To this day (not that it was THAT long ago) I remember the very first mechanical watch I bought.  I had become entranced with the vintage looks and sandwich dials of the Panerai – or, more precisely, the various homages that were floating around available on the internet (and still are).  When I finally pulled the trigger, it was a delight, especially picking out the specific details I wanted.  As time marched on, I got to realizing that the watch was simply bigger than I preferred to wear, so it ended up going on to a new home.  However, this latest Kickstarter campaign, the TC-9 Navy Watch, could have me rethinking things again.

Funnily enough, there was also a time where I was very fond of bronze and brass watches.  Frankly, I still like the material, and while I’ve reviewed a few, I’ve never gotten to the point where I picked one up.  So, yeah – this TC-9 Navy Watch is made from bronze, in a 42mm flavor (smaller than the 44mm variant I had in steel back in the day), and comes in at a crazy 9.5mm thin.  For a manually-wound watch (which most Panerai homages are) that would be a neat trick.  But for the watch that houses an automatic (in this case, a reliable Seiko NH35A) movement, then it becomes all the more impressive.  Paired as it is into a classic cushion case, it just sounds (and looks) delightful.

The rest of the specs are rather nice as well.  Sapphire crystals front and back, your choice of five different sandwich dials (I’m particularly digging the sunburst green “plain” dial), 100m WR, and your choice of finishes (black or brass) on the crown.  Speaking of the crown, you will notice that it’s missing the classic flip-lock crown guard, which some might object to.  For me, I’m good with that.  It simplifies the operation of the watch, and further sets this into the homage, rather than replica, category.

I am also quite happy to see this style of watch with a standard (read: thumbnail) buckle, rather than the oversized Pre-V buckles that accompany most watches of these style.  I get the historical reason for it (well, the historical look), but it frankly just makes for a big chunk of metal that catches on things or digs into your wrist.  With the more restrained thumbnail-style buckle, things are kept more compact.

The also managed to keep the pricing on the TC-9 Navy Watch fairly compact as well.  Early-bird pricing starts just a touch over $200, which seems like a fair price point for the design, materials, and movement in use here.  TC-9 seems to have established a good track record on delivering on their campaigns, and this current one (which closes out on May 13) is over 200% funded as of the time of the writing.  As always, it’s caveat emptor, but odds are looking to be in your favor.  In the meantime, we’ll also work to get one in for a hands-on review, and see if my imagination matches the reality of what this thin homage watch is offering up.  project page

Watch Overview
  • Brand & Model:  TC-9 Navy Watch
  • Price: $206
  • Who we think it might be for: You like the Panerai look, but other watches have just been too big for your tastes
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?  I could see that happening, for sure.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Bronze is nice – but I’d like to see a future option explore steel or even titanium
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: A smaller, thinner, homage made from bronze.  What’s not to like?
Tech Specs from TC-9
  • Solid Bronze Case – 42 mm wide,  9.5 mm thick.   Classic cushion case reminiscent of the Navy dive watches of the 1940’s
  • Seiko NH35A movement
  • Scratchproof Sapphire Glass on the front and back of the watch.
  • 10 ATM waterproof.
  • 5 Dials options, including our unique and high quality solid brass dial used on our previous KS campaign – the TC-9 1950s diver.   All dials are two piece sandwich dials and have a double coating of bright super lume
  • Black PVD or Brass plated Crown.
  • Leather Strap with solid brass buckle
  • Watch posts from the UK.   Postage costs based on actual cost via DHL to your host country. Posted by June 2017.
  • Limited edition of 500 pieces

Last Update: April 24, 2017