I remember when I first started getting into interesting watches. I was always a watch person since understanding the need to tell the time, but it was sometime in late high school or early college that I started to at least notice that there were some cool watches out there. For me, it was the weird and out-of-the-ordinary that initially caught my eye. For other people it is just the opposite, they like clean classic looks that are simple, but tasteful. Then perhaps they start expanding their scope. For me it is sort of the opposite. After being around so many watches I have come to have a real appreciation for simple classic pieces. Some might call them conservative or traditional in style. “Conservative” is an interesting way of looking at certain watches. The term might conjure up the idea of boring or lifeless. This isn’t true. Conservative instead is adherence to the traditional manner of design and style. Conservative is always in, and conservative will never let you down. Not all occasions call for something conservative, and you don’t always feel like the conservative choice, but conservative will never look out of place.
Which brings me to a fascinating watch called the Narmad from Edouard Lauzières. The brand isn’t very big or well known in the US, but they impressed me with this watch. And even though the name of the watch might sound a bit funny to American ears or the name of the brand is hard to pronounce (yes, you can hear me struggling in the video review), it has a mainstream appeal that I want to share with you.
Let’s get the style out of the way first. This watch isn’t going to make everyone’s heart beat quickly, but it won’t offend anyone either. It has a very conservative style, but the passion is all in the details. In fact, this is of the most affordable passionately made watches I’ve ever seen. I will explain this throughout the review. If there is any one thing I can say about the Narmad, it is that it is an extremely focused watch that is made very well in its specific design. As though the watch maker had a very clear plan for the watch, and executed it perfectly.
If you look closely at the pictures you will notice that the steel looks really good. The finishing on the case is quite fantastic. Best I have ever seen at this price level I think. The bracelet and case have a combo of brushed and polished finishing that is so good you want to cherish it. It feels more like jewelry than a time telling tool on your wrist. The classic three link bracelet is 20mm wide and uses screw bars to attach the links. The deployment uses a triple lock clasp and has a nice “EL” signed flap. The bracelet is excellent for what it is. Comfortable, easy to operate, and fitted flush with the case. I think it would have looked cool for Edouard Lauzières to apply a perlage polish to the folding plates that opens with, and connects the bracelet. That would have been interesting. The clasp also has a micro adjust which I like to get that perfect fit. Overall a really satisfying bracelet and again, nicely finished.
Each case is individually numbered. This adds a degree of exclusivity to them as well as acts as an indicator of when the watch was made and where it was sold. This helps with the 24 month limited warranty that Edouard Lauzières provides with the watch (by the way, speaking of warranty, Edouard Lauzières works with a service center in upstate New York who services watches if needed for US customers). The case size epitomizes conservative being 40mm wide and individually made in Switzerland being milled from a solid piece of steel. It feels extremely solid and has an attractive mixture of polishes on it. The bezel is mirror polished and has 12 genuine Top Wesselton diamonds from Botswana that are hand-set into the case. Total of 0.46 carats of stones. I would not call myself the type of guy to wear diamonds, but I like the look here. The stones have a high gleam and can double as alternate hour markers given their placement. They take the style of the watch into a new direction. Instead of just being a conservative Swiss watch with a familiar looking case and blue dial, the watch is instantly made more formal and perhaps more important feeling. Giving the stones a “functional placement” prevents the watch from looking blingy or like jewelry. Instead they are a tasteful touch that indicate the value the watch maker places on the piece, rather than just a way to make it more expensive.
Ergonomically the watch does not suffer. The case has a crown guard, but the crown itself is still easy to operate and is engraved with the “EL” logo once again. The watch case is water resistant to 50 meters and has a sapphire crystal that has been coated with anti-reflective coating, and is perfectly flat making it easy to see through and refracts minimal light. As is often the case, conservative here also means really easy to use and live with. The Narmad pretty much wants to make you happy and not cause a fuss. It does its job quietly and competently – not likely to ever give you cause to be upset with it.
The back of the watch has a image that you may not recognize. It has nothing to do with watches, and isn’t even Swiss. It is a mandala of life chakra (chakhra). It is a Buddhist symbol meant to imbue luck, vitality, and happiness. Such symbols are common in Tibetan and some Indian art. It has a peaceful symmetrical look to it, sort of what a good watch dial should look like. It is interesting to find it on the back of the watch. At the very least it adds character to the timepiece and is a soothing piece of imagery.
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the dial on the Narmad, but I’ve come to appreciate it. It is very understated, but requires lots of effort to make. The dial itself is in a metallic blue that has been guilloche machine engraved by hand. Each dial is done individually and takes about 20 minutes to make. The texturing is unique and there is a sort of sunburst pattern as well that has 12 lines that line up with the hour markers. If blue is a color you like, you will more than likely enjoy the dial tone. On top of it are applied hour markers with luminant on them. The hands are close to dauphine in shape and also applied with lume. The Edouard Lauzières logo is placed under Arabic numeral indicator for 12 o’clock. As such the dial has orientation, a degree of darkness visibility and an interesting look. Around the dial is a steeply sloped chapter ring that has minute indicators on it. It is a nice touch also in blue, and makes the dial feel deeply set into the case. Don’t forget the date function as well (with its nice little polished metal window).
As a quartz watch, the Narmad doesn’t suffer from some of the pet peeves I have with quartz movements. Inside the watch is a Swiss made Ronda 715 quartz movement. The Narmad watch I have has a second hand that perfectly lines up with the 60 indicators on the chapter ring – very important! The movement is also very accurate, even for a quartz, and high quality in the scheme of quartz movements. When the battery is low the seconds hand moves less times (though still keeping the time) to act as an “end of life” indicator for the battery meaning you need to replace it (average battery last for about 5 years). This is done by unscrewing the four screws that hold on the back of the case. Plus, if you aren’t wearing the watch, you can pull out the crown to conserve up to 70% of the energy drain from the battery.
I was amazed to learn all of this about the Narmad. A seemingly simple timepiece with so many interesting details and attractive qualities. Totally absent from your mind unless you are educated about the watch. It goes to show how much the story behind the construction and design of the watch can add to the value. I would place the Edouard Lauzières Narmad in the category of high-end quartz watches. Many people love this category, and it is a good idea to have some quartz watches to supplement your mechanical watch collection. Also, for those people wanting a nice everyday watch with a conservative demeanor but a good story and nice construction, it is hard to go wrong with the Narmad if the style speaks to you. The price direct from Edouard Lauzières for the watch is $1,200. Not too bad given the high-quality materials, diamonds, and lots of individual hands-on treatment each Narmad watch receives.Thanks to Edouard Lauzières for providing the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.