The best way to discover a new brand is when you least expect it… So, we were in Basel and had plans to grab a beer with Stefan from Stuckx (nice guy, cool brand and gnarly watches, more on them to come), and he asked if it was cool for his friend Hans from Florijn Horloges to join us. We said of course, and Hans brought along a few of his watches to show. Well, we all really liked them… They were tough-as-nails modern divers with cool bulky cases, bold bezels, aggressive dials, Seiko NH35A movements, sapphire crystals, 300M water resistance and… really affordable prices. Coming in at under $400 these are genuinely a great deal, something that is getting ever rarer, especially for watches with unique designs. For review, we went with the Florijn 2, which features a steel case and a DLC bezel for about $366 (326.45 euros). There are also the model 1 and 3, which are all steel and all DLC, respectively. Each model is limited to only 100 pieces. So, let’s get right to it.
Florijn 2 Review
The Florijn 2 is a bulldog of a watch, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a large watch with broad shoulders and aggressive lines, making it strong and stout. Coming in at 45 x 53 x 14.1mm it’s not playing around, yet the proportions are such that it doesn’t wear quite as large as it is. This is because of just how thick everything is. Looking at it from the top, you can’t miss the almost absurdly wide lugs. In fact, they might be absurdly wide, but I find them appealing as they are also unique, and work with the overall aesthetic. Plus, they give you a sense that you could bang this watch into something and it’d be no worse for the wear.
From the side, you can see that the design does take ergonomics into consideration as the lugs curve down to accommodate the wrist. The 14.1mm thickness also doesn’t look as thick as it sounds spread out across the 45mm diameter. The case has completely slab sides, so it looks harsh, but it luckily doesn’t feel it. The finishing is very plain all around, with almost a raw or lightly brushed look. On a tool diver, this makes sense, plus for the price of the watch, it’s not surprising that there is nothing fancy. That said, it looks fine.
Further adding mass are two large crown guards surrounding the 6 x 4mm screw down crown. Like the lugs, these aren’t going anywhere in a collision. To temper them a bit, plus make the act of turning the crown more easy, the guards are beveled on their top and bottom edges, which is also a nice visual detail. The crown itself is simple in design with coin edging, and a flat end with an etched Florijn logo. It’s easy to grasp and get’s the job done.
The bezel is solid DLC steel with notches every 45 degrees for grip. A bit of a change from the usual coin edging, the notches are still effective for adding grip, and give the watch an even more solid look. The bezel too is wide, though not to an exaggerated degree like the lugs. Nevertheless it is a bold element that in DLC becomes a focal point of the design. The bezel features a 120-click uni-directional mechanism with pretty good action. It’s snappy, with only a touch of backplay. Flipping the watch over you have a fairly standard screw down case back with indentations for a case tool and some etched in info about the watch.
The design and execution of the dial really surprised me as it has a higher end look than I’d expect at the price. To start, it’s not just flat black with printed lume markers. Rather there is a nice bit of dimensionality to it from the use of applied lume brick and a tall chapter ring. The primary index is a series of white blocks at every hour, doubling and tapering at 12, 3 and 9 (6 too, but it’s cut off by the date).They are tall and chunky with a design that is more tactical diver than classic diver, for a modern look. I really like the design as it immediately is a bit different from the norm. That said, I have a small, picky issue. The doubled markers could be cleaner. The space between them is inconsistent and their inner edges are a bit uneven. I think this was a case of good intentions being limited by manufacturing and cost. The look is good, but it might have needed higher tolerances than their factory was capable of. A simple alternative would have been to make it solid and print a black line down the center.
On the matte black surface itself are also small white hash marks on the inner edge of 12, 3, 6 and 9, giving a sort of cross-hair feel, as well as a dark red Florijn logo at 12. At 6 is a date with white text on a black surface, meshing with the coloration of the dial. This brings me to what is perhaps going to be the most divisive detail of the watch; the cyclops. On the sapphire crystal is a large round cyclops, magnifying the date below. Some people straight up hate cyclops, other’s love them…I’m more in between, finding sometimes they work, other times they don’t. Here it’s on the edge, but I think I like it. It’s unexpected and technical looking. My one issue is that the alignment seems weird. It’s not totally off, but I find that the best view of the date is with the watch tilted back a bit.
The Florijn has a really well design chapter ring, which is an oft overlooked piece of the dial. It’s tall, and angles up steeply to the bezel, where a minutes/seconds index is printed in white. This thin index features small marks and numerals adding legibility to the design. What’s so cool about it is its height, coming up over even the hands, adding tremendous depth to the dial. The other great detail is where the ring meets the dial. Rather than staying outside of the markers, there are grooves for the markers, where they sit in the ring, much like on the Tudor Pelagos. Though serving no real purpose, it’s a technical detail that adds to the look of the watch.
The bezel has a dense index of lines and numbers. It’s perhaps going to be too busy for some eyes, but I like it. It balances the relatively minimal dial, and has a sort of all-purpose, German look to it. There are two indexes on the bezel, essentially; a sub-index and main index. The main index is a 12-hour or Zulu time index, adding a second time-zone to the watch. I personally prefer this type of bezel as they can come in handy when traveling. Under each numeral is a smaller minute numeral for a more classic dive bezel arrangement, which is what I’d call the sub-index. Between every numeral a thick white lines, which create a lot of density. It’s busy for sure, but there is something matter-of-fact about it I find appealing. It definitely has a military feel, like it was designed for information, not style, yet ended up with both.
The Florijn features smaller than expected fence post type hands for a decidedly mil look. Both hour and minute hands are white with lume filling. While small, they work, emphasizing the tactical feel of the watch. The second hand is a simple white stick. The lume overall is pretty decent, though could be better. The markers appear to actually be molded lume (something I’ve heard of more than seen), as they glow from the sides as well. When charged, they are bright for a few moments, but quickly come down to a soft glow. The hands glow a bit brighter and for longer. I’d love to see the next iteration of this watch use flat tritium tubes, as they’d work well with the design.
Movement: Seiko NH35A
For the guts, Florijn went with a Seiko workhorse, the NH35A. This automatic movement features 24 jewels, date, manual winding, hacking, 40hr power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 bph. It’s a solid, reliable movement, and nice to find in a sub $400 watch. As we’re seeing more and more Miyota 9015’s come in to replace ETA’s in the under $1,000 price range, these Seikos are actually becoming a bit rarer. The 9015 is a bit sexier, to be honest, with it’s 28,800 bph frequency and thin design, but the NH35A gets the job done.
Straps and Wearability
The Florijn arrived mounted to a suitably gnarly 24mm rubber strap. It has a curious design that tapers down a few millimeters, has black edge stitching giving it a pseudo-leather look and big, deep ridges along its top surface. The ridges are what really stand out to me in terms of design, building off of the aggressive demeanor of the watch. Additionally, the watch comes with a thick 24mm black leather strap with a pre-v buckle. This straight cut strap has double rows of black stitching and heavily textured leather. As an additional strap, it’s nice that it was included and looks fine with the watch, though the quality isn’t that amazing. It will get the job done, don’t get me wrong, but it’s clearly one of those leather straps that’s 75% foam filler.
I was and still am surprised by how well this watch wears. It looks massive, it is massive, but it fits my 7″ wrist nicely, albeit just. I’m not a big watch guy, so I’m always going to shy away from 45mm watches for my own collection, but seeing this on my wrist didn’t bother me. The thickness of everything makes the watch dense, so it looks smaller. And, as with most divers, the dial area isn’t very large, which also reigns in the diameter. The biggest issue is typically with length and height, but the 53mm lug-to-lug works with the angling of the lugs, and the 14.1mm height actually seems relatively thin, all things considered. As such, it isn’t top heavy or a burden on the wrist.
Aesthetically, this watch is bad-ass. Though big, it doesn’t look like it’s big to be big (not my greatest sentence, but you know what I mean), rather it looks purposeful, tactical and tough. This is a watch I’d feel totally comfortable wearing when being active, going swimming etc… In fact a few dings and scars would only add character. On a personal level, as someone who gravitates towards brands like Sinn, I find the aesthetic speaks to me; minimal but masculine. As far as regular wearing, it might be a bit intense for the office, depending on where you work, but you certainly could pull it off with general casual clothing. The coloration of the watch is fairly neutral, but the design will make it seem more at home with hardwearing items.
There’s a lot to like about the Florijn 2 by Florijn Horloges. It’s unique, it’s tough, it’s got cool dial details and a great aesthetic, plus a good movement, 300M WR and a sapphire crystal. If you can pull off the size, which some may not be able to, and you like the look, I think you’ll certainly enjoy it. For the price of $366ish, it’s really an exceptional value, which is something we’re seeing less and less of these days. Frankly, it could cost more, perhaps up to $600, and I’d still be very happy with what I saw. There are a few details that could have been better, though that is true for everything, but price considered, I’m impressed. For a first offering from a brand, it speaks volumes and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come out with next.