If you tell watch enthusiasts about cricket and watches, their minds will immediately wander to Vulcain’s mechanical alarm watches (that line of watches, too, is called Cricket). Whereas if you tell a fan of the game about cricket and watches, he’ll play a mental episode of celebrity watch spotting and jog his memory about how much the papers said Virat Kohli’s wrist-candy was worth.
Cricket and the world of watches have never quite come together in a way that, say, motorsports or nautical sports have. In essence, the reason for that is fairly straightforward. One doesn’t really time anything in a game of cricket, per se.
While that satisfactorily explains the lack of historical linkage, there is no modern watch either that seeks to serve the cricket fan. Hublot (being ICC partners), of course, have made commemorative cricket watches, as part of their Classic Fusion chronographs. However, to my best recollection, no watch has been created from the ground-up with the game of cricket in mind. That changes today with the release of Bangalore Watch Company’s Cover Drive.
The Cover Drive in a nutshell
Bangalore Watch Company’s newest collection – the Cover Drive – celebrates the game of cricket. In doing so, what it actually offers is an extremely versatile and good looking timepiece that’ll barely look out of place in most situations. In other words, it’s a textbook solid-everyday-watch.
I know I should probably be a lot more excited about the cricket aspect of it. I am. But the ability of the Cover Drive to stand on its own objective merit as a handsome watch is perhaps Bangalore Watch Company’s greatest success with this collection. At every casual glance, the overall effect you receive is of an elegant, sporty watch looking back at you; the cricket linkage feels almost incidental. But it’s there, unmistakably, when you look closer.
(I’m saying this based on having a prototype currently on my wrist – we’ll bring you a detailed, hands-on review soon.)
You’ll see the following nods to the Gentlemen’s Game:
- Unidirectional, rotating bezel that can be used to countdown from 50 (or 20) overs
- Indexes shaped like stumps, with three together like a wicket at the 12 hour marker
- Cricket ball at the 60 minute position on the rehaut
- Counterbalance of the seconds hand shaped like a cricket bat
- 4 and 6 Arabic numerals (the other hour markers are stick indexes) to denote boundary shots
- Embossed case back showing a batsman at the crease playing a cover drive
The Cover Drive is a 40mm steel watch available in three variants or dial colours – matte black (Pavilion), olive green (Outfield), chocolate brown (Pitch). Each of the watches are paired with tan or brown leather straps with a pleasing natural texture as the leather is oil pull-up. This imparts a certain richness to the look while also allowing the strap to age gracefully.
In most respects, this watch is a purist’s delight. A compact, no-date, well-finished watch with conservative design and ability to withstand the elements (it’s water resistant to 100m). Basically, you don’t even need to be a cricket fan to enjoy and appreciate a watch like this.
Initial thoughts on Bangalore Watch Company’s latest
The Cover Drive is Bangalore Watch Company’s third collection for men. When you look at these watches alongside the Indian Air Force inspired Mach 1, it becomes clear that they’ve figured out the balance between showcasing the Indian connection, while bringing quality watchmaking to the table.
Cricket tributes are manifested in almost all elements, but none really jump out. Before actually getting my hands on the watch, I did wonder how the asymmetry of the 4 marker would play out (since there is no ‘8’). But, in person, the effect is quite unobtrusive.
As a watch and the genre it belongs to (everyday watches with a sporty bent), the package on offer from the Cover Drive is surprisingly uncommon, especially if you consider the price point (i.e. sub ₹60k or $800). Robust, compact, no-date mechanical watches are conspicuous by their relative rarity.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how purist-friendly the Cover Drive watches are in their execution, while addressing a theme that is so democratically universal, i.e. cricket, played from the gully to glitzy stadia. Of course, there are brands out there (Baltic, for example) who are doing this (i.e. purist execution below the $1000 price point) – but I’m just personally very thrilled to see this coming from an Indian brand, since this is a watch that may find the lion’s share of its appeal in the Indian market.
So in that respect, choosing to make a watch without a date window and keeping size modest is a gutsy move for a young brand looking to make its presence felt before a wider audience.
The Cover Drive is a versatile, robust watch with a lot of interesting details for a cricket fan. Cricket is often referred to as India’s official religion, so it only makes sense for there to be a watch which tips its hat to this massive sub-culture.
As I said earlier, it helps greatly that the watch itself is eminently wearable, smart and subtly quirky. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.
If you look at the Bangalore Watch Company brand together with this particular watch, it makes for a nice, relatable back story for those seeking more local flavour in their timepieces. Also, the larger context of what they stand for as a brand becomes even clearer with the Cover Drive in the catalogue. Which is to say they’re serious about playing their strokes with an eye on the boundary rope.
What, you really thought we’d make it through without a cricket pun?
- Case material: 316L stainless steel
- Case width, height: 40mm, 12.3mm
- Dial colour: Matte black (Pavilion), green (Outfield) or brown (Pitch)
- Water resistance: 100 metres
- Lug width: 20mm
- Lug-to-lug distance: 48mm
- Movement: Swiss Made Sellita SW200 Automatic
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with anti-reflective coating
- Case back: Embossed case back showing a batsman at the crease playing a cover drive
- Strap: Oil pull-up leather; quick-release spring bars
Pricing and buying
Price of the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive is ₹56,680 or $760. For pre-orders, a special price of ₹49,680 or $670 is being offered for a limited time.
Our hands-on review of the Cover Drive Pavilion and Outfield coming soon.