Well balanced review. Great job. :)48 Hour Review of the Borealis Cascais Prototype - Brown dial, brown bezel, pencil hands
I'm posting this review within the thread partly because there are already 3 other Borealis related threads on the first page of the F74 forum. Also I have comments that might be construed as more more negative that I intend on the open forum. That isn't my intention and I hope this audience is better take the pros and cons I present in the appropriate light.
The impression of quality is immediate! The heft of the Cascais is certainly a big part of the impression of quality. But it just feels solid. The only other watch that has left this type of impression on me is the Christopher Ward C60 Pro. It isn't just that it feels heavy therefor must be good. The litle things that Borealis got right on this is impressive. The subtle slope of the bezel managing to merge right into the dome of the sapphire is impressive. There is a beveled edge on the glass to provide some visual separation but the angles seem like they were measured to align perfectly. The alignment of the applied markers are perfect. This is really noticable on the 12 oclock marker that is 2 pieces but still sits perfectly between the 58 and 02 hash marks AND lines up directly underneath the arrow of the lume pip on the bezel. Borealis needs to give Seiko a clinic on this. The fit of the endlinks is spectaular! There is ever so slight amount of movement there that you can feel but not see at all. No matter how you twist or turn those endlinks they don't budge! People were fawning all over the Ginault endlink fit.....Borealis Cascais is no slouch in this department. I have never owned a Borealis before but I did have a Prometheus Pirahnna (which I assume is comparable) and this Cascais is a significant step up quality over that watch.
The finishing on Cascais is well done and applied evenly. The very subtle polished edge running the length of the case is an appreciated touch on an otherwise completely brushed finish. It also helps to tie into the bling of the applied markers and handset.
The lume is great. This version is only the BGW9 model but wow is it applied evenly and heavy! It lights up easily just under regular indoor lighting. This lume shot was taken after walking from my office to my car and back. Possibly 1 minute under overcast conditions?
The bezel grip is very usable. The Cascais has a thin bezel in terms of the gripping surface and might have been difficult to turn but Borealis specced just the right type of grip to prevent any problems. My Oris 65 bezel is not as usable.
The sweep of the STP movement is really SMOOTH. Subjectively speaking it is better than ETA or Miyota in my experience.
The 42x49x13mm size is really great for my 7.25" wrist. It is probably the upper limit of what I would wear but this one feels like a Seiko Sumo on my wrist. If you have had a Sumo you know that it feels like it wraps around your wrist. Lots of surface area that touches your skin and it feels like it is hugging your wrist. The Cascais is much the same feel. Also I have not had ANY issues wearing this watch with long sleeves. It slides under my sleeves effortlessly. Big plus for me!
Let me first say that my cons are mostly a factor of personal preference so your experience may be much different.
Let me start with the bracelet. I don't like how the first free link attached to the end link. To me it sticks out akwardly and my eyes are always drawn to that oddity.
Attachment 10751794Attachment 10751802
The bracelet does taper from 22mm to 20mm at the clasp but I would have preferred a further taper to 18mm. When I am wearing a heavier bracelet like this one a more significant taper always will help with long term wearing comfort. Right now it feels a bit like I have a steel belt attached to my wrist.
Then the clasp. I'll just say it, I really don't like this style of clasp. I realize that lots of micros are using it. On a more toolish watch like a Boschett Cave Dweller or NFW Shumate this clasp at least works aesthetically. But on a more demure design like the Cascais it's too much. The folded clasp is almost as thick as the watch head!
Plus in past experience this clasp always becomes a source of discomfort when wearing it in warmer/humid climates.
The crown screw in feel is not pleasent to me. I want to feel a solid mechanical engagement. On my prototype the crown feels gummy.....almost like I am twisting the seals when screwing down the crown. It does engage quickly and easily but the winding feel is not good. I had to check it a few times just to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong.
The color scheme. This brownish-grey color just doesn't do it for me. I'm not feeling it. Maybe the black or blue would be more up my alley?
The watch is heavy. I will say that I have been gravitating towards lighter watches in the past year. But when compared to the Oris 65 which is a similar style and size; in the Oris at the end of a day I could keep wearing it well into the night and not have any issues. With the Borealis i am glad to be able to take the watch off. To be fair I had much the same experience with my departed Seiko MM300. Again personal preference. Heavy watches tend to always remind me that they are there. The longer I stay in this watch hobby the more I want the experience of wearing a watch to be seamless.
The Cascais is wonderfully made piece but it's probably is not the best choice for me personally. I am open to having my mind changed if I ever get to sample the blue or black versions though! THAT LUME!
Oh I forgot to mention that this STP movement seems to be keeping time at around +2 sec per day. Really a nice surprise in an afordable movement.