November 17, 2012 at 21:18 PM EST
Review: Xetum Tyndall PVD Automatic Watch
As a wristwatch brand, San Francisco-based Xetum has been making a bit of a name for itself by delivering high-quality Swiss movements in contemporary cases designed in California. Recently, the company added a PVD version of its Tyndall model to the lineup, adding even more modern flair to the watch's striking design.
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As a wristwatch brand, San Francisco-based Xetum has been making a bit of a name for itself by delivering high-quality Swiss movements in contemporary cases designed in California. The company offers just two models, the Stinson, based on the solid, reliable and very popular ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, and the Tyndall, based on the ETA 2895-2 elaboree movement. Recently, the company added a PVD version of the Tyndall to the lineup, adding even more modern flair to the watch’s striking design.

Xetum’s watches can be polarizing. Hardcore watch snobs often aren’t all that happy with new brands to begin with, and Xetum’s Swiss-made, California-designed way of doing things seems to rub that crowd the wrong way. But the company’s unique face and case designs have also won a lot of fans, and after wearing the PVD Tyndall for the past couple of weeks, I definitely count myself among them.

The PVD Tyndall has a highly readable black face with white markers and hands. The hands and the 12, 3, 6 and 9 indicators are all coated with Super-LumiNova to provide illumination in the dark, which does the job, though it does seem to have to spend a lot of time under direct sunlight to build up a decent and lasting charge. The face design itself offers a lot of usable info, including 24 hour markers on the inner ring, but even with the small second hand dial, the face doesn’t feel cluttered. Instead the face is reminiscent of a pilot’s watch, and feels like a precision instrument.

The black face goes exceedingly well with the black PVD-treated stainless steel case. Xetum’s lugless case design looks even more understated in black, and in fact the 40mm case size actually wears a little smaller than most other watches at that size since it doesn’t have the lugs. For me, with a medium-sized wrist, it’s just about perfectly sized, but I generally don’t go in for oversize watches, preferring instead to stay under 42mm. The screw down crown design and raised lines along the outer edges of the case’s exterior give the watch a subdued industrial vibe, which works very well with the instrument-style face.

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On the reverse of the watch you’ll find a viewing window for that beautiful ETA 2895-2 movement, with a custom Xetum rotor that’s also been given the PVD treatment. The lugless design necessitates a somewhat squat viewing window, which adds to Xetum’s overall unique design, but also slightly obscures the movement at the top and bottom.

The Tyndall PVD ships with a stitched black leather strap with a cork inner lining that tapers in from 20mm at the wide end, and it’s a very comfortable watch to wear. It ships with a deployment clasp, so the band should have a longer life than otherwise, and the clasp has the same PVD treatment as the case, and includes the Xetum branding. The clasp is a perfect example of Xetum’s attention to detail: it’s very good-looking hardware, even though it doesn’t really need to be.

Overall the Tyndall PVD is a very satisfying combination of intelligent, measured design choices and quality manufacturing. It’s substantial and solid without feeling heavy or bulky, and the movement keeps excellent time. I found that the advertised 42 hour power reserve was more or less accurate. The Tyndall is also a watch that works equally well worn on a weekend trip to the mall, in the board room or at a wedding. This is definitely a watch I’d buy for myself, and at $1,495 I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for anyone looking for a unique addition to their collection that feels fresh without venturing into the realm of gimmicks or excessive flash.



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