Coinciding well with both summer and the IPL season, Bangalore Watch Company have announced a rather fresh-looking extension to their cricket-inspired Cover Drive collection. This consists of two new models or dial variants, namely the Yellow Jersey and Men In Blue which are mustard yellow and pastel blue, respectively. This fortifies their line-up of versatile, 40mm watches with a decidedly sporty bent.
On the face of it, this is just a bright update to a wristwatch collection, but apart from the huge difference dial colour itself can make, I feel like there’s more to unpack here.
In a nutshell
Bangalore Watch Company introduced the Cover Drive collection last year and it was a very interesting stylistic departure from the enduringly popular Mach 1. It is a watch with contemporary styling and a very relatable storyline, as it draws from various elements of the game of cricket – undoubtedly India’s favourite sport.
The new bright dials don’t necessarily follow the narrative of the original Cover Drive variants (as being a classic, everyday watch), as those colours were more subdued, muted and therefore, more versatile. But that’s not a bad thing at all. The energy of these new colours introduces another dimension to the Cover Drive collection and BWC’s watches, at large. It also does well to double down on the whimsical side to the cricket story, because these aren’t timekeepers to be used on the pitch, per se, but rather to be enjoyed on occasion when you’d rather adorn your wrist with some local flavour.
Among the two introductions, the pastel blue appears to be similar to the Mach 1 Officer’s Blue (which we covered here), while the yellow is new for the brand altogether. I’m also somehow more excited about this yellow; I’m yet to see it in person but I’m very into it. It’s just good to see watches be unabashedly fun sometimes, and this is particularly true for a brand that’s seeking to connect with its audience emotionally, as opposed to through horological wizardry.
If you’re new to the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive
If you’d like a quick refresher on the Cover Drive, you can read our introductory story here.
The Cover Drive is Bangalore Watch Company’s third collection and it takes inspiration from the game of cricket, incorporating a number of design touches that pay tribute to the sport, such as:
- Unidirectional, rotating bezel that can be used to countdown from 50 (or 20) overs, or as a 50 minute countdown timer
- 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 (this is so well executed)
- 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, with impressive depth and detailing
These elements come together in a 40mm steel case that is water resistant to 100 metres. The watches are offered with a choice of dials and are powered by Sellita automatic movements.
Initial thoughts on the new dial variants
I might need to keep a check on how many times I use the word ‘fun’ for these new watches as we go along, but it’s usually a good sign to be able to sum up something simplistically. Because it also means that the creator’s message is clear. And these watches are Fun. Period. Away from the weight of aircrafts and armed forces that were a large part of the Mach 1’s appeal, the Cover Drive clearly takes itself less seriously. We’re talking cricket, colour and watches; so it’s literally all fun and games.
The point I’m trying to make is that BWC’s new Cover Drive watches are objectively fun to check what is arguably also the sole subjective box for what we want our watches to be – they need to put a smile on our face.
The Men In Blue and Yellow Jersey Cover Drives are light and breezy in their appearance, but are backed by the same stamp of quality that Bangalore Watch Company have come to stand for. I can attest to this, having handled at least one variant of each of their releases so far.
There are no changes apart from the dial colours. So in the spirit of a Cover Drive, these are still 40mm automatic watches with Swiss Sellita movements, sapphire crystals, well-finished cases, a generous dose of Super-LumiNova and oil pull-up leather straps. They wear exceptionally well on a range of wrist sizes, with contrasting finishes on the case introducing visual depth and play of light. I came away impressed during my time with the black and green dial Cover Drives (i.e. the Pavilion and Outfield) and I expect no difference in execution or feel on wrist for the Men In Blue or Yellow Jersey except being more, y’know, fun.
In fact, it would seem from images that the Cover Drive text (which was one of the polarising elements of the first batch) appears less conspicuous on the new variants due to it being the same colour as the rest of the dial text, which could be a positive for some. All text on the dial and bezel is rendered in black and we also see the hour markers with black outlines to frame them better, which wasn’t so in the initial release.
Zooming out: What this means for watch enthusiasts
I have followed Bangalore Watch Company’s journey with keen interest, as someone who is pleased about and wants such local brands to flourish. So far, they have brought something new to the table with each successive release. This is arguably the first release that doesn’t feel traditional, in a certain sense. Sitting alongside their more serious counterparts, the Yellow Jersey and Men In Blue versions of the Cover Drive debut the novelty factor into Bangalore Watch Company’s collections.
This is notable for a couple of reasons. One, it allows those who couldn’t necessarily find a category in their collection to fit a BWC watch, to now consider one that is playful and upbeat enough to do its own thing and not compete for attention with any other watch they may have. Two, it comes at a time when their ethos and intent is better established within the watch community and it feels coherent with their larger message, as opposed to being seen as a deliberate step to do something different. Lastly, whether coincidental or not, we’ve got our eyes more used to bright colours on watches in recent times, thanks to some bold experiments by various micro-brands and a somewhat out-of-character move by you-know-who. Which means less shock-factor for a brand which has very carefully and admirably stayed away from doing anything that feels forced with their timepieces.
Another side note, since we’re talking about enthusiasts and local brands – dials and hands of these new watches are Made in India, which speaks positively to the development of a strong, local manufacturing ecosystem and evolution as a watch market, and equally to Bangalore Watch Company’s approach and intent. Here’s hoping this movement only gathers more steam.
The new yellow and blue dials on the Cover Drive clearly put them outside the reckoning as only-watch material, but this isn’t the first bold move Bangalore Watch Company have made. I, for one, am glad to see this diversity and novelty adjacent to the other more traditional styles and colours the brand offers. What’s good to know is that these ideas and executions are backed by a well-made, quality product.
These watches may not be for everyone, but if you feel a connection, it’s going to be strong (the way I’ve got it bad for the yellow dial). That’s just how it goes with all things fresh and exciting – when they work, they really work. It’s just a matter of knowing whether you’re in the camp or not.
While the brand’s journey with bright colours began with the Mach 1 Officer’s Blue (and it was teased before Rolex announced their colourful Oyster Perpetuals, in case it’s controversy you were looking for), the tone and feel of a cricket watch is certainly different from one that draws on military colours, though both have their own place. In this sporty avatar, the colours announce their presence with a little more lightness which is very welcome.
Just like the original releases in the Cover Drive collection, you don’t really have to be a cricket fan to enjoy these watches; you just have to have a spark of fun.
- Case material: 316L stainless steel
- Case width, height: 40mm, 12.5mm
- Dial colour: Matte pastel blue (Men In Blue), matte mustard yellow (Yellow Jersey)
- 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: Black oil pull-up leather; quick-release spring bars
Pricing and buying
Price of the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive is ₹56,680 or $770. Watches are available for pre-order immediately on the Bangalore Watch Company website, with shipping and deliveries expected to begin in the middle of May 2021.
You can explore the full Cover Drive collection here.