Is it cricket? The Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive

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We continue with Kunal Khemka telling us stories from his home in India with a presentation of the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive The Outfield, in a matte green dial.

In traditional British English, the phrase “it’s just not cricket” is used to say that something is unfair or dishonest. Here we use it in the negative sense, in asking if the Bangalore Watch Company’s Cover Drive is cricket. Kunal Khemka has the story.

Bangalore Watch Company (BWC) is an Indian Microbrand that focuses on telling Indian Stories through its collections. When I wrote about them last year – “Stories from the Homeland: Bangalore Watch Company”- I touched upon the Renaissance Collection – a Tribute to India’s HMT Watches and Hedge & Golay; and the Mach 1 Collection – a Tribute to the Mig-21 Type 77, India’s first supersonic fighter. In continuing with its theme of Indian stories.

Stories from the Homeland – Part 2: Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive

Retail price is RS.56,680 (Indian Rupees) approximately USD 760.

BWC recently launched the ‘Cover Drive’ Collection, inspired by the Sport of Cricket. For Indians, Cricket is more than a Sport; it is (almost) a Religion. This despite Field Hockey being India’s National Sport. In professional cricket, the most elegant shot one can play is widely known as ‘Cover Drive; considered a ‘Gentleman’s Shot’. Since BWC conceived this collection as a gentleman’s urban sports watch inspired by cricket, they found it apt to name this collection ‘Cover Drive’.

The Cover Drive

The Cover Drive is a three-hander powered by the reliable Swiss Sellita SW200 no-date. It has a case diameter of 40 mm and is made of surgical grade 316L stainless steel. It is water resistant up to 100 metres or 330 feet. Other details include a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

Since early 2020, all BWC’s watches go through assembly, quality control, and testing in Bangalore. What renders the Cover Drive truly exceptional is the abundance of ‘Cricket’ details on the dial and case back.

  • The Innovative Bezel enables one to track ‘Overs’ (anti-clockwise) in a cricket match. A cricket match is played between two teams of eleven players each, and a match consists of two ‘Innings’. In each Inning, one team bats (2 batsmen on the 22-yard pitch on the cricket grounds) and the other team fields and bowls. An Inning is made of up 50 overs, and 6 deliveries from the bowler is an ‘Over’. The goal of the batting team is to get as many ‘Runs’ as possible, preferably 4 and 6 (sixer) runs.
  • There is a 4 and 6 on the dial (where there should be a 4 and 6) referencing the importance of these ‘Runs’.
  • The rest of the indices are shaped like the ‘Wickets’ or ‘Stumps’ used in cricket.
  • At 12’o clock, there are three wickets, as they should be on opposite sides of the 22-yard pitch. (The goal of every bowler is to strike the wickets to get the batsman ‘out’.)
  • On the inner minute track, right above the three wickets, there is a ‘Cricket Ball’ instead of 60.
  • The counterbalance of the seconds-hand is shaped like a ‘Cricket Bat’.
  • The Crosshatch pattern on the crown and the side of the bezel is reminiscent of the grip on cricket bats.
  • Turn the watch over, and one is greeted with a 3-D caseback – a figure of a right-handed batsman playing the elegant ‘Cover Drive’ shot. And around it is the words – ‘God. Country. Cricket., and ‘Bangalore Watch Company’. Those who hail from a country where cricket is played will be able to relate to the former.
  • The oil-pulled genuine leather straps have Ecru stitching which is reminiscent of the stitching on a cricket ball.

Dial Variations

The initial launch in October 2020 comprised of three dial colours: each an important reference to cricket.

  • The Outfield – Matte Green, is a reference to the cricket grounds. This is the subject of this review.
  • The Pitch – Matte Brown, is a reference to the 22-yard pitch on the cricket grounds, where most of the action takes place.
  • The Pavilion – Black, is a reference to the club at the stadium where only the cricket players and other VIP’s have access too.
  • These were followed by two additional launches in April 2021:
  • Men in Blue – Pastel Blue, is a reference to the blue jersey of the Indian cricket team.
  • Yellow Jersey – Bright Mustard Yellow – references the yellow jerseys worn by two world-famous cricket teams, exact details of which are left to the imagination of the wearer.

Wear impressions

I have had the opportunity to wear a Cover Drive ‘The Pitch’ prototype for a few months, and my experience has been nothing short of positive. At first glance, due to the ‘Overs Tracking Bezel’ the Cover Drive looks a ‘tad’ technical; like the look of some chronographs with pulsometer scales. Its only when one notices the minute details that you realize it is a cricket inspired watch.

Pros:

  • Abundance of cricket inspired details on case, dial, crown, and strap.
  • High quality construction.
  • Wears smaller than its 40 mm case diameter (due to the smaller dial opening and rotating bezel.)
  • Quite comfortable with its oil-pulled genuine leather strap.
  • Strong Lume (C3 Grade-A Superluminova).
  • Easy to set time with the crown.
  • Easily serviceable.

Cons:

  • Absence of date window may be bothersome for some. I appreciate they left out a date window, which would have been unnecessary and make the dial look crowded.
  • Its appeal may be limited only to Indian customers, and perhaps those from cricket playing countries.
  • Some may consider the price to be high. Price of the Cover Drive in Indian Rupees is 56680, which is approximately USD$ 760. I feel the price is fair given the uniqueness and creativity in terms of cricket inspired details and high-quality construction.


Concluding thoughts

Today’s horological landscape is such that timepieces made by micro-brands can be equally desirable and sought after as prestigious haute horology brands. These brands are no longer for customers who cannot yet afford timepieces from haute horology brands, both mainstream and independents. Names like Ming Watches, Kurono Tokyo, Massena Lab come to mind. Online reveals from them sell out within minutes of being launched. (Social Media and ‘Hype’ has something do with this, but there is no denying that their timepieces showcase excellent design and execution.) Microbrands like Lundis Bleus and Sartory Billard indulge in creative and bespoke dial work which is truly exceptional and up there with the best. I assume that many prestigious collections across the world comprise a diverse mix of brands which include mainstream brands, independents, and desirable microbrands. They prove that creativity and great design do not have to be awfully expensive to be desirable.

BWC is no exception to this. They have successfully proven that they too can create desirable watches with their theme being ‘Indian stories’. This is what sets them apart. With the Cover Drive, they convey the passion of the sport of cricket extremely well. One that will hugely appeal to fans of the sport, both who play cricket and those who do not. And it will also appeal to those collectors who do not hail from a cricket playing nation but appreciate stories and fine details. The Cover Drive is an excellent conversation starter and a reliable daily beater. One that is equally at ease worn at home, office, and any urban casual or formal setting. One so well designed and crafted that it will proudly belong in any prestigious collection. It will be interesting what Indian story BWC chooses for their next launch.

So is this Cover Drive cricket? You bet it is!

More details on the official Bangalore Watch Company site.

Notes:
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has 12 Full Members and 92 Associate Members. The governing bodies of the former have full voting rights in the ICC play official Test Matches. These include England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, and Afghanistan. (Source: Wikipedia.)

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