Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean watch review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing the Caliburnus from Hong-Kong microbrand, Valimor.
The Caliburnus is Valimor’s debut watch. Having started out life as a Kickstarter campaign, Valimor blew through their funding goal, eventually getting the pledges of almost 200 backers! I was immensely intrigued by the medieval vibe of the Caliburnus, and a year after the Kickstarter campaign, I’m pleased to say I finally got the Caliburnus in for review.
Valimor – the Brand
Founded in 2017, Valimor is a Hong-Kong based watch microbrand that seeks to create “original, unique designs with high-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship.” According to the brand, the name Valimor is a portmanteau of the words VALIant and arMOR, which I personally think is quite cool and definitely in theme with the medieval warrior vibe of their watches.
In addition, Valimor also owns design patents in all 28 European Union states for the trademark aspects for their designs, such as the dragon scales bezel and the sword shaped hands. Dubbed as watches for the modern day warrior, Valimor is confident that their unique designs will make you stand out from the crowd!
Alright, without further ado let’s see if the Valimor Caliburnus is any good!
Valimor Caliburnus – Build Quality
For the price, I would say that the build quality of the Caliburnus is decent.
Firstly, the Valimor Caliburnus utilises a flat sapphire crystal to protect the dial. 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. Furthermore, there’s also an internal AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent nasty reflections here! Elsewhere, the WR rating of the Caliburnus is stated to be 50M, which should be enough for most daily activities that does not involve prolonged submersion in water.
The Miyota 82S0 serves as the beating heart of the Valimor Caliburnus. It features 21 jewels, beats at 21,600 bph, has 40 hours of power reserves, but unfortunately does not hack. Now, I must admit that the Miyota 82S0 is not my favourite movement. In my previous experiences with Miyota 8 series movements, I’ve encountered the infamous Miyota stutter of the seconds hand. It doesn’t occur in this particular model, but I can’t help but feel that the higher beat rate Miyota 9015 movement would have been a better choice here. It would also have given Valimor the opportunity to make the watch a tad slimmer.
My review model of the Caliburnus came with a top-grain leather strap with a hornback pattern. It’s alright, definitely serviceable, and the top grain leather will patina with age, though the patina effect wouldn’t be that obvious on this black strap here. However, it just feels a tad cheap in my opinion. I’ve handled genuine hornback straps before, and I have to say this Valimor strap compares pretty poorly to the real thing. I think it may have been a better idea to not have the hornback patterning – I just keep comparing the strap to a genuine hornback strap every time I see and feel the strap, and the comparison isn’t flattering. In fact, I would probably swap the stock strap for a genuine hornback strap for my daily wear thereafter! Now, Valimor does offer the option of a metal bracelet, and in my opinion it looks much better. It’s treated to an aged steel finish to complement the case, and also features “dragon scales” patterning to match the bezel. That being said, I do think that the buckle on the Valimor strap is one of the most intricate I’ve ever seen – great job on that!
The Valimor Caliburnus uses Swiss BGW9 luminova, which translate into bright and long-lasting lume. You’re not going to get dive watch luminousity, but as far as dress/everyday watches goes, the Caliburnus is definitely on the better end of the spectrum. In addition, I love that Valimor has decided to go with a two-tone application of lume here – ice blue for the hands, and the regular green for the indices. A very nice touch.
Overall, the specifications of the Valimor Caliburnus are more than adequate. I like the sapphire crystal with AR coating, the two toned Swiss lume, and though the strap can be better, I can’t complain much as well due to the Caliburnus’ relatively affordable pricing (though I would still encourage you to opt for the bracelet). My main knock is the entry level Miyota 82S0 movement – in a watch with a design as spectacular as this, I would have preferred a Miyota 9015 movement much better.
Valimor Caliburnus – Design
Without a doubt, the unique design of the Caliburnus is the ace up its sleeve.
Let’s start with the weapon shaped hands. On the Caliburnus, the hour hand is shaped like a dagger, while the minute hand is shaped to resemble a sword. The design is detailed, and as someone who grew up watching movies like Gladiator and 300 (or more recently, TV shows such as Game of Thrones), I absolutely love the design. It certainly ties directly into the warrior theme of the watch. I like the intricate counterweight of the second hand too. Elsewhere, I like the usage of applied indices, which adds depth to an otherwise flat dial. It may be my imagination, but I’m pretty sure Valimor designed the indices to look like shields – again, it contributes towards the medieval vibe of the Caliburnus. I find the dial pretty balanced as well, and like it better than the other variant with date window which I find to break the symmetry of the dial. However, I’m not fond of the “automatic” text at 6 o’clock – it’s stating the obvious, and I would much rather the text reflect the model name instead.
The main attraction however has to be the black granite dial. The USP (unique selling point) of the Caliburnus series is the unique dials available, with exotic dial options such as granite (pictured above), lapis lazuli, jasper, aventurine, marble, and agate for one to choose from. These are materials more commonly seen in jewelry – barring Rolex, I’ve not seen another brand incorporate such materials in their watches till date. I’m really impressed by how Valimor are able to offer these dial options at such an affordable price. A typical Rolex Datejust Lapis Lazuli trades for around 200% (sometimes more) than the usual Datejust variant – of course there’s also the rarity factor involved there, but that just goes to show how much people are willing to pay extra for a unique looking dial. Indeed, due to the natural factor of such materials, no two watch (even if it’s the same material) will look exactly the same. I particularly love the granite dial here – it’s rough and full of texture, and of all the fancy dial options available, it’s the one that best encapsulates the warrior vibe of the watch for me.
As attractive as the dial is, the case of the Caliburnus is no slouch either! Firstly, we have to talk about the “dragon scale” bezel. It’s very striking, and it’s definitely a design that I’ve not seen on a watch before. It gives me all sorts of Game of Thrones vibe, in the best of ways. It certainly reinforces the medieval fantasy feel of the watch, and it’s really quite a unique feeling. The only other watch I’ve handled till date that eludes the same vibe is the Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table watch – one of my absolute grails. That watch cost a hefty penny, but thankfully the Caliburnus scratches that same itch for much, much less. In addition, there’s also an aged steel finishing on the case that complements the medieval warrior feel of the watch well. This aged steel finishing (made popular by Zenith) has been growing in popularity amongst microbrands nowadays, but I have to say the finishing here is one of the best I’ve come across till date. Just look at the photo above, and how one can see the scarred texture of the aged steel finishing – beautiful. Last but not least, we also get one of the most ornate crowns I’ve ever seen, and it is adorned with a genuine Swarovski crystal! Visually, it reminds me of the jeweled crowns of Cartier watches, but the vibes couldn’t be more different. Instead, the jeweled crown on the Caliburnus reminds me of the crown that a medieval ruler would have worn. I absolutely adore it!
I love the caseback on the Caliburnus. Caseback on microbrand watches often look like an afterthought, but not so here! I love the texture on the caseback, which mimics the look and feel of the “dragon scale” bezel. I like that it is raised as well, adding depth to the back of the watch. On the caseback, there are some relevant specifications inscribed, but what really steals the show is that intricately designed rotor. The Valimor custom rotor has to be one of the most beautiful movement rotors (by a microbrand) that I’ve handled till date! The resplendent gold adds a touch of luxury and class, while the guilloche-like finishing on the rotor resembles a cross-section of a warrior’s armor plate. Lastly, even the movement is decorated as well with Geneva Stripes – kudos to Valimor for paying attention to the little details!
The 42mm case diameter of the Caliburnus wears perfectly on my 7 inch wrist, no complaints there! The size feels right for a watch meant for the modern day warrior. However, the watch (due to that Miyota 82S0 movement) comes in a tad too thick for my liking at 12.65mm. This (for me) brings it out of the dress watch realm, and more into the everyday watch category. That’s a shame, as I would have loved to wear it with a suit and tie when going for an interview or giving a presentation – the modern day equivalent of walking onto a battlefield.
All in all, the Valimor Caliburnus delivers a striking and unique design at a very affordable price. I love the weapon inspired hands, the “dragon scale” bezel, the aged steel finishing, the ornate jeweled crown, and of course the unique texture of that granite dial. The attention to detail in this watch is evident, and I commend Valimor for that!
Shootout – Valimor Caliburnus vs MUSHA “Nobunaga”
I really had a hard time searching for a comparision to the Valimor Caliburnus – as aforementioned, it’s really unique in its design and I couldn’t immediately recall anything similar. The closest I was able to find is the MUSHA “Nobunaga”, a watch whose design is inspired by the swords of medieval Japanese samurais.
In terms of specifications, the Valimor Caliburnus has the win over the MUSHA “Nobunaga”. While both watches utilises sapphire crystal and comes on interesting looking straps, the Caliburnus is powered by a Miyota automatic movement. In contrast, the “Nobunaga” uses an Epsom quartz movement. This will likely already be a deal-breaker for many. Furthermore, the Caliburnus also features a two-tone Swiss BGW9 luminova, while the “Nobunaga” does not come with lume.
From a design perspective, I would again say that the Caliburnus edges out the “Nobunaga”. The Caliburnus packs a complete package in terms of its design – a unique granite dial, hands modeled after medieval weapons, an aged steel case finish, “dragon scale” bezel, and an ornate jeweled crown to top everything off. The “Nobunaga” does have certain interesting traits going for it, including that lovely Damascus steel case (something I would love for Valimor to experiment with in the future) and the knife-like indices. However, the plain black dial does look a tad too boring for my taste, and the date window destroys the symmetry of the dial.
Overall, the Caliburnus comes with the better specifications, as well as a more intricate and detailed design. Given that both watches are priced similarly, I have to crown the Valimor Caliburnus as the winner in this shootout!
Conclusion – so the Valimor Caliburnus “shiok” or not?
Definitely. For the money, it’s a very unique and striking watch. I simply love the design of the Caliburnus – the textured granite dial, the GOT-esque “dragon scale” bezel, the battle-scarred aged steel finish, the sword and dagger hands, everything. If you’re looking for something special, a watch that’s medieval inspired, the Valimor Caliburnus is it. My only knock is the movement – hopefully Valimor will be choose to utilise a higher beat movement in future editions!
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you 10% off all Valimor timepieces! After the discount, the Valimor Caliburnus can be had for just $445 USD/ ~S$623. If the low beat Miyota movement is a deal-breaker for you, Valimor currently has their new Makaidos line (featuring lovely fume and skeletonised dials) available for pre-order, and these watches use the higher beat Swiss STP 1-11 movement! The 10% promo code is applicable on these pre-orders as well, so if you want to score yourself a great deal, do consider the Makaidos collection.
View Valimor’s full range of watches here.
Certification: EUIPO Design Patent
Case: Ø42 mm – Aged 316L Stainless Steel
Dial: Natural Black Galaxy Granite
Glass: Sapphire Crystal with AR coating
Hands Luminous: Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9
Crown Crystal: Swarovski
Water Resistant: 5 ATM (50 m)
Strap: Genuine Leather
Caliber: Japan-Made Miyota 82S0 Automatic
Functions: Hours, Minutes and Seconds
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