic value, the dial, case, bezel, strap, and movement contributes to the quality build-up of the timepiece.

Engaging Dial

The colors on the Bradner’s dial are striking and appealing. If you are one of us that enjoys watches with visible and large hands, you are in luck. The first noticeable feature on the dial is the thick and upfront hands. They are sturdy and bulky, especially the hour hand with a rectangular design near its tip. It looks almost like Chevrolet’s logo – a famous car brand. Speaking about logos, the Spinnaker’s name in a cursive font is under 12 o’clock. There is also a date window 3 o’clock on the dial.

As a result of the raised hour markers, when you view the dial from the doom sapphire crystal glass, it gives a textured, three-dimensional look to the timepiece. Instead of the intervals marked on the dial like in most watches, it’s applied to a ring. Also, another mentionable feature that partners well with the black dial is the LumiNova coating. In dark conditions, the light blue on black proves effective. Pointing to the numerals on the dial are sizable square and rectangle markers with enough space to hold the lume. In a way, it adds to the visibility of the watch. The second hand is not left out; it has a little lume dot on end.

Asides this, the outer ring displays the numbers in dark silver color at 5 minutes intervals. The combination of the black dial background, silver outer ring, and yellow polygon index go well together. Every detail has something significantly different to contribute to the good looks as well as the brawniness of the watch.

Comfortable Case

At a diameter of 42mm, Bradner’s compressor-style case is perfect for the watch. It sits well on the curved lugs to keep the timepiece comfortable on your wrist, especially when you have large wrists. Bradner’s 17cm circumference takes quite a lot of space on the wrist. This is barely a disadvantage since it does not create an overwhelming presence. Instead, it exposes the welcoming sight of the dial. The case has brushed finishing on most parts of it with a few polished pieces in some other areas.

The height sits tall at 14mm, elevating the casing from the back, which asides water use, it’s also great for casual wear. There are some arguments on how the height makes the watch look awkward in formal dress situations, especially with long sleeves. The inner-rotating bezel protrudes and requires the crystal glass to have a slightly bigger curve. It gives a unique look and makes the timepiece look as if it is jumping right out at you.

There are two crowns, one at 2 o’clock responsible for turning the bi-directional internal bezel and the other at 4 o’clock for other timekeeping functions. The former custom-made rotor does not wears the Spinnaker logo, and it also doesn’t move so freely and lags a little.

With so many features fitted in the watch, the Bradner has an exhibition case back. Spinnaker didn’t cover up the entire back crystal with branding so that you can get a good look at the Seiko workhorse and other mechanisms powering up this beauty.

Upgraded Bezel

The bezel is another excellent feature, probably even the best on the Bradner. It uses a Uni-directional inner rotating bezel. You can control it with the first crown on the casing that is not marked with the Spinnaker logo.

Again, to keep up with the target of a stocky and brawny look of the watch, the custom molded bezel inner ring has large numbers and solid outward dots. It also displays five-minute markers positioned on a straight horizontal that is parallel to the dial for easy viewing. However, if you prefer watches with manual bezel, you may miss the feel and sound of the bezel turning.

Well-built Strap

Spinnaker deserves to get credit where it’s due. Their strap game is a huge step up on the Bradner. To very well balance the 42mm dial of the watch, Bradner’s strap is 20mm in width. Most notably, the red color goes well with the black dial. At the end of it, there are a couple of line stitches to give it a great look and add more beauty and homemade feel to the watch. From my observation, the spring bar is a little ill-fitted at the lugs, and when bending the wrist, it adds pressure to the strap. Even if it doesn’t affect the comfort of the watch, but it makes a click or grinding sound.

The strap’s making is of thick leather (feels a bit like suede), the top has a soft and plush velvet feel and look to it. The underside, on the other hand, is more of a durable coating than softness. It is superbly comfortable and not irritating. On the clasp, you may spot Spinnaker engraved there, but it’s very subtle. Although, a bit of reflection shows it nicely, which is even preferable than seeing it dead-on.

Beyond this, a good view on the strap reveals the unique coating that keeps the watch waterproof. When the water treated strap comes in contact with water, it bounces off, retaining its shape and color. This is absolutely great to see. Although, I don’t totally recommend you taking the watch with you into hot tubs, steam rooms, pools. But there is no risk wearing the Spinnaker Bradner when you have to wash your hands or even when you get caught in the rain.

Reliable Movement

Inside the Bradner dive watch is a 3-hand Seiko NH35 with 24 Jewels Automatic Self-winding hack movement. Although most people would prefer the timepiece to come with a Miyota 9015, with a better BPH and power reserve. However, the Seiko movement is pretty popular in the world of microband watches. So far, it has proven reliable and worked well for this watch with the time accuracy only around +/-5 seconds per day.

Bradner offers a power reserve of 41 hours beating at 3Hz with 21,600 BPH. To add a bit of character to this, you will notice a charming Spinnaker branded rotor in matte black finishing. All these sit under a slightly domed and curved edge sapphire lens and also is visible through the exhibition see-through case-back.

Price versus Quality

Considering the cost of the watch, Spinnaker Bradner offers a lot. Without too much thinking, it is for anyone who appreciates real value. Of course, you wouldn’t put Bradner on par with high-end watches like the Rolex Submariner. But for a vintage-inspired dive watch offering something a little different, nothing is taken from their bragging rights.

Since the watch that is less than $300, it is hard to complain about the compressor-style case, bi-direction rotating bezel, or the tested and formidable Seiko NH35 automatic movement. It is blatantly obvious that Bradner is one of the favourite pieces from Spinnaker. There are also a lot of other watches that hit very close to this price from brands like Zelos or Marchand Legacy. Just in case you want to grab something else.

Final Thoughts on the Spinnaker Bradner Review

As one of the best microband dive watches, it is exciting to see how far Spinnaker has come. The Bradner watch has a great look with black dial and red strap, which is not something you see on just any watch. Again, the inner unidirectional rotating bezel is a great feature to have.

The Spinnaker Bradner is a culmination of a lot of things that, as it gives some quirky vibes and proves the brand has been doing well lately. So this was our Spinnaker Bradner review, and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

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