One of the biggest reasons watch brands use bronze cases is that they gain unique patinas. Those odd, green/brown splotches that slowly cover a case, creating distinct shapes and textures, making each bronze watch completely different. It’s a very sexy attribute, building a sense of history into every watch, even if relatively new. The only issue is that bronze tends to come at a bit of a premium. Not crazy expensive (brand depending), but more than an equivalent steel model.
Ventus, who previously brought us the Black Kite, an affordable carbon fiber flieger, set out to similarly create a very high value dive watch that patinas. To keep prices down, rather than bronze, they went with the similar yellow metal, brass. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a brass watch, but they are far less common. Brass isn’t quite as desirable as bronze, but at a much lower price it certainly gets the job done. The result is the Mori, a vintage inspired dive watch with a sapphire crystal, 300m WR, Seiko NH35 automatic movement and a paltry starting price of $199 through Kickstarter. Don’t let that price go to your head, that doesn’t mean all NH35 based watches should be $200, but Ventus managed to pull it off, likely through tight margins and a keen sense of how to run to a kickstarter campaign. The latter evidenced by their breaking $100k in the first day it was up.
Of course, a big part of that is that the Mori is a great looking watch. Vintage inspired, but thoroughly modern and sleek, the Mori is a very well balanced and styled watch. Starting with the brass case, which measures 41 x 48 x 14mm, its a nice medium size with slender lugs and classic lines. It’s a touch thick, but doesn’t feel it thanks to good proportions and some of the height coming from the domed sapphire crystal. The star of the show is the bezel, which comes in black or solid brass. The latter is very cool, giving the watch a solid, all metal look. The brass insert will also patina along with the case, further emphasizing that unique property. The bezel is then features a minimal series of marks in vintage style, with numerals at 15, 30 and 45, a triangle at 12 and rectangles for the rest. They are lume filled as well.