If I say “thematic watches” you probably think of tool watches and dress watches, and most certainly not coffee watches. But Brew Watch Company is just that—it creates watches designed around, and inspired by, one of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet. But it is not just about a “cup of Joe,” but what it represents. Specifically the coffee break and a chance to take time to enjoy everything that surrounds the drink. We are talking dates, personal time, individual rituals, places to meet, and escaping or fueling the chaos of day-to-day life. It is a concept that has had roaring success since the start thanks to brand owner and designer Jonathan Ferrer’s unique style, the affordable nature of the watches, and how relatable the concept can be. The funky designs and overall likability of these playful watches have landed Brew on the wrist of celebrities like Idris Elba and Alton Brown, the latter of which is one part of the new limited-edition Retrograph “Relic.”

The Relic springboards off the existing Retrograph watch design and easily places itself in a unique category of watches that push the limits of what patina can do to watch design. The soft-edged rectangular case is made of 316L stainless steel and is treated with an antique bronze-colored PVD. Measuring 38mm wide, 41.5mm lugs to lug, 10.40mm thick, and rated to 5 ATM of water resistance the dimensions are the same as the effortlessly wearable traditional Retrograph. However, a specially made pseudo-bund-style strap made of shell cordovan by US strap maker BillyKirk will certainly add some wrist presence. Additionally, this bund-style strap does not have a standard strap integrated into it, so those of you who, like me, are bund-averse, will need to scrounge up another 22mm wide strap to wear it on.

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Underneath its flat sapphire bezel lies a one-of-a-kind oxidized dial, which Alton Brown calls “espresso-esque,” and I can hardly disagree. I’ve pulled my fair share of subpar espresso shots in my day and can see the rich swirling crema of a properly pulled shot spread across the dials—something I recognize from the YouTube videos not from my own success. Whatever oxidation the process Brew used, it nailed the color scheme and warm hues.

Differentiating itself from the rest of the Retrograph line-up the relic does away with the date display normally found at 6 o’clock and its 24-hour register at 3 o’clock for a pleasantly asymmetrical design. The brand’s bean motif is imprinted at 3 o’clock, while a 60-minute elapsed time register is at 9 o’clock. Fortunately, the handy espresso timing seconds track found from zero to 35 around the periphery of the dial is still in place for you to perfectly time your shots with a set of skeletonized hands.

Flipping the watch over you’ll find a conveniently cut hole in the bund-style strap that exhibits a caseback decorated with an artistic rendering of Alton Brown and the limited-edition number out of the 250 pieces that will be made. Beneath the caseback is the reliable and ubiquitous Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz Hybrid chronograph movement.

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Brew Watches consistently surprises with fun watches that don’t normally break the bank, and there’s enough variety that you probably don’t even need to like coffee to find the appeal. Needless to say, a collaboration with a name like Alton Brown can only be beneficial for the brand. Only 250 pieces are being produced, making it one of the less common Brews out there, and those 250 buyers will get a signature cocktail recipe created by Brown himself included with their watch. The Brew Retrograph Relic is priced at $595 USD, the most expensive Brew currently available, even outpricing the brand’s titanium mechanical offerings. Only you can decide if the limited nature and unique dials are worth the premium and you can learn more about Brew and the Retrograph Relic on the brand’s website.

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