After spending a few weeks with the Sartory Billard SB02, now that I’m in front of the computer typing up this review, I feel like I’m reviewing not one, but several watches. This is because the SB02 is a modular watch that can easily be customized by easily changing the strap and the bezel.
My review loan came with a gorgeous grey suede cowhide strap and also included in the parcel, there was a black suede leather strap too as well as three other bezels, a special screwdriver and extra screws. For the first week, I just wore it with the way it arrived, on the grey strap with the black metal bezel. It was so beautiful, I really didn’t feel the need to change anything on it. In general, I’m not the type of watch nerd that would enjoy changing anything on a watch. Personally, I like to keep things as they were designed, maybe because as a designer, I would feel that I disrespect the creator of a watch. But in this case, the watch was designed in a way to invite you to change things around.
We all know that changing a strap on a watch for a bracelet, or a NATO strap, the watch gets a completely new look. It is the most affordable trick to ease the itching for a new piece when the budget is tight. Well, let me tell you, changing the bezel can have an even more dramatic effect.
I tried each one of the other bezels: polished stainless steel, blue acetate and brown shell acetate, but then, after taking a few pictures with the blue bezel for this review, I quickly changed it back to the black bezel. The stainless steel, while it looked great with the grey strap, the watch lacked that beautiful contrast that the black bezel brings to the game and highlights the unusual shape of the inner bezel.
I tried the acetate bezels too and you can see here a couple of pictures with the blue version, but the thing I did not like about them was the lack of precision when it comes to their size. Both the brown and the blue were very tight and I had to press hard to pop them on the watch and getting them off it wasn’t easy neither. Besides the stress of handling them, once screwed on the watch, the SB02 reminded me of my Mom’s eyewear. Plastic is not exactly a material I wish to see on a watch I wear… But if you want to make your SB02 colourful, be my guest, they are really affordable.
I won’t go into details about the specs, you can find them at the end of this review, I would rather focus on the aspects that I like about the SB02. I really like the design for every angle — they really nailed the dial, the case is beautiful, the crown is easy to manipulate and the solid case back is interesting too – way better than having a see-through back showing a vanilla Miyota. There are many tiny details that reveal the attention to quality of the creators and to be honest, I had many pleasant surprises with this watch. When I hear modular watches, I’m always suspicious, it sounds like a marketing gimmick to hide the lack of quality or a boring design. But with the SB02 it is not the case, the possibility to easily change the bezel and the strap is just the cherry on top of a very solid product. It’s a great watch that can bring a lot of joy even if you will never change anything on it.
Case: mirror polished and brushed on the sides. 39mm diameter, 12 mm thick Stainless steel (316 L)
Case Back: Screw-down caseback, engraved
Water Resistance: 100 Meters
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Movement: Miyota 8215, automatic
Weight: 80 grams
Hour and minute hands with luminova
Dial: Brushed sunray finish, indexes treated with luminova
Strap: Suede and genuine leather, featuring a quick release spring bar system.
23 mm at largest > 20 mm buckle / 18 mm lug width.
Two-year, warranty against any manufacturing defect.
More at https://sartory-billard.com/en/