October 28, 2016
Based out of Singapore, Reverie is a small brand founded by Samuel Tay, an individual determined to create his own “dream watch.” This is often the case with microbrands, it seems. Sometimes people aren’t satisfied with their available options and decide to create something on their own. No matter the outcome, this is certainly tough to do in an already crowded space, but with the Reverie Sea Spirit, Samuel has crafted a watch worthy of his dreams. Now let’s take a look to see if it’s worthy of your time.
Starting with a 316L stainless steel case, the Reverie Sea Spirit is 41mm and is a slight cushion shape with a 22mm lug-width. I am personally a sucker for cushion-shaped pieces, so this alone initially drew my attention. One of the first things you will notice with this piece is the guilloché dial. The Reverie Sea Spirit watch was crafted to be nautical in its theme and the guilloché “waves” represent the churn and swirl of the ocean. Regardless of the inspiration, the execution certainly payed off, and the dial gives a nice shimmering effect when you play with it in the light. Theres is an offset small seconds between 4 and 5 o’clock with a separate guilloché pattern within. The hands are wide and the hour markers provide a contrast of legibility-boosting white.
Around the dial is a white sectioned time track, and there is a date indicator at 3 o’clock. Date windows are often a sore point and can be quite divisive for watch enthusiasts. Obviously, I see the pros and cons of each side, and I happen to prefer a date window. I can appreciate the cleaner aspects of dials without them but the practical side of me just wants to have it there, so this was not a con for me this time around. The crystal is antireflective-treated sapphire, and there is another sapphire crystal on the caseback as well to view the Miyota 8218. More on that in a minute.
Though it is nautical-inspired, I would not view this piece as a “wear on the beach” watch by any stretch. It is rated for a 10 ATM water resistance, but this is more of a dress watch than anything. And that’s fine. It works in that sense, and overall the feeling is that a lot of care went into this piece.
The Reverie Sea Spirit is powered by the Japanese Miyota 8218 which offers a 40-hour power reserve. With startup watch brands the Citizen-owned Miyota is oftentimes the go-to selection for an outsourced automatic movement. Aside from throwing an ETA in there, there aren’t usually a lot of options for newer companies that want to make an entrance onto the market with an automatic movement while still pricing in the sub-$1,000 range. There is nothing wrong with the Miyota, and it has powered many watches with its reputation as a reliable Japanese movement. Though it isn’t the prettiest movement, Reverie still wanted you to be able to see the 8218 through the caseback. I might have opted to have a simple enclosed back with a design of some sort, but it doesn’t detract from the experience at all.
A lot of smaller brands often rush to get a product out, and as I’m sure you have noticed, there is an overload of small companies all putting out ultra minimalistic watches with super plain dials. So when I see something like the Reverie Sea Spirit I can recognize someone trying to create something outside of “the norm.” At any rate, I also happen to really love guilloché, and when it is done right, it is a thing of beauty. This is not a brand that is espousing to “break the barriers” of the luxury market like some claim to do. This is just a watch-lover that decided to make a piece they wanted to wear. That’s all.
On the wrist, I found the Reverie Sea Spirit works as a piece to wear to the office or casually with jeans on the weekend. You see, Reverie actually produced two variants of the Reverie Sea Spirit: one with a deep blue dial and the other (which I have for review) a darker “anchor-black.” The black is a little classier, I think, and it was able to slide in and out of several styles of fashion for my purposes.
The Reverie Sea Spirit ships in a simple black, ribbon-tied box and comes with two different straps. One is black leather with a Reverie-branded butterfly clasp while the other is a “sailcloth”-inspired black strap for more casual use. Reverie opted to equip the straps with a “convenient strap-change” design so switching between the two is a cinch. I am glad to see more and more brands doing this, and it makes it easy to change your style on the fly without having to get your kit out.
For the average buyer considering an automatic dress watch, bigger brands offer a lot of fierce competition in this $400-$500 price range and it can be difficult for smaller, startup brands to penetrate this market. For example, when someone comes to me saying they are looking for a decent, dependable automatic watch they don’t have to baby, I often point them in the direction of a tried and true Seiko 5. Though admittedly not always as “polished” in appearance as the Reverie here, and significantly less expensive, they take a licking and keep on ticking. We also recently covered this Martenero, and while it is certainly more modernist than the Reverie Sea Spirit, it illustrates the variety available to us watch lovers in this price range.
The Reverie Sea Spirit is very comfortable and light enough that sometimes I forget I have it on. In a world of giant watches, this is a quality that I find is of increasing importance to me. It might be silly, but I actually prefer something lightweight, and the Reverie Sea Spirit fits the bill in that regard. I had several people ask me about this watch, and the first thing they always said was something to the effect of “oh I like that dial!” The guilloché really takes this piece up a notch and lets it stand out from the smorgasbord of cookie-cutter watch producers I mentioned earlier. It is always great to see something original that keeps its distance from the current trends. The Reverie Sea Spirit is a watch for those who want something unique without breaking the bank and have a fondness for interesting dials.
The Reverie Sea Spirit is part of a limited run, and the two models were produced in 125 pieces each. At the time of writing, they are already sold out of the “deep-blue” models. The “anchor-black” variants are still available, though, and pricing is $420. reverie.com
>Model: Sea Spirit
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a reasonably priced, eye-catching automatic watch, perhaps as an entry into mechanical watches.
>Best characteristic of watch: The dial. The guilloché is easily the coolest part of this piece.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Limited run makes it hard for fans just learning about the brand to get their hands on one. Reverie is developing other models as we speak, however.