Themed watches are always fun and Bangalore Watch Company has made them a speciality in 2020. Earlier this year, we showed you the MACH 1 series that paid homage to India’s MiG 21 Type 77, the country’s first supersonic jet fighter. Many design elements on the dial, crown and case back were directly related to the MiG 21, and an updated design recently debuted as well with the Officer’s Blue. The brand’s latest themed watch is the Cover Drive, which honours India’s most popular sport, cricket. Although unique and a bit specialized, it remains practical, stylish and well priced.
Bangalore Watch Company was founded by a husband and wife team in 2018, and both Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj have worked to set a new standard of watchmaking in India. They didn’t come from an industry background and both left successful careers in tech and consulting, but a passion for watches and business acumen led to a brand that truly represents the country. We’ve covered many themed watches here at Monochrome, such as the Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Special Edition and Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Cinema (and the Raymond Weil Freelancer AC/DC Limited Edition was fun), but what sets Bangalore Watch Company’s apart is consistency. Each themed collection highlights something special about India and cricket is somewhat of a religion, comparable to football (soccer) throughout Europe. It’s perfect for this Indian watch.
The Specialized Bezel
At first glance, the Cover Drive appears to be a dive watch, but the unidirectional bezel’s markings are certainly different. It’s designed to track elapsed overs (a group of six pitches from the bowler) in either a 50-over (full day game) or 20-over (3-hour game) format. Rotating counterclockwise, the bezel can track the chase, which is when the second team at bat tries to score more than the total sum of the first team.
There aren’t a series of innings like in baseball – each team bats just once via either 50 or 20 overs. During the chase, the bezel’s starting point is set to 50 or 20, depending on the game format, and you rotate one click after each over. Are you with me so far? If you’re not watching a cricket match, the bezel doubles as a 50-minute countdown timer as well, so it has universal practicality.
A solid, detailed case
The stainless steel case of the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive, brushed with polished edges, is 40mm in diameter and 12.3mm in height (48mm lug-to-lug), hitting a sweet spot for an urban sports watch. The knurled pattern on the bezel is designed after the grip on a cricket bat, which is also seen on the push/pull crown. Flip the watch over and the solid case back has a detailed embossed image of a right-hand batsman playing a shot to the covers. A sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating protects the dial and although the crown doesn’t screw down, water resistance is still rated at 100 metres. The straps are oil-pulled leather with signed pin buckles and custom stitching that emulates a cricket ball.
Dial and hands
There are plenty more cricket references on the dial, which comes in three themed colours – black (Pavilion), green (Outfield) or brown (Pitch). We have the Outfield model on-hand, which is my favourite as most cricket matches are played on grass. The dial has a sandwich design with a bottom layer of C3 Super-LumiNova, visible through cut-out indices and Arabic hour markers at 4 and 6 o’clock. Those two numerals represent cricket boundary shots, like a home run in baseball, and also add a cool aesthetic. The indices themselves are shaped like cricket stumps with triple markers at 12 o’clock, which represents a wicket that the batsman protects. A wicket is three stumps that support two smaller sticks (bails) that determine when the wicket is “broken” or “put down.” Yes, I’m a little confused myself.
The cricket theme continues with the hands as the counterweight of the seconds hand resembles a cricket bat. The black hour and minute hands are not themed, but large and legible with a full coating of Super-LumiNova. A perimeter minute track sits on an interior flange with a cricket ball image at the top, serving as the starting point for the rotating bezel. Bangalore Watch Company’s logo is applied below 12 o’clock.
A Sellita SW200 automatic powers the collection, which is an alternative to the ETA 2824. It has 26 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 38-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and hacking seconds, and the usual date function has been removed to eliminate a phantom setting. This standard grade variant has an average accuracy of +/- 12 seconds per day, but four grades are available (same as the ETA counterpart).
As an American, I’m admittedly not very familiar with cricket and have a lot more knowledge about its cousin, baseball. That being said, I’m a huge fan of the Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive. The multiple references to cricket can be appreciated by many sports fans and the attention to detail is impressive, right down to the custom knurled pattern on the bezel and crown. Although a scoreboard provides all necessary statistics during a game, it’s cool that you can still track elapsed overs with the bezel, keeping the wearer engaged. However, it’s important that it doubles as a 50-minute countdown timer, preventing it from being a rather niche tool watch.
If you take away the cricket references, you’re still left with a stylish sports watch with a cool Panerai-ish sandwich dial. At 40mm, the size is also perfect for daily wear and just about any occasion (save for a black-tie affair). Nirupesh and Mercy are really carving out a market with collections that represent the best of India. I was already a fan of the MACH 1 series and this new Cover Drive is my favourite Bangalore Watch Company piece to date.
Availability & Price
All three Cover Drive models retail for USD 760 (INR 56,680) and are available online from the brand’s website. For more information and to place an order, visit bangalorewatchco.in.