Introducing the Renaissance Collection from Bangalore Watch Company

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Fine watchmaking is a more global phenomenon now than it’s ever been. Small-brand watchmakers from Brooklyn to Beijing are challenging the Swiss status quo, with a variety of appropriately global results. Until now, however, one major region had avoided the haute horlogerie trend: India. While India once had a large scale watch industry in its own right, for the most part the subcontinent’s offerings fell on the sub-$100 side of the market. Bargain brands like HMT and Hegde (both now sadly gone) were how many young enthusiasts cut their teeth, and it was with nostalgia for these homegrown pieces that founders Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj set out to create the Bangalore Watch Company. Their first piece, the Renaissance, takes a nostalgic approach as a mid-century dress watch, but it’s a far cry from a $50 HMT Pilot. It’s a finely crafted piece that looks to cater to a new generation of young, successful Indian buyers.

The case design for the Bangalore Renaissance is remarkably restrained, with radial brushing for both the bezel and the tops of the lugs, contrasted with more aggressive vertical brushing on the simple case sides. There’s also an eye-catching polished bevel around the edge of the bezel and lugs. Other points of interest include the signed crown, with Bangalore’s shield emblem raised dramatically. Finally, around back, the customized Miyota 9015 is on full display through a sapphire window. While the 9015 isn’t a beauty queen among movements, it does have a nicely customized rotor and the inclusion of a window is still a sizable benefit in this price bracket.

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The dial is where the feel of quality workmanship really shines through on the Renaissance. All three colors receive a sharply grained radial brushing as a start. It’s a different effect from a traditional sunburst, and it gives the dial far more detail and visual dynamism. Around the edge of this dynamic surface is a fully applied minutes index. Yes, that’s 60 individual applied hemispherical indices instead of a printed track, with a bit of variety at five minute intervals with larger, deeper-set markers. It’s a unique bit of flash, one that obviously was far from easy to achieve. Just inside this ring are the hour indices—a set of polished and applied arrowheads beveled to catch light. It’s a stunning set of markers altogether, one that hits on both mid-century dress watch designs from a variety of Swiss brands as well as just a hint of South Asian influence.

Not much else is left to disturb this dial surface, just an applied Bangalore Watch emblem at 12 and “Automatic” script at 6. The only real unwanted blemish here is the 3 o’clock date window. Not only would the simplicity of the dial benefit from the added symmetry, there’s the color to consider. A color matched date wheel would go far to hide the hole, as opposed to the stark white on display here.

At the heart of the Bangalore Renaissance is the tried-and-true Miyota 9015. While it may be the most ubiquitous automatic movement in the micro-brand world at the moment, you can’t exactly say that it’s overused. There’s no better combination of build quality, features, and price on the current movement market, so it’s only natural that it’s the most common choice. The example here is lightly decorated as well, with an attractive custom rotor. Other than that, it’s the usual laundry list of features: 42 hours of power reserve, 28,800 bph sweep, hacking, handwinding, and -10/+30 seconds a day accuracy.

Indian calfskin leather is the strap of choice for the Bangalore Renaissance. Bangalore offers the watch on either black or deep brown alligator patterned leather with nubuck lining. The strap also features quick-release pin spring bars for easy changing. With a simple vintage-inspired design like the Renaissance, the sky’s the limit for strap pairings. Suede, leather, Milanese mesh, even perlon straps would all work well here if faux alligator isn’t your style. Furthermore, at 40 millimeters it’s a moderate size for a wide variety of wrists.

While the Bangalore Renaissance is certainly a strong, attractive offering for the new brand, the question remains how deeply the “by India, for India” ethos runs here. One of the major struggles the brand ran into on this inaugural project was finding parts suppliers in India that could match their standard of quality. Manufacturing at these sorts of tolerances is still an emerging industry in India, and so the Bangalore Watch Company decided to shift most of its manufacturing for this first run to Hong Kong. However, limited assembly and all final quality assurance takes place in Bangalore itself. The brand is committed to moving more of its manufacturing to the country as time goes on as well. Overall, the Bangalore Watch Company Renaissance is an impressive thesis statement for a brand committed to its nation’s watchmaking roots as much as its future. At ~$590 (now available for pre-order), it’s in a very competitive bracket, but there’s more than enough on offer here for both the Indian enthusiast and the rest of the world. Bangalore Watch Company

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
seanpaullorentzen
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