BND Watches was founded by Vincent Bonnaud in 2021 and was the culmination of one man’s passion for the golden age of acting, motor racing, exploring and, of course, watches. After studying law, Bonnaud’s love for mid-century dive watches in particular, drove him to create his watch brand to celebrate the era where both diving and racing were dangerous, and such parts were played on the silver screen by icons like Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Sean Connery.
Having acquired a collection of watches with which he was very happy, Vincent Bonnaud took the extraordinary decision to sell the whole lot, including his prized 50th Anniversary ‘Kermit’ Rolex Submariner Date, to fund BND Watches and he hasn’t looked back. BND Watches’s initial collection comprised three watches, each available in a numbered and limited edition of 150 pieces. The new collection for 2022 revisits last year’s collection with a number of key improvements that have been informed by Bonnaud’s own experience of wearing the watches and also feedback from his customers.
Being a Frenchman, the influence from the watches issued to the national navy of his homeland is evident. Those that didn’t notice get a reminder in the model names, which all start with the letters MN. The cases are classic dive watch with drilled lugs and a unidirectional bezel. The bezel inset is in brushed steel to match the case, and in a nod to 1959 Submariners from both Rolex and Tudor, the crown guards are pronounced and square in form.
As per the 2021 models, there are three variations including the MNBLA watch with black dial, the MNBLU with blue dial and the MNBRO that houses a really nice tropical brown dial. The watches come on single-pass NATO-esque straps that match the dial color with a sand-hued stripe that picks out the lume color nicely. Each watch will be produced in 150 pieces per color, but they will not be numbered like the 2021 model.
On the subject of the lume, all of the watches have what Bonnaud refers to as “old radium” Super-LumiNova in the hands and on the hour markers. New for 2022 is a luminous arrow tip on the seconds hand. The unidirectional bezel insert has the same ‘sand color’ lume on the markers. It’s all in harmony and singing a very nice tune!
The big updates for 2022 are the fact that watches have screw-down crowns, which one imagines has played a large role in the fact that the 2022 iterations are waterproof to 200 meters, which doubles the 2021 models’ depth rating of 100m. The watches are also now fitted with double-domed sapphire crystals that have anti-reflective coating and, importantly, anti-fingerprint coating. The bane of watch collectors’ lives is the constant need to wipe the sapphire glass to remove finger smudges, and I have to say that Bonnaud’s treatment works pretty well on the prototype that he sent for me to test drive.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense dive watch that can handle the rigors of both daily and diving life at a price that enables you to wear the watch without too much worry, then I think you will go a long way to beat the BND watches. And if I had to pick my favorite from the 2022 collection, I reckon it’s got to be the blue!
Case: 39.5mm; 316L stainless steel; water resistant to 200m
Movement: Self-winding Seiko caliber NH35A; 41 hours of power reserve
Strap: Matching NATO-style strap
Availability: €455 in 150 pieces per colorway