31 Oct Quick Look: The Wrist Lore Blackbird LE Automatic
Spend any time on Instagram and you quickly realize there are a lot of different watches out there…a lot! So it’s usually pretty hard to come across something original, that looks good and that I would want to strap on my wrist. That’s where the Wrist Lore Blackbird LE Auto comes in, which is being launched on Kicstarter in a few days. I have had the privilege to work with Shawn and Bruce from Wrist Lore and got to see some behind-the-scenes details and pre-production info. Their new release is surely prepped to be a hit. If you’ve been following me on Instagram or read any of my watch reviews, you know I’m a pretty picky guy when it comes to what I’ll wear on my wrist. So when Shawn reached out to me about checking out the Blackbird, I was definitely intrigued by the design.
It’s a crowded market to release a watch in today, and you really need something special if you’re going to be successful. I think the Blackbird might just be one of those that’s an automatic home run…mainly because of the hand finishing the watch receives. All of the beveling, brushing, polishing and lapping on the case is done by hand, definitely something you don’t see often, and definitely not at this price point! Early backers can snag this beauty for $369. Considering you get a sapphire crystal, Miyota movement, super luminova, exhibition caseback, all on a stainless steel bracelet, it’s pretty much a steal.
What really got me excited about this watch was the backstory. Like any awesome watch, you need a good story to tell if you want to stand out from the crowd. Wrist Lore drew their inspiration from some deep aviation history and looked to the SR-71 Blackbird, the Cold-War era high altitude reconnaissance plane, which, if you know your planes, was virtually invulnerable to a missile attack. As a side note, the SR-71 was also one of the first advanced model airplanes I built as a kid…all glue, no snap together!
Wrist Lore drew their inspiration from some deep aviation history and looked to the SR-71 Blackbird, the Cold-War era high altitude reconnaissance plane, which, if you know your planes, was virtually invulnerable to a missile attack.
The watch is powered by the ultra reliable Miyota 82S0 Automatic. This movement has the skeletonized view on the front which adds to the overall aviation look on the dial. Considering all the options you have, it’s nice to see that Wrist Lore went with a proven movement inside.
Taking cues from the cockpit, canopy, fuselage and the navigation system of the original plane, Wrist Lore worked into the watch design styling cues paying homage to the famed plane. If you look closely at the watch, the dial, the exposed screws and the brushing, you might think the watch was crafted from the plane itself! It has a really cool look to it! When checking the time, you get the feeling that you’re actually looking at the gauge pane inside the cockpit; I thought that was a really cool vision for the watch.
An additional nice touch to the Blackbird LE is the specialized coating the case and bracelet receives to make the steel more scratch resistant than normal. This is a nice piece of finishing that I wish more watch companies would consider doing. Since the Blackbird is built for real watch folks, it’s going to get some use; it’s nice to know it won’t be a mess overnight!
In my back and forth with Shawn and Bruce, I learned a lot about the process of developing a new watch from the ground up, where the inspiration for such a unique watch came from (like me, Shawn did a lot of model planes), and the long two years it took to go from sketches to a working prototype to the amazing finished piece.
The lume, movement, solid bracelet and dial all tick my boxes for a watch I would be happy to wear daily. However, the coolest little detail, to me, is the exposed screws on the case and bracelet. It gives the watch a little steampunk/industrial look, but not too much so that you can’t dress up more than business casual with it on the wrist.
If you’re into cool airplanes or original designs when it comes to a watch, you will not be disappointed to add this beast to your collection. I will add here that the Blackbird, just like the aircraft was, is a limited run production with numbered pieces,so if you like the look, get in early on the Kickstarter.