Introducing the Long-Awaited Aevig Balaur–Now Available for Pre-Order

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Based out of the Netherlands, Aevig is a relatively young brand (2013) with an already impressive portfolio (read our takes on the Corvid, Huldra, and Valkyr). Founder Chip Yuen certainly has an eye for good design, and his creations are a pleasant mix of familiar vintage cues and modern sensibilities. Continuing this trajectory, Aevig’s latest is a contemporary take on a retro classic—an EPSA-styled dual crown diver with internal rotating bezel dubbed the Balaur.

The Balaur concept began back in 2012 as a Watchuseek forum project, a year before Aevig was officially formed. Prototypes came and went, but none met Mr. Yuen’s standards, and the watch was temporarily shelved. Unfortunately, the project hit another snag when the initial manufacturer stole the Balaur concept and launched an inferior version based on an earlier sample rejected by Mr. Yuen. Not wanting to let the idea die, the Balaur was redesigned and brought to a manufacturer who could do the watch justice. After four years of anticipation, the Balaur is now available for pre-order.

AevigBalaur_Concepts
L to R: 2011 1st concept;  2014 concept;  2016 final concept
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The Balaur comes in at 42mm wide with a height of 13.5mm. The lug-to-lug length is a reasonable 49mm, making the Balaur ideally sized for a number of wrists. The 316L stainless steel case features a mix of finishing, with polished bevels along the lugs accenting a brushed mid-case. The lugs are drilled—a welcome detail on any sports watch—and the watch will come equipped with a beefy matching stainless steel bracelet (22mm). An interesting detail on the bracelet is that the middle links are raised above the outer links and featured polished beveled edges meant to mimic dragon scales (“Balaur” is a dragon in Eastern European folklore).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASitting atop the case is a double domed sapphire crystal, which means that both sides of the crystal are convex. It’s a costlier component to manufacture, but it’s one that is critical to clarity, especially when one observes the dial at more extreme angles. Further aiding that clarity is an internal anti-reflective coating.

The case is rated to 300 meters. The crown positioned by two o’clock operates the bi-directional internal bezel. It does not screw down, but three O-ring gaskets maintain the integrity of the case. By contrast, the screw-down crown at four o’clock controls the time function, and it’s signed.

Aevig_Balaur-lume

The prototype dial design features a stripped down version of the original concept to be something a bit more contemporary. Overall, the Balaur features a clean look, with blocky applied hour markers and simple lines for the remaining minutes. Legible half-skeletonized hands are an excellent complement to the dial, of which there are currently two variants—matte black with a black bezel and matte blue with a black bezel. The former will glow green with C3 Super-LumiNova; the latter blue with BG-W9.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the best functional aspects of the design is the two-tiered internal bezel. It’s a neat bit of utilitarian thinking that serves two purposes: the bezel can be used like a 60-minute countdown timer via the index along the slope, or it can be used to track a second time zone via the primary 12-hour scale.

Powering the Balaur is an ETA 2824-2. It’s a movement that needs no introduction, but it’s interesting to note that it has in recent years become a scarce commodity in micro-brew watches, so it’s a welcome sight here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Balaur is not available for purchase just yet; Aevig just recently released a working prototype. But if you like what you see, the watch is open for pre-order at a reduced price of €475,00, which translates to €392,56 (roughly $435 as of this writing) for buyers outside the EU—an absolute steal given the specs and original design. The Balaur is expected to retail for €695 upon its release, and the watches have an estimated December delivery date.

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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.
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