I'm going to have to ask you to do a little exercise. Think about a European vintage sports car from the 60's. Imagine it having a lightweight nimble body, a powerful engine, great aesthetics and a cool factor of over 9000. Chances are you're thinking of a Porsche 911, right? But, why? Sure, the indications turn your steps in the right direction but you could've said a number of different models or even brands. Why do most of us turn to the Porsche? One simple reason, the design and, overall, the sum of the elements that compose the 911 stick with you, because it's timeless.
'Timeless' is a concept often defined as unaffected by the pass of time or by the changes in fashion. Classic yet modern design is considered timeless when it achieves a balance between both these moments and, as a result, a perpetual site in the space-time continuum, and the collective recognition of the category. Think for a second about the design of a Ferrari F-40, a Lamborghini Diablo, the Eames Lounge Chair, or the Chesterfield sofa, amongst many other designs and their subtle variations. Notice any other common place in regards to timeless design? Form accompanies function. They work together, they compliment each other.
In regards to watches, this line of thought might give you visions of, for example, a specific type of numerals on dials, rotating bezels and mercedes hands on diving watches or the ever so popular date at 3 o'clock. Never mind when talking about field watches, the list of commonplace elements goes on long enough to compile a lengthy checklist. This "accumulation" of commonplace elements is the counterpart to timelessness, as it embodies its pure opposite.
However, commonplace elements don't necessarily have to feel used, repetitive or cliché, specially when the focus is set on achieving a great level of quality and attention to detail. When purposefully utilised, the interpretation of key elements of design, can come together to form a timeless piece of uniqueness. The Serica 4512 achieves this in length. Perhaps, as equally as important, is the statement put forward by the watch while doing so: it screams 'we know what we are doing, we've got a great product and we are here to stay.'
Three elements are put front and center as a clear charte d'intention by Serica in regards to their designs and their watches: sturdy, elegant, and waterproof. While this mantra arouses great expectations in the watch community, the challenge these ideas present goes far and wide. First of all, the necessity of both great artistic sensitivity and technical expertise make this no easy challenge. Second, having to develop and produce a watch of this caliber (pun intended) requires an extraordinary effort on behalf of the Serica team, as the process of transforming ideas into tangible elements, given the level of detail and craftsmanship is often what ends up washing up hopes of delivering the intended product.
Serica has managed to excel at this defiances, delivering a watch that has a sturdy look and feel, an outspoken panaché and a great utilitarian look while providing a je ne sais quoi feeling of being able to take it anywhere, anytime and anyway. This, and this alone should get the Serica 4512 on your WTB list, and way at the top.
The watch itself is provided in an elegant, simple white box. Open the box to find an insert containing the Warranty card and information of the watch but, be aware, as soon as you lift the insert and the watch is revealed your heart might skip a beat, as the beautiful dial will certainly draw your attention. Putting the warranty first is no mistake, this means Serica stands by their product and is head on tackling any doubts you might have about its quality or durability.
The timeless looks and feel, previously described, are accomplished by the use of a beautifully crafted and finished stainless steel case that not only looks great but has an astounding feel of quality, thanks to its brushed finish and polished bezel shoulder. This case is the perfect frame for the lacquered dial. Executed in a simple, efficient manner, the minute track variant of the WMB model resembles military watches from yore, providing great legibility in any sort of conditions. On this point, the use of the broad arrow hand for the hours makes it, if possible, even easier to get a read with just a quick glimpse of the wrist which, trust me, you'll be doing plenty when using this watch.
Lume is on par with top brands, and provides excellent readability when the light goes dim, the conservative use of the lume on the dial also speaks greatly of the intentions of providing a watch that can be used on more dressy occasions, while not sacrificing usefulness.
Sturdiness is not at question, as the sapphire glass is certainly capable of handling unintentional forces directed at your timepiece. In this area, the antireflective coating is a welcome addition, found only in rare occasions at this price point, and one that certainly speaks to the intentions of providing a high quality watch.
Overall, the simple no nonsense design is welcome, specially on these days where more and more information is crammed into watch dials (smartwatches not considered). To be honest, who needs a date window on a watch? By keeping it simple, Serica has helped reinforce the definition of what a field watch should be, an instrument to tell time, where no distractions are allowed. That is, if you can manage to keep your eyes off the beautifully executed dial and those broad hands that compliment it perfectly.
Comfort and Versatility
The brand offers the Bonklip bracelet as a default option, a simple and straightforward design that is more than an appropriate choice for the ethos behind the watch. In my opinion, however, the bracelet is not on the same level with the heft and feel of the watch, as it feels really light. This, I understand, has to do with its simple and clever design. However, I couldn't help but feel that the watch needed a sturdier anchor point to my wrist, so I proceded to swap the bracelet for a strap. In this case, the design and proportions of the watch are, in my opinion, better framed on a NATO strap, specially in earth tone variations, as this speaks to the military inspiration for the watches' dial design. Although I understand NATO's are not for everybody and that a lot of people prefer to use bracelets. If needed, the change of bracelet to strap or viceversa is easily accomplished, thanks to the drilled lugs on the case. I have to remark my surprise when I found such high quality pins in place, as this speaks greatly about the attention to detail and care in assembling a high quality watch. Clearly, no corners where cut in the execution of these pieces.
The Swiss Play
From a technical perspective, the choice of providing a wind up movement on a modern watch is a bold one. We have become so accustomed to automatic watches that most watch collectors I know only have a hand full of wind up movements, specially vintage watches. However, the STP1-11 movement in the Serica might reignite some love for this variant, as the feeling of winding it up just before putting it on your wrist gives the watch a sense of purpose that relates it strongly to those instances where you feel like getting prepared for an important task. The 45-hour power reserve provides plenty of flexibility to use the watch in rotation with another piece, while not having to worry about winding it up every time you get it out of the box or pick it up from the counter.
The action of winding it up, however, is very rewarding, not only because of the great feeling provided by the mechanics, but also in part by the gentle but firm grip provided by the oversize crown that tops the watch. Keep in mind, Serica offers 2 options for crown placement, a very welcome consideration for us watch enthusiasts that, occasionally double wield or go off-hand while wearing our pieces.
The Sweet Spot
All things considered, I'd say Serica has done a great job accomplishing all three of the challenges put forward. The 4512 is not only a robust and sturdy waterproof watch, its brilliant design and execution put it on a level occupied by watches on a much higher price tier, some of which offer not much in the terms of feel and warmth, two elements that are aplenty when the Serica rests in your wrist.
Be sure to check out this great piece and outstanding brand over at Serica Watches Website