(4 / 5)
As some of my readers may already know, I am a huge fan of unique watches that you don’t see everyday. The watch that i am going to review here sure fits that description!
The Bolido Core is a very unique watch with a rare blend of minimalisme, a unique case and a very open skeleton dial. I couldn’t wait to see this watch in the flesh, especially since a lot of great things about this watch are not noticeable by simply looking at their webpage.
Bolido won the Red Dot Design award in 2018 for their watch case, and has since then created a whole line of watches featuring this case design and the same outer ring dial and hands. So if you are not into skeleton dials or PVD coated cases, but love the case go check out their website! You might just fall in love with another one of their models.
The watch comes in a decent box, but nothing near a luxury box. This is however never disappointing to me when buying a watch under 1000 Euros.
The first thing I noticed was the size of the watch! It was smaller than I expected and for some reason the images on their website made it look bigger. This is far from bad since I have small wrists and smaller watches are making a comeback.
The watch is quite light-weight and the grainy finish on the case feels great under the fingertips. It’s hard not to wind the movement and get hypnotized by every intricate part moving in order to keep time. It also very interesting to turn the watch and admire the decreasing height of the case from the top where the crown is to the bottom. A truly fun and exciting unboxing.
A closer look
The watch case and crown
This watch case reminds me a lot of the case that 22 Design Studio uses on their watches. The big difference is the 12 o’clock placement of the crown and the decreasing height from top to bottom to accommodate the crown. It’s a very interesting minimalist design that isn’t striking at first glance, but definitely makes you look twice at the watch.
The PVD coating is great and the grainy beat blasted finish was a wonderful surprise! From the pictures on their website, you would think is a shiny finish, which I am not particularly fond of.
I am talking about the crown and the case because they look like they are one. The case looks like it extends out to the crown, which is very thin and has a shiny finish. The crown follows the design of the case and features a small jagged edge for a better grip. There is also a small notch under the crown to make it easier to pop out and set the time (I discovered that after struggling to take it out, and later found that it was presented on their website).
The case back (or back of the case, since it doesn’t have a case back) is another detail that I think is worth mentioning. It has a rather small and very domed sapphire crystal, giving you a distorted, yet sufficient, view of the other side of the movement. This is something I have never seen before on a watch, but that I find quite enjoyable!
The dial and hands
The dial is very open and offers an exceptional view into the movement. I really enjoy the fact that they had certain elements of the movement PVD coating in black, highlighting the other more “vibrant” parts of the movement. It creates a great contrast and makes the dial feel less cluttered. I am also a big fan of the two golden parts: the balance wheel and another wheel sued to drive force.
The exterior ring of the dial is also very simple, featuring very crisp hour markers painted with swiss SuperLuminova and a nice minimalistic font for the numbers and other text. The choice of using blue lume is also very cool and goes against the norm. The lume itself is not super bright, but does seem to last longer than the classic green lume. On a small sidenote, i would have preferred to see the name “Bolido” at the 6 o’clock, and the number 12 at its place!
The hands are also very minimalistic and fits very well into the dial. The hour hands stop at the very edge of the exterior dial ring, and the second hand has a red tip that stars at this same edge. These small, but well thought-out details, makes all the difference!
The sapphire crystal
The Bolido Core features a slightly curved sapphire crystal perfectly aligned with the case. It doesn’t say on their website if they have added a Anti-Reflective coating, but I assume that for this price it has one on the underside of the crystal.
The sapphire crystal does reflect some light, but nothing too seriously annoying.
The strap and buckle
This is my first ostrich leather strap and i have to admit i really love it! It feels amazing and the small “bumps” on the leather makes it look really organic and natural. It’s slightly rigid but easy to bend and “loosen up” for a better fit.
The strap buckle has the same mat and grainy finish as the watch case. Its design is also quite unique and doesn’t resemble any generic buckle i have seen, while still staying in the realm of minimalisme.
This is my first watch with a STP movement, more specifically the STP 6.16. Many of their watches features the STP 1.11, but this watch has a skeletonized movement that doesn’t show up on STP’s website! It seems they are using the STP 6.15 (which does come in a black PVD coated version) and they have probably asked for a modified version of this movement exclusively for the Bolido Core. They also regulate it in 5 positions which is a pretty high standard.
But are STP movements any good?
According to my research, many people have high opinions about the STP movements. A few comparisons between the STP 1.11 and the ETA 2428 seems to conclude that the STP movement is either on par with ETA, or slightly superior. You can check out some unbiased opinions here.
On my wrist it loses or gains around 7 seconds a day. The manual winding seems to be a bit harder than on my ETA’s, but it’s far from annoying.
What could have been better
The size of the strap
Even though I am a fan of the bigger watches, the size of this watch doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s far from being as small as some of the common vintage watches you see today. But I do feel like the strap is too wide for this watch. It’s probably just a matter of taste, but it can make the watch feel less significant on the wrist, which of course some people prefer.
The manual wind
Manually winding the watch can be a bit hard with such a small crown and a hard winding, and it is even harder to wind it or adjust the time when it is on the wrist (which is of course not recommended anyway, but still). It is, however, a small problem that had to be ignored for the sake of the design.
I think the price is somewhat fair
This watch i sold for 998 Euros (1118 USD).
You can probably find watches with the same kind of STP movement and features for a lower price, but they are most often built in china or other countries (which doesn’t always mean it’s bad quality). But when you build a watch entirely in Switzerland, the price has to go up a bit. They also regulates the movement, and the straps are real ostrich leather, which all adds up to a fair price, in my opinion.
If your a big fan of unique and different watches that you don’t see everywhere, the Bolido Core is a watch for you. If you love minimalistic and/or skeletonized watches, the Bolido Core is a watch for you!
The Bolido Core is a simple yet complicated watch, that doesn’t aim to attract attention, yet seems to do so quite well. It’s more on the dressy side, but with the rubber strap it can turn into a slightly more sporty watch. But ultimately, you have to fall in love with the design, and if you do, you won’t be disappointed with the quality of this watch!