Given the types of watches I frequently write about on aBlogtoRead, you might think me the type who is able to afford many of these timepieces. That isn't true - it may be that I just do all this to get access to stuff I wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. So for those of you who lust over timepieces that can't afford - and dream of someday being able to save up for - I feel your pain. It is for that reason that I attempt to bring to your attention timepieces that are much more affordable, or simple splurges that you don't need to think too much about buying. Which brings me to the Storm Caspa watch.
Storm of London offers a really wide range of timepieces, and I am going to end up writing about a few of the pieces they offer that I like. The Caspa is one of them. I think it has an attractive design, and is affordable enough to allow most people to get it without really even thinking. What you get is a well adapted design, in a Storm package, the is a good fit for many occasions.
Looking at the design you might think Omega Speedmaster mixed with Chanel or Bulgari. Actually, Storm is "borrowing" the exact dial design of a watch I previously wrote about - which is the Chronograph Suisse Mangusta Super Meccanica Stupenda watch. The Chronograph Suisse uses a different type of case, and is well... a chronograph, but you can easily see the similarity right? Storm chose a good design from a less-than-well-know brand, and helped make it more affordable. That watch from Chronograph Suisse isn't available for much under $6,000. The Storm Caspa goes for just over $200. This practice of a less expensive brand using the design of a higher-end brand occurs daily in the watch industry and isn't really something anyone even turns their head for (and sometimes the opposite occurs as well!).
Storm chose to not make the Caspa a chronograph. Instead using the subdials for calendar dials (date and date), as well as synchronized 24 hour hand (for indicating AM/PM). Interestingly enough, there are two large openings on the side of the case that have a clear crystal installed. Does this mean Storm initially intended the watch to be a chronograph? That a chronograph version is coming? Or perhaps it is just a coincidence based on the "skeletonized side" design of the watch.
Storm does leave the tachymeter scale on the bezel which is only useful when you have a chronograph. This element on the watch is purely for looks. Some people can't forgive that, but I don't really mind in a watch at this level. The look of the Caspa, in its various colors is pretty satisfying. You'll be hard pressed to find a watch at this level with a handsome look like this. Being easy to read is a good side benefit of the design, and should help sway purchase potentials.
At about 41.5mm wide, the case, in steel, is a nice size and fits well. I like that most all Storm watches I've ever worn are surprisingly comfortable - even the ones with less than traditional designs. The really unique design element here are the skeletonized sides of the case. Some very high-end mechanical watches have such windows in sapphire crystal to provide views into their mechanical movements, and Storm does it here to see (sort of) the quartz movement inside. It is an interesting and unexpected element that helps the Caspa feel more unique. The watch case is water resistant to 50 meters, and has a mineral crystal. For the price, I am pretty satisfied with the case.
Storm puts the Caspa on a leather strap with a crocodile texture. This comes in black or brown, depending on the color of the dial (which comes in four tones) - black being my favorite. The strap looks nice, and feels comfy, but I don't think it will last very long. Expect maybe a year or so of wear out of the strap before it will need to be replaced.
For a comfortable, stylish, and easy to read watch that is very affordable, Storm has some good offerings, and this Caspa model is near the top of my list. Price from Storm is $210, and I believe the Caspa is a new product for 2010.
Thanks to Storm for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.