Springbreak was launched in 2013 by two childhood friends – Kwame Holden and Maurice Davis – who have a passion for creating more affordable, more sustainable and more ethically inspired watches.
They currently offer several designs and live up to their affordability philosophy – the unisex timepieces range from $59.99 – $79.99 making them one of the most affordable American wood watch brands. I’m going to look closely at several of their models in today’s review of Springbreak watches.
Wood: Maple (Blue Magic), black sandalwood (Midnight, Encore), rosewood (Murchison), walnut (Thurman)
Movement: Japanese v2035
Crystal: Mineral glass
Function: Day of month display (Encore, Murchison)
Clasp: Fold over push button with either gold or silver finishing
Case Diameter: 46 mm | 1.81″ (Blue Magic, Midnight), 43 mm | 1.69″ (Murchison), 47 mm | 1.85″ (Thurman)
Band Width: 26 mm | 1.02″ (Blue Magic, Midnight)
Made from maple wood and aptly named because of the deep blue face (and perhaps something to do with the heroin famously trafficked by crime boss Frank Lucas in the 60s and 70s), blue magic features a relatively generic wood construction (WeWOOD and Bewell have some very similar models) with the standout feature being the deep blue face.
The face has the abbreviated ‘SPGBK’ logo with it also being stamped on the back of the case. There are 12 crystals on the circumference of the dial which act as the hour markings. There is some variety here with triangles, squares and circle crystals being used. Remember this watch is for both men and women so my guess is the crystal serves to give an ornamental feminine touch to an otherwise neutral design.
Interestingly you’ll see the words ‘hyacinthum amet’ and ‘vacanze di primavera’ (Italian for spring break). According to Google translator ‘hyacinthum amet’ is latin for blue film. I’m not exactly sure how accurate this is as most of Springbreaks’ models have this text and they certainly don’t have a blue color!
The text brings a bit of quirkiness to the design and injects some traditional elements into a watch that is actually manufactured in China.
Pros: + Blue face + Dial crystals + European text!
Cons: – Cookie Cutter wood construction
Verdict: A straight forward wood construction meets a pretty watch face. A bit over-priced considering the stock standard features.
This follows the same design as Blue Magic, the only difference is it’s made from black sandalwood. Although this watch looks more conventional, the color design actually works better and the face elements stand out more. In hindsight, I realize that the Blue Magic color design isn’t as good as I thought it was – black definitely looks better. I’ll award the Midnight watch some more points.
The best thing about Encore is the hexagonal watch face. This is complimented by 8 screws in the bezel that is cohesive to a rugged and industrial design. The circular dial contrasts sharply against all the edges and serves a purpose of balancing out the piece.
Unlike Blue Magic or Midnight, there is not a lot of bling on the face – you’ll find no crystals here. The hour markings are classically designed and the hands follow a similar rectangular shape.
It’s great to see the use of a day of month display for those looking for additional functionality. Another cool addition is the wooden crown, thus balancing out the metallic elements.
Pros: + Edgy and hexagonal face + Wood crown + Crisp dial
Cons: – More black sandalwood and a dark face (similar to the Midnight watch)
Verdict: A decent looking watch with a lot of dark elements that makes it easy to read the time. I like the use of a wooden crown and the day of month display is a nice addition.
The Murchison which was named after a historical street on the north side of the founder’s hometown of Fayettville, North Carolina, is a slightly smaller offering with a case diameter of 43 mm. Springbreak markets its watches as unisex but this one is more suited to women. It features a canvas style face with etched grooves into the bezel giving a nice textural feel to the rosewood.
The dial is a mix between the style of the Blue Magic and Encore watches – there are 12 crystals as the hour markings coupled with paddle style hands. The day of month display is also accompanied with a monocle that expands the viewing field.
The crown and clasp are gold painted and match the color scheme of the dial. If you like some elements of Blue Magic and Encore, than perhaps the Murchison is right for you.
Pros: + Gold colored clasp and crown + Ribbed bezel + Monocle and day of month display + Red rosewood paint job
Cons: – Generic wood construction (seen this design across other brands) – Not truly unisex, suited more for women
Verdict: The red rosewood looks great with the gold elements. The monocle and day of month function is a cool, if somewhat redundant feature.
Named after one of the founder’s fathers and described as the most meaningful watch, the Thurman is made out of durable walnut and sticks with a larger 47 mm case.
It’s a fairly minimalist watch and has simple hour markings with classic baton tapered hour hands and minute hands. The dial elements, crown and clasp are all gold trimmed which goes well with the naturally warm colours of the walnut.
Walnut is the most durable wood on show here and you’ll likely get the most mileage out of this watch compared to the others. The ridged bezel with etched increments is a nice tactile feature and essentially frees up the need to have second markings on the face.
Pros: + Gold clasp and crown + Ridged bezel with second markings + Walnut + Big face + Minimalist
Cons: – Too big for most women
Verdict: I really like this watch because of the walnut and it’s big design. It’s the most bare looking so all the focus is on the beautiful natural grain patterns of the wood.
To be completely honest, most of these watches have a generic design. I’ve seen many other brands with the exact same wood construction such as Bewell, Cucol and WeWOOD – the main difference is that Springbreak have customized the face. It makes me wonder if there is a factory in China that is pumping out these watches.
Having said that, these watches are slightly overpriced considering that you can get very similar ones for under $50 (from a Chinese brand). The good news is that a portion of each sale goes to help fight childhood hunger in U.S.A. They also offer a lifetime warranty which I have never seen before so perhaps there is more value than meets the eye.
If these incentives appeal to you, coupled with the fact that it is an American brand, then I implore you to check them out.