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Today’s watch takes an adventurer as a role model. His history begins in 1904 in Ålesund, Norway. The 24-year-old Ole Brude has a clear vision.
He wants to travel across the Atlantic to New York in a self-built boat. The special thing about the boat is its shape, which reminds of an egg. The plan works and the difficult venture succeeds. In just under five months Ole Brude and his three companions manage to cross the Atlantic and reach the east coast of the USA. The crew of the small lifeboat is celebrated worldwide. Curiously, the adventurer becomes a pioneer for shipping with his own construction. But only 70 years later. Since then lifeboats have had the egg-shaped silhouette as standard on all the world’s oceans.
Since his crossing, Ole Brude has been a kind of Norwegian national hero. Above all, people have admired him for his fearlessness, bravery and determination. Over a hundred years later, a new vision, a watch, is born in Brude’s home town of Ålesund. One thing is clear: it wants to be based on the Norwegian hero. Its name: URÆD (spoken Uraed). That is Norwegian and means “fearless”. The manufacture behind it is the Norwegian watch manufacturer Von Doren.
But how will a watch in 2020 manage to honour the great heroes and visionaries of the last century? That will be my big question today. One thing is certain: both Brude and URÆD have already managed to make the impossible possible. According to Von Doren, the development of the adventurer watch was expensive and time-consuming. It would have been unthinkable in the past to do it alone. Today, thanks to the Internet, everyone can do it. On the Kickstarter Internet platform, the campaign’s donation goal was achieved immediately. So the hype in the community seems to be huge. Together with you, I would like to discover the special features of the diving watch. I want to find out whether the URÆD can do justice to the national hero.
The first impression
Ole Brude and the URÆD have already one thing in common. They come from the same place. Founder of Von Doren grew up in Ålesund on the west coast of Norway. The outward appearance of the watch already appeals to me. Yes, somehow the shape of the case reminds me of an egg and therefore also of the legendary tender boat from 1904. I like the special mix of old and new. The rotating bezel and the rounded case remind me of past watches. This adds a nostalgic touch to the design. Von Doren underline the affiliation to Art Nouveau, which is omnipresent in Ålesund. On the other hand the technology of the modern age is expressed by sharply cut hands. They are also filled with SuperLuminova luminous material, which looks very good at night. But more about that later. The workmanship makes a high-quality impression. After I put the watch on, I noticed a few small but very fine details. Most of them allude to the great idol Ole Brude and his adventure. I will show them to you soon. So let’s hold on: a diving watch with a nostalgic touch, which nevertheless seems to have arrived in the here and now.
The diameter of the housing is 40 millimetres with a height of 13.4 millimetres. These dimensions are common for a diving watch. Von Doren uses robust stainless steel as the material of the URÆD. This has a nicely brushed surface. But the curved design is the biggest coup in my opinion. It is reminiscent of the egg-shaped lifeboat that Ole Brude built back then. A successful homage! The rounded transitions between the sapphire crystal and case are reminiscent of the old pocket and wristwatches at the beginning of the 20th century.
The URÆD is not a fragile watch for a showcase. It is robust and sporty. Made for the rough sea and the cold wind. The diver’s watch is equipped with sapphire crystal on both sides. This is Durable, scratch-resistant and protects the dial and case. The slightly convex shape on the front adds a touch of nostalgia to the watch. However, the design of the watch never seems overloaded, but always functional. The sapphire crystal also has an anti-reflective coating. This ensures good readability even in strong light. On the back, the sapphire crystal serves as a generous viewing window for the filigree Swiss movement.
The case back is made of brushed stainless steel and also has the characteristic rounding. It is screwed to the case by a total of six notches. This guarantees a high water resistance of the diving watch. Whoever wants to cross the Atlantic Ocean should be prepared for the water. The water resistance of the URÆD is 10 bar. So you don’t need to be afraid to dive with the watch to a depth up to 100 meters.
You can find the nautical design in small details again and again. Even small works of art can be admired on the URÆD. The sapphire crystal on the back has been given the outline of the small boat. This attention to detail by Von Doren is simply in a class of its own! Except for the movement, all components of the URÆD have been developed by the Norwegian manufacturer itself.
The crown is screwed down and is also made of stainless steel. It has a reasonable size and a ribbed profile. It was never difficult for me to operate it. More about the functions later.
The movement is a Swiss STP 4-13 movement with automatic winding. It has 26 jewels and a vibration frequency of 28800 vibrations (4Hz). The power reserve is 44 hours. The Swiss make is completely assembled by hand. This filigree handcraft can be admired through the transparent case back.
For the dial you have the agony of choice between three very beautiful colours. “Green Sea, Atlantic Blue, and Lava fit perfectly into the Norwegian world. In addition, the nautical colours are kept quite discreet. Especially the green tone pleases me very much after initial scepticism.
Von Doren consistently follow through with the maritime design. The dial often reminds me of a nautical instrument. A very noble one by the way. The ring with the subtle white indices is black and ribbed. The entire surface is made of fine, satin-finished metal. Besides the retro charm, modern elements should not be missing. The hands are quite minimalistic and sporty. As befits a divers’ watch, Von Doren have used SuperLuminova luminous material. All hands, as well as the indices on the dial and bezel, shine in white. This function is ideal during darkness, diving and bad weather.
Von Doren have come up with a special extra for the day display. You can configure it in both English and Norwegian. Personally I find the Norwegian spelling even better. Instead of “Thursday” I will probably use “Torsdag” in the future. The English version has a black font on a white background. In contrast, the Norwegian days are shown with a white font on a background matching the dial. In combination with the day display, there is a date window at 3 o’clock. These two windows are quite unusual for diving watches. But with a small brand it is even more unusual! Here I quickly understand why the development of the URÆD was so complex and expensive. Both date and day display can be set by quick correction on the crown.
The bidirectional bezel is made of sapphire crystal. All markings were coated with SuperLuminova luminous material as mentioned above. One turn needs 120 clicks. So you can set a countdown up to half a minute. But this is not the only function. If you want to sail around the world, you have to know the world time. Therefore you can use the bezel as a second time zone. I really like its vintage look.
You are also spoilt with choice of strap. Should it be a noble 3-link metal bracelet? Or rather a modern rubber strap. I would recommend the former for everyday use and for upscale occasions. It has a folding clasp. If you want to go out into nature, get the sporty rubber bracelet. It is very light, offers a good wearing comfort and remains robust.
It is for sure: The URÆD is the worthy successor of the adventurer Ole Brude. The diver’s watch with automatic winding has not only a maritime retro look with charm. It also captivates with inner values. Quality and workmanship are at a very high level in all areas. The functions are impressive. They are simple, extremely useful and fit perfectly into the design.
The mixture of a nautical vintage look and modern elements has appealed to me. It takes a lot of work and talent to design it in such a balanced way. The configuration options fit todays trends. So the URÆD becomes something very special for its wearer. Little details here and there make the watch a real darling in the end.
Von Doren show how it works today. If you want to make an exceptional watch, you don’t need huge amounts of equity capital or an East Asian supplier. Today, customers and fans of the brand are involved in the creation process. Every participant in the Kickstarter campaign can be proud to have taken part.
Anyone interested in the URÆD should be quick now. According to the hype of the campaign, the watches should be sold out in no time.