Braun BN0106 Watch ReviewJuly 23, 2012 • By Ariel Adams
I love checking out stuff like this. Neat quasi-futuristic watches with a serious German attitude and neo-Bauhaus feel. All from a brand that I know for making stuff like shaving razors. But yes, Braun also makes watches and clocks. This is one of their higher-end pieces and it is a digital watch done in collaboration with Pierre Nobs. He is the guy behind Ventura watches. If you look at digital Ventura timepieces, you'll most certainly see the connection. Braun actually can't seem to settle on one name for this watch. They list it as both the BN10 and BN0106 (with this specific model being the BN0106BKBTG).
According to Braun, the BN0106 (which is I guess what I will call it) received a 2012 Red Dot design award. Red Dot awards are given out to products with good form and function. I tend to agree with their awards most of the time. I will be the first to admit that the BN0106 is a polarizing design, but if you like the look it is pretty good for what it is. Certainly different, and certainly good looking if you are into the unique aesthetic.
As a digital watch it uses something from Mr. Nobs called EasySkroll. This is a combo scroll wheel and pusher that is used to access the functions and activate the various features of the watch. It sits on the lower left side of the case and ends with an orange dot. Aside from a backlight button on the right side of the case, this is the only controllable part of the watch. Nice and simple, and easy to use.
Scrolling the wheel results in an audible beep and works rather well when scrolling through functions. It can be a bit tricky in some instances such as using the chronograph when you need to mix short and long pushers to stop, start, and restart the chronograph. Though for the most part it is pretty good for a single pusher system. Setting the watch in many instances is pressing down the pusher for a few seconds, and then using the scroll wheel to do things like adjust the time and date. Overall, using all the watch's functions (once you get the hang of the system) is intuitive and natural feeling. I wouldn't necessarily want EasySkroll on all of my digital watches, but it works really well on the BN0106.
The LCD screen is LED backlit and very high quality. This type of screen sits in mostly all of the high-end digital LCD screens I have seen on watches. The background is black while the numerals are a pale green. The system uses numerals that look more rounded and elegant compared to those you see on most digital LCD screens. While the screen is susceptible to glare and low light, it is easily viewable in most environments. The default screen shows the time with either the seconds or the date below on the second line.
The movement inside of the watch is known as the Ven_10.1 digital quartz movement. I assume "Ven" stands for Ventura. It has the time, full calendar, chronograph, countdown timer, alarm, and second timezone. Made in Germany, the case is steel and comes in either this black tone, or in brushed steel. While it is available on a rubber strap, I think it looks best on the single link metal bracelet. The case is water resistant to 30 meters and is a rounded rectangle being 36.7mm wide by 41.8mm tall. I could have used a bit more size, but it is a unique look that works for many wrists. Plus, there are very few other watch cases out there with this shape. It feels very instrumental, but made for the home. Sometimes it looks like a bathroom weight scale made for the wrist.
Over the screen is a K1 mineral crystal - though I would have preferred a sapphire crystal. My real issue with the crystal is that it attracts finger prints very easily. You'll need to wipe off the screen a lot. Not a huge deal, but something about it tends to attract finger oils very easily. For a minimal futuristic look that isn't nerdy or cliche it is hard to find more attractive offerings than a watch like the Braun BN0106. The piece most certainly benefits from its connection to Pierre Nobs, and the overall package does what it was designed to do fluidly. Great to find "design focused" watches with this much utility and promise. Price tops out at $800 for the black version of the BN0106 on the bracelet. You can buy them online from Braun here.