If you were to bump into me on any given day, the odds are good that I’d be wearing a simple, time-only, function driven “tool” watch. Something like a Sub, Fairwind, or Group B (all dateless) most likely. These are watches right in my wheelhouse from both an aesthetic and practicality point of view. Not very exciting, I know, but these are the types of watches I gravitate towards, and it’s why a new watch from a brand called Coast initially caught my eye. The watch is called the Pacific Explorer, we first covered it last year, and the Kickstarter to fund it is live as of today.
Hands-On With The Coast Pacific Explorer
Coast is a Copenhagen based brand that finds inspiration from the land and sea that surrounds this section of Denmark. The capital city sits between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, providing ample inspiration for the brand’s first series of watches, the Pacific Explorer. The actual pacific coast being a world away from Coast’s neck of the woods, we can default to the “peaceful in character or intent” definition of the word, which suits the watch quite well.
The Pacific Explorer is an approachable watch, meaning its sized well and clear of any needless complexity at a glance. A few details will jump out with a closer look, but in total this watch feels like a pair of well worn jeans. It’s easy to strap on and go about your business. At 39mm in diameter and 47mm from lug to lug, you’ll barely notice it throughout the day, too.
The case has an interesting profile in that it tucks into a pronounced lip on the underside, leaving a mere 4mm of case wall to contend with any unruly cuffs. That brushed case wall meets sleek polished lugs with one of the more peculiar features of the Pacific Explorer, and that is a single millimeter wide brushing that hugs the inside of each lug. It gives the appearance of a chamfer, though there’s not much of a break in the surface to qualify. Visually, it slims the lugs down a bit, and creates a natural hand off to the fully brushed bracelet that is offered with the watch. When paired with a strap outside of the context of the bracelet, this section of lug is, well, peculiar.
The dial feels at once familiar and new. Large Arabic numerals appear at the cardinal hours, with large batons filling in the rest. The size of those bars, along with the triangle at 12 o’clock, feels a bit large compared to the numbers, but not by much. What I do like here is the construction of the dial. It’s a sandwich style with a lumed layer sitting below the open numerals, giving the dial some dimension that compliments the finish texture of the top layer, which gets an aggressive diagonal brush to provide a weathered look. The net effect of this execution is a visually rich dial that’s both intricate and highly legible.
The bezel of our review unit is finished in bronze, and gets all 12 hours marked off with their numerals. This is paired with a slate brown dial that fades from light at the center to dark at the perimeter. This is one of 9 different possible configurations you can spec the watch in. Other dial options include grey and blue, while the bezel can be had in sterile fixed or steel.
These configurations are offered on a fully brushed 5-link bracelet that tapers from 20mm at the lug to 16mm at the clasp. A textured leather strap is also available, each with quick release springbars installed. The leather feels a bit aggressive with the design, for my wardrobe at least, so I ended up wearing the watch largely on a weather brown leather unit I had laying around, which I feel suits the watch quite well. The bracelet lacks refinement in use, but is par for the course in this price range.
Coast is using a Selitta SW200 for the Pacific Explorer, which keeps the case trim at 12mm in thickness. This is a very easy watch to wear all day, and paired with the legible dial this is a great grab and go option that will work pretty well in formal or informal situations, though it’s clearly geared toward the latter.
Overall this is a surprisingly approachable watch that brings a hint of ruggedness to an otherwise svelte package. There are unexpected details that set it apart from other watches in this price range, which is under $600 btw, and most importantly, it gets the practical components right. The Coast Pacific Explorer is available to support on Kickstarter as of today for packages starting from $563 that include a case and multiple straps. Coast Watches.