Watch Review: Linde Werdelin 3-Timer – Rock Solid Design From Danish Indie

 

Well, well, well…what do we have here then? Despite making waves in the field of sustainability, Linde Werdelin is probably not a brand that many people have had the pleasure of seeing up close very often, if indeed at all. I have seen many glossy photos of their creations online and in magazines, but never seen one in the metal until now. 

For the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of spending some quality time with the 3-Timer Rock and becoming more closely acquainted. Spoiler alert: we became the best of friends…

First things first, I want to talk about the bracelet. I mean this thing is good. From the moment I first put the watch on with this gorgeous bracelet, I was sold. I’ve never quite come across anything like this before. Some people commented that it was similar to that of the new Moser Streamliner, and I see the similarities, but let’s remember which came first! That’s right; Linde Werdelin by quite a stretch. They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

James Porter and Son

In the hand it feels organic, both in its looks and how it moves when on the wrist. Rather than having links which fold and move, the links on the LW bracelet seem to breathe and glide over one another as it moves across the wrist. It really feels alive – cliche? I’m not even ashamed. It’s nicely finished off with a signed butterfly clasp.

The bracelet attaches to the watch head in the same way as all Linde Werdelin straps. It makes use of their proprietary strap system, which uses small hex screws to securely hold the straps in place. This system works very well and straps feel incredibly secure, but it also means that straps look like they’re integrated. OK, less so with the canvas and rubber straps, but the bracelet seamlessly joins the case to further enhance that organic vibe. Super stuff. Integrated bracelets are seemingly on trend in the watch industry at the moment and I can understand why. Thankfully with the Linde Werdelin setup, you get the best of both worlds. 

Moving onto the watch itself, we have a prime example of a Linde Werdelin 3-Timer. Before the 3-Timer came into existence, the Biformeter 2-Timer was the original Linde Werdelin GMT diving watch. It came with a rotating diver’s bezel and was designed to be connected with a digital instrument called The Reef. Later on, the watch was revisited and the diver’s bezel was replaced by a 24-hour bezel, making it the 3-Timer. 

This version is in what the brand calls their ‘Rock’ colour. It features a full stainless steel case with a mixture of finishes, a cool grey guilloché textured dial and, of course, that stunning steel bracelet. It’s quite a stoney and muted colour scheme across the whole package, but I like it. I know not everyone will approve of the monochromatic choices on display here but let’s face it – taste is very subjective. People forget that all too often!

The grey dial is definitely one of the more eye-catching parts of the watch despite its slightly dour appearance. It features a beautiful circular ‘radar’ guilloche pattern which is very pleasing to the eye. This radar pattern then allows for the date wheel cutout to be integrated in a very natural and unobtrusive way. The date wheel is colour-matched to the dial, and also uses Linde Werdelin’s own font too, no less – a nice touch. This integration is really smart and doesn’t suffer from the same symmetry-ruining issues that other date windows in this position have to deal with. It may not seem like much, but it’s obvious how much thought went into this placement. The date window doesn’t feel like an afterthought, rather it’s a cleanly integrated feature. 

The hands and indices are diamond-cut and rhodium plated, with a nice little application of lume. Initially I wondered whether I felt the hands were a little too svelte for the rest of the design, but I very quickly warmed to them and think they’re just right. Any bigger and they would end up obscuring too much of the beautiful radar pattern.

Moving onto the case, it is a really nice chunk of steel. Linde Werdelin have really carved out their own design DNA with their cases as there is nothing else like them…and that’s a good thing. As with the bracelet, there’s something organic, yet synthetic, about the case too. It almost makes me think of the Borg from Star Trek (yes, I have been watching the new Picard on Amazon Prime so I may have sci-fi on the brain). It feels angular and defined, but not industrially so – every edge, line and facet is presented with purpose. Nothing feels out of place or too much. With a shape that’s so radically different to anything that most folk will have seen before, getting this right was critical and they’ve absolutely nailed it.

One design feature of the case I wanted to highlight was the lug part of the mid case. They have a gentle downwards angle which really helps offset the 15mm thickness of the watch and enable it to hug the wrist. It may not seem like a big deal, but the way in which they do so feels so natural and graceful. Even the polished facets on the top and bottom edge are well thought out – they angle down perfectly to accept the bracelet and provide a seamless integration from link to case. It really is extraordinary how much through has gone into this case. I know it may not be too obvious so far, but I really like this case…Oh, it was overwhelmingly obvious? Fair enough.

The bezel is a bi-directional, 24-click affair on a ball bearing mount. It’s smooth and very slick to operate with no backplay whatsoever. This is particularly nice to see as when I’ve experienced other bi-directional, ball-bearing bezels in the past they have often been a bit ‘loose’ and wobbly. No such worry here. It’s as tight and smooth as…well, you can think of your own metaphor here. Just take my word for it. As one would expect given the attention to the quality of the rest of the case, the bezel is perfectly machined and finished. The brushed finish on the top and side, coupled with the subtle polishing of the teeth is beautiful. Even the engraving of the numbers on the upper surface and the tooth cutouts are without a single imperfection. Lovely stuff.

Getting down to some numbers, the case is a fairly large 44mm wide, but the lug-to-lug is a svelte 46mm. The result? A large watch which fits beautifully on my medium-sized wrists. 

I’ve not yet touched upon the movement for the 3-Timer. It’s nothing overly fancy though – a trusty ETA 2893-2 keeps things ticking on the inside. I know some people may quibble over the ETA movement in this watch, especially given the retail price (a cool £5,520 on a rubber strap – the bracelet will set you back a further £540). Whilst I partly understand this comment, I think it’s key to remind some readers that a watch is far more than the movement inside of it. There are plenty of other areas in which a watch can command value. In this instance it really is in the high-quality and precision engineering of the case and metal parts (by that I mean the bezel and crown too). 

In the past I have seen too many watches blow their budget on a great, souped-up movement, but then the construction and other materials suffer as a result, leaving a very disappointing watch as the result. If anything, I think more of the budget should be spent on things like the case, the bracelet, the bezel construction. Those are the things which make or break a watch in my opinion. The movement keeps the watch ticking and is critical to accuracy, yes, but there are many very solid and trusty movements available that can do the job without costing the earth. Linde Werdelin made a wise choice here by using the ETA 2893-2. If they had gone down the in-house route then we’d have either seen a big price jump to accommodate that, or a drop in the quality of the rest of the watch. Given just how good this case construction is, it doesn’t even bear thinking about!

As I have made abundantly clear, I have really enjoyed the 3-Timer Rock on the bracelet. I whole-heartedly recommend you do the same should you indulge your desire for a 3-Timer of your own. However, the rubber strap it comes on is very nice, as are the other straps available too. I was able to try a couple of other straps out too whilst I had the watch on loan and was very impressed with them.

The rubber strap is one of these ones you have to cut down to size yourself. Seeing as this was only on loan I did not want to further cut the strap, so it was unfortunately just slightly too big for me in its current sizing. The rubber itself was very supple and comfortable. The other strap I had was a canvas/sailcloth style strap but it’s actually a textured calfskin material. Friends will know that I am a big fan of these types of straps so I was eager to try it out too. My overall thoughts were positive – it was good quality and nicely made. There was no fraying or damage to the strap and it was very comfortable on the wrist. I just don’t know if it quite looked right when on my wrist. For those with larger wrists, you’ll have no problem, but due to the construction of the strap, and the LW proprietary strap connection system, it wore a little large for my liking. Maybe if the bracelet wasn’t so goddamn perfect I’d have liked it more; everything pales in comparison to the bracelet…

Overall thoughts of the watch? I like it. I’m sure you’ve already worked that one out. When I first took it out of the box I thought it was a large watch but from the moment I strapped it onto my wrist I was sold. It’s so easy and comfortable to wear. The team has done such a stellar job on the case and the bracelet. I wore this watch daily for about 2 weeks and it’s been nothing but a pleasure to have adorning my wrist – I will genuinely miss wearing it and I’m gutted to have to give it back! 

If you’re like me and have never previously had the chance to see a Linde Werdelin watch in the metal, I really recommend you find an opportunity to do so. Seeing as they’re an online-only brand with no distributors or units in brick-and-mortar stores, this could be quite difficult but it’s so worth it.

Specs & Price

Numbered Series

Limited series of 33 individually numbered pieces

Dial

Cool grey guilloché textured dial.

12 rhodium plated applied indexes with luminent

Hands: Diamond cut rhodium plated with applied luminent

Case

Stainless steel case

24 hour bidirectional turning bezel

Steel screw on case-back

2.2mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal

Screw-down crown

Date at 4 o’clock

Dimensions

44mm (w) by 46mm (l) by 15mm (h)

Movement

Mechanical Automatic ETA 2893 movement

42 hour power reserve

Strap

Charcoal Grey rubber strap (bracelet costs £540 extra)

Water Resistance

300m

Price

From £5,520

Link

https://lindewerdelin.com/product/3-timer-rock/