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Something I’m fairly outspoken about when it comes to my preferences in watch design is that I lean strongly toward modern looks, and away from a reliance on heritage cues. You could say I’m more Sinn U50 than Black Bay Fifty-Eight. There are exceptions, of course, and I’ll praise solid fit and finish and a cohesive design all day, vintage inspired or not, but in general I like my contemporary watches to look, well, contemporary.
In that spirit, I love hearing about new projects with distinctive designs that are very much their own thing, particularly when they’re aimed at new collectors with competitive price points. The Reise Resolute, with an introductory price of $299, falls into that camp nicely. Here we have a watch that’s designed to be durable and tough, with tried and true components, that doesn’t obviously trade on any particular watch or style from the past. You get the sense that it’s a pure representation of the creator’s vision, which we always like to see.
Reise tells us that the Resolute’s angular design was inspired by stealth vehicles, and I think that looking at the timepiece from multiple angles it’s easy to see how that initial germ of design inspiration trickled down into the finished product. There are plenty of sharp angles at the outside of the case, but the dial and bezel have a traditional circular shape that lends coherence to the design. “Balance” is a term that’s perhaps overused in discussing the way a watch looks, but I think it’s appropriate here.
What I like most about the Resolute’s aesthetic is the dial, which is described as having a sand texture. Four variants will be made: black, gray, green, and a color that Resolute calls “Urban Teal.” The latter three have a pronounced fumé-like effect, with darker shades at the outside of the dial giving way to a brighter and clearer interior. The teal reminds me of a personal favorite reference of the Zenith Defy, a vintage watch that I have a deep affection for, and the only instance of this collection linking clearly to a vintage design, which I’m happy to forgive in this particular case.
Under the hood, the Resolute is powered by the Seiko produced NH35A caliber, roughly equivalent to the 4R35 movement if found in a Seiko branded watch. The titanium case (with water resistance to 100 meters) is 40.5mm in diameter, 46mm lug to lug, and 11.5mm thick, which should equal a lightweight and comfortable wearing experience on the leather backed canvas straps that the Resolute is matched to. Reise has also coated the case with a compound they refer to as “UltraHex,” which they claim equates to a hardness eight times greater than stainless steel. Whether or not that’s all it’s cracked up to be is an open question that will be resolved in time, but clearly the goal here was to build a watch with long term durability in mind.
Reise is funding this project through a Kickstarter campaign going live today, which carries with it a certain stigma in some quarters. There are a lot of watch brands trying to make it through crowdfunding, and some good ideas inevitably don’t work out, while we all have the experience of occasionally wondering exactly how other projects hit their goal right away. It’s a competitive market, and ultimately success or failure comes down to subjective taste. At this early stage, the Resolute appears to have some promise as a stylish, modern, and well built tool watch, and we’re looking forward to seeing how their campaign pans out. Reise
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