It was three years ago that I went hands-on with the original Smith & Bradley Sans-13. Since then, I have reviewed every other watch that the brand has put out, which you can see here and here. While we are still working to get one of their latest in – the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution – I wanted to get a preview in place for you, as their Kickstarter project just recently launched. So, let’s have ourselves a look, shall we?
Interestingly, while you might thing (by name alone) that the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution is a design update/refresh to the original, it’s actually a lot more than that. Frankly, to my eyes, it is a totally different watch, so the Sans-13 link is not as strong. Where I can see the relationship being drawn is in the lighting used on the watch. In the original Sans-13, it was a sort of hybrid tritium/luminous paint that we reviewed. This time around, the brand has gone with a luminous polymer (aka, a solid chunk of glowy) that shows up underneath the sandwich dial.
These types of luminous polymers have become very popular (just have a look at what Blackbadger can do with it), and for good reason. They can give the look and feel of a more traditional luminous paint, while offering some very bright (and long-lasting) light in the dark. Additionally, as it’s a solid, it can conform to more interesting shapes, whereas the paint really is restricted to flat surfaces. Now, we have not yet seen a watch take advantage of those shape-conforming abilities, but I imagine it is only a matter of time.
For the case of the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution, gone is the traditional round shape. Instead, we have a sort of tactical take on a cushion case. This case shape – other than making the watch different – allowed for another design change. It allowed Jerommie Smith to set the bezel in from the edge of the case a bit. This may make it a bit tougher to interact with (we’ll see in our hands-on review), but it also brings the added benefit of additional protection from being bumped out of place. Perhaps not quite so critical for those of us timing when the coffee will be ready, but certainly more critical for those in law enforcement who are fans of what S&B produce.
What is interesting – almost curious to me – about the design of the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution is how much the case and bezel make it feel like a cross between a diver and a field watch, while the dial itself is all aviator. That is, of course, due to that handset, which looks to be in great proportions – reaching out to their respective tracks, and with a whole mess of lume there as well – apparently, it’s more of the luminous polymer set in, and not paint. Though, that does make me wonder – what would it take to machine a handset out of the luminous polymer, and have completely lit-up hands? Now that would be pretty sweet to see…
Smith & Bradley makes their watches robust and ready for abuse, and the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution is no caveat to that statement. Along with the steel case, they have a brand-new steel bracelet that they’re offering, which makes me think that we’ll be in over-150g territory here. All that steel – along with a sapphire crystal – means that what is inside is pretty protected. And what you have inside is a Ronda Swiss 505 Quartz movement. Not as sexy as a mechanical, I’ll give you that. But, for pure robustness and accuracy, you cannot beat quartz. Throw in a 200m WR rating, and this surprisingly-thin for it’s styling watch (11.5mm) is ready for whatever you want to throw at it.
And, if you are ready to throw some money at the brand for your own Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution, well, the Kickstarter project page (ends August 29 and is fully funded) is the place to be. While retail pricing is expected to be $450, there are earlybird levels starting at $250 for either the stainless or the black-finish versions of the watch. At that price, I would have a hard time not recommending the watch to someone who digs the style. While we have not yet seen the Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution in person (yet), they have a track record of solid build and material quality, and a commitment to building great watches. Let us know what you think of this latest offering from the brand, and the inclusion of the solid luminous materials. smithbradleyltd.com
- Brand & Model: Smith & Bradley Sans-13 Evolution
- Price: $450 (MSRP)
- Who we think it might be for: You’ve been waiting for an affordable excursion into the world of composite luminous materials
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: While the glow is cool, probably not – the overall case shape is not my personal taste
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Figure out a full-polymer handset!
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: If it wasn’t obvious, it’s the solid lume
- Movement: Ronda Swiss 505 Quartz Movement
- Crystal: Sapphire with AR coating
- Case: 43mm, stainless steel
- Case thickness: 11.5mm
- Bracelet: 24mm, stainless steel
- Crown: 7mm
- Dial: Sandwich dial; polymer lume plate background
- Hands: lume plate integrated into hands
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