April 7, 2009
by Ariel Adams
One of your fellow readers recently purchased a watch that he was so passionate about, he spontaneously wrote a short review of it and I thought it was worth sharing with you. This is especially due to the good value of the watch, and that it is a relatively unknown US based watch company. The brand is Bernhardt watches that is based out of North Carolina. They have an impressive line of watches that use everything from quartz to mechanical movements of Swiss or Japanese origin. This specific model is near the top of their line. While it does have a conservative good look to it, it is anything but generic. While two different watches are pictured, the Globemaster model that my reader is referring to is the black diver’s bezel version. This is a rare type of watch because it has a GMT hand complication, but a rotating diver’s bezel instead of a 24 hour bezel (as seen on the other pictured model). It is important to note that movement inside is not your standard ETA GMT movement. Bernhardt took an ETA 2826 movement and modified it with a GMT complication. The standard ETA 2836 has a day and date complication, but that was removed to make for a GMT hand that jumps to each hour. Pretty clever.
With good looks on any man’s wrist, this is a good example of American ingenuity and practicality in product design. The Globemaster watch may be just what you are looking for is want a solid good mechanical watch that is easy to live with and will insprise confidence in your ability to rely on it. Plus, with a price of just $449, you’ll have trouble figuring out what some other watch companies are even charging for. So please read the below review from someone just like you:
I wanted to bring a watch to your attention, something I picked up this week. Through a little random web-surfing, I found a small company in North Carolina, owner-operated, called Bernhardt Watches. It’s run by Fred B. (Bernhardt) Amos, who makes extremely small runs of really quality tool-style watches, with Swiss ETA movements mostly assembled here in The States.
He makes an ETA-powered diver (The Corsair), an ETA/UNITAS hand-wound Officer’s Watch, an inexpensive Miyota-powered diver (Sea Shark), a mid-sized Explorer II-cum-Railmaster homage (The Binnacle), and the watch I got, the GMT Globemaster.
His bracelets are unbelievable. All solid 316 stainless steel with thick screws (much thicker than a Rolex) and solid end links. The clasp is very thick, cut steel as opposed to stamped, thin pieces. The entire bracelet and case are brushed and smooth, also more so than a Rolex, in my opinion. It’s definitely about twice as heavy.
The case is a 42mm, which, combined with its weight and thickness (about 13mm), feels large. After reading all the interest in Rolex’s new larger cases and Omega’s larger Railmaster (not to mention Panerai’s whole line), I can say that this watch definitely feels like it’s on steroids. It’s not too big in size, especially with the smoothness of its edges and lugs, but the weight gives it a significant heft. This feels larger to the wearer, as opposed to the viewer, who will likely see the watch as a standard-sized piece.
The Globemaster GMT is made with a particularly interesting modified ETA 2836 movement offering both an independently adjustable GMT hand while retaining a “jump hour” functionality. It’s based on ETA’s day-date movement with the day becoming the 24-hour hand. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. The 3-6-9-style on the face is simple and classic, while retaining a utilitarian, “gadget” feel through the hash-marks and very unique skeletonized GMT hand. The buttery yellow GMT and seconds hands add a minor shock of color. The small, unmagnified date at 4 o’clock also lends to functionality while not cluttering the face. The entire face (indices, main hands) is illuminated, which glowed in some respect for a 4-5 hours after a 5-minute charge in direct light. It is water-resistant to 200 meters, as is the base standard for any dive watch.
My particular Globemaster is the last of the “Diver’s GMTs”, meaning that it has a 60-minute countdown bezel along with the internal GMT hand. That’s something I’ve rarely, if ever, seen before and I jumped right on it. Bernhardt’s bezels, while traditionally coin-edged, have a unique design, and a nice, tight ratchet. I believe Fred’s current stock of Globemasters, in different colors (black or blue dial and multi-colored bezels) have a 24-hour bezel.
There is no doubt in my mind that the feel and quality of this watch is on par with a Submariner, or even more famously sturdy “tool” watches, such as Sinn. This particular watch’s main competitor in terms of features would likely be the Sinn 757 UTC, which mirrors almost its exact features while being easily 4 times the price.
Lastly, my Globemaster is number 136/500. That’s it. Talk about exclusivity. Fred, the owner, answers his own phone, writes his own emails and stands by his word with a two-year warranty, a third generation watchmaker in his employ, and a beautiful presentation in a wooden, lined box with hand-written warranty card. Simply purchasing this watch felt like an experience from the days when service and quality were paramount. The timepiece itself continues that feeling.
On paper, this watch can’t be beat for under $500: Sapphire crystal, unique-but-proven Swiss ETA movement, hand-assembly and quality control based in the US, tough-brushed steel, screwed-in bracelet, crown and back, and a unique take on a classic style.
In one’s hand and after dealing directly with the company, it travels beyond my expectations.
When I contacted you last, I was on the lookout for a sturdy, daily-wear GMT and this fit the bill in more ways that I expected, so I thought I’d update you. Perhaps this tiny review would be helpful to your readers, but don’t feel any obligation to post it. I simply wanted to exalt the virtues of my new, favorite daily-wearing watch!
-Anonymous aBlogtoRead.com reader
Visit Bernhardt watches here.