Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me on loan to review and I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Neucarl or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
Neucarl is a French micro-brand founded by Francois Carlier, and he launched this brand, and this watch, last year via Kickstarter. The Sept Mai was successfully funded, and from what I can tell, has resulted in a lot of happy customers. This is is the Sept Mai Founders Edition, and I believe this unit is a prototype from last year’s review tour, but I’m happy to be able to finally check it out.
I couldn’t find this particular model available on their website, but there are other colors currently available on their new Kickstarter campaign and also available directly, that carry the same design cues and cases. On Kickstarter, these watches are roughly €450 Euros (~$550 USD), and will have an eventual retail price of €599 Euros (~$725 USD).
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 40.5 mm in diameter, 45.5 mm from lug-to-lug and 10.75 mm in height. The case is entirely polished, and appears to be a two piece construction, with the lugs integrated into the case-back, and no explicit bezel section.
The lugs are neatly designed, and grow out of the case-back and taper outward, resulting in an almost straight lug design. The lug width is 20mm.
You then have a curved sapphire crystal which appears to have a reasonable amount of AR coating.
There is a 5.25mm push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position that has good knurling, but the position of the crown makes it a bit difficult to hold with two fingers, and you end up having to adjust it from below the case instead, with one finger, like some old vintage dress watches. I’m not a fan.
Flipping it over, you have an exhibition window in the case-back section that gives you a look at the Sellita SW215. This watch is rated for up-to 50m of water resistance. This case is said to also have a scratch resistant coating, but this review unit, most likely a prototype, has plenty of scratches.
This uncommon and creative case design is matched with an interesting dial design, that seems to have taken a lot of creative inspiration from Omega’s Dynamic watches. I like the design, and I think it is refreshing to see brands look outside the box of usual suspects for design inspiration.
There is a brushed outer surface that is slightly curved, and has an hour and minute track made up of large and medium sized black ticks respectively. The finishing and printing quality is excellent.
The next ring contains a set of recessed sections that are lumed. The finishing between the two dial surfaces is quite impressive, and unusual for a watch in this price range.
There is a date window at the 3 o’clock position that is designed very well to go with the radial dial sections, and this maybe one of those rare occasions where I fully approve of a 3 o’clock date window. The quality of finishing on the window is good, with only a small surface irregularity on the window.
You then have an inner track, which I think is supposed to serve as an hour track, but I end up using the outer track for reference instead. All of the top surfaces are radially brushed and the markers printed in black.
The brand’s name is printed at the 12 o’clock, and the watch name at the 6 o’clock. The printing quality is good, but I did notice a big cluster of dirt and a surface blemish on this surface to the left of the watch name.
The skeletonized and painted black hands are a good design choice for the minimalist design. The skeletonized hands hover over the minute tracks and allow for easy visibility of the markers below it, similar to what Defakto has been doing.
Overall, I like this dial design, and I think it takes the Omega Dynamic dial layout and puts a very Bauhaus-esque minimalist spin on it. I would’ve preferred for the hands to be a bit thicker and larger for easier visibility, but this is a very minor criticism.
Given the large surface area and available real estate for extravagant and practical lume design, this watch falls a bit flat.
The lumed segments appear to be only mildly filled with lume, and therefore aren’t too bright and don’t last very long either.
These segments are filled with BGW9 Super LumiNova, and you’re expected to read the time in a subtractive manner, like on a fully lumed dial. But there isn’t anything to help orientation the dial, the hands are very slim and almost disappear completely, and the repetitive pattern can throw you off at times. So I think the lume design and performance let’s the rest of this good design down.
This watch uses a Sellita SW215-1 movement. This is a manual wind version of the SW200-1 and I like it. The winding action feels good, and I’ve had typically good experiences with it.
This movement is on display thanks to the exhibition case-back, but sadly this also reveals some very poor quality control on the movement itself. There are lots of scratches, dust and dirt on the movement.
I put this watch on my time-grapher and observed roughly +1 spd in the dial up position and +3 spd in the crown up position. So at the very least, it’s keeping great time.
On The Wrist
The 40.5 mm diameter and 45.5 mm lug-to-lug width on a bezel-less case design make this watch appear a bit large on my 6.25″ wrist.
The short lugs help, and the fact that the overall height is only 10.75 mm makes it wear comfortably, even though the lug design may hint at a somewhat unbalanced wrist experience.
This is an easy watch to wear, even though it may appear large on smaller wrists. Medium and large wrists can pull this off with ease.
Overall, I like this watch a lot. I think it is nice to see different designs in the micro brand arena, and this one is executed quite well. Putting aside that one patch of dust, the dial is actually very, very well finished. And the case looks great too.
At around $550, I think this watch is a good one to buy if you like the design. You’re getting a good movement, good design and something out of the ordinary. Closer to $750, this starts to look less appealing to me. But for those that enjoy the minimalist design aesthetic, and aren’t expecting too much from the night time legibility of this watch, go ahead and give this one a shot.
Thanks for reading!