We here at WWR have said it time and again – we in the watch world are being overrun with minimalistic, thin, quartz watches. On one hand, there is nothing wrong with this, especially as a quartz movement does allow for a rather compact case. On the other hand, so many of these watches are “me too” copycats being churned out of factories with only a different logo on the dial, showing up on the crowd-funding sites. Then you run across something like the Bon Echo Pangea, and, well, you have something different on your hands.
Why is that? Well, for starters, the Bon Echo Pangea is not showing up on your favorite crowd-funding site. No, the Bon Echo Pangea is something you buy direct from the company, online. Remember doing that? Yeah, that was all the rage before pledging pre-order funds trundled up to the top of the hill. While there are plenty of reasons why crowd-funding works, having the willingness to take your product and just go direct to market belies a confidence in what you’re producing (as well as the funding to back up what you’re putting out there).
Past that, I just find the Bon Echo Pangea to have a really attractive design. Far from being another clone, Bon Echo has made this watch their own thing. What grabbed my eye at first was the outer track. You wouldn’t think that simply putting a black ring around the outer edge with pips for the minutes would be a great detail, but it is, simply because it is so different from the other slim quartz watches out there. Add in a color-matched handset that is perfectly sized (both in relation to the dial and to each other), and you have a really compelling look.
There’s also a surprising amount of branding on the dial of the Bon Echo Pangea – surprising in that you can barely see it. On the upper half, you have the Bon Echo name, and on the lower half you have the model name (Pangea) and the brand logo. These are so minimalistic, you can almost gloss them over. If it were me, I’d be almost tempted to scrap the names, and just have that small logo there, especially as the caseback has those details, along with the larger version of the stag head logo.
The Bon Echo Pangea is powered by a Ronda 762 quartz movement, which allows the 40mm case to only be 7mm thick (and extremely tapered front to back). Paired with a simple leather single-piece strap, you have a very light weight (42g) and compact companion for the day. Our review sample came on a blue strap, but it can also be had with a black or a brown strap (additional straps can be had for another $50 or so). Also of note, while our review sample had a polished steel case with a white dial, there are other case finishes (yellow gold, rose gold, and black) as well as a black dial; you could also opt for a woven perlon strap. In short, if you’re looking for a slim watch, you have a variety of color options available to you.
For me, the Bon Echo Pangea was a fun daily companion, especially paired with the blue strap. It takes a good bit for me to pay attention to a thin watch that isn’t mechanical these days, and the Bon Echo Pangea has that certain something that just makes it work. While it may not be a great watch for bashing around on the trails over the weekend, it is a great watch for the office, and with a quick strap change, you can easily have this blending to your wardrobe for the day, be it a suit or khakis and an OCBD. I will admit, the $296 might raise a few eyebrows, but this is one of the best-in-class designs I’ve seen for some time when it comes to thin quartz watches, and I do not think the price is that outlandish for what you get (and that’s not even to mention the really slick leather pouch the watch comes in, just waiting to be repurposed for all manner of EDC possibilities).
Now you’ve read my take on, let’s get the discussion going below. What do you think of the proliferation of slim quartz watches out there? Is the Bon Echo Pangea something that you see yourself strapping on? Is there some other brand/model you’d hold up as the standard bearer for this segment? Or is this something that you couldn’t care less about? Do let us know below (or drop us a line) so we can ensure we’re bringing you content that you find interesting – and aren’t overlooking some amazing watch. For now, I’m putting the Bon Echo Pangea definitely in my top 3 slim quartz watches of the year. bonechocollective.com
- Brand & Model: Bon Echo Pangea
- Price: $296
- Who’s it for?: You like quartz for it’s reliability, and you want a super-thin watch that doesn’t look like all the other ones out there
- Would I wear it?: I still prefer mechanicals, but yeah, this would be in the rotation for sure
- What I’d change: Remove the text from the dial, and just keep the simple ghosted logo at 6 o’clock
- The best thing about it: For me, it’s the clean look and feel of the piece
Tech Specs from Bon Echo
- Model Name: Pangea Premiére Edition
- Movement: Swiss Ronda 762 Quartz
- Glass: Sapphire Glass
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Dial Diameter: 40mm
- Crown Size: 4mm
- Case Thickness: 7mm
- Lug Width: 20mm
- Strap Length: 240mm
- Strap Color: Jet Black, Navy Blue or Nature Brown
- Water Resistant: 3ATM
- Battery Life: 10 Years