The watches produced by Brellum constantly amaze me, and the Brellum Duobox LE.4 watch is no exception. This micro- is a very interesting case study when it comes to brand building. Here is a company that offers exemplarily styled watches of a classic nature, powered by industry-stalwart calibers, and manufactured with very high production values for a fraction of the cost that one might expect. I have often wondered if a brand like Brellum ever suffers because they have priced their products too aggressively low.
I’m sure most readers of this blog will disagree — I mean, we all want to save a few bucks where we can — but from a macro-perspective, selling products in this bracket is an absolute dogfight. And the question is, does Brellum, for all its quality, do enough to stand out? Perhaps to reach a conclusion, we should study the Brellum Duobox LE.4 watch. If this doesn’t pique your interest, it’s likely nothing this brand does will.
The stainless-steel case measures 41.8mm in diameter and 16.2mm-thick. You might notice the rather tall aspect of this watch. That’s thanks to the “duo box” crystals from which the watch derives its name. The crystals add a whopping 5mm to the total height. (The case alone measures just 11.2mm from top to bottom.)
Of course, we need the crystals, which are coated with anti-reflective material on both sides, in order to secure the 50m water resistance, but acknowledging their height goes some way toward explaining just how much the sapphire dominates this piece. From an aesthetic vantage point, that’s no bad thing. It adds to the elegance of the watch and, in tandem with the dial design and classical markers, conspires to form a very handsome, versatile package, indeed.
The Brellum Duobox LE.4 watch does an excellent job of displaying a great deal of information in a very small space. We have the date displayed around the edge of the dial and indicated via a pointer. The chronograph counters double-up their functionality by playing host to the day and month (located on either side of the 30-minute counter pinion on the 12 o’clock sub-dial), the moon-phase indicator underlays the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, while the going seconds hand on the 9 o’clock sub-dial is set above a 24-hour indicator.
The Brellum Duobox LE.4 watch is powered by the BRELLUM BR-751-TCMP. This caliber is an automatic, COSC-certified chronometer that started life as a Valjoux 7751. The movement has been decorated with perlage, Geneva striping, and blue screws, and each rotor is numbered to denote limitation. The watch beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) and has a 46-hour power reserve.
I’ve been watching Brellum for a while, very keen to buy into what they’re offering. Little things, however, have stopped me thus far. And I do mean little things. I wasn’t a huge fan of the logo. The concept — a fetal wyvern — is cool, but it was a little busy for my clean-lined tastes. The absence of the wyvern on this dial attracts me to the watch immediately. While I maybe preferred the black cased, pandial chronograph, this one offers something very different. Thanks to the polished numerals and the Roman typeface, this watch comes off as far dressier. The additional functionality of the moon phase is welcome, and the pointer date is an elegant touch.
What I really love about the LE.4, however, is the crown engraving. I’d hope that this “snowflake” design becomes the brand’s primary logo, at some point. You can tell from its depth that the engraving has clearly not been skimped on (assuming this render is an accurate representation of the finished product). Attention to detail matters in watchmaking. Never more so than for a small brand. Every aspect of microbrands’ wares will be scrutinized because they are going up against the best of the best in their price bracket. And even though the CHF 3,190 seems preposterously reasonable for a watch boasting six dial-side complications, it will still have to fend off some stiff competition. I have a feeling that with just 17 pieces available, it will be up to the challenge. To learn more, visit brellum.com