December 15, 2008
by Ariel Adams
I recall that as a kid, I was often really excited about the toy versions of items and implementations I’d seen in movies or comic books. The ‘play’ version of the Ghostbusters’ photon pack just didn’t remind me enough of the real ones on the screen, and the kid’s Batman utility belt just didn’t have enough utility, though it was booming with plasticine charm. I just never found anything ‘real’ enough to satisfy the desires I had (and probably still have) to live out fantasy adventures.
What are we provided with in real life to live out adventures now? Really utilitarian stuff mostly. Go to a sporting goods store and you won’t find much that makes you feel or look like an outdoor superhero. Yeah, you’ll be warm, and dry, and protected – but you won’t have that feeling of technological superiority and invulnerability that you are really longing for. That is, unless you have something from Linde Werdelin.
Most watch companies don’t really go into discussing the impetus behind their design decisions. I can’t know with any precision what Linde Werdelin wanted to communicate in their Biformeter watches style-wise, but I do know what the handsome look communicates to me: a degree of confidence and a feeling of arduous strength. It is a design that feels right for its purposes, and then some.
The precision sculpted look of the case and hands is anything but over the top, though it feels novel, and appears perfectly comfortable in its skin. This is of course a tool, and also a timepiece. Don’t confuse it with a fashion accessory, although it stands in as one admirably. As such, this is an extremely sturdy watch built to withstand the world’s most extreme adventuring, and this watch will survive in places you won’t.
The subject of this review is a Two-Timer Biformeter watch in steel with a red lacquered face, though Linde Werdelin offers many versions of its Biformeter watch line. The Two-Timer designator is different than the base Elemental version. The difference is the movement which is the ETA 2893-2 versus the 2892-2. The 2893-2 adds a GMT complication. This is the finest base movement that Swiss ETA makes, and arrives in this watch in its highest grade. The moment you unscrew the crown, you’ll identify the feel of this movement as manually winding the watch feels like it is lubricated with butter, which is good. Lower grade movements give you a harsher feeling when winding. Remember, you don’t ever need to wind the watch if you wear it enough as it is an automatic. The GMT complication of the movement is pretty nifty. With normal adjustment of the time, the GMT (24 hour) hand moves with the other hands to keep in sync. This makes it possible to use the GMT as a a simply 24 hour hand (useful to tell AM or PM). Alternatively, you can adjust the GMT hand in perfect one hour increments. Here you can use the GMT hand as a second timezone (hence the name: Two-Timer). The small date window is so tastefully integrated that the date disc color matches the dial of the watch. In this case it is also applied with the red lacquer. This helps it blend in well and really become part of the face. I don’t know why Linde Werdelin did not choose to have the watch certified as a Chronometer. This assures a specific level of accuracy based upon special certification, and would have offered a nice additional title to the face. I experienced a very high level of accuracy from the watch, so I don’t doubt it would pass Chronometer testing if put to the test.
The strong hands are laser cut so they look really sharp and precise. The best part is that they are long enough in the case, and allow for a very high level of legibility. This is really a problem with many watches, but not for Linde Werdelin who has thankfully addressed this issue in their watches. The watch dial is specifically designed to be read in many conditions such as low visibility or low light. Double-sided anti-reflective coating is applied to the sapphire crystal. This is basically a requirement for any highly legible watch as it more or less eliminates glare. I can easily say that this is among the most comfortable watches to read that I’ve worn. The seconds hand is tipped in a darker color which interestingly enough keeps it from being distracting and helps to emphasize the hour hand. Colors are applied in lacquer, which is unique, and works to Linde Werdelin’s benefit. Really well done, and I like the attention to detail. On the watch you’ll find a uni-directional rotating bezel. It is another precision cut piece of the case, and Linde Werdelin got it right. Clicking 60 times around the dial, it moves with assured confidence and a refined sounding click with each notch. It is a perfect mix between being easy enough to turn without being easy to move out of position. In addition to the numbered indexes on the bezel, it also has lots of applied luminant for easy darker condition viewing.
The Biformeter watches make excellent use of Super-LumiNova. The expensive luminant (over $7000 a pound) is of the best compounds for night visibility. You can tell from the pictures just how bright and well applied the Super-LumiNova is. One image compares the Two-Timer face in the dark next to a watch with the popular Tritium gas tubes. You can tell that the Two-Timer is actually much brighter. While the glow of Super-LumiNova will fade (as it needs to be charged by the light and begins to dim after a few hours), it remains strong for an impressively long amount of time. I’ve actually never seen a watch that is as bright in the dark as the Linde Werdelin Biformeter.
The dial design is peculiar, but in a good way. It reminds me of many things, but when it comes down to it, the James Bond-esque old world futurism in effect here is appreciated and attractive. It is one of those more subtle yet bold looks that you appreciate more as time goes on. Frankly, that is the case for the watch itself as a whole. It has an enduring sense of image – one that does not communicate fleeting novelty, but rather a unique design that will still be relevant and provocative to look at years from now.
This version of the Two-Timer enjoys Linde Werdelin’s manicured grade 316L stainless steel case. There are other limited edition models with a DLC coating or in gold, but the steel version should not be overlooked. Other than the precise edges and sculpted looks of the case, there is contrast between polished and brushed surfaces. This is done quite often, and the reason for it is almost epitomized on this watch case. The effect yields an almost ‘extra’ three dimensional effect making the surface areas stand out more, and giving the case a larger more defined look. That, combined with the hexagonal screws on the case give the look of a space age instrument. ‘Luxury utility’ is almost a paradox, but is communicated here. This is actually a common concept in the high-end watch world. The idea of perfection through engineering rigor. It is an idea that has been created, and certainly perpetuated by European high-end brands. It is the concept that certain things should be made above any beyond and actual conceivable need, simply for enthusiast appreciation. If you are such an enthusiast, then you’ll readily understand and appreciate the design and construction of this, and all Linde Werdelin watches.
While a steel bracelet is also available, this model comes on the incredibly durable natural kautschuck super strap. This stuff feels like it could stop a bullet (Yeah…I am not suggesting you try it). The clasp is a fold over locking clasp. This is a good combination of a fitted strap, but one that can also be adjusted. See the images for an idea, as describing it in words is likely to cause confusion. The signed deployment is nice without being too big, and the deployment itself is really easy to operate. I’ve never once pinched myself, and always felt comfortable with it. Speaking of comfort, the long size of the case fits really well over your wrist. This means that even if you wear the strap a bit loose, the case will not jostle around too much and stays secure. This is actually really important because an adventure watch should not be prone to wrist fatigue that can occur from a strap that is too tight or too loose.
Continuing on the true adventure readiness of this watch, it is a true diver’s watch with a water resistance of 300 meters. No worries about taking a plunge with it on, and you can easily rely on it. The aluminum and steel caseback of the watch is tightly screwed down to keep water and debris out. The crown is also screw down for protection. The rubber strap is attached via screws to the case making it really secure. You don’t get any of that wiggly fit you might experience with lower quality watches. In fact, a few of the people I’ve show the watch to, especially the ones who don’t know much about watches, just kept remarking on how solidly the Linde Werdelin was built.
Let’s take a closer look at the dimensions and construction of the case. One thing that is hard to tell from just looking at the watch is that it is very thin for its features. At just 11mm thick, this is one of the thinnest “durable” watches around. While I don’t mind a thicker watch, it is nice to know that the Two-Timer slides under sleeves with ease. The watch is long and wide, but not to an unreasonable extent. I have pretty small wrists and was always comfortable with its size of 50mm long and 30mm-46mm wide at its widest point. The dial itself is a perfect 40mm wide (with the bezel). Look at the side of the case and you’ll notice two notched areas on each side. These are more than decorative and are design to accept the Land or Sea Instruments. These are computerized modules made by Linde Werdelin that are designed to clip onto the top of the watches. See the images for a red colored Land Instrument attached to the dial. The Land Instrument itself deserves another review, which it will receive.
There really isn’t anything negative to say about the Two-Timer watch. I’d like if it was a certified Chronometer, but that doesn’t add extra function to it really. It just means that more money was spent to use the “Chronometer” certification title. The Linde Werdelin Two-Timer Biformeter watches currently goes for about $4,400 and are available direct from Linde Werdelin, which is good as most of the time with watches you have to go through detached retailers. This way you can get Linde Werdelin’s full attention. If you feel drawn to the Two-Timer Biformeter watch like I am, then don’t worry about making the investment, because it will be hard to be disappointed given everything I’ve said about it. If the watch is out of your budget, then you have something to look forward to getting in the future. And if you are, or are planning on being a superhero and need a watch, you pretty much don’t have a choice.
Learn more about the Two-Timer Biformeter and other watches at Linde Werdelin here.