The latest watch from higher-end microbrand Andersmann is the simply named “Bronze,” which comes in three styles and follows the brand’s tradition of making classically inspired but modern-made Swiss-made diver’s-style timepieces. I’ve had the opportunity to review two Andersmann watches before (the Oceanmaster II and the Deep Ocean) and found them to be surprisingly good. Andersmann founder Raymond Chan is a longtime watch collector who ended up wanting to evoke the feelings he experienced when wearing a Panerai but with a more affordable price, along with slightly more modern style.
In just a few years, Andersmann has turned into a real brand with a portfolio of multiple products across a few lines. I’m thrilled to see Andersmann growing up as a brand and also that other timepiece-lovers have figured out what I have: For the money, these are some great watches, designed and produced by people who are doing it the right way. Meaning that, rather than just emulating something popular out there, they are creating a novel wearing experience for themselves, first, and then for customers. As I keep recommending to the aBlogtoWatch audience, when it comes to purchasing watches from smaller, newer brands, look out for those companies that appear to be created around the concept of making the perfect watch for the founder themselves to wear. This is as opposed to the notion of a founder simply creating a watch to fill what seems to be a demand in the market, not necessarily a watch to satisfy their own aesthetic ideals.
The Andersmann Bronze brings the trendy metal alloy material to the brand’s impressive dive watch collection. The Bronze comes in three forms (reviewed here is the reference ANN0932) and has a case profile similar to the Deep Ocean but in a smaller 44mm-wide case. (The Deep Ocean I reviewed was 47mm-wide.) The pictures in this review should demonstrate how the Bronze and Deep Ocean have similar cases but that the Bronze is both smaller at 44mm-wide (it is still a large watch) and that it features a display caseback (similar to that of the Oceanmaster II).
Andersmann uses a blend of bronze, titanium, and sapphire crystal for the major case components. The caseback is titanium (with the sapphire crystal window), and the main case is a CuSn8 alloy blend of bronze that mixes copper and tin in what Andersmann says is a rather corrosion-resistant form of the metal. Bronze is not the watch material of choice for all timepiece fans, but most watch-lovers should have at least one bronze timepiece in their collection to see what all the fuss is about. Bronze first benefits from its color, which is “gold-like” and obviously warmer-toned than steel. Bronze also changes color over time as the metal oxidizes. For some people, this is tragic and, for them, steel, gold, or other more stable materials will make for a better watch case material. Bronze fans, however, enjoy how the material “patinas” over time as the colors change.
Corrosion-resistant bronze is helpful because it means that even in places with salt (in the air or water), the case will not corrode with green spots on it, which can also wear on to the skin. Here you see the Andersmann Bronze in brand new form, but after a few years the case will darken — though, in my experience, this bronze alloy darkens relatively evenly, whereas some other bronze watches start to develop what I consider to be unattractive black or other color spotting. I prefer an even patina.
At 44mm-wide, the Andersmann Bronze watch is also 16mm-thick (the domed-top sapphire crystal is 4.4mm-thick, alone) and has a 52mm lug-to-lug distance. The watch is water resistant to 1000 meters. The larger Deep Ocean is water resistant to 3000 meters. None of this really matters, as no one is diving to 1000 meters, much less 3,000. As a diver’s watch, the Bronze has a uni-directional rotating bezel with a nice operation to it and a lume pip at the 60-minute mark. I continue to appreciate the positioning of the crown at 4 o’clock so that it doesn’t jut into your wrist.
Andersmann got really artistic with the three dial styles available across the Bronze reference ANN0931, ANN0933, and this ANN0932 (with its “khaki” colored dial and blue seconds hand). Each of the watches has a slightly different color brown dial (done in a brushed style that Andersmann says makes a unique look for each dial), along with a different color seconds hand. While I appreciate these choices, I wish Andersmann would have helped consumers decide which choice to get with some added personality or storytelling. Not that having options is bad, but I also know that asking consumers to chose among three good, similar options can cause a degree of choice paralysis (a bad thing in the context of e-commerce, where brands like Andersmann focus their commercial efforts).
The overall visual theme of the Bronze, as with most Andersmann watches, is “Panerai-evolved,” if you want to call it that. These are a bit more modern-looking than most Panerai watches but have a similar wearing experience. Panerai will always win when it comes to prestige and collector zeal, but Andersmann wins when it comes to value for money and feeling like you are wearing something original but also warmly familiar.
Inside the watch is a decorated Swiss Made ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement. This is a wonderful choice because Andersmann could have easily gotten away with the less expensive ETA 2824. Choosing a decorated 2892 is simply the brand saying, “We are by watch lovers, for watch lovers.” This is also among the rarer 1000-meter dive watches with a display caseback. The automatic movement operates at 4Hz with 42 hours of power reserve.
In the kit with the Andersmann Bronze watch are three strap choices along with tools — a welcome touch. A few years ago, Andersmann’s watch had rubber straps that I found not to age well. Since then, the brand has learned, and the newer rubber straps are far more enthusiast-grade (though still basic). Andersmann includes a khaki rubber strap that matches the dial, as well as a more standard black rubber strap. Also included with the kit is a nicely distressed leather strap — but for sports or diving duty, the rubber straps are the way to go.
All in all, I’d say that Andersmann has another hit on its hands, even if the Bronze or other watches are more expensive that those from many of today’s smaller or newer watch brands. That might be so, but Andersmann truly does deliver when it comes to value in regard to having well-made cases, meticulous dials, premium movements, and thoughtful kits and packaging. Andersmann is also limiting each of these three Bronze watch models to just 38 pieces — so, they will benefit from actually being rare, too. Price for the reference ANN0932 Bronze 1000 Meter Dive watch is $1,888 USD. Learn more at the Andersmann website here.
>Model: Reference ANN0932 Bronze 1000M
>Price: $1,888 USD
>Size: 44mm-wide, 16mm-thick, and 52mm lug-to-lug distance
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As an eye-catching and attractive water sports watch or daily beater watch (assuming you wear it snugly against your wrist).
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who likes Panerai style but who doesn’t want to pay Panerai prices or has exhausted their interest in the brand.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent specs and originality where it counts. This is a tool watch at heart, but the designer dial and overall excellent presentation make it clear this is intended for true timepiece enthusiasts. Good value for what you get.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Despite smaller 44mm-wide size, the Bronze is still a large and heavy timepiece. It’s worn best on snug, tighter straps, given how top-heavy the case is.