When we last checked in on Bangalore Watch Company a year ago, they were introducing the MACH 1, a pilot’s watch paying tribute to the accomplishments of the Indian Air Force. It was a fun and offbeat piece, and authentically communicated something about Indian culture and history that few other brands could do authentically. A niche item for sure, but for those of us who are drawn to watches for their ability to tell a story and teach us something, it certainly holds some interest. Now Bangalore is back with another watch that draws on India’s rich culture, celebrating the sport of cricket. Cricket is an obsession in India (and many other countries) but it’s not a sport that has caught on in a significant way in the United States, so the new Cover Drive collection is likely to be both a curiosity and opportunity to learn for American watch enthusiasts. Let’s take a look.
The Cover Drive watches have several design details that are borrowed in creative ways from cricket culture. The most obvious (and functional) design decision at a glance is certainly the bezel, which rotates in one direction, just like a dive watch, but is marked in a way that will be unfamiliar to anyone not familiar with cricket’s scorekeeping system (including the author of this post). Bangalore Watch Company tells us that the bezel tracks elapsed overs in a 50 overs or T20 cricket match. If you’re reading that and it makes very little sense, well, you’re not alone, but I’m guessing it’s quite clear to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the game. More recognizable are the hour markers are 12:00 shaped like wickets, and the Arabic “4” and “6” that have been cut out of the dial to denote boundary shots. Cover Drive itself is a cricket term referring to a particular style of shot, and the names of the three models (the Pitch, Outfield, and Pavillion) also borrow from cricket terminology.
Just as you don’t need a deep understanding of a “no decompression” bezel to enjoy a Doxa, these watches can certainly be appreciated outside the context of cricket. Dial options include matte renditions of a light green, brown, and black (the Outfield, Pitch, and Pavillion, respectively) and have an overall attracting and sporty appearance. This is a sandwich dial, with soft green lume peeking out from behind, so should have a nice depth and give these watches some visual complexity. The case measures 40mm across, but Bangalore claims they wear small for their size, more like a 38mm watch. If that’s true, these should be quite comfortable on a variety of wrist sizes, but it does leave us wondering why not just go the next step and make a true 38mm case. The case is water resistant to 100 meters, making this a worthy go anywhere, do anything timepiece. The Cover Drive runs on a Sellita SW200 automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve.
Pre-orders for the Cover Drive are open now, and during this phase the watch is available for $680. Once the pre-order is up, the price rises to $770. There’s a lot of competition for sports watches coming in at under $1,000, but the Cover Drive stacks up well against most of them with appealing proportions (it’s 48mm lug to lug, and 12.5mm tall), attractive dial colors, and the requisite sapphire crystal and Swiss movement. Where the Cover Drive separates itself, obviously, is it’s quirkiness as a cricket watch, and as a timepiece that is so connected to India culturally. While the highly specific theme of the watch might be a turn off to some, I can also see it being that much more appealing to many because of the cricket connection, and as long as Bangalore is able to find those consumers, I’m betting that we’ll continue to see interesting watches drawing on India’s traditions from this brand in the future. Bangalore Watch Company