Linde Werdelin HB III Big Date Review
Let’s start by discussing all the things you DON’T get with a Linde Werdelin. In other words, these are all the reasons why a serious watch collector might NOT want add a Linde Werdelin to their collection. For starters, LW is a young brand with no decades-long history of fine watchmaking. In fact, Linde Werdelin was not even founded as a maker of Haute Horlogerie. They produce really high-end products in limited numbers, but they were never trying to be the next Patek or JLC. Go and search online a bit — you’ll see what I mean. Linde Werdelin watches are actually designed to be paired with a computer for use during extreme sports and that will turn off many watch snobs. You get the sense that Linde Werdelin is more about case and strap design than making intricate movements. And they don’t make anything classic or understated. Perhaps the key item that a Linde Werdelin lacks is brand recognition. Nobody knows them (yet). OK, the hardcore WIS on the forums know all about Linde Werdelin, but nobody after sporting mine for two weeks has recognised it. To the man on the street, it could be a cheap toy bought at a sports store. This will seriously turn many people off. I, on the other hand, actually like this anonymity.
The watch you see in this review is my own. So why would I want to buy a Linde Werdelin after stating all the points above? To answer that question, let’s go back to the very end of 2015. Adam had obtained a Linde Werdelin Green Oktopus Double Date Carbon to review for WatchPaper, and I got to try it. Just ask Adam about my reaction to it at the time. Man, that was one of the highlights of my blogging experiences. No joke. That piece was just mind-blowing. It felt like I had discovered an entirely different level of cool. I had first seen a Linde Werdelin on our partner forum, CWC, but the Green Oktopus was the first one I saw in the flesh. I was still obsessed with Rolex and Panerai at that time, but the Linde Werdelin had become a new grail. The Green Oktopus that I tried was outrageous — carbon materials, amazing quality and detail, futuristic design, a cool complication, and in-your-face style. I loved it!
For me, wearing a watch is all about expression. When you wear a Breguet, you are expressing a love for tradition, craft, heritage, quality and prestige. When you wear a Linde Werdelin, you are expressing a love for contemporary design, engineering, high-tech creations, and boldness. After wearing a Green Oktopus earlier, and then my own HB III, I feel that wearing a Linde Werdelin is like driving a Lamborghini. It doesn’t have the racing DNA of a Ferrari. It’s not as accomplished as a Porsche. But it is over-engineered, extreme, wild, loud and crazy high end. It’s just plain fun. Despite the fact that Linde Werdelin doesn’t focus on making their own in-house movements, they do actually use awesome engines in their watches. In some cases, the movement inside an LW was custom-built for that watch by suppliers of high-end calibres. Let’s see what’s going on with my HB III Big Date.
My watch is limited to 99 pieces that were built between 2014 and 2015. It uses an ETA calibre with a big date complication, meaning that the date has two separate wheels — one for each digit. When you set the date, the second digit alone moves until you go for from 19 to 20, for example. Then you see the 1 change to a 2. It is really cool. This little touch really gives the movement a high-end feel with a hint of complexity. I love the simplicity of three-hand watches and the big date just puts the cherry on the cake. I am gaining about 5-6 seconds per day and I have tested the power reserve at well over 40 hours. So, the performance seems good.
The dimensions of the HB III are misleading. It is supposed to measure 46mm, but it looks way smaller in real life. The case is all sharp edges and jagged corners. At first, it puts you off. We’re used to seeing smooth, sexy curves on high-end watches. On the wrist, however, it is magnificent. The HB III is an ergonomic masterpiece. Just look at the curved case and integrated rubber strap. This is where I have to focus- the fit.
For me, the main appeal of the Linde Werdelin is the fit on the wrist. It hugs the wrist. The awesome rubber strap curves around the wrist, so that I can wear it really loose and it stills sits completely securely on my wrist. This gives incredible comfort. The strap is thick and high-end. The buckle is rock solid. You could really do some activity with this watch and it will remain solid on the wrist. I have been wearing the HB III with business suits — it catches and pulls on some shirt cuffs, but fits fine under many shirts. Believe it or not, the watch looks amazing with a business suit. And, of course, it is awesome with any type of casual clothes. The watch fits and sits so comfortably on the wrist that it has become my default timepiece — if I can fit under my shirt, I wear it. I rock it with sweatpants on the weekend and with a tailor-made suit during the week. It has such a great feel on the wrist that I just don’t ever want to take it off.
The all-black look is made possible by coating stainless steel with DLC (diamond-like carbon). This supposedly makes the black surface super hard and resistant to scratches (HB stands for Hard Black). The visual effect on the wrist is that the watch looks rugged and utilitarian as opposed to shiny and blingy. It looks wicked. The light blue colour on the indices and numerals just pops. I am not a fan of rotating bezels, but this one rests securely in place. Legibility is not always good because I keep confusing the three hands – they look alike at a quick glance. Sometimes I have to stare it for a few seconds before I can tell which hand is which. But who cares? I want to stare at it! The only other minor issue is that the crown is difficult to operate. It is nestled in between two large pieces of the case and it is tricky to pull it out. Minor stuff. One thing I love is that the ridges on the dial actually serve as minute markers. If you want to synchronise the time between the 5 and 10 markers, for example, you can just line up the minute hand with one of the ridges. The hands, themselves, are really cool.
When you first see the HB III, it looks like something you only want to wear with t-shirts. But it is actually a great daily wearer. As I said, it works amazingly well with dress shirts. It’s gorgeous with casual clothes. It fits on the wrist like a dream and its big date complication is perfect for daily wear. Everything about this watch feels superior. So when nobody notices that your HB III is actually a very expensive watch, YOU will know that you are wearing something luxurious and special. There is a great pleasure in this, knowing what others don’t know. It adds to the cool factor of the watch.
I could go on about technical features, statistics, dimensions, materials, blah, blah, blah. But the ultimate test for any watch is how it makes you FEEL. Let me tell you, I feel amazing wearing the Linde Werdelin. It feels like something that was engineered to a high degree to fit my wrist perfectly. It feels upscale and built extremely well. The movement feels superb. The look is phenomenal — just awesome and unique and modern. It is bold and badass. It is cool…. I mean, a whole new level of cool. Wearing the HB III, I feel like Iron Man. The fact that hardly anybody can recognise the watch (or its crazy price tag) just adds to the coolness of the entire experience. It’s so cool that it doesn’t need anybody else to know it. When you wear the Linde Werdelin, you just step away from old-world watchmaking like Blancpain and you enter a whole new world. Strapping on an HB III is like climbing inside a Lamborghini and firing up the engine. After 45 different watches in 7 years, THIS just might be the one. This might be the piece that IS TimeCaptain. I mean, it feels made for my wrist. Its look blows me away. The coolness of the whole thing is just a blast. This Linde Werdelin is, for sure, the REAL deal.
If you’re interested in a Linde Werdelin, you can find some amazing deals floating around, and if that fails, Linde Werdelin was the first watch brand in the world to open their own pre-owned web-store, where you can easily score a great deal on a certified pre-owned piece. Or you can just buy your own brand new model. Go check them out. They have two main collections, and they are all INSANE. Have fun. As always, the fun is in the search…