Hands-On with the River Watch Co. Tiber


Nowadays, Kickstarter seems to be the go-to platform for startup watch brands. However, what was once a novelty has now become a point of saturation, and with a large majority of recent crowd-sourced projects it really does feel like a race to the bottom. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ll be happy to never again see a cheap battery-powered minimalist watch that will “redefine modern timepieces.”

With that said, when someone turns to crowd funding with a project that is clearly well thought out and, dare I say, unique, we at worn&wound almost feel a sense of duty to share it with our readers. So today, we’re taking a look at the Tiber from River Watch Company, a brand new diver coming to a Kickstarter near you. (their kickstarter is now live here)


River Watch Company was founded in 2014 by Scott Bakkar, a long-time WUS member based out of British Columbia. The brand’s inaugural offering, the Tiber, is a tribute to one of Bakkar’s favorite watches designs–the Super Compressor. If you don’t know what a Super Compressor is or why they’re so cool, check out our handy guide for an in-depth look. But to make a long story short, a Super Compressor is a type of watch case designed and patented in 1956 by renowned case manufacturer EPSA. “Super Compressor” specifically refers to the case’s method of sealing, where a spring-loaded case back would seal tighter against the O-ring when exposed to increased pressure, greatly boosting water-resistance. Though many of these watches featured a dual crown design and an internal bezel (also known as a reflector), there were also a number of examples that deviated from this formula with single crowns and traditional external bezels. Today, vintage Super Compressors can fetch a pretty penny on the secondary market.

Though the Tiber is not a true Super Compressor, it is styled after some of those revered watches. But it’s no blatant copy, either. While the Tiber pays careful homage to a beloved vintage aesthetic, pulling heavily from designs found throughout the 50s and 60s, it does so with a totally modern sensibility. We got our hands on some prototypes to play with and, simply put, we were really impressed with what we saw. Let’s get to it.


River Watch Co. Tiber

Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: Miyota 9015
Dial: Sunburst Tuxedo Black/Sunburst Sports Silver
Lume: C3 Tuxedo Black/BGW9 Sports Silver
Lens: Flat Sapphire
Strap: Brown/Black “crazy horse” leather
Water Resistance: 200M
Dimensions: 42mm x 50mm
Thickness: 11mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Crown: 5.5mm
Warranty: 1 year international warranty


The stainless steel case comes in at a contemporary 42mm, with a lug-to-lug height of 50mm and a thickness of approximately 11mm. The surface features a mix of different finishes. The chamfered bezel is polished, contrasted by the vertical brushing on the lugs and the mid-case. As mentioned, the case pulls its influence from older Super Compressor divers and as such has two crowns–one at 2 o’clock for operating the bidirectional reflector, and a screw-down crown at 4 o’clock for setting the time. The case back features an etched logo and lays out the watch specs, which includes a water resistance rating of 200m and the movement, the venerable Miyota 9015.


The Tiber might be on the bigger end of the spectrum when compared to its historical counterparts, but it doesn’t feel oversized. The watch has a presence, for sure, but it’s no wrist clock either and it wears quite comfortably. That comes partly from the lug design, which has the lugs swooping down to hug the wrist and results in the aforementioned restrained lug length. And partly, it is a result of the way the dial and bezel are designed and integrated, which I’ll address below.


The Tiber comes in two colors: tuxedo black and sports silver. The former is the more classic of the two styles, featuring a vibrant sunburst dial that under certain lights looks more like deep charcoal rather than black. The sports silver, as the name suggests, features a silver sunburst dial. The reflector on both models is matte black. This contributes to the silver variant wearing smaller than its given dimensions, with the contrast giving the dial a more subdued presence.


Rectangular polished applied indices mark the hours on both variants, and the indices are doubled up at 3, 6, 9, and 12. The reflector features two triangles at the 60-minute mark, with dots marking every five-minute interval except for 15, 30, and 45, which are represented via Arabic numerals. The logo is prominently featured under 12-o’clock, and the model name and water resistance, the latter in red, are positioned above 6-o’clock. The hands are a sort of blocky variation of the classic syringe style. It should be noted that the hands on the prototypes are shorter and skinnier than what will be on the final production models.

The tuxedo black dial features markings in a warm faux-patina color, while the sports silver model utilizes teal. Both watches feature lumed markers, with C3 on the black dial and BGW9 on the silver dial. But if you look at the lume shots, you’ll surely notice something curious–the indices on the tuxedo black model are without any functioning lume, and the silver variant has mismatched lume on the hands. We spoke to Mr. Bakkar and he is fully aware of both issues on the prototypes. The final production watches should have the correct lume applied liberally in all intended areas.


Straps and Wearability

The Tiber comes on a hearty leather strap, featuring matte “crazy horse” leather in either brown or black. It’s a textured skin, with a feel most similar to that of nubuck. Being a diver, the Tiber would obviously look great on a number of a different strap options, everything from a mil-spec one-piece to a rubber strap like Isofrane. The black dial, the more subdued of the two, would look quite nice on a dressier leather strap, and can be paired with a suit as easily as it can with a pair of boardshorts.



You’re surely wondering about cost. The introductory Kickstarter price for the River Watch Co Tiber will be an agreeable $375 – $425 CAD (approximately $310 – $350 USD), with the lower end of the range intended for early bird backers. Once the campaign is over, the MSRP will be  and even $500 CAD, approximately $417 USD. The Kickstarter will launch this Monday, May 18th, at 0800 PST, so keep your eyes peeled if you want the better price. There will also be a number of stretch goals, but those are being kept secret until the actual campaign; I’m thinking we’ll see some extra strap options. Overall, the Tiber is an attractive package at a great price, so if the design speaks to you, you can help make this project a reality.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.