The Soldat Promessa Powers Vintage-Cool with Seiko’s NE 88 Chronograph Caliber

Within the micro-brand space, I find that there’s still a dearth of mechanical chronographs. That’s largely contingent on the price — most mechanical chronograph movements are expensive, and popping a 7750 inside a watch case isn’t always feasible for brands who feel more secure operating on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. So when a mechanical chrono hits my inbox, and it’s appropriately priced, solidly specced, and objectively attractive, I pay attention.

Soldat is a young company out of Indonesia operated by a one Mr. Jesse Prawiro, a watch enthusiast who, like many before him in the micro-brand world, wanted to turn his hobby into a career. Soldat’s freshman collection, dubbed Promessa, is made up of three chronographs, all designed in Switzerland by Studio Divine and manufactured in Japan and powered by Seiko’s NE 88 automatic chronograph caliber. While certainly vintage-inspired — and Mr. Prawiro readily admits his love for vintage sports chronographs, specifically the Heuer 1153 — the Promessa manages to avoid feeling too derivative at a time when derivation is all to common from brands both big and small. Let’s take a closer look at the Promessa collection.

Soldat Promessa Chronograph

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Green Forty Nine, Red Comet, and True Blue
  • Dimensions: 42mm x 50mm x 14mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 50mm
  • Movement: Seiko NE 88 chronograph
  • Strap/Bracelet: 20mm leather rally strap
  • Price: $1,350
  • Expected Release: Available now


Measuring 42mm across with a thickness of 14mm and a lug-to-lug of 50mm, this isn’t a small watch, but I’ve worn enough cushion-cased chronos with similar dimensions to know that this isn’t some engorged monstrosity. And with the lug-to-lug around the 50mm mark, this should be able to accommodate a number of different wrist sizes.

The case boasts a brushed finish, which then shifts to a fine polish at the bezel. It’s an attractive look, but some embellishment — maybe a polished bevel along the side of the case —would have been nice to see.

There are three dial colors available: Green Forty Nine, Red Comet, and True Blue. The hues here are deep and the surfaces feature a sunburst finish that gives them even more pop. White sunken sub-dials at 3:00 and 9:00 are a welcome touch, and a third register at 6:00 is flush and color-matched against the dial. This gives the watch a two-register look at a distance without actually ditching the functionality of that third register. 6:00 is also where you’ll find an unobtrusive date integration.

The Seiko NE88 boasts a solid spec-sheet. It’s a 34-jewel automatic caliber with hand winding, hacking, date, a column wheel and vertical clutch, 45 hours of power reserve, and a frequency of 28,800 bph. Column wheels are generally considered to be more complicated to manufacture, are found in higher priced watches, and give a chronograph a smoother feel. I’ve handled this movement in the past, and I’m a big fan. It’s certainly a more interesting caliber than the tried-and-true 7750.

The Promessa comes with a color-matched leather rally strap and a black-lacquered wooden box, all for $1,350. The cost here, I imagine, is a consequence of where this watch is made. Japanese-produced watches come with a premium, and the Promessa is no exception. Additionally, the NE 88 is not a bargain bin caliber, and when Seiko uses it in their watches, they generally start at around $2,000 and climb from there. Altogether, the Promessa looks to be a nicely specced timepiece being offered at a fair price, so if the design is one that speaks to your sensibilities, this is certainly a watch to consider. Soldat

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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.