When BOLDR first announced a collaboration with Pokemon, I was pleasantly surprised – it’s no mean feat for a local brand to partner with such a renowned franchise. As it turns out, one of my readers got his hands on one, and kindly loaned his piece to me for review. Let’s see if it’s any good.
BOLDR – the Brand
I’ve reviewed several BOLDR watches – to date, I’ve reviewed the Odyssey, the Voyager, the Journey, the Venture, and the Globetrotter. If you would like to learn more about BOLDR as a brand, read my original review of the Odyssey here, in which I covered the brand story of BOLDR in detail.
BOLDR Charizard Pokemon – Build Quality
Like the rest of its watches, the Charizard Pokemon watch has decent build quality for the price.
Firstly, the Charizard Pokemon uses a domed sapphire crystal. 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 200M, rendering it robust enough for virtually all everyday activities.
Powering the watch is the ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. It’s a rock-solid movement that’s a staple of affordable mechanical watches, often boasting solid reliability and timekeeping, and I’ve had no issues with the dozens of NH35-powered watches that I’ve owned to date. However, the movement lacks decoration despite being visible through an exhibition caseback. There’s also an artwork of Charlizard, which partially obscures the movement. I’m not a fan of this aesthetic decision, and I’d much rather have a Charizard-themed orange custom rotor instead. Imagine a rotor depicting Charizard breathing out fire – how cool would that have been?
On a more positive note, I’m pleased to report that the bracelet is sturdy and well-built. BOLDR is known for offering robust tool watches, and that ethos is certainly reflected in the bracelet. It’s comfortable with a reassuring heft – no hollow links here – and the push-button release clasp (with micro-adjustment slots) works like a charm.
The watch also features dual-coloured Swiss Superluminova, making it an interesting display in the dark. The lume is pretty strong – I would certainly say that it’s dive watch standard.
All in all, the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon watch has rock-solid specifications. Having a decorated Miyota 9015 movement would be ideal, but as it stands there’s not much to knock about the watch.
BOLDR Charizard Pokemon – Design
However, it’s the Pokemon-inspired design of this watch that makes it unique.
The bright orange dial pays tribute to Charmander, one of the iconic starter Pokemons. I like an orange dial – one of my favourite watches is the (now discontinued) orange-dial Breitling Superocean 42. The dial of the BOLDR Charizard is arguably more striking due to its gradient execution, which mimics the appearance of a flame. There’s also a shadow artwork of Charmander at 6 o’clock, which further reinforces the Pokemon theme of the watch. And while it might not be intentional, it also made me realise that the BOLDR logo actually looks like a flame too!
There are light orange hands, as well as a golden seconds hand. Both are arrow-shaped, which mimics the end of Charmander’s tail. There’s also a railway minute track, with prominent hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The railway minute track gives the watch a slight vintage vibe, which is reinforced by the high dome crystal.
My only criticism of the dial is the lack of depth – it does look rather flat, especially from a top-down view. I would have preferred a dual-layered dial, or perhaps sunken/sandwich indices at the 3-hour intervals.
However, I appreciated the 12-hour, 120-click unidirectional bezel. Not only is the bezel solid with little play, but the 12-hour markings also make the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon watch eminently practical, allowing the wearer to tell time for a second-time zone and essentially allowing the watch to be used as a GMT. It’s the only model in the entire Pokemon series to have a 12-hour bezel, making it the clear winner from a pragmatism standpoint.
As expected, there’s a signed screw-down crown. The crown is thoughtfully sized, making winding the watch an ease.
And unlike most dive watches, the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon is relatively svelte at just 40mm wide. On my 6.75-inch wrist, the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon wears nicely due to its very reasonable lug-to-lug length of 48mm. However, it is a tad thick, largely in part because of the high dome sapphire crystal – this one will not fit under a shirt cuff.
Overall, the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon pays homage to its namesake well with a thoughtful design that doesn’t come across as cartoonish or garish.
Shootout: BOLDR Charizard Pokemon vs Seiko X Pokemon Charizard SBPY159
If you’re in the market for an affordable Charizard-inspired watch, your best (and perhaps only) alternative is the Seiko X Pokemon Charizard SBPY159.
From a specifications standpoint, the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon blows its Seiko counterpart out of the water. Although both watches feature sapphire crystal, the BOLDR model uses an automatic Seiko movement (ironic, I know), possesses a robust bracelet, features Swiss Superluminova, and has a water-resistance rating of 200M. In contrast, the Seiko uses a solar quartz movement, has a hollow bracelet, lacks lume, and has half the water-resistance rating.
In terms of aesthetic, I also much prefer the BOLDR. It feels much more mature and adult, whereas the Seiko model comes across as a toy watch, something you might gift your teenage nephew for Christmas. The only detail in the Seiko that I appreciated was the pixelated “16” and “36” markings, which reflect the respective levels that Charmander and Charmeleon evolve. It’s a cool little touch that the geek in me enjoys, but overall the BOLDR has a more refined design.
The BOLDR is slightly more pricey, but you can see where that money went. As such, it’s the clear winner in this shootout for me.
Conclusion – so the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon “shiok” or not?
One of my earliest gaming memories was playing Pokemon Fire Red on my GameBoy Advance when I was 7. I remember mulling over which starter Pokemon to pick, and I eventually decided to opt for Charmander because – well, fire sounded much cooler to a seven-year-old than water or grass. After all, blasting enemies with a Flamethrower elicits a certain kick that Water Gun or Razor Leaf fail to do. I probably sank hundreds of hours into the game (and even more into the later releases). As such, I was thrilled when I saw BOLDR – a local brand! – collaborate with the franchise that dominated my childhood. Wristing the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon gave me a visceral joy, akin to picking up my GameBoy Advance and booting up Pokemon Fire Red/Emerald/Diamond all those years ago. The BOLDR Charizard Pokemon is a well-built (though not perfect) watch, but its value is more than the sum of its parts. Wearing the watch led to a nostalgic trip down memory lane – not many watches evoke such an emotional response, especially at this price point.
Those interested in purchasing the BOLDR Charizard Pokemon can view the entire Pokemon collection here. There are also Pikachu, Blastoise and Venusaur-inspired models available, but my pick of the bunch will be this Charizard variant. It stands out on the wrist (just look at the picture above), and was the watch that has gotten me the most compliments in recent memory. As it turns out, most people get more excited over Pokemon than a Rolex – who knew?
- Case: 40mm 316 Stainless Steel
- Bezel: 12 hours indicator with 120 clicks uni-directional bezel
- Movement: Seiko (SII) Caliber NH38A
- Water Resistance: 200m (660ft) / 20ATM
- Crown: Screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
- Dial: Matte ombré black with Swiss Super-LumiNova®
- Hands: Custom hands with Swiss Super-LumiNova®
- Lens: High dome ‘box’ sapphire crystal
- Strap: 316L stainless steel bracelet, 3 micro-adjustment folded-clasp with topographic line art
- Lug size: 20mm / 0.78″
- Lug to lug: 48mm / 1.88″
- Weight: 160g / 5.64Oz
- Case Back: Sapphire exhibition caseback with custom artwork
- Individually numbered
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.