With the rapid surge of micro brands in recent times, the world of watches has never been as exciting and competitive as it is today. Not long ago, if one was to search for a good mechanical watch choices were fairly limited and one had to pay a heavy premium to get the watch they really wanted. But nowadays things have certainly changed and consumers are rather spoilt for choices as the market is flooded with young brands that are offering interesting new products at compelling price points. Having said that there are only a few products which stand out from the crowd and are a true value offering, and it is always a pleasure come across one. So on that note allow us to introduce to you the newcomer Bastian Antoni and share with you our hands-on experience of their impressive first watch the Turbulent open balance.
Bastian Antoni is a Dutch based watch brand which was started by two brothers Peter Bastian and Robert Antoni. Being passionate watch lovers the two brothers decided to set up their own company with the endeavor to create high-quality Swiss timepieces at a relatively affordable price point. The Turbulent open balance, a distinctive looking everyday watch, is the brands first offering and is a result of years of hard work. So is the watch capable of living up to the brands promise? Let’s have a detailed look.
Featuring an open heart mechanism the dial on the Bastian Antoni Turbulent is nicely executed with some good attention to detail. There are two different dial colors (sunburst black and sunburst brown) to choose from, but for today’s review, we would be focusing on the beautiful and distinctive brown colorway. In a world where blue is the new black, it is refreshing to come across something different and the reddish brown dial on the Bastian Antoni Turbulent is exactly that. Presented with a sunburst finish the dark brown dial of this watch is quite intriguing and dynamic as it takes on different shades of brown and red depending upon how the light hits it. The applied markers, as well as the handset, have also been polished which makes them pop against the dark background and further adds to the light playing capabilities of the dial. To keep things interesting Bastian Antoni has chosen a nice mix of thick batons, Arabic numerals and characters (Big O at 12) which combined along with the skeletonized hour and minute hand make the face of this watch stand out amidst the competition. The stick style seconds hand is well proportioned as it reaches all the way to the beginning of the sloped minute/seconds chapter ring and once again in a bid to keep things away from getting boring the counterbalance of the seconds hand has been thoughtfully designed in the shape of a triangle with the brands initials contained within.
And while all of what we just talked about certainly holds its place, what makes this dial come alive is that unusual looking cut out between 11 and 1. The balance wheel is the real soul of a mechanical watch and it’s no secret that as watch enthusiasts we derive vicarious pleasure to look at one in action every time we flip our mechanical watches over. Open heart dials take this experience to a whole new level by giving us a glimpse of the action taking place under the hood from the front of the dial itself. While it is certainly a pleasure to look at, one common caveat with open heart dials at times is the placement of the cutout which if not done correctly can end up spoiling the symmetry of the dial. But I am quite happy to say that the open heart window on the Bastian Antoni is perfectly placed and does not pose as an obstruction while reading the time.
Carved out of stainless steel the chunky monobloc case of the Turbulent seeks inspiration from iconic watches of the past but manages to make a unique statement of its own. It measures 45mm wide, 11.2mm thick and has a lug width of 22mm, all of which translates into a big watch, but after wearing one on the wrist I can affirmatively say that it wears surprisingly well for its size and offers a ton of wrist presence. The case has been finished to high standard and has a satin-brushed finish for the most part giving the watch some nice versatility. One of my favorite details on this case is the way the decagonal bezel has been carved out by creating equally spaced hollow grooves which are angular towards the top of the case and then flow right down the mid case. This is quite reminiscent of the bezels found on Royal Oaks and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection but Bastian Antoni has managed to give it their own unique spin. The case does feature drilled lugs, but only on one side of the lugs, which is quite unusual but it should make changing straps quite easy. The smooth big crown at 3 makes setting the time a breeze and the case is water resistant to 50 meters. Sitting proudly on top is a double domed sapphire crystal which has been given an anti-reflective coating on the underside, whereas the case back features a mineral crystal and is presented in a decagon shape to mimic the look of the bezel.
Powering the Turbulent open balance is the Premium open heart version of Sellita’s SW200-1. It is a reliable Swiss automatic movement which operates at a frequency of 28800 bph and offers an autonomy of around 38 hours. It features an incabloc shock protection system to keep the balance secure and the balance spring is made out of a unique composition of iron, nickel, beryllium, manganese, and carbon which keeps it minimally affected by temperature fluctuation ensuring high reliability and precise time regulation. The movement has been nicely decorated with Perlage on the base plate/bridges, and Geneva stripes on the engraved rotor, and can be viewed in all its glory through the exhibition case back.
To conclude I would like to say that the Turbulent open balance is a commendable initial effort from Bastian Antoni. It is a watch that definitely punches way above its weight and I would highly recommend this watch to someone who is looking out for a high quality, peculiar looking Swiss made mechanical timepiece that is easy to afford. The watch is being offered in either a black or brown dial with a Steel or Black/Rose gold PVD case. The steel version is being offered at a price of $930 whereas the PVD versions would cost slightly more with the Black version coming in at $1080 and the rose gold version retailing at $1180. Visit Bastian Antoni here.