The Nova Skeleton is Kent Hall & Co’s second skeletonised watch, after the inaugural Revival series. It’s billed as an upgrade – let’s see if it’s any good.
Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the Nova Skeleton below:
Kent Hall & Co – the Brand
I previously reviewed the Kent Hall & Co Revival series and covered the brand story here.
Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton – Build Quality
Like its predecessor, the Nova Skeleton provides outstanding quality for the price.
Despite its eminently affordable price point, the Nova Skeleton features a flat sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a massive advocate of having a sapphire crystal due to its 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. However, I did notice some reflections – I would have appreciated an anti-reflective coating to be applied. On the plus side, the water-resistance rating has been bumped up to 100m, making it a bonafide everyday watch that should withstand inclement weather with no issues.
It’s also automatic, being powered by a skeletonised PTS watch movement, which is visible through an exhibition caseback. PTS is a Hong Kong-based movement manufacturer, though I personally have not encountered their movements before. The movement beats at 21,600 bph, has approximately 36 hours of power reserve and is hacking. It has a stated accuracy of +/- 45 seconds per day (which isn’t great), but in my personal experience, it keeps time as accurately as the average Seiko. The PTS movement also lacks decoration – not even a custom rotor – but at this price point, it would be remiss to dock points for that. I suppose the larger concern would be the long-term reliability and as well as serviceability of the movement, though again at this price it would probably be cheaper to simply purchase another one.
In my previous review of the Revival, I criticized the bracelet, which I stated “…has that ratty feeling that’s reminiscent of the bracelets on the cheaper Seiko 5 watches.” It seems Kent Hall & Co has taken that feedback to heart, as the new 316L stainless steel bracelet on the Nova Skeleton is miles better. It features solid links, and has alternative finishing – brushed on the front, with polished bevelled edges. Yet, it still retains the quintessential Nautilus/Royal Oak aesthetic that keeps it in vogue. The bracelet feels reassuringly solid and robust on the wrist, and is outrageously impressive given the S$240 price tag of the Nova Skeleton.
And unlike the Revival, the Nova Skeleton also features C3 Swiss Superluminova, making it legible even in the dark. It’s pretty strong too – impressive for a ~S$200 watch.
All in all, the new Nova Skeleton continues to punch above its price point. It retains all the goodies of the Revival, but tags on an improved WR rating and bracelet. What’s not to like?
Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton – Design
Rather impressively, the Nova Skeleton represents a leap forward not only in its build quality, but also in its design language.
Firstly, the dial of the Nova Skeleton is significantly more refined than the Revival. While the Revival simply featured a “cut-out” dial, the Nova Skeleton actually skeletonises, with certain portions of the dial removed to highlight specific components of the movement, such as the balance wheel and the crown stem. There’s also a carbon-fibre texture of the skeletonised portion of the dial, giving it additional texture and visual interest.
There’s also plenty of depth present due to the skeletonised nature of the dial, as well as the brand logo and the “automatic” text being emblazoned on the crystal (as opposed to the dial), giving them a floating appearance. It’s a cool trick that once again elevates it from its Revival predecessor. Elsewhere, the minute track allows for practical legibility – rare for a skeletonised watch.
The case is remarkably well-finished for the price too – satin-brushed at the front, with plenty of contrasting polishing along the bevels. It’s a level of sophistication that quite frankly I have never seen on a ~S$200 watch, and is again a vast improvement over the Revival.
Another major change is the shape of the bezel. While the Revival had a Royal Oak-esque octagonal bezel, the Nova Skeleton features a smooth round bezel – more Hublot-like, actually. I actually prefer the round bezel as it’s slightly less derivative and “homage-y” as compared to the previous octagonal bezel.
In addition, the Nova Skeleton has a nice signed crown, which is well-sized for hand-winding. It’s not screw-down however, which probably explains why the water-resistance rating isn’t higher.
The Nova Skeleton has a 40mm case size and a thickness of 12mm, making it markedly wearable on my 7-inch wrist. It’s a great size for an everyday watch, and I found it to slide underneath a shirt cuff without any issues.
All in all, the design of the Nova Skeleton is a clear upgrade over the previous Revival. There’s more thought involved, with plenty of depth and texture present. The finishing is on another level too, making the Nova Skeleton remarkably striking for its low price tag.
Shootout: Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton vs Revival
At this sub-S$250 price point, there’s really only one other viable alternative if you’re looking at an automatic skeletonised watch – the brand’s own Revival.
In terms of specifications, the Nova Skeleton has the edge over the Revival. While both have a Chinese skeletonised movement and sapphire glass, the Nova Skeleton has a higher water-resistance rating, better lume, and a significantly upgraded bracelet.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nova Skeleton possesses a more thoughtful design, with better texture and depth. The case is also better finished, and looks more sophisticated than the Revival.
Given that both watches are priced identically, the new Nova Skeleton is the no-brainer choice as it features better specifications and a more complex design.
Conclusion – so the Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton “shiok” or not?
The Kent Hall & Co Nova Skeleton is the best watch under S$250 that I’ve reviewed thus far. It has phenomenal specifications – sapphire crystal, a skeletonised automatic movement, a robust 316L stainless steel bracelet, 100M of WR rating, and Swiss C3 Superluminova – for less than the price of a standard Daniel Wellington. If you like the integrated sports watch look, and desire a thoughtful skeletonised dial with decent finishing, then the Nova Skeleton is undoubtedly the best option in the market currently.
Those interested in purchasing the Nova Automatic can do so at The Shiok Shop, where it’s listed for just S$244. Aside from the stainless steel model, there’s also one in black, as well as a leather strap variant. And if you’re interested in any of Kent Hall & Co’s other watches (that aren’t listed on The Shiok Shop), you still can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off storewide, making most – if not all – of the watches a steal.
Movement: PTS Movement
Power reserve: Approximately 36 hours
Glass material: Sapphire
Case material: 316L Stainless Steel
Case diameter: 40mm
Case thickness: 12mm
Case colour: Silver
Dial colour: Black Skeleton
Lume: C3 Lume on Indices and Hands
Strap type: Integrated stainless steel bracelet with deployant clasp
Water resistance: 100 ATM/100M
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.