Boderry has been making waves in the microbrand scene recently, most recently for offering a well-specced automatic titanium field watch – the Voyager – for less than US$100. In fact, I first knew of the brand from Jody’s Youtube review of the Boderry Voyager. I promptly browsed Boderry’s website, and found the brand offering a mechanical chronograph for less than S$400. Strangely enough, there aren’t many reviews on the watch, so I asked if the brand could send me one for review. Let’s see if it’s any good.
Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the Asymmetry Chronograph below:
Boderry – the Brand
Established in 2019, Boderry is a watch microbrand based out of Guangzhou, China. Unlike most microbrands, Boderry actually possesses its own in-house assembly, which it says translates to a higher level of quality checks. The brand’s philosophy is “Be Distinctive & Be Limitless”, with the brand stating that it encapsulates this philosophy “by combining strict watchmaking technology and distinctive design aesthetics”.
Interestingly, the brand also states that it “takes immense pride in being a Chinese brand”, and stands out by offering immense value to consumers. It takes pains to differentiate itself from brands that “acquire complete watches from China and simply add their logo, inflating the price”. Boderry definitely has more character than your standard Chinese Aliexpress brands, that’s for sure.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the review.
Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph – Build Quality
I’m pleased to report that the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph offers tremendous value for its price.
Firstly, the Asymmetry Chronograph uses a domed sapphire crystal, which adds to its vintage vibe. As mentioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to its inherent scratch-resisting properties. I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the watch’s durability. The watch also has a water resistance rating of 50M, rendering it robust enough for most everyday activities.
The most compelling aspect of the Asymmetry Chronograph is its full-fledged mechanical Seagull ST1902 chronograph movement. Some specifications: it’s a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with 22 jewels, beats at 21,600 bph, and boasts 38 hours of power reserve. This calibre is based on the famous Venus 175 movement, and should be easily serviceable. It’s decently finished as well, with Geneve striping and blued screwed (though definitely not heat-blued) visible. I think it’s amazing that one can get a mechanical column wheel chronograph for less than S$400 – that amount of money would mostly only yield mecha-quartz chronographs from most microbrands.
The default strap on the Asymmetry Chronograph is also pretty nice, with a texture reminiscent of Epsom leather straps. Although it’s mere genuine leather, the strap feels decently premium, with a comfortable lining as well.
However, I really disliked the deployant buckle, which was stiff and hard to manoeuvre. I would have much preferred if Boderry had gone for a simple tang buckle.
All in all, the Asymmetry Chronograph packs a lot of specifications for its sub-S$400 price tag.
Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph – Design
While its specifications are impressive, the design of the Asymmetry Chronograph is no slouch either.
Boderry offers the Asymmetry Chronograph in five colourways, two of which – blue and black – feature a “racing dial”, with a checkered minute track. I definitely recommend going for one of the racing dial variants as they are significantly more striking. In particular, the blue dial variant reminds me of the Omega Speedmaster Schumacher models. The retro font reinforces the vintage inspiration of the watch, while the red accents enhance its racing ethos. I also like how the chronograph sub-dials are contrasted in silver, differentiating them from the running seconds sub-dial. It’s a smart design touch that’s not only striking but also practical, with the asymmetric nature giving the model its name.
The sub-dials have a sunray texture to them, giving some much-needed texture to the dial. Elsewhere, the polished bezel juxtaposes nicely against the satin-brushed case.
There’s also a signed crown, which isn’t always the case at this price point. The chronograph pushers have nice feedback to them, with a solid response. It’s no Speedmaster, but definitely better than most chronographs at this price point.
The 42mm case diameter of the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph wears well on my 6.75-inch wrist. The 42mm case size may sound large on paper – especially for a vintage-inspired watch – but it actually wears smaller than one might expect due to its short lugs. The watch is a tad thick at 13mm tall, though a big chunk of that is because of the domed sapphire crystal so it actually doesn’t actually feel that thick as well.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the Asymmetry Chronograph’s racing dial. There’s a retro, automotive inspiration that I really dig, and it’s certainly much more compelling than other alternatives at this price point.
Shootout: Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph vs Seagull 1963 Chronograph
If you’re looking for an affordable mechanical chronograph, the most iconic alternative at this price point would undoubtedly be the Seagull 1963 chronograph.
In terms of specifications, both watches are pretty much even. Both the Seagull 1963 and the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph use sapphire crystal, Seagull mechanical chronograph movements, and possess robust build quality. However, the Asymmetry does have a slightly higher water resistance rating of 50M as compared to the 1963’s 30M, and comes on a leather strap (which is an additional paid option with the Seagull 1963).
From an aesthetic standpoint, both watches have significant design chops. The Seagull 1963 chronograph possesses an iconic military pale green dial that reflects its unique aviation heritage. However, its Chinese military flair may not be everyone’s cup of tea. In comparison, the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph is much more versatile stylistically, with a blue dial that possesses both contrast and texture. I personally find the Asymmetry Chronograph’s dial more striking, and it’s even dressy enough to be paired with a suit jacket (see photo above).
Both the Seagull 1963 and the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph are great watches for the price. However, if I had to pick a winner it would have to be the Boderry Asymmetry for having slightly better specifications and a more detailed design at a cheaper price tag.
Conclusion – so the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph “shiok” or not?
I believe the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph to be the best mechanical chronograph under S$400. It has great specifications – sapphire crystal, sufficient water-resistance rating, and a decent strap – and a striking retro and racing-inspired design that stands out from the sea of affordable chronographs on the market. In other words, it’s a robust column-wheel mechanical chronograph that not only doesn’t break the bank, but is also a head-turner on the wrist.
Those interested in purchasing the Asymmetry Chronograph can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off all items on Boderry’s webstore. After the discount, the Boderry Asymmetry Chronograph costs only $269 USD, or around S$360, making it one of the best value propositions I’ve reviewed in recent memory. The Asymmetry Chronograph offers a lot for very little and I’m surprised it has flown under the radar thus far – though that might not be the case for much longer.
- Size: 42mm Diameter/13mm Thickness
- Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Glass: Domed Sapphire Crystal
- Movement: Seagull ST1902
- Complication Chronograph
- Mechanical manual winding
- Power reserve: 38 hours+
- Frequency: 21,600 vph
- 22 jewels
- Water Resistant: 5 ATM
- Straps: Genuine Leather
- Buckle: Spring Folding
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.