Angus Davies takes the U-Boat Classico 45mm in silver for a trip to the seaside.
As spring approaches, there is a sense of optimism in the air. My native Lancashire has been battered by angry winter skies of late and I confess the prolonged hours of darkness have a habit of sapping one’s energy.
It was with a joyous heart that I embraced a sunny winter’s day last weekend. It provided welcome respite from the recent inclement weather and precipitous skies that have blighted our lives over the last few weeks. A day trip to the seaside beckoned and my travel companion was a U-Boat Classico Sterling Silver 925.
The watch was kindly loaned to me for evaluation by the manufacturer. The extended period of wearing this watch over recent weeks, has allowed me to explore every nuance of its form. I can now speak with some authority about life with this uber-masculine timepiece.
With a lung full of bracing air invigorating my lungs, a photo opportunity beckoned. My son and ESCAPEMENT photographer, Euan Davies, was keen to capture images of the watch in a suitable environment. Indeed, this watch has several nautical references to justify the locale of our photoshoot.
The first thing you notice with the timepiece, is the sandwich dial. Constructed of two discs, one is superimposed on top of the other. A beige disc sits uppermost, with the hour markings being open-worked to reveal a carbon fibre layer beneath.
Roman numerals, presented in modern font are presented at 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock and noon. The remaining hours are marked with simple lozenge shaped apertures affording a view of the carbon fibre disc beneath.
This design detail bestows a wondrous three dimensional quality. However, it does not eschew function in the pursuit of style. I have found the numerals highly legible and user-friendly.
Three subdials are presented on the dial. Whilst they are presented in the same shade of beige as the rest of the upper disc, they are recessed, again playing with perspective with pleasing results.
A 12-hour chrono counter is located at noon. A subsidiary seconds display is located at 3 o’clock and a 30 minute chrono counter is presented on the subdial adjacent 6 o’clock.
The hour and minute hands are bi-colour, beige and black. They are presented in rectangular format and have a modern persona. A central chrono seconds hand employs the same colour scheme but is as lithe as an anorexic limbo dancer.
A date aperture is located at 9 o’clock, and the brand’s nomenclature is located adjacent. The layout of the dial is harmonious with all elements collaborating to provide balance.
U-Boat remind the wearer that the timepiece is constructed of sterling silver, courtesy of the text “925”, presented in relief engraving on the caseband. With a 92.5 % silver content, the case provides yet another departure from the norm. Indeed, I don’t think I have ever worn a silver wristwatch before making my acquaintance with the Classico.
The case diameter of 45mm was well suited to my own physique. It did not feel overly large nor too small.
The crown protector is oversized and at first, I thought it seemed a little ungainly. However, with familiarity came a slow-burning adoration and now I have fallen under the spell of its leviathan-like charms.
Locating the push pieces and crown on the left hand flank of the case, seemed strange. I am right-handed and initially thought the watch was intended for those who are left-handed. Yet, utilising the westerly flank of the case makes good sense. I have worn other large timepieces where a prominent crown, fitted to the right hand side of the case, has gouged and scraped my arm. I am pleased to say my arm shows no signs of irritation or chafing during my temporary stewardship of the U-Boat.
The caseback features a sapphire crystal but with a grid like structure placed underneath. It resembles a signal lamp, historically used for communicating to other ships. Whilst I appreciate the flourish of design, it does obscure my view of the movement within. However, this is the only aspect of the watch that frustrates me.
Straps are something I seldom feel merit comment. But, in this instance, it would be a disservice to the U-Boat designers if I did not mention this particular element of the watch. The tan alligator leather strap is high quality, Italian in origin, and presented on a silver deployant. However, the detail which causes me to smile, is the central horn on one side of the case which features the brand’s soubriquet and the place of origin of the timepiece. It is an example of Italian styling prowess which has lead to sartorial splendour, stylish scooters and sublime supercars; yet another reason I have fallen for this sun-kissed beauty.
The Classico contains a ETA Valjoux 7750 movement which is proudly proclaimed on the caseback. It has been enhanced for U-Boat and features a peronalised rotor, emblazoned with the brand’s nomen and labelled with the country of origin.
Whilst I often wax-lyrical over fully integrated chronograph movements featuring a column-wheel, I still have much respect for this cam actuated chronograph. The ETA Valjoux 7750 has been around for several years and has provided reliable service in a multitude of watches.
The inclusion of the ETA Valjoux 7750 movement is a wise move by U-Boat, as it ensures robust function and allows U-Boat to price the product competitively.
Some of my childhood memories of the seaside are tinged with a mix of humour and sadness. Crushed sandcastles, engineered with millimetric precision, on occasion fell victim to the odd clodhopping child who thought it amusing to destroy my civil engineering project fashioned from sand.
I still recall sandwiches gutsily consumed on the beach with sand clad hands, only to suffer subsequent abrasive mastication.
In adulthood, I enjoy the feeling of walking on the beach. It was a pleasurable excursion to the seaside made all that more agreeable by having the U-Boat accompany me on the journey. I will lament the day it has to sadly return to its owners.
Model: U-Boat Classico 45mm in silver
Case: Sterling silver; diameter 45.00mm; height 16.38mm; Water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear.