One of the great joys of watching a new microbrand emerge is discovering its take on classic themes and elements. Every new brand has a fresh perspective on the tenets of watchmaking, and newly launched Australian marque Wrist Lore is an excellent example of this. While described by the brand as a pilot’s watch, its freshman release Blackbird LE Automatic boldly blends diver, sports and pilot cues from a wide variety of sources while injecting the watch with a sizable dose of military aviation DNA. The finished product is distinctive, aggressive, and truly one-of-a-kind.
In an age of 38-millimeter vintage reissues dominating the landscape, the hefty 45-millimeter 316L stainless steel case of the Blackbird LE Automatic is a purposeful break from the pack. With an overall case thickness of 14.5 millimeters, the Blackbird LE Automatic projects an imposing presence on the wrist that demands attention, particularly thanks to the tactical-style black DLC finishing. The overall shape of the case is angular, masculine and reminiscent of high-end integrated bracelet sports divers with elements like screw-adorned hooded lugs and a distinctive octagonal chamfered bezel with four decorative finishing screws. At 3 o’clock, the Blackbird LE Automatic sports a massive custom cap-style screw-down crown guard for added shock and water resistance, which the brand claims will reach 100 meters. Around back, the caseback features a sapphire display window showcasing the movements surrounded by the limited-edition serial number and the inscription “Aut Vincere Aut Mori,” which translates to “Conquer or Die.”
The dial of the Blackbird LE Automatic is where Wrist Lore truly shows its colors, allowing its aviation inspirations and unique sense of style to come to the fore. The handset is pared down and simple, with slender baton hours and minutes filled with Super-LumiNova SL-C1 lume complemented by a vibrant red needle seconds, allowing the rest of the design to remain the focal point. The main black surface of the dial is overlaid with a complex latticework of brushed stainless steel bars and crossmembers designed to resemble the cockpit window pattern of the watch’s namesake, the famous supersonic SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
The cleanly modernist Wrist Lore logo sits atop this latticework at 12 o’clock, rendered in anodized red for an eye-catching pop of color. The hour indices are elementally simple, small DLC steel applied squares that catch the light brilliantly at certain angles. The outer chapter ring adds another touch of personality, with the seconds track from 10 to 20 printed in a bright crimson red that draws the eye back to the maximalist crown guard at three o’clock. Of course, the most distinctive element of the Blackbird LE Automatic’s dial appears at 7 o’clock in the fore of a generously wide open-heart window, offering the wearer a glimpse at the balance wheel within.
The beating heart of the Wrist Lore Blackbird Automatic is a tried-and-true Miyota Cal. 82S0 open-heart automatic movement. The Cal. 82S0 is a solidly reliable movement with respectable performance for the price point, offering -20/+40 seconds per day accuracy, 42 hours of power reserve and a 21,600 vph frequency.
Wrist Lore offers the Blackbird LE Automatic on a complex bracelet that, like the case, calls to mind luxurious integrated bracelet sports dive watches and complements the overall design brilliantly. There’s an excellent mix of brushed and polished surfaces at play in the design, allowing the bracelet to catch light from nearly any angle while flowing into the overall case shape.
All in all, the Wrist Lore Blackbird LE Automatic stands as a truly distinctive first foray for the brand, one that immediately sets the company apart from the pack while paying tribute to one of the most iconic aircraft of all time. The Blackbird LE Automatic will only be produced in a very limited production run. The watch is currently available for preorder at Wrist Lore’s Kickstarter page for $299 (the campaign will run through November 30th), an early-bird pricing deal offering more than 45 percent off the final retail price of $550. View the Kickstarter campaign here.Sponsored Posts are a form of advertising that allows sponsors to share useful news, messages, and offers to aBlogtoWatch readers in a way traditional display advertising is often not best suited to. All Sponsored Posts are subject to editorial guidelines with the intent that they offer readers useful news, promotions, or stories. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in Sponsored Posts are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of aBlogtoWatch or its writers.