Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing the Advance from Canadian microbrand, Aevum.
The Aevum Advance started life as a Kickstarter project, surpassing over $30,000 CAD from over 80 backers. Like previous Aevum watches, the Advance draws inspiration from the motorsports passion of its founder, Bryan Farquharson. How does the Aevum Advance fare? Let’s find out.
Aevum – the Brand
Aevum was founded by Canadian motorsports enthusiast Bryan Farquharson in 2016. According to their about page, Aevum is not “a company redefining ‘luxury'” – that’s refreshing to hear!
Instead, the team behind Aevum describes themselves as petrolheads, who “design and build [their] watches with passion, including automotive aesthetics in a way that includes all types of enthusiasts.”
Aevum is a microbrand in the truest form of the term – Bryan personally oversees all orders, handcrafts the strap that goes along with the watch, and even writes a small thank-you note to be included. His passion for his brand clearly shines through, and it’s a breath of fresh air in today’s increasingly commercialised watch industry.
Aevum Advance – Build Quality
Despite the very affordable price tag, the Aevum Advance build quality is outstanding.
Firstly, the Advance utilises a flat sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Also, there’s also an AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent the bulk of nasty reflections! In addition, the WR rating for the Advance is an impressive 200M, meaning that you can safely take this watch out for all sorts of water activities (excluding serious deep diving) without any worries. Given that the Advance also features an exhibition caseback, I find the high WR rating quite impressive.
Secondly, the Advance is powered by the workhorse Seiko NH35 movement, a movement that I have covered countless times on this website previously. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. I’m a fan of the Seiko NH35 movement, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen at this price point). This is due to the fact that unlike the NH35, the Miyota 8 series movements are non-hacking, suffer from a stuttering second hand (some models), and in my own experience with the Miyota movements, are also more prone to accuracy problems. Despite the low price tag, we even get a signed rotor, which is a nice touch!
A handcrafted rally strap (done by brandowner Bryan himself) comes along with every Advance. One gets to choose between a tan leather or a chocolate distressed leather option, with the choice of either black or white stitching. I chose the chocolate distressed leather strap with white stitching, as I found the colour more unique. I must say, this must be the best quality strap that I’ve encountered in the sub $300 USD price point. The handcrafted leather strap is super comfortable on the wrist, the edges are smoothed out nicely, and the strap loops are hand-stitched for greater durability. By itself, it’s a fantastic strap. However, I’m not that fond of the strap when paired with the Advance, for one reason – the strap is a straight one, 22mm throughout, without tapering. I’m no motorsports expert, but racing to me is evocative of sexy curves – think of the aerodynamic figure of a Ferrari 488, or a Lamborghini Huracan. Given the racing inspired design of the Advance, I feel that a tapered strap would look much better on the watch. Don’t get me wrong – the stock handcrafted strap is of superb quality, but it’s something I’ll pair with a field or perhaps pilot’s watch instead.
If you’re not fond of the default strap, however, Aevum has generously included not one, but two additional straps – a NATO strap, and a silicone strap – with the watch. Given that the Advance costs just $315 SGD, I found the inclusion of 3 strap options to be a very pleasant surprise! In addition, there’s also an Advance Rally Kit option. For about $30 SGD more, you get a handcrafted leather card sheath that matches your strap option. (Unfortunately, the Rally Kit is no longer available.)
Lume heads won’t be disappointed with the Advance, due to its Swiss Superluminova BGW9 glowing bright in the dark. In addition, I love how the little arrow at 3 o’clock (which points towards the crown) is lumed as well. If I have a knock however, it would be that I wish the seconds hand was lumed too. Nevertheless, I’m pretty impressed by the strength of the lume found on the Advance!
Overall, I have to say that the build quality of the Advance is pretty stellar, especially considering its price point. For just over S$300, one gets a reliable Seiko NH35 movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with AR coating, and three wonderful straps. To put the icing on the cake, the Advance also possesses 200M of WR rating, as well as bright Swiss Superluminova BGW9 lume – traits more commonly found on dive watches!
Aevum Advance – Design
I’m glad to report that in the case of the Advance (no pun intended), outstanding build quality is backed by thoughtful racing inspired design elements.
Let’s start with the dial. The Advance comes in four colours: navy (with red accents), light blue, black and white. Out of the four, I personally liked this navy dial with red accents the best – it felt the most sporty and youthful. I think the colours go together well here! We also get a sandwich dial, which adds depth to the watch. Combined with the markings on the chapter ring, the watch comes across as well-layered. It’s also very legible as well!
Usually, one would find minor defects on affordable watches such as the Aevum Advance. The printing would be slightly off, the bezel a tad misaligned, the hands rough around the edges, the indices not cut properly, etc. Not here. Remarkably, everything is rather wonderfully finished. The red printed markers line up perfectly with the sandwiched indices, which also happen to line up perfectly with the markings on the chapter ring. The hands are well finished too. Amazing quality control here, on a watch that’s cheaper than the MSRP of a Daniel Wellington!
For those wondering, the markings on the chapter ring is a “cam timing degree wheel that showcases piston position with TDC (Top Dead Center) at 12 and BDC (Bottom Dead Center) at 6 o’clock.” I’m going to be honest and say that I have absolutely no idea what that is – it’s not something I’ve come across in my watches before. I did some quick research, and it seems to be a tool to help you degree your camshaft, which is a component of a car engine. Given the fact that I don’t even drive – my knowledge of automobiles is limited to watching Jeremy Clarkson on The Grand Tour – I must admit I had utterly no use for the markings. However, the watch is supposed to appeal to petrolheads, and I assume these are the little details that would spark joy in the Richard Hammond or James May of the world.
The racing inspiration continues in the screw down crown. The crown is laser engraved to resemble a cam gear, with the teeth of the crown “flat top half moon cut” – just like the teeth of an actual cam gear! In addition, the case finishing is pretty decent as well. We get a nicely brushed case, with a polished strip between the bezel and the case. In particular, I love the angular nature of the case – it’s very striking in the metal.
As aforementioned, the Advance possesses an exhibition caseback which allows one to peer at the mechanical marvel within. The caseback is generally quite simple in design, though interestingly it features 3 national flags – Canada, where the Advance was designed and Aevum was created; China, where the Advance was manufactured; and Japan, where the engine of the watch (Seiko NH35) was produced.
On the wrist, the 42mm case size of the Advance wears perfectly. No complains there – it looks great on my 7 inch wrist!
Overall, I think the Advance is well designed. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but what’s there is thoughtful, and meant to appeal to passionate patrolheads. Yet, even for watch lovers who don’t even drive (like me), it retains enough appeal in its design to be very enjoyable on the wrist.
Shootout – Aevum Advance vs MHD SQ1
Given that the Aevum Advance is in essence an automotive inspired affordable watch, I’ve decided to compare it to another motorsports themed watch, the MHD SQ1.
In terms of specifications, the Aevum Advance definitely trumps the MHD SQ1. Firstly, the Advance utilises sapphire crystal to protect its dial – the SQ1 only uses a mineral crystal, which is much less scratch resistant. In addition, the Advance is powered by an automatic Seiko NH35 movement, while the SQ1 uses a Japanese quartz movement. Also, the Advance comes with 3 straps, including a quality handcrafted leather strap. In contrast, the SQ1 only comes with a standard black rally strap. Lastly, the Advance also possesses strong lume due to its sandwich dial construction and Swiss BGW9 Superluminova. The SQ1 does have lume, but it is limited to two small strips on the hands – I can’t imagine it being very bright. As such, I have to say that the Aevum Advance boasts the better build quality.
From an aesthetics perspective, the fight is much closer. I have to say – there’s something really appealing about the design of the SQ1. The black/red/white colour scheme is really sleek, and I love the vintage case design. However, I feel that automotive elements are more evident in the Advance – I imagine the cam timing degree wheel chapter ring and the cam wheel inspired crown to appeal greatly to petrolheads. If I had to pick, I personally prefer the design of the SQ1, though I feel that the design of the Advance would resonate more strongly with car enthusiasts.
Where the Advance undoubtedly triumphs over the SQ1 is in its value. The Advance -despite being automatic, possessing sapphire crystal, featuring strong Swiss BGW9 Superluminova, and coming with multiple straps- is a full ~S$140 cheaper than the quartz SQ1! As such, I’ll say that the Advance is definitely the better value proposition, and emerges as the winner in this shootout.
Conclusion – so the Aevum Advance “shiok” or not?
Definitely. The Aevum Advance may be one of the best bang-for-buck watches that I’ve personally reviewed till date. It has stellar build quality, and an amazingly affordable price. The design is thoughtful as well, and should appeal to racing enthusiasts (those who know what a cam wheel is, at least). It’s certainly a lot of watch for very little money!
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” grants you a whopping $30 CAD off all Aevum watches! After the discount, the Aevum Advance can be had for just $312 CAD/ ~$315 SGD, making it cheaper than the MSRP of a Daniel Wellington watch on leather (S$319). In my opinion, Aevum is a severely underrated microbrand. If you’re a fan of motorsports, remember the brand – I’m sure they have several other crackers in the pipeline!
View Aevum’s full range of watches here.
Aevum Advance Entry Kit
- – Advance automatic watch in your choice of dial colour
- – 100% handmade in house leather strap in your choice of leather/stitch colour
- – Aevum waterproof silicone strap
- – Aevum nylon one piece strap
- – Strap removal tool
- – Real carbon fiber warranty card
- – Carbon look updated EVA carry case
- – 2 year manufacturer defect warranty
Aevum Advance Specs
- Case– Ion plated for hardness and brushed stainless steel 42×48 mm with 22mm lugs
- Dial– Clean no-date sandwich dial with lumed hour markers
- Crown– Screw down double gasket with cam gear design
- Movement – NH35 automatic with 40 hour power reserve
- Case back– Exhibition style to view engraved rotor
- Lume– Swiss Superluminova BGW9 (blue at night)
- Crystal – Anti-reflection coated sapphire
- Water Resistance– 20 ATM or 200 Meters
- Strap– 22mm genuine leather strap handmade by us in-house
Leather Strap Options
Tan leather with white or black stitching
Distressed chocolate leather with white or black stitching
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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