One of the absolute great things about being a watch reviewer is the number of watches that we get coming across our desks. Yeah, it can be overwhelming at times, but the sheer variety keeps things interesting. It’s even better when you start a relationship up with a brand, and you get to experience their watches changing and improving over time. It was only a year and a half ago that we got to talk about the most affordable forged carbon watch at the time, the Tempest One. Well, as you can guess with that title up above, the second gen has arrived. Read on to see what we thought of the Tempest Carbon2 in our time with it.
I have to say, the passage of time has not diminished my affection for the material known as forged carbon. You get the strength and lightness of carbon fiber, of course, but it gets formed in a way that gives things a very unique look. This looks is either something approaching the swirls of damascus steel, or a really crazy piece of wood. Either way you go (for the record, I go the damascus steel route), this will be a watch case that looks rather unlike anything you have. Frankly, that’s great – if this somehow had a flat or smooth finish on it, it would end up looking like just another resin case, when this is so much more.
For those familiar with the original, the Tempest Carbon2 is a different animal from it’s predecessor. Let’s start with the case. While it is still forged carbon (with an inner stainless steel core), it’s taken on a different shape. It’s a half-millimeter smaller in diameter, but 2.5mm longer in the lug-to-lug measurement. This is due to the more integrated look of the lugs, so you have the elongated case shape. There is also no longer a bezel “lip” around the crystal, just a smooth surface that curves into the highly-domed sapphire crystal. Another big change is the addition of the second crown, which controls the internal timing bezel.
That timing bezel – and specifically, it’s crown – was a bit of a surprise for me. When you get into crowns like these, you generally expect them to be screw-down, particularly on watches that carry a 200m WR rating. Here, that is not the case. Now, perhaps the water tightness can be ensured by gaskets here, so that’s not a major concern for me. What is, however, is how easy it is to accidentally move the inner timing bezel. If you were truly trying to use it on a dive, you could easily lose track of the time, as the internal bezel itself is bi-directional (and no clicks, for those curious).
I’ve asked the brand about this, and they responded that the accidental turning has not been a problem in their testing. They state that the crown should be short enough that it’s not getting caught, and the tension for the production version may be upped a bit to help resist the rotation. In short, they feel it will not be a concern. That said, they will check with their partners to see if they may be able to offer a locking crown at some point.
Since we have the inner timing bezel on the Tempest Carbon2, gone is the larger rehaut that saw the indices cutting into it. Here, it’s the rotating bezel, and then we have the dial. The indices have a similar look and feel to them, being applied and completely luminous. The one at 12 o’clock has been improved, with a clear demarcation down the center of it for indicating which way is up on the watch in the dark. On the topic of lume, I am pleased to report that Tempest has continued with their practice of luming their logo on the dial (and, now the word ‘Automatic’). Not a practical or necessary touch, but one that is quite fun to see in action.
Speaking of practical and necessary, now let’s focus in on how the Tempest Carbon2 is in regular wear. In a word: nice. You might think from the overall dimensions that this would be a big watch, but it wears a good bit smaller. Some of that is due to the 94g weight (thanks, forged carbon!), and the rest is due to all the smooth surfaces. It does not snag on a shirt cuff at all, and it just plain looks and feels smaller than the case dimensions might seem to indicate. Everything is held in place by a similar strap as before, a leather-lined nylon two-piece, and the movement is the well-known Miyota 9015.
The other practical aspect of the Tempest Carbon2 is it’s pricing – it is still by far the most affordable forged carbon watch that I know of. While retail is expected to be just under $1,000, you can pick one up via the Kickstarter project at pricing that starts at $765. That’s right, it’s even more affordable than the original version, with an improved case and dial (in my book). Sure, I would not mind a color-matched date wheel, but that aside, this is a tremendous value in terms of what you’re getting. If you are thinking about joining in, the project closes August 29, with delivery anticipated for March 2017. As of the time of this writing, the project is around the 50% mark, and I’ve got full confidence that Tempest will be bringing the Carbon2 to fruition. Whether or not you’re backing this watch, let us know below what you think about this particular case material! tempestwatches.com
- Brand & Model: Tempest Carbon2
- Price: $965 (MSRP); earlybird pricing starts at $765
- Who’s it for?: You want an affordable – and well-sorted – take on a forged carbon watch
- Would I wear it?: Indeed I would, though I might spend more time trying to find just the right strap to compliment the case
- What I’d change: Aside from the date wheel, I’d still love it if a forged carbon bracelet was possible (and durable)
- The best thing about it: The overall smoothness of the patterned forged carbon combined with that high-dome crystal
Tech Specs from Tempest Watches
- Case – 100% forged carbon, with inner stainless steel core
- Diamter: 42.mm
- Lug-to-lug: 50mm
- Thickness: 17.75mm (including crystal)
- Lug width: 22mm
- Crown – PVD Solid Stainless Steel screw down crown with engraved logo , 7mm wide x 4mm height
- Case Back – PVD Solid Stainless Steel with engraving and individual serial number
- Crystal – Scratch Resistant Super Dome Sapphire Crystal w/ Inner Anti-Reflection Coating (double domed for reduced distortion)
- Movement – Automatic Miyota Cal. 9015, 28,800bph, 24 Jewels, 42 Power Reserve, Hacking Second, Manual winding function, Balanced Staff Shock Absorber
- Dial – Matt Black, Internal Bi-rotational Bezel, Individually applied markers with BGW9 Swiss-LumiNova
- Lume – BGW9 Swiss-LumiNova on hands and dial markers
- Strap – High Quality Water-Resistant Nylon strap with leather liner, 22mm tapering to 20mm, Solid stainless steel buckle with PVD Finish
- Water Resistance – 200m/660ft
- Warranty – 24 months