Swiss Brellum’s latest product is the Brellum Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer watch, the company’s simplest product to date. A dress-style watch in appearance with vintage timepiece-style aesthetics, the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer is actually rather modern on the wrist, with its large stature and industrial, solid feel. I’m reminded of some contemporary IWC watches each time I wear the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer, in terms of both the masculine presence of the product, as well as the types of real-world settings it would be appropriate in.
No watch is perfect, and the Brellum Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer is not without its minor quirks. I found that the manner in which the main hands intersect inside the subsidiary seconds dial can take a while to get used to, and the overall larger size of the watch makes it feel more sporty than dressy. To the latter point, Brellum needs to try a bit harder to adequately market the watch (though there is a healthy market for dress watches that wear more like sport watches). The name of the watch also doesn’t really match its personality unless you read way too much into “Wyvern” (the character in the brand’s logo). With a name like “Classic ‘Petite Seconde’ Chronometer” (which sounds like a woman’s Jaquet Droz), the watch sounds more modest in size and more elegant-leaning than its broader dimensions actually provide. Moreover, those who actually like vintage-style watches also tend to like (though not universally) more demure models. Put another name and dial on this timepiece and its 42.5mm-wide, 100m water- resistant case could easily be a sports watch.
The case itself is very nicely finished for the watch’s price-point. I’ve seen plenty of watches in this category and price that suffer from poor finishing. The steel case has a mixture of brushed and polished lines — with the latter mostly acting as welcome angle accents against the very consistently brushed surface areas. Over the dial is a “box-style” sapphire crystal, referred to as such because of how it appears to sit over the bezel, as opposed to inside it. The sapphire crystal makes for a good look, but even though it is AR-coated, it still has a bit too much glare coming off it. The overall look of the case is good, but I would call it “handsome” more than “pretty.”
At 10.9mm thick, the case is slim enough to fit under a sleeve, but with the overall width of the case, the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer isn’t really a “classic size,” as I mentioned above. (The case has a roughly 51mm lug-to-lug distance.) One of the most interesting elements on the case is really hard to notice, but I discovered it. Turn the case over and you’ll see some relief engraved writing on the periphery, outside the sapphire crystal window. If you run your finger over this text, you should feel the normal scrape of sharply cut steel — but you don’t. Apparently, the case manufacturer placed small amounts of clear lacquer in the engraved cavities to make the watch a bit nicer against your skin. I really appreciate and love this type of detail.
The look into the Swiss ETA 2895 automatic movement is nicely done. The sapphire crystal is larger than it needs to be because of a rehaut ring just around the movement, which helps the caseback viewing experience look as though the movement isn’t too small for the case (but of course it actually is — not really a ding or anything). The movement itself has perlage polishing and a customized Brellum automatic rotor. Brellum calls this movement their caliber BR-895, and it’s a top grade 2985 operating at 4Hz with 42 hours of power reserve. As the same of the watch implies, the movement has been COSC Chronometer-certified for more assured accuracy and performance. The watch perpetually reminds you of this with the “Chronometer Certified” label text on the dial.
Only the hands have luminant on them, and not the hours. The lume is sparse but can be used to read the time. The subsidiary (petite) seconds hand has a lollipop-style counterweight, which has the luminant, very Seiko-esque. The applied hour markers are polished with welcome flat surfaces. The shine on the hour markers helps them contrast well with the black face on this reference WYC.130 version of the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer. So, in a sense, legibility is high on this watch, and either it was an accident or a lot of going back and forth with dial materials and finishes. The sapphire crystal does, however, have a bit more glare than I’d prefer.
Other dial variations of the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer include the silver WYC.100 and the blue WYC.110. My understanding is that the black dial version is the most legible, but easily the most hip is the silver-dialed model with its black-colored luminant (which will not actually be an amazing luminant, but will look better in the light).
No dress watch would have a buckle as beefy as Brellum’s choice for the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer. There is nothing wrong with the deployant buckle, per se, but it simply isn’t for a dress watch. The fold-over with push-button locking deployant clasp is nicer on the inside than the outside. It is a bit too angular for my liking, and the laser-engraved Brellum logo doesn’t have the aesthetic beauty of the engravings on the watch’s caseback. Inside the secure buckle is some nice perlage engraving, which sort of matches the perlage engraving on the movement.
The Brellum Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer comes on a 22mm-wide hand-made calf-leather strap in black, and it is nice to look at. The strap end curves to match the case, offering a closer and more attractive look. The slight gloss of the strap is subdued and masculine in appearance. It is also a thick strap with a slight taper on the underside to make it more comfortable when wet; it also has a rubber liner for wear-resistance. The strap, however, is quite stiff and can be uncomfortable, unless you really push it and wear it in. I think this watch would look better on a softer and more pliable leather NATO-style strap. It would also help bring out some of the watch’s sportier elements.
Brellum did a good job with the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer, a watch nicer than many in its price category. It also released a sporty dress watch, a feat not always easy to accomplish. It isn’t a beauty queen, but its chiseled look gives the Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer a charming quality that fits with the SUV lifestyle so common these days. Appropriate for business-casual to rather elegant attire, the Brellum Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer is a fair-priced option with some good detailing and definite character. Price for the Brellum Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer (reference WYC.130) is $1,480 USD. Learn more or order at Brellum here.
>Model: Wyvern Classic “Petite Seconde” Chronometer (reference WYC.130 as tested)
>Price: $1,480 USD
>Size: 42.5mm wide, 10.9mm thick, and approx 51mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When wanting to dress elegantly, but not too elegantly.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Timepiece enthusiast guy who likes his stuff XL or larger and needs a dress with some technical cred to it.
>Best characteristic of watch: Case finishing and movement presentation as best executed elements of the watch. Dial is retro but seemingly original as well. Wears like a sports watch with a more elegant personality.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Isn’t really “classic” in the skin. Dial design can get some getting used to, but isn’t bad. Strap is rather stiff to start.