Hands-On With The Delightfully Playful Paulin Neo

Founded in Glasgow, Scotland in 2013, Paulin Watches is a design-led watchmaker specializing in simple, quality timepieces that draw inspiration from modern design. The brand was founded by the three Paulin sisters, great-granddaughters of George Henry Paulin — a well-known sculptor who has sculpted several iconic war memorials throughout the UK. When looking at the offerings from Paulin Watches, it’s clear that the eye for design and artistic talent stayed in the family. The brand tries to use UK-based parts and processes whenever possible, which can be seen on the Neo’s dial — a collaboration with UK-based brand, anOrdain. They also focus on sustainability and bringing art to their community through local talent showcases and workshops. Having never heard of the brand prior to checking out these watches, it’s great to see that they’re as invested in their watchmaking pursuits as they are their own artistic community.

The watch we’re looking at today is the “Neo”. It comes in three dial configurations — silver, yellow, and blue, each with their own accent colors. With a modern looking dial design, simple, yet interesting case, and reasonable price tag, there’s a lot about the Neo to break down. Let’s take a closer look at these fun design-led watches from the Glasgow-based brand.


Hands-On With The Delightfully Playful Paulin Neo

316L Stainless Steel
Seiko NH35A
Anodized aluminum by anOrdain
Box Hesalite
Water Resistance
5 atm
Lug Width
2 yrs


Measuring in at 38mm wide and 11.6mm thick, the 316L Stainless Steel case of the Paulin Neo is truly a great size. It’s large enough to show off the beautiful dial work, but small enough so it won’t look out of place on anyone’s wrist. Most of the surfaces feature a brushed finish, save for the stepped ring immediately surrounding the domed Hesalite crystal. Looking at the watch from above, you’ll notice the rim of the crystal, then the polished step, and finally the brushed surface of the case. The lugs take another step down too, giving the Neo a sense of depth. The lugs have a rounded, almost organic look to them. There’s no chamfering on the edges, keeping the design simple. The transitions between top and sides are a sharp angle. On the right side of the case, you’ll find a small push down crown that’s signed with a “P” for Paulin and rendered in the same typeface as their logo. 

In profile, the watch presents itself as thinner than the dimensions imply, which is largely thanks to the domed Hesalite crystal and an under hanging case back that nestles into your wrist during wear. From this view, you get the best look at the polished step and the simple brushed mid case. You’ll also pick up on the drilled holes in the lugs that make strap changes quick and easy. 

Flip the watch over, and you’ll find an engraved display casebook that shows off the movement inside. While the Seiko NH35 won’t win any prestigious finishing awards from a board of Swiss watch experts, those new to watches will find this view of the inner workings fascinating. Even though the movement is simple in design and finish, I still get a kick out of seeing a mechanical watch movement at work. Surrounding the display window, a few specs are engraved into the case back.

Overall, the case design is simple but well-executed. The brushed finish is just fine, with a few sketchy sections around the lugs that aren’t the most uniform. For a watch in this price range, the Neo certainly isn’t the worst out there, but the fishing could be a bit more precise.

Dial + Hands

If there’s one part about the Neo that lures you in, it will be the dial. Produced in collaboration with anOrdain, the dials are made entirely in the UK. It takes three separate stages to produce the dials. They’re milled down to size from solid aluminum, anodized and hand-dyed, and then printed by hand on a pad printing machine with a custom typeface designed by Paulin’s own in-house typographer. It’s an impressive feat and no small undertaking for a watch brand, especially one operating in the sub-$500. There are three available colors – the Neo A with a silver and black motif, the Neo B with a bright and sunny yellow base with blue accents, and the Neo C — a cheerful blue with pink accents, reminiscent of cotton candy. We were able to check out both models, the Neo B and Neo C. 

Somewhere between the color of the sun, a marigold, and that bowl of questionable Mac-n-cheese from your childhood lies the color of the Neo B. Just like cotton candy, the blue base dial on the Neo C is bright and cheerful, featuring pink and yellow accents. When looking closely at the dial, you’ll see a fine brushed pattern running horizontally across it. This fine brushing adds a sense of depth and intrigue to the dial, which had be looking down at the watch quite often.

Both models feature the same general dial design. For the numerals and indices, you’ll find a custom set of numerals (design in-house) and blue hash marks for the hours. There’s a small date window at three with white text on a black background. Branding is kept to a minimum, with “Paulin ” residing under the dot at 6, and “Glasgow” under the dot at 5. All of the printing is super crisp and very precise, thanks to the pad printing technique. 

The handset is highly stylized too. For the hour hand, a squared off block gets the job done, while a rounded off, hollow-tipped minutes hand helps out. The sweeping seconds hand is a thin, straight stick, with a circular base and no counterbalance. It’s an interesting look that’s both playful and legible. There’s no lume to be found, so you might be left out in the dark if you do indeed happen to be in the dark.


It’s hard to say much about the Seiko SII NH35A that hasn’t already been said. It’s an affordable, reliable movement from a brand that you can trust. The movement beats at 21,600bph, which sends the second hand around the dial with a relatively smooth sweep. Within the movement, there are 24 jewels keeping friction points running smoothly. When fully wound, you can expect the watch to run for 41 hours. With the ability to hand wind and hack the seconds, the movement can be started up from a stop and then precision timed (even though they’re rated to -20/+40 sec/day) with ease. As far as movement choices go in the world of sub-$500 watches, there aren’t too many choices out there that will give any movement a serious edge over the other. The SII NH35A makes sense here, and it’s cool that Paulin went with a true mechanical movement over something quartz.

Strap + Wearability

When picking out your Neo, there are over a dozen options to choose from. The blue Neo B shipped on a navy bridle leather strap, while the yellow Neo C came on a nice mid-tone gray suede strap. Both options I spent some time with feature the same stylized buckle which has the Paulin “P” worked right into the shape of the metal itself. Quality and construction of the straps is quite nice, and neither made me want to run out for a third-party replacement. 

On the wrist, the Paulin Neo’s 38mm case wears really well for a casual, fun, and funky watch. The dimensions aren’t offensive in any manner. The Neo sits relatively flat on my wrist, making it effortless and easy-wearing for an entire day. It’s pretty lightweight too, further adding to its wearability. The 5ATM water resistance level is a bit lacking. Getting a firm opinion on what each level of water resistance means is a tough one, admittedly not something that I have personally tested out. My way around that is to have my gear (watches included) to be rated above anything I can throw at it, which may be a bit of overkill, but it definitely helps me sleep at night.



If you’re looking for a mid-sized watch and want to add something fun to your collection, the Paulin Neo lineup is definitely an off-the-beaten-path way of doing so. From the custom in-house designed typeface to the anOrdain collab dial, it’s clear that Paulin Watches’ sharp eye for design is looking in the right place. I appreciate how they were able to take some higher-end dial manufacturing methods and bring them to a watch that’s right around the $500 mark after currency conversion. The Neos could use a little bump up in case finishing, but overall, the watches are fun and playful, while still remaining functional and legible. You can head over to Paulin Watches to learn more and pick one up for yourself if you like what you see. Paulin.

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.