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Review: Time Locker Watches

Watch and watch accessory reviews written and posted by MoT staff members.
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Review: Time Locker Watches


Post by watchpalooza » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:37 pm


When I first saw Time Locker watches on Instagram, I was immediately attracted by their "modern vintage" style. I am an avid collector of vintage watches, and am often faced with the challenge of finding pieces that evoke nostalgia but have survived the times and are wearable. With vintage dive watches you cannot count on the water resistance. As much as you want to relive the watches original glory, in most cases it is usable only as a desk diver. This is the attraction of vintage-inspired modern divers...they bring you back and they can be used and abused like the originals they represent once did. They are more than just eye candy. This is where Time Locker watches shine.

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A0B8CC2F-53CE-4575-876F-7573ACA51279 2.jpg (149.61 KiB) Viewed 4126 times

Introducing Time Locker

Time Locker is a new French-based microbrand led by one of our members [mention]Brice[/mention]. Thirty-one year old Brice draws his inspiration from a 1950’s dive watch given to him by his father. As Brice puts it, Time locker offers "Modern dive watches with a vintage flair“. Like many microbrands, Time Locker is launching exclusively on Kickstarter. The initial launch introduces three different styles of dial ("Kouriles", "Tonga" and "Kermadec") and two colorways (black or white):

The Kouriles
The Tonga
The Kermadec
For all three models, the vital statistics are the same:
  • 42.00 mm case (excluding crown), 14.00 mm thick
  • Double domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Automatic movement Seiko NH35A with hacking function.
  • Swiss Super-LumiNova C3 indices and hands
  • 120 click unidirectional fully lumed ceramic bezel
  • 20 ATM water resistance
  • Two straps: Italian vegetable tanned leather and NATO (silicone available as an optional add-on)

The Review
I contacted Brice to ask for a sample to review, and was pleasantly surprised to receive my favorite of the three styles: the Kouriles. I really have an affinity for watches with inner chapter rings, and this one is nicely executed with minute markings and applied lumed indices. What I noticed first when I opened the package was the striking balance of color. The yellow striped nato, the word "Automatic" and the second hand all carry the same bright yellow. I also noticed the solid build quality of the watch...definitely a tool watch. Some particulars:

The Case
The 316L stainless steel case is heavy and has a solid feel to it (watch total weight of 97g). The top and sides are uniformly brushed and all bevels are polished. The lugs are not drilled, but they are exquisitely curved, tapered and beveled, yielding a sleek profile that makes the watch friendlier for smaller wrists. The integrated crown guard is effective, yet it too is thoughtfully tapered and a bit recessed to allow easy manipulation of the crown (about 50% of the crown protruding).

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The case back is embossed with the Time Locker Logo.

The Crown
The oversized crown is signed with the Time Locker logo and is deeply grooved. It is very easy to manipulate and operation is buttery smooth.

The Bezel
The wide ceramic bezel with full lume is well-executed. The action is smooth, the indicators show perfect alignment, and it has zero play. If anything, one might find it to be a bit too tight out of the box. It has a very fine tooth coin edge, which although not the easiest to grip and turn, lends a very fine feel. Visually the bezel is uncluttered and has a stainless ring inside and on the perimeter, adding to the tool watch feel. It turns with a very solid, muffled clicking...feeling more like a scientific instrument than a watch. The high quality here is evident.

The Crystal
The double-domed sapphire crystal is slightly concave, and provides high clarity and minimal reflection. It is as good as any you will find.

The Dial
The dial is another showcase of quality. The raised indices in both the inner and outer chapter rings are framed in stainless with Superluminova centers (hand-applied, filled with 3 layers of lume). The hour and minute hands match as well. The seconds hand is color-matched to the word "Automatic" on the dial and the nato strap, and is tipped in red and lumed. Some will not care for the round date window at 4:30, but I rather like it and find it unobtrusive. The logo is in a throw-back font to reflect the vintage vibe. It may be a bit prominent for some, but I did not find it to be an issue. One of my favorite things about the dial is the font used for the numeric indices, with "open" 6 and just gives a fun feel to the watch, especially at night.

The Movement
All three models employ the reliable 21,600 A/h Seiko NH35A automatic movement with diashock protection. The movement is highly accurate and (at least in the reviewed sample) had no detectable rotor noise.

The Lume
The Superluminova is bright and has comparable performance to other watches I own with C3 lume. The watch is very easy to read in the dark, and the lumed second hand is a nice touch.

The Strap
The Kickstarter kit ships with both a nato strap and a leather one. My sample included only the nato strap. Like every other part of this watch, the high quality of the strap was evident. The material was heavy-gauge nylon, patterns / printing was aligned, and the buckle and hardware top quality. The buckle is brushed to match the case, and is engraved with the Time Locker name...another nice extra touch.

The Accessories
In addition to watch and two straps, the Kickstarter kit includes a travel case, a strap changing tool, a warranty card and user manual, and a thank you note from Brice.
Time Locker case for Kickstarter backers.png
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The Kickstarter Early Bird price (limited offer for first 200 backers) is €250* (about US$275), plus local VAT for EU based backers.

Bottom Line
Time Locker offers a very solidly built watch with obvious attention to detail and high quality execution. The pricing is quite reasonable for such a high-quality timepiece, particularly with premium raised indices and a fully-lumed ceramic bezel.

If you wish to support [mention]Brice[/mention] and back the Time Locker launch, go to the Kickstarter page to become an Early Bird backer.
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Re: Review: Time Locker Watches


Post by Brice » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:10 pm

[mention]watchpalooza[/mention], thank you so much for your review and for having given me the opportunity to introduce Time Locker to the MOT community.
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Re: Review: Time Locker Watches


Post by watchpalooza » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:27 am

Sad to see the campaign cancelled, but TL can only get better from here. The quality and attention to detail were off the charts...Brice will be back, and that is exciting.
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Re: Review: Time Locker Watches


Post by Conchita Turtle » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:39 am

Nice watch. Good luck to Brice!
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