Today I have the honour of reviewing a watch from Lorier, a micro brand I first heard of on the Urban Gentry’s channel (and I highly recommend you watch). Lorier is a small brand run by a married couple who want to produce affordable vintage inspired quality mechanical watches. And boy have they succeeded!
In terms of quality, there is not much to say, and I will get into that here in this review. But in terms of design choices, this is one of the best retro diver designs I have seen in a while. That is why I will dedicate an entire paragraph to the overall design of the watch, and focus on the quality in the rest of the review.
I present to you, the gold Lorier Falcon!
Quick Pros & Cons
|– Great retro design||– If you’re not a fan of plexiglass, this watch brand is not for you|
|– Quality build|
|– Seiko movement|
|– High-tech PVD coating|
|– Good size for most people|
The watch comes in a nice leather pouch with extra tools and alle the papers you would expect. Since this watch isn’t trying to achieve luxury, but rather a retro tool watch look, a fancy box wouldn’t have been appropriate, nor a good investment.
I have never had a full gold watch, and there is something about how it reflects light that I am not used to but certainly enjoyed! The watch has a nice weight to it and an understated look that is hard to achieve with a full gold watch (more on that later).
The bracelet is well articulated but a little rattly, yet it still feels solid. You immediately notice the big crown and how easy it is to unscrew and set the time with. The screw in the bracelet are very easy to unscrew making this one of the best bracelet resizing experiences of my life!
Overall a delightful unboxing with no bad surprised or obvious flaws!
Lorenzo & Lauren Ortega, the founders of Lorier, have made some truly wise design choices for this specific watch and all their other models. They are always enjoyed by the wearer, but i feel you can only truly appreciate them when you know why they work.
First of all, making a fully fully gold coated watch is somewhat a risky move. They are neither in fashion, nor considered elegant anymore, and many associate them with flaunting behaviour or 90’s bankers.
But Lorier somehow pulled it off, mainly by choosing to apply a brushed finish to 99% of the watch! Only the side of the crown, the beveled edge of the case and clasp and the lower perpendicular ring of the bezel are polished. This gives the watch some depth and personality while serving as a reminder to how good gold can look when polished.
The big crown also helps this gold watch to stay grounded, by reminding you that it is a tool watch. This crown could have easily thrown off the design of the watch if it wasn’t for the slightly curved lugs. They almost look flat and gives the watch the necessary length to balance off that huge crown.
Using plexiglass to cover the dial and having visible lug holes are two more design choices that not only accentuates the retro look of the watch, but helps downplay the overall design.
The black waffle dial (debossed lozenge pattern) add a nice understated luxury feel to the watch. Lorier chose to use very long applied indices, and for a good reason: the plexiglass distort the light a lot more than a flat crystal would, making shorter indices invisible at an angle (it’s easy to see with the short 6 o’clock marker). The long and thin indices curve in the most charming way when turning the watch, making the plexiglass so much more enjoyable!
The date window is very well placed at the 6 o’clock and disappears completely when looking at the watch on a rested arm! A 3 o’clock, it would have added to the visual weight of the crown, thus tipping the watch to the right. The trapezoid shape of the opening is also a detail that fits in much better with any circular dial.
The gold printing and the white on black date wheel are the last elements that helps steer the focus towards the indices and the hands.
The tear-drop and arrow hand combination is something I rarely see on vintage divers, except for this vintage Onix diver watch. It truly shows that they wanted to create something unique using different elements from the past! Also, there is something very harmonious about the circular shape the hands created in the middle of the dial. Bravo Lorier, bravo!
A closer look
The case and crown
The case is 316L stainless steel case that has been PVD coated with a coating that was previously unknown to me. It’s a mix of titanium nitride and gold which apparently is the best kind of coating/plating available, rated as AA grade for excellent adhesion, low contamination and uniformity. So you basically have real gold for color correction that has the durability of titanium. I would suggest Lorier put that on their website since it is a very cool detail that only serves the watch’s longevity.
The brushed finish is fine, but remains slightly rugged so that you still get that tool watch feel this watch is all about. The polished ring at the bottom of the bezel meets the polished beveled edge of the case is a pixel perfect manner, leaving nothing to chance!
The crown features a nice set of small and thin teeth that gives you just enough grip to unscrew the watch without frustration. The polished side of the crown features a highly embossed Lorier logo that unfortunately doesn’t line up with the case.
When unscrewed, the crown does feel a tad bit fragile and wobbles a little when turned, so be careful. Luckily, it’s very easy to screw back in and has a nice consistent feel to it during the process.
The dial and hands
The beautiful waffle dial is nicely executed, just like the crisp printing of the minute track, logo, date window “barrier” and other texts on the dial. The date is well centered in the date window, just like the rest of the dial in centered to the case with an accuracy of 1 degree.
The applied gold colored indices are nicely done and not too high, filled with a consistent amount BWG9 lume (my favourite). I have seen better BWG9 applications, as this watch is not as bright as other divers models I have, but I can forgive them for that.
The hands are also gold colored and features a nice and rugged brushed finish without any excess material spilling out from the sides. The lume on the hands are slightly brighter than on the dial, which is better than the opposite scenario.
The bracelet is also PVD coated in the same impressive coating as the case, with solid links held together by screws that tapers down from 20mm to 16mm. The screws are very easy to unscrew and as i mentioned earlier, this bracelet was very easy to resize from my home thanks to the tool that Lorier provides with the watch. There are 2 quick adjustment holes on the clasp, so everyone should be able to find their perfect size, and I think this bracelet wears quite well when worn a bit loose.
The links are medium length i would say, and tapers nicely around my 17cm wrist. One problem that comes when choosing to have straight lugs, is the open space between the endlink and the bracelet. It’s worse on small wrists, but far from being a dealbreaker for me. The strap is also a little “rattly”, but this tends to be the case when you have easy articulated bracelets in this price range.
The clasp follow the bracelet nicely without sticking out, with the exception of the clasp release buttons on the sides. It has solid metal deployment arms, a nice and easy locking mechanism and nice responsive buttons.
A beautiful polished beveled edge combines with polished buttons and a deeply engraved Lorier logo with sandblasted finish really gives this clasp a great personality.
The Lorier Falcon is powered by the all too well known Seiko NH35A. It’s robust, easy to service, reliable and features hacking so you can stop the seconds hand when setting the time. It beats at 21.600 beats per hour meaning the seconds hand ticks 6 times per second (3 Hz).
It loses around 15 to 20 seconds a day on my wrist, so pretty close to the specs that Seiko has released. This level of accuracy is to be expected on a watch in this price range.
What could have been better
I hate to be the one to criticize a watch that I love so much, but there where 2 things I would have changed if it was my duty to design the updated version of this watch:
- I would remove the word “automatic” under the “Lorier” and either added under the word “Falcon”, sized it up a bit and moving both up a nodge, or left it completely off. It’s so small you can barely read it, and therefore only clutters the dial more than necessary.
- I would have made sure that the very symmetric and angular logo on the crown was perpendicular to the case. It’s less of a problem with round logos, but here it just annoys my OCD riddled soul. Perhaps this was a prototype model and this has been corrected in the production models.
I think the price is very fair!
This watch goes for 449 USD (401 Euros) and their steel model goes for 399 USD (357 Euros).
Considering the amount of attention to detail, the relative quality of the build and finishing and the perfect design, you definitely get a great watch for your money. Some would argue that they save money buy using plexiglass instead of sapphire crystal, but i feel that money saved has been put in the rest of the watch.
Whether you’re into vintage watches or not, Lorier has something that will tickle your design bone. It’s not a dress watch, but it’s simplicity and small details makes it a wonderful watch that i enjoy to wear for any occasion. It stands out very quickly thanks to the understated brushed gold tone and the plexiglass, and you might even get a respectful nod from a gentleman wearing his plexiglass covered Omega Speedmaster.
Lorier has managed to create both a very understated gold watch, and a luxurious and overstated tool watch. These two oxymorons meet and ends up cancelling each other out, leaving us with something we all seek: a unique and flawlessly designed watch.
If you’re not into yellow gold at all, they also have a steel version and other line-ups on their website.