As you can no doubt imagine, pitches from brands launching on a crowdfunding platform come in with a steady regularity.  Fortunately, some of them seem to have read (or just innately know) our article on what we like to see from a project, and we have the opportunity to become aware of – and then tell you about – some of the more interesting stuff hitting our inboxes.  The most recent of these is the Igneous Santa Maria, which launches on Indiegogo on December 4, 2017.

Now, as you likely guessed from the name of the watch brand, there is something to do with geology on this watch.  And, if so, gold star for you.  In this case, the dial is made from basalt rock collected from the Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala.  It also makes an appearance as a regular chunk of rock (the same basalt) that comes along in the presentation box.  Sometimes rock and semi-precious stones can feel like a gimmick on a dial, and sometimes they can be glaringly flashy.  While I’ll admit it’s a hook on the Igneous Santa Maria, it is subtly done.

The basalt dial of the Igneous Santa Maria is dark, and that goes a long way.  A quick glance gives you a black dial, but you also have lighter, grayish flecks.  Along with the color change, they also reflect light differently.  This is all subtle, and I did not find it detracting from the time telling.  And, frankly, while the dial material was interesting, it wasn’t what actually struck me the most about this watch.

No, when I opened up the packaging of the Igneous Santa Maria, it was the you get from looking at the watch straight on – the lugs, flat bezel, and the domed hesalite crystal.  If you ignore the basalt for a moment, you are really looking at something that is vintage military inspired.  Or, at least, that’s what it calls to mind for me.  And that domed crystal, with it’s steep sides, just further underscores that vintage look and feel.

The lack of of a prominent bezel on the Igneous Santa Maria – or any bezel, depending on how you look at it – really gives this 40mm watch a smaller feel, something closer to the 38mm range.  This is assisted by smaller (but still appropriately sized) numerals and indices on the dials.  The proportions are modern, but give the illusion of something sized down a bit.  This does, of course, affect the nighttime glow from the luminous paint, but I’ll take that tradeoff here.

Underneath the basalt dial of the Igneous Santa Maria we have a Seiko NH35 automatic movement doing timekeeping duties, visible through the exhibition caseback.  Oh, and on that rotor?  You get an engraving of the volcano the dial came from.  Given that it’s hacking and hand-winding, and carries that Seiko name, it’s should prove to be a popular choice for the watch.  In my limited time with the watch, the movement proved accurate, and the build of the watch felt solid and reliable.  The included leather strap that the Igneous Santa Maria came on is nothing to write home about, but it has a rougher top surface that gives a rustic vibe that meshes well with the fact that it’s a rock for the dial.

I wore the Igneous Santa Maria to the office for a few days, and it was a good companion.  Easy to read at a glance, the black, white, and steel blended in well, and it slipped under a cuff without any issue.  In short, it’s a good every day sort of watch (just be careful around water, as it only has a  30m rating).  And, with earlybird pricing coming in at $199 (for the first 100; after that it’s $249), it’s a very affordable everyday sort of a watch.

As I mentioned at the outset, the Igneous Santa Maria is not ready just yet for you to back.  It launches on December 4, 2017 over on Indiegogo, so set yourself a calendar reminder.  Also worth noting – if black rock dials aren’t your thing, sit tight.  Nothing is guaranteed in the world of crowdfunding, of course, but if the Igneous Santa Maria proves popular and hits funding, there’s a good likelihood of new watch designs coming with other sorts of rock in place of the basalt seen here.  Also worth noting – the dial on your Igneous Santa Maria likely won’t look much like the one pictured here, given the different patterning that would be showing up in the rock, depending on what it’s sliced from, and the like.  So, yeah, each one will be unique, which isn’t too shabby.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Igneous Santa Maria
  • Price: $199 for the first 100 spots; $249 after that
  • Who’s it for?  You like those vintage domed crystals, and want something that’s subtly unique (i.e., that basalt dial)
  • Would I wear it?  Indeed – you can always find time to wear an interesting three-hander
  • What I’d change:  Put a brushed finish on the crown as well, to better match the matte surface of the case
  • The best thing about it:  The compact vintage look and feel of the watch
Tech Specs from Igneous Watch
  • 40mm brushed stainless steel case
  • SEIKO NH35 automatic movement
  • 3 ATM water resistance
  • Double domed hesalite crystal with AR coating
  • Polished basalt rock dial from the Santa Maria volcano
  • Open case back
  • Engraved rotor
  • Genuine leather strap
  • Lumed markers and hands

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