(3.8 / 5)
When you review microbrand watches you tend to stumble upon a lot of different and crazy watches. What can make a microbrand stand out is usually its value propostion, unique design, or both. This will be the first time i review a “themed” watch. If you consider diving a theme, then forget the last statement, but otherwise get ready for an in detail look at a knights and dragons themed watch!
In this review i will be taking a closer look at the Valimor Caliburnus (Non-Date) – Lapis Lazuli, with the metal strap and the quite unique leather strap. From waht i have heard, the owner of this brand has worked with watches for many years, and assembles them himself (or supervises the team that does it), so i should be in for a treat!
The watch comes in a very unique plastic cylinder, with the same dragon scale pattern you see on the watch. It’s cool that they keep design concistency across all of their products, but the box itself is not very fancy, but i wouldn’t expect more for this price range and i am not willing to pay more for a nicer box.
The first thing you want to do when holding this watch for the first time is to admire the Lapis Lazuli dial in the light. Using a semi precious stone as the dial is not in everyones taste, but is undeniably beatifull simply because the stone itself plays so well with the light. I was however slightly dissapointed at the amount of light the sapphire crystal was reflecting, but nothing too serious.
The watch is surprinsingly light, but still feels robust. The PVD coating on this badboy is another thing you can’t help study up close. It is incredibly well done and really looks like some kind of aged metal. The sames process is applied on the metal strap.
Choosing to use the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli as the dial really fits the theme of the watch and look amazing! This stone plays so well with the light and looks different from every angle! What also important to note is that since Valimor uses natural stones, every watch is unique because no stone looks like the other.
You can choose between 6 different stones on their website, each one giving the watch a whole new look. Unfortunately, as i write this review, many of them are out of stock, but i am quite sure they will be willing to reserve one is you send them an e-mail.
The writing on the dial is crisp and easy to read, but i would have loved to see the word “automatic” replaced with Lapis Lazuli, the name of the stone. It would have been way cooler!
The hours markers are well defined, has a small depth to them, plays very well with the light and their lume is crisp with no grainy texture.
On a small side note, i chose the non-date model because it seems like the date window on the “date” model is too small for larger numbers to appear. Since you can’t cut these stones in straight lines without a certain risk, the round shape is the only solution.
The hands fit well within the theme “knights and dragons”. They are beautifully made and the hour hand reminds me of the sword Frodo used in Lord of the Rings. The Hour and minute hands has a slight bending angle in the middle, like a double edged sword, giving the more room to play with the light.
The hierarchy is well defined and i am a fan of the little detail on the “tail” of the second hand. It remind me of the second hands Breitling uses.
I have never seen a crown like this before! The shape and details reminds me of certain decorations you can find on the walls of old churches and the tip features a small balck Swarowski crystal. Cartier and a few other brands also has stones in their crowns, but none has integrated it in this manner.
Valimor talks a lot about their patented dragon scale design, and for good reasons. It looks very cool and the dragon scales certainly fit the theme of the watch. It reminds me of the bezel you would find on a Breitling for Bentley and if you take a close look at the PVD coating, you will find it to be very, very well done!
The glass caseback
The back cover is not something you see when wearing a watch, but it can still stand out from other watches. Valimor has chosen to put thought into the caseback and the movements rotor (the oscillating weight that winds up the watch when you move).
The caseback is not PVD coated, but still features the dragon scales Valimor is so proud of. It actually looks so great that i am curious about how the watch would look without the PVD coating.
They also chose to put in a custom rotor, decorating it with a beautiful engraved pattern with a gold colored coating and the Valimor logo. A cool detail that is well executed and gives the watch a slightly more luxurious feel.
The leather strap and buckle
The leather strap not only matches the dial in color, but fits very well into the theme of the watch! Using a centered “fake” hornback (the boney part of reptilian skin) to symbolize a dragons back is actually quite cool and doesn’t stand out too much. I have to put “fake” because it is not real crocodile or alligator leather.
But hornback watch straps is not something new, but rarely seen in the wild. They are usually made out of crocodile or alligator leather and can cost a lot more than what you get this one for.
The buckle is also something that stands out immediately! It kind of looks like Thor’s hammer in the old mythology books. It features some very cool engraved decorations and the Valimor logo, which blends in seemlinglessly with the decorations. It also features the same detailed PVD coating that makes it looks “aged” and the buckle pin fit perfectly into the buckle.
The lume works well enough to do it’s job, but without the “wow” effect that brightness of the lume on some diver watches delivers. What i really liked about it is the contrasting colours. The hour and minute hand has a blue lume (that is brigther than the markers), while the hour markers has the classic green lume. This looks insanly cool and actually did produce the “wow” effect after all.
What could have been better
The metal strap
Don’t get me wrong… The metal strap is cool as hell and features the same dragon scale pattern as the bezel and a nice butterfly clasp to seeminglessly close the strap without showing the clasp.
But… I was still slightly dissapointed for one reason: The PVD coating doesn’t match exactly the one on the watch case. Basically, there is no a fluid continuation from the watch case to the strap. The strap is slightly darker than the case, and has less of the wanted tear you see on the case.
Luckily it is barely noticeable from a distance, and the watch still looks very cool with this strap.
The Sapphire crystal
After comparing the sapphire crystal to some of my other watches in the same price range, i have to say it reflects slightly more light than the other ones. Maybe my ayes are to trained, but considering the beauty of the dial, i would have invested more money on the crystal and its AR coating. I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more to get that final detail in place.
This watch is powered by the Myiota 82S0 from Citizen, known for producing reliable enough movements for a good price. This is actually a more minimalistic version of the 82S7, featured it the Code 41 Anomaly 01 that i also reviewed on this blog.
This watch loses around a minute to a minute and a half per week, which is quite normal considering the price of the watch and the movement.
I think this is a fair price
This watch sells for 454 Euros with the leather strap, and 520 Euros with the metal strap. You can get a lot of automatic watches for this price, and many as well built if not slightly better. But none with the attention to detail, this kind of detailed PVD coating and the will to keep every element of the watch within a certain theme.
Like with many of the more original microbrand watches i have reviewed, you have to fall in love with the design. I am actually not a fan of dragons, knights and that whole genre, but i still enjoy this watch tremendously.
If we look away from the overall theme of the watch, you can’t help but realize it’s quite unique. The use of semi-precious stones as dials, the unique (and very detailed) use PVD coating to give the watch an aged look, the unique dragon scale edging and the hornback leather strap with the detailed buckle makes this watch one of a kind!
It will be sure to turn some heads and make you stand out from the endless crowds of Daniel Wellington wearing consumer sheeps. Even in the realm of uniquely designed microbrand watches, Valimor seems to stand out confidently, giving it’s wearer the same confidence to stand out form the masses.