The inspiration for BND Watches’ debut collection is a horological story that began in the 1950s and continued through to the 1980s. The golden era of plexiglass-topped steel dive watches with drilled lugs and the military association and resulting fabric nato-style straps are all present in a collection of watches that pack a punch at a wallet friendly price point. Sometimes, all we want is a cool looking, fun watch and these divers could be the perfect fit for those moments.
BND Watches was founded by Vincent Bonnaud, the BND being a reduction of his name. Self-styled as a neo-vintage watch brand, Vincent Bonnaud watch story began as a collector. His first serious watch was a modern classic, the Rolex Submariner 16610 LV. The green bezel watch is now highly collectible and was launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Submariner in 2003.
As he became more immersed in the world of watches he became friends with many dealers and collectors and regularly organised meals for collectors and dealers to meet up, enjoy great food and wine and network. However, following his studies in law and brand strategy, he set himself a challenge; sell his entire collection of watches to create a business to make his living through watches. And so BND Watches was born.
BND Watches’ initial collection comprises three watches, each available in a numbered and limited edition of 150 pieces. The models all have French naval-inspired references that start with the letters MN and then the dial colour code. There is the MNBLA watch with black dial, the MNBLU with blue dial and the MNBRO watch…can you guess? Yes, it comes with a brown dial. All of the watches have what Bonnaud refers to as ‘sand colour’ painted indexes and hands which are “old radium” Super-LumiNova. The uni-directional bezel also has the same luminous in-fill, which is in the brushed steel bezel insert.
The steel case will be familiar to fans of dive watches with nice little touches such as drilled lugs, that allow for shoulderless spring bars which make the fabric strap a lot more secure. On the subject of straps, each watch is offered with 2 Nato straps, one in the color of the dial and the other in the color of the indexes, which is fun and allows for swapping depending on your mood and or outfit! The winding crown is embossed with the BND logo which sits between a pair of 1950s-esque square-style crown guards. The icing on the cake is a plexiglass crystal that gives the watch an authentic vintage vibe that appeals to this fan of old dive watches.
The watch is driven by a Seiko NH35A automatic movement and is water resistant to 100m. This is achieved without a screw down crown and therefore it relies on the gaskets inside the case to ensure a perfect seal.
I’ve had the chance to test drive the watch and I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed wearing it. The brown dial gives the watch that tropical look and I like the red tipped seconds hand. Honestly, at under €400 I believe it’s a lot of watch for not a lot of money in the wider context of things and it would be the perfect travel watch for those that love vintage and need a do-all watch for daily use. And so it seems that Vincent Bonnaud has amply met his challenge and I look forward to seeing what BND Watches does next.
Movement: Seiko NH35A automatic movement
Case and Dial: 39,5mm 316L stainless steel case. Black, blue or brown dial with “Old Radium” Super-LumiNova painted hour markers and sword hands.
Strap: Comes with two fabric nato-style straps. One to match lume and one to match the dial.
Availability: €396 from www.bnd-watches.com