Mint Evolutive is featured in my guide to the best custom watches! Discover it here.
In this post i will be taking a close look at a watch that brought me more fun than most of my other watches. It’s not that it’s better than the other watches I have reviewed, but it is more fun!
But why is it more fun?
Yes, you can customize it, but the options are limited. BUT, you can get a nice array of different bezels and straps (with end links) in the form of modding kits! And because the watch is far from overpriced, these kits are very affordable and makes for this watch a one watch collection piece!
Without further ado, I present to you the Mint Evolutive Defender.
- 40mm wide / 49mm lug to lug / 12.4mm thick
- Sapphire Crystal with AR coating
- 200 Water Resistance
- Rotating 120 click bezel
- 316L Stainless Steel
- Seiko NH35A, 21600 beats/hour (6 ticks per second), 41Hrs power reserve
- Screw down crown
Quick Pros and Cons
|– Low price||– Tension bracelet lock|
|– Customizable at home||– Medium grade lume|
|– Great value for the money|
|– A lot of fun|
|– Seiko Movement|
|– End links for other straps|
The watch comes in a very big, and surprisingly well made box for the price! The magnetic lid opens up to the first layer of the box where the watch resides next to a heavy metal plaque that serves as a warranty card. If you lift that first layer, a storage space appears for all the bezels, tools, straps and endlinks. Very nifty and useful box that makes for a great unboxing experience.
The watch itself is also surprisingly well made is you consider the price, and also smaller than I expected (even though it is stated on their website, 40mm always surprises me when it is a sports watch). It has good weight, and the mix of metal finishes plays well with the light!
I ordered some extra bezels and straps with this watch, and for this price i recommend you do the same. That is what makes this watch so fun! You immediately start playing around with the bezels and straps, and even changing them, to see how hard it is (it’s not hard, by the way). The fun begins immediately!
For this price I was expecting a lot more flaws than I found, and even though there are some, I did not feel cheated or disappointed at all!
A closer look
The dial and hands
The Defender has a slightly glossy dark dial with an engraved lozenge pattern, that really gives the dial some depth and attitude. The chapter ring is flat with crisp printed markers connected by a circular white line to close off the dial.
The indices, as you might have noticed, has a mix of lines, arabic numerals and roman numerals. At first glance, you would think it is a California dial, but the 11, 1, 5 and 7 is missing, making this configuration unique (read more about Californian dials here). I really love this configuration, and the indices are not only well printed, but lifted slightly above the base of the dial to give them a little depth.
Only the indices have lume applied to them, and their website only states “japan lume”. It doesn’t seem to be powerful enough to be Seiko Lumibright, but gets the job done well enough.
The hands are flat, polished and well machined without any residue or jagged lines and with a thick coating of phosphorescent paint. They are basically thinner versions of the famous Rolex Submariner hands, with the mercedes hour hand, the straight sword minute hand and the funky lollipop seconds hand.
They are classic and looks just as great on a Rolex as on the Mint Evolutive Defender.
The case and crown
The watch’s case is also a classic diver’s case (with the exception of the display case back) with the thick lugs extending in a straight line from the middle of the watch. The top of the case/lugs are brushed in a circular fashion, and the polished beveled edge lead to the polished sides of the watch!
I really like the holes on the side of the lugs, as they remind me of older watches pre 2000’s. They add so much more character to the watch and also makes it easier to remove the bracelet. I approve, especially since this is a “modding” watch.
The crown is rather big, like on the Rolex Explorer that it reminds me of, which makes it easy to unscrew and screw down again. The grip is phenomenal and the screwing is nice, consistent and slightly “crunchy”. The crown does go into the case, making the lack of crown guards a style choice rather than a problem. To top it off, there is a nice and deeply engraved Mint Evolutive logo that feels great when you brush your fingers over it!
Here’s where the fun begins!
If you buy a mod kit, or simply more bezels next to the watch (which i recommend), you end up feeling like you have more than one watch! It’s fun and easier than changing the straps!
As for the bezels themselves, they are quite well built! The bezels are easy to turn with very little backplay.
The markers on the diver bezel are crisp and cut out from the bezel inlay, and painted with luminous paint at the bottom of the “engraving”. This ensures the paint doesn’t wear off easily with time, and creates a very crisp looking markings!
The fully polished bezel is actually my favourite, because combined with the metal strap, it gives the watch a more “dressier” look. Almost like an older Rolex Explorer!
The Thunderbird bezel is one I rarely see, and reminds me of some older breitling bezels with those huge rider tabs! These 3 bezels gives you the option to go sporty, dressy or unique and different! And combined with different straps, you get even more possibilities!
The metal bracelet is a nice bracelet for the price, with nice soft edges and loose links. There is a little rattling, but nothing surprising for this price range, especially since you get link screws and solid metal clasp “wings”.
I love how the center links and sides of the exterior links are polished. This goes hand in hand with the polished metal bezel and give the bracelet a little more character than a fully brushed bracelet would.
The leather strap is also good considering the price. Nothing over the top fancy, but it looks and feels great, especially with the end links that removes the space between the strap and the case!
Tropical rubber strap
The rubber strap was acutally way too stiff to begin with, but i was told by the owner that i just had to put them in some hot water, and they would loosen up. It did help, however this is still my least favourite strap!
In order for rubber straps to feel good, you need a certain amount of quality, contrary to some cheap leather straps that still feels good on the wrist.
The Mint Evolutive Defender is powered by the famous NH35A Seiko movement, which a lot of entry level microbrands use! It’s robust, reliable and easy and cheap to service! Mine loses around 15 to 20 seconds a day, which is to be expected!
What could have been better
At this price point, it’s very hard to criticize anything that a watch nerd like myself could wish for. But a what’s a minor downside to some, is a deal-breaker to other. Therefore, I think it is worth mentioning even though you can’t expect to find it on a watch at this price. You DO get what you pay for!
The clasp on the metal bracelet is actually solid metal, instead of stamped metal, but it could use a better locking mechanism. It’s basically the old style piece of bent metal that you press down on. I believe you can sacrifice the solid metal clasp “wings” for a push button style locking mechanism, without pissing anybody off.
The crown, although very practical and smooth, has another metal “texture” and finish than the rest of the watch. It sticks out a bit from the watch, but that is hardly noticeable with everyday wear, and I got over it quickly thanks to all the fun this watch provided!
The Thunderbird bezel doesn’t line up exactly with the 12 o’clock inverted triangle, but not enough for you NOT to enjoy how cool that bezel is.
The Price 💲
I think the price is very fair
Considering the quality, the amount of fun you get and the unique details like the “almost california” dial and the crazy Thunderbird bezel, the price is very fair.
You can get the Defender with a metal bracelet and a Thunderbird bezel for 300 USD (270 Euro) and the Defender modding kit with 3 bezels and 3 straps for 369 USD* (332 Euro).
*They are having a sale right now, so the price is actually 309 USD!
How to change the bezel
- Remove the bezel
Take one of the square plastic bezel removers from the box and press the sharp side in between the underside of the bezel and the case. Just keep pressing towards the center of the dial and do not try to wiggle it up and down. The bezel will pop right off!
- Make sure the bezel click ring is well attached
the small metal ring that you see is to ensure the clicking bezel rotation. Press down on it, and check if it can’t be turned.
- Attach the new bezel
Just put the new bezel on top of the watch and press down on all sides until you feel and hear a click! That’s it!
Whether you are a hardcore watch fanatic or not, this watch will definately bring some more fun to your wrist! Mint Evolutive revived a younger version of myself that used to get a kick out of building legos, wearing reversible hoodies and putting stickers on everything to make it unique. Is it a toy? Yes. But it’s a toy for adults and kids alike 🙂 And trust me, the owner knows this… Perhaps that is why the logo reminds you of the Transformers logo?
It’s 40 mm size sits nicely on most wrists and will outlive whatever watch size trend that time will throw at us. With proper care and servicing, it can last a lifetime, which is how long you will want to keep this watch for. Why? Because no matter what configuration you put together, it still truly feels like your watch!