This week, #MicrobrandMonday returns, as we turn our focus to a new Singapore-based start-up, Audric. Last time, we had the opportunity to go in-depth with Brew Watch Co. and some of its most popular models; today we’ll be sitting down with Akshay Solomon of Audric and taking a closer look at his brand’s debut model, the SeaBorne 500 M.
Audric and Its Founders
Audric is led by friends and founders Solomon and Niranjan Parulekar, who have bonded over their shared love of watches, officially founding the company at the start of 2020 after about a year of design prototyping that began in 2019. Parulekar is a Ph.D student studying environmental science; his background in watches comes from being a part of the watch modifying (“modding”) community since 2011 and making custom watch parts since 2013. Solomon’s background is in computer science and leadership acquisition, and his initial appreciation for watches began when he was a boy, looking up in fascination at “the sweeping seconds hand of my grandfather’s watch,” which inside housed a hand-wound Citizen movement.
Parulekar, with his background in modding, also shares the title of designer at the brand, working with Solomon to prototype and produce the first of Audric’s watches. Solomon leads the company’s marketing and communication, reaching out to a vast swath of watch influencers and journalists to generate buzz around the start-up. Like many microbrands, Audric is working to build up its initial following via a Kickstarter campaign, focusing on a general English-language market rather than any specific geographic region.
As Solomon explained, the Audric name is unique and holds a double significance. In the tradition of many young companies, the first meaning is aspirational; “Audric” means “old and wise ruler,” a term of French origin that speaks to the ambitions of the start-up. The other is more personal for Solomon, being the name of his first-born son.
Though the name implies prestige, Solomon finds his greatest interest in more “utilitarian” timepieces. “Every watch should serve purpose,” he told me, which is why he’s often drawn to divers, chronographs, field watches, and aviation pieces rather than the more formal models available. It’s also likely why the first of the brand’s watches, the Seaborne 500 M, is a sturdy steel dive watch rather than a more delicate timepiece.
The SeaBorne 500 M
Taking a closer look at the upcoming SeaBorne 500 M, we find a chunky diver with a lot of personality. According to Solomon, the model takes its foremost inspiration from sea turtles, both in terms of physical appearance in the “angular and aerodynamic design” of the animals’ shells, and in what they represent: in his words, “patience, wisdom, endurance, and good luck.”
The new watch uses a large 43-mm brushed steel case, standing prominently on the wrist at 15.4 mm and featuring angled, faceted lugs on its top and bottom, while trapezoidal guards protecting a screw-down crown stands alert on its right side and a helium escape valve lay within a stylized left side of the case. Surrounding the dial is a thick unidirectional bezel with a printed white 60-minute diving scale. The bezel insert is made of domed sapphire crystal rather than the more common aluminum or expensive ceramic we frequently see on dive watches’ bezels.
Moving to the dial of the SeaBorne 500 M, which is available in a sunburst gray, green, blue, or matte black, we find an angled outer minute ring which hints at a functional dive computer with its coloring, but actually is fixed to the dial. This feature offers an interesting burst of contrasting color, but without any additional usefulness unless a dive is launched at the top of the hour. Deeper on the dial, we see a textured background with applied, rhodium-plated indices, alternating between circles and pentagonal shapes for each hour, while a date window lay at the 3 o’clock position. While sweeping over the face, and consequently the subtle printed Audric logo and watch descriptions on the top and watch of the dial, are two wide sword-style hands for the hour and minute with a stylized arrow pointer serving to count the seconds. The dial throughout features lume-filled accents to assist in timekeeping at deeper depths.
Inside the upcoming SeaBorne 500 M is the Sellita SW 200-1, a relatively common Swiss automatic movement capable of a 38-hour power reserve. The movement is protected via a solid screw-down case back engraved with a sea turtle image as well as some more of the watch’s descriptors. As the name of the watch indicates, it is water resistant to 500 meters, secured to the wrist for deep dives via a metal bracelet with a diving buckle and extending mechanism for easy adjustment.
The SeaBorne 500 M is uncommon.
Using a thick, heavy construction, it is certainly more a rugged tool watch than a more fashion-forward model, and likely will only appeal to a very specific group of collectors looking for an interesting — and colorful — heavy professional-grade dive watch.
For all its utilitarian elements, however, Audric has made a clear effort in giving the model some luxury intrigue as well. For example, the watch uses an uncommon sapphire bezel insert, rhodium plating throughout, a dial unlike any other I have seen in a dive watch, and some perlage finishing on its bracelet clasp, all alongside a well-constructed 500-meter water resistant case with a helium escape valve. Whether Audric’s new watch will thrive in the already crowded market of affordable divers remains to be seen, but with a solid resume and a lot of enthusiasm behind it from the brand’s principals, it certainly has better odds than most.
Following the SeaBorne 500 M, the forward-looking Audric has plans for a follow-up mechanical chronograph as well as a time-only field watch, both likely to launch within the SeaBorne collection and to share a number of design traits with the initial diver. Details on these models are limited, and will likely come pending the success of the SeaBorne 500 M.
The Audric SeaBorne 500 M launched on Kickstarter last week on June 2. The watch will be priced initally at $600 during the Kickstarter campaign, with regular retail price to start at $1,000.
To learn more and to sign up for the brand’s newsletter to stay informed on the launch and any updates, you can also visit the Audric website, here.