York & Front is a relatively new microbrand that was founded in 2018 by Canadian entrepreneurs and watch connoisseurs Henry Cong and Eric Sandher. The company operates out of Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario.
Like many microbrands, they’ve capitalized on the fact that flagship brands often inflate their prices by 5 times or more. Now, with the growing power of global trade, small companies around the world have been able to utilize the same quality Swiss and German components as major brands, at a much lower price.
According to York & Front’s official press statement announcing the release of their first watch, the founders said: “Our vision seeks to combine the best attributes of elegant, vintage timepieces with the high-end finishing, build robustness, and quality of a modern watch.”
Fair enough. I’ve had the opportunity to look at a prototype of York & Front’s first watch. The company also included a list of changes that were being made between the prototype and the final design, so I’ll be judging the final product with those changes in mind. Now, let’s take a closer look.
The Burrard Movement
As with any microbrand watch, it’s important to start by looking at the watch’s movement. The Burrard utilizes the veteran SW200-1 movement. This is a reliable, 26-jewel movement that ticks at a rapid 28,800 beats per hour.
It also offers a power reserve of 38 hours, enough to set aside for a day or two, but not the entire weekend. Of course, the crown can also be used for winding the watch if necessary, so an empty power reserve is just a minor inconvenience.
Alert readers will have noticed that there’s no date wheel on the Burrard’s dial, while the SW200-1 includes all the components for a date wheel. This typically means that the crown will have a “phantom” date setting, where the crown spins for no reason.
While the prototype I received did have this issue, York & Front noted that the final version of the watch will be using a custom-manufactured version of the SW200-1 that doesn’t have a date complication.
Unfortunately, delays in the global supply chain have tied up their order, so pre-orders have been delayed from November 15th. This is disappointing, but it’s good to know that York & Front has enough respect for their customers not to take anyone’s money until they’re ready to deliver.
The Burrard comes in two separate variants: a black dial and a white dial. Both versions feature large brushed silver numerals at the hour marks, with smaller numerals marking five-minute marks. Small hashes on the outside have a checkered design, simulating the appearance of a bezel.
On both variants, the minute and hour hands are wide and silver, with white centers that have a bright blue BGW9 lume coating. However, the second hand on the black version is a stark white, providing a sharp contrast, while the second hand on the white version is a brushed silver with a small diamond lume tip.
Other than those features and the York & Front logo, the dial is completely bare. There are no additional markings or complications, leaving a clean, classic look that’s suitable for virtually any situation.
The Crystal and Case
The crystal on the Burrad has a double domed design, which means that instead of a sharp edge at the top, there are two shallower angles cut into the crystal. It’s also sapphire, with an anti-reflective coating both inside and out. The sapphire is very clear when viewed from the front, while the cuts on the edge provide a bit of flash.
The case is constructed from stainless steel, with a flat, round bezel that doesn’t distract from the dial. The diameter of the case is 38mm, with a 6mm lug that has a grooved outer edge that’s easy to grip (excellent for small-medium wrist size). It’s 12mm thick, so it’s fat enough to have good wrist presence while still maintaining a low enough profile to pull a shirt cuff over the top of it.
The Burrard is water-resistant to 100 meters, and has a screw-down crown that won’t pull out just because it got snagged. This makes it reliable enough for swimming, so you won’t have to worry about taking it off during your everyday routine.
One thing I appreciated about the Burrard was the large number of extras that York & Front has included with the package. Each one of these watches includes both a black and a brown leather strap, with stitched reinforcement near the pivots.
If you want a more tactical look, you can also use the gray seat belt-style NATO strap, which is very tightly woven and can handle a lot of abuse. The kit also includes a leather carrying case, with storage pockets for each of the bands.
For more details, and to sign up for the Burrard offering please visit York & Fronts’ official website here.
To stay up to date with any news you can also follow York & Front on their Instagram page @yorkfrontwatches.