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Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bangalore Watch Company is an enthusiast-driven (I reject the term “microbrand”) watch brand based out of Bangalore, India. The husband and wife team who run the brand recently debuted their first product collection with the Renaissance Automatic, which I review today. More about the story of the Bangalore Watch Company can be found here. Having lived in Hong Kong for some years prior to returning to their native India, the duo was able to not only get some of the right watchmaking contacts but also developed a strong understanding for what makes a mechanical watch popular and appealing today. The resulting collection of very sensible Renaissance Automatic timepieces is another lovely example of where the bigger brands are totally missing out in terms of appealing to a really important price point.

Bangalore Watch Company Story

It is strange to think that in a world where traditional watches are increasingly becoming mere toys for the fortunate, and that the majority of sales are of products produced by large, corporate brands, entrepreneurialism is alive and well. Despite what it might look like on paper, the “little guy’s watch brand” is easily the hottest type of company for many watch collectors these days. It isn’t just a matter of price – although that is a big part of it.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I think more so it is about the consumer being able to relate to both the product and the messaging of the brand. You buy an expensive luxury watch from a historic brand when you want to feel like part of a traditional club. When you want your watch’s personality to speak louder than you, and when you want to blend in with the settled and complacent, you can opt for a dress watch that decidedly has “luxury product” associated with it. When you want to make your own way, or are in the process of doing so already, why not opt to wear a timepiece from people with as much ambition as you?

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Increasingly I promote the idea of “buy watches from people with shared goals and values as you have.” I’m not talking about BS “feel good, save the world and its people” marketing messages that we are assaulted with on social media. I’m talking about values like practicality, self-improvement, education, ambition, and responsibility. If a brand isn’t doing a good job of explaining who they are to you, then skip them. If you feel that a brand’s marketing practices alienate your interests, skip them too. Luckily, you as a consumer have absolutely no deficit of watch options to choose from.

The Bangalore Watch Company story is about two watch lovers who returned to their native country to celebrate a traditional art form and trade. The company doesn’t serve to homage any particular historic Indian watch company or timepiece style, but rather is trying to deliver a thematic experience and capture a mood with a product that has a lot of universal appeal to watch enthusiasts and merely those want a “nice timepiece” to wear on a regular basis as opposed to an overt luxury item from a famed prestigious name. Being produced in smaller quantities and not being widely available in retail stores is a key area of appeal for those who will like these watches. Moving on to the Renaissance Automatic watch collection itself, let’s talk about why this simple, nicely-made, and fairly-priced dress-style watch is one of my favorite affordable timepieces this year.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Concept

Bangalore Watch Company isn’t trying to win any design awards with the Renaissance Automatic. It’s not boring but it lacks originality in the way a lot of us want from a new timepiece product. So why do I like this watch? Because I am not seeking originality in a dress watch at this price. What I am seeking is an excellent emulation of a theme that has some character behind it. I really like the conversations that begin with, “so this is a mechanical watch from Bangalore?” Yes and no. The watch is clearly Asian-made from Chinese parts with a Japanese movement.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Nothing at all wrong with that since it is the resulting product which I care about – not who made it. India itself still has its massive Titan watch group and a really nice history of making watches. There is real watchmaking in the culture and in my experience, Indian watch collectors are some of the most expressive and open-minded out there. India’s passion for watchmaking as well as the art of watch design is solid, and some of my favorite people in the watch industry have Indian heritage no matter where they live in the world.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As a product, the Renaissance Automatic is very approachable and easy to understand. Given that you select a color option that works for your skin tone and fashion sense this timepiece is very fashionable and versatile. Right out of the box you’ll have no trouble realizing that such a design style works with almost anything from when you want to be formal or just “maturely casual.” I find myself enjoying the watch when I simply want to look professional without wanting to call too much attention to my wrist. This is a watch that you wear, it doesn’t wear you.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Case & Design

At 40mm wide the medium size is ideal for this design. The case is water-resistant to 100m and is about 12mm thick with a 47mm lug-to-lug distance. Bangalore Watch Company made sure the case was very polished with contrast polished and brushed surfaces that easily make this appear akin to much more expensive timepieces. Over the dial is an AR-coated domed sapphire crystal which helps add to the “higher-end” look. Another sapphire crystal on the rear of the watch allows for a view of the automatic movement. Attached to the case is a 20mm wide strap. Bangalore Watch Company includes a quick-release bar allowing you to swap out the strap with whatever else you like if the stock leather crocodile-print strap doesn’t match your current attire. Bangalore Watch Company also reminds you that it uses a Nubuck liner on the bottom of the strap so as to make it more sweat and water-resistant. Unlike bracelets, leather straps do need to be replaced from time to time due to wear.

Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Arrow-head style hour markers and lume-strip applied dauphine hands mark the main personality traits of the dial. Bangalore Watch Company offers the Renaissance Automatic with three dial colors right now including anthracite, ivory, and argentum. The steel case itself is either naturally finished or offered with an attractive rose gold tone. The dials are complete with a window for the date and a track of dot-style minute markers. The overall design of the Renaissance Automatic is eye-pleasing and effective. Though it lacks a lot of originality. This is a company emulating an existing look for a new generation of watch owners.

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Comments

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  • ILOW

    The watch is pleasant enough, but disappointing to note the company name bears no relation to the manufacturing location. If “Shenzhen Watch Company” was written on the dial, I could believe it. No real sign of anything “Indian”, which I would actually quite like in the design language from a new brand from India. Good luck nonetheless.

  • Leonarr

    The watch is nice, but I really can’t find a goog reason why one should get this instead of a Seiko Cocktail Time or the much cheaper Orient Bambino. As stated before, there is nothing distinctively “Indian” in the design, which means that it really doesn’t stand out. I’m sure it would be possible to design a truly Indian looking watch without making it seem gimmicky.

  • TheChuphta

    A perfect example of putting more effort into your brand than your product. That used to be called putting the cart before the horse. Now it’s called “deliver[ing] a thematic experience”. If I wanted a thematic experience, I’d go to the Renaissance Fair.

    It seems microbrands fill two roles these days. Either they make interesting designs ala Halios, Dan Henry or they make Rolex copies ala steinahrt, ginault, MKii, etc, so I applaud these guys for doing something different. However, I doubt there’s much demand for a $500 copy of a $200 Orient that’s a copy of a $5000 JLC, but good luck to them.

  • Han Cnx

    The main problem is that there’s nothing wrong with it. 😉

    I’d love a model that has a moonphase movement for example and still stay around the USD 500 mark. (Glycine does one but not in a classic style like this one. Frederique Constant also does one in that pricing ballpark but in quartz. )

    For this one a problem could be that almost anyone would already have a basic watch that’s ‘dressy enough’. For me that’s the Cocktail Time.

    https://www.snupps.com/api/2.10/users/1734575/snuppdates/193895/view/193895-2.1024.jpg

    • SuperStrapper

      Never would have expected to see that watch on nubuck! Very interesting. The stock strap it comes with is a huge disappointment.

  • Nello Alexandri

    The case and bezel look great from these guys. Beautiful lug shape and chamfers. I like the angles on the bezel and the polished and brushed finishes.
    Hats off to them for making a nice crown at this price. I don’t think I have seen better for the money, or even double the money.
    The applied logo and indices look well made. The hour “dots” are a nice touch. They add some detail being sunken.
    Everyone will say this is nothing new. Looks somewhat like a vintage Omega, VC, or JLC but in a modern size. I don’t care. I like the look and this is well executed, and a value at this price.

    • Nirupesh Joshi

      Nello, thank you for the encouraging comments. And thank you for paying attention to the small details like the applied markers, crown, etc that we hoped would help this watch hold its own.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    This watch looked familiar. (sponsored post April 2018) I was not even going to complain about the movement, until I saw the buggered up screws on the rotor.
    Absolutely pathetic. Never Miyota…ever.
    Overpriced at $560

    • Independent_George

      You are right about the movement. Absolutely nothing to look at. I’d hide the movement and drop the price $200.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Is that the bit that is assembled in India, what with the custom rotor?

      • Nirupesh Joshi

        I admit we should have put the watch through a 10x loupe before sending it to ABTW. The toolmarks do appear prominently under a lens like that, than to the eye. I wouldn’t blame Miyota though, they’re great movements FWIW. But then, that is a subjective debate.

  • SuperStrapper

    We’ve certainly seen worse.
    It does seem like miyota’s 9xxx series have the top Japanese position with 3rd parties over Seiko’s external series.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Taking on the mighty Titan. I wish you luck.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Next time you take a trip to India how about you do some in the field research? You could see who has heard of the company and how much if costs there.

      Nothing like doing some work on a holiday. 😉

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Back in January. I do I lot of watch watching when I’m there ( As I do here ) . Among the staff Titan Rules ( from every tier of Management )
        I’ve never heard of this company but I’ll look out for it.

    • Nirupesh Joshi

      Not at all. Titan has a market share of almost 60% in India (could be more). Unless one is in the top 2% of the country’s large economic divide, one’s first watch in India is always a Titan. We’ve grown up wearing them, and have a lot of respect for Titan. We have no intention to displace them of their position. Interestingly though, an increasing number of upwardly mobile, well-travelled, well-read Indians are beginning to embrace the idea of wearing nice watches as accessories, they’re spending orders of magnitude more than Titan’s average selling point of $30 on their watches. We’re just hoping to make high quality watches that appeal to a section of those. If we get our future designs right, perhaps a worldwide audience too.

  • AW

    It’s very generic. Looks like something ordered from Shenzen factory catalogue.

  • Hannibal

    Although I like this watch very much, I simply cannot find it a good value proposition. For the same or similar amount of money, one can easily get Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Day-Date, with ETA 2834-2 inside (vastly superior movement than very good Miyota 9-series IMO), not to mention absolutely awesome Khaki Field Mechanical that can be had for as much as 450$. And if we are to speak about dressier options, well Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 can be had for just 15 bucks more (575$), and for that money one can have a genuine Swiss watch from a brand with 160-year tradition. I’m just trying to say that this Bangalore Watch in this configuration (leather strap, Miyota automatic movement, probably assembled in China…) shouldn’t cost more than 350$. If it were in that price range, I think that it would probably be the best bang for buck on the market. Nevertheless, compelling design and overall nice watch, wish them all the best!

  • Ugo

    good design.
    i like also the thin lume streak on the hands: elegant and practical.

  • Independent_George

    Wasn’t aware that the Timex Marlin has been re-branded.

    Kidding.

    Decent enough looking watch, but not the best “bang for your buck”, especially when the Orient Bambino and Timex Marlin fill the same niche for half of the price. And, if you get sick of a Bambino or Marlin, you can actually sell it.

    • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

      I was thinking the same thing about the Marlin.

  • Beefalope

    What’s the point? Why not just buy a Seiko or Orient?

    A Cocktail Time is miles better than this.

  • cluedog12

    Counterpoint: If you don’t dress up every day, strapping on a high end dress watch will give you something to look forward to when you have to bust down to the dry cleaners and stress over your rapidly expanding waistline.

  • Nirupesh Joshi

    Thank you for all the comments, and great feedback, my wife and I own the brand.

    We understand that our debut collection doesn’t scream Indian; creating a watch that “looks Indian” wasn’t the goal of the project. Albeit, that endeavour may have the risk of producing a watch that looks kitschy anyway.

    In the crowded space where dress watches are promoted as being a fraction of the price and yet look and feel as expensive as the big brands, ours is perhaps a thesis statement of what we set out to do initially: create good quality watches from India. One that doesn’t need a demonstration of design chops, but that of the possibility to develop high-quality watches, in a market (in India) where celebrity endorsements are the most significant selling point for brands that decidedly stopped focusing on the consumer, and are caught sleeping on their wheels.

    We recognise the need for designs with hints of India that’ll appeal to an audience around the world. There are a lot of exciting ideas for the future!

  • Guadzilla

    So in one aritcle, you say the biggest mistake people should make is buy a watch based on a story. And in this article, the bulk of your words are puffery about the story. Interesting.

    (This not an indictment of the watch itself, which is very nice – i like it a lot).

  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    “This is a watch that you wear, it doesn’t wear you.
    …Excellent comment.

  • Ulysses31

    The design is quite classy-looking from the front, but all over, there are signs that the finishing is cheap and poorly-executed, especially on the movement. The Geneva stripes looks more like Geneva smears; the pattern on the rotor is misaligned, the screws are not polished and appear to be deformed, and there are a number of other issues. Part of the joy of mechanical watches comes from owning a tiny little machine that represents the purity of perfection, and a large part of that is about immaculate finishing. It’s a step beyond creating something that is merely functional. Quality finishing means that the craftsmen who made the watch truly care about their creation, and express that care through the hard work they put into making sure each piece, no matter how tiny, is produced perfectly.

    I feel that while it looks OK, it doesn’t offer much for the price in what is a competitive price bracket. Over time though, i’m sure this will improve, it just isn’t quite there yet.

    • Nirupesh Joshi

      Thank you for the comments. My wife and I own the brand. The movement is what it is, from Citizen. So the finishing, Geneva ‘smears’, and the unpolished screws are all standard issue. The pattern on the rotor is not misaligned, it was intentionally ‘cut-away’ on the sides to give the impression of a tile motif. We put in a lot of attention to detail: the applied indices, the applied minute and hour markers, the decorated rotor instead of the rather plain looking stock-rotor, the dual finishing on the case, the chamfers on the lugs etc. But perhaps, as you point out, we could have done more. We are aware of many other brands in this price range that don’t offer the small attention to details, but we’re not selling a ‘better mousetrap’, so we won’t compare. We’re trying to tell stories through our watches, and admittedly will strive to do better in our future projects.

  • Mountainous Man

    This watch is essentially an homage of the watch I wear everyday: the Omega Aqua Terra 2500. The dimensions are nearly identical:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/09c2a9c90532cac501a90169f4ac5fb1f16b0d8d48df55601a4577f3d3d5276b.jpg

    • Nirupesh Joshi

      Not quite. We took inspirations from JLC Master, Vacheron Patrimony and others but not this specific Seamaster. If you look closer, just about everything is different: the indices, the minute markers, the hands, the lugs. The case dimensions are perhaps the same, but that will be the case for thousands of watches. Nevertheless, the Seamaster you are sporting is a great watch, wear it in good health!

  • Nirupesh Joshi

    Thank you for the feedback NaJo. In our main focus market (India), the Presage, Khaki and Tissot are all priced at 500~550 retail price owing to the high(er) GST on watches, and an import duty on imported products. So we’re priced squarely in the same bracket. There are a million ways to get better prices if one is in India and decidedly focused on acquiring one of those watches (ask a travelling friend to bring the watch from overseas) but for the ones that care to go beyond the usual names, and look for heritage that one can relate to, the Renaissance will sit well. And we’ve had hundreds of patrons from India and overseas in the family in the past few months since launch.

    • NaJo

      Hey, if your focus is Indian market then also a brands entry should be competitive to get more recognition. Say i came across Undone watches and bought one straightaway to try. Once i realised its awesome, i bought a more expensive model just to have fun. For customers to try and test the quality of your watches you need to be more accessible. Say i wont pay $600 usd just to try my luck with a new watch made in (china, hongkong, japan, india together). Say i have tissot with 160 years of history and quality to buy for $300-$400. Am a business director at GE in Australia and consider this as my advise for free.

      Anyways beat of luck.