If you haven’t come across Briston watches before, here’s a bit of background. The brand was founded in 2012 by Oxford graduate Brice Jaunet, a French entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the watchmaking industry. Jaunet wanted to create a brand that reflected his inspirations, passions and interests, fusing classic mid-century style with the spirit of old-world university life.
As a result, Briston watches have become known for their sporty, chic and slightly quirky design. They definitely have a certain je ne sais quoi, with a look that is a little bit preppy, a little bit clubhouse. Basically, they are watches for well-travelled, well-dressed chaps who probably rowed at university or played a bit of rugger back in the day.
The Streamliner Adventure is a bit different though. This one tones down the usual vibrant ‘college colours’ in favour of a more natural, muted and outdoorsy palette. And though the case is made of the same tortoiseshell cellulose acetate used in various other Briston watches to create their distinctive look, here the focus is on lightness and robustness. As well as an analogue dial, it also incorporates a dual digital display to add proper ‘tool watch’ functionality.
Who is the Briston Streamliner Adventure Watch For?
It’s a watch for sporty, outdoorsy types who need a watch that suits their lifestyle: one that can take a few knocks when you hit the trail, but which also works for daily wear. So, it’s more refined and elegant than a G-Shock, yet still looks ready for adventure.
The watch case is made of cellulose acetate, which comes in attractive green, grey and tortoiseshell colours. It’s semi-translucent, which reveals a stainless-steel body protecting the movement, plus steel pushers and crown. Flipping the watch over, you also get a stainless-steel, screw-down caseback. These elements are finished in either matt black or bronze via a PVD (physical vapour deposition) treatment applied to the metal. PVD coatings are generally harder and more corrosion-resistant than painted or electroplated coatings, with good impact strength, abrasion resistance and durability. A plus for all-round toughness then.
In short, you get a very distinctive-looking watch that is also well equipped to withstand a few dings and scrapes. Admittedly, that acetate case is unlikely to be as strong as an all-stainless-steel case, but on the flipside, it is much lighter. The bezel is made of sturdy black plastic and the crystal is made of 3.5mm-thick K1 mineral glass. K1 has a higher scratch resistance than acrylic or standard mineral glass, and though it’s slightly inferior in hardness to the sapphire crystals found on most high-end watches, it actually has better shatter resistance than sapphire.
The strap is thick nylon webbing with a Velcro closure that feels nicely retro. It’s very secure and water-resistant too, though easily interchangeable if you did want to swap it out for something even more adventure-proof. It might be an idea – we reckon that Velcro would soon get mucky, smelly and frayed on a long-distance backpacking trip.
This is a fairly large watch, with a 44mm case. It’s a fraction under 12mm thick, and the cambered barrel shape (known as a ‘tonneau’ case in classical horology) gives it plenty of wrist presence. But thanks to the use of lightweight materials, it doesn’t feel heavy or unwieldy when wearing it – in fact, it’s easy to forget you’ve got it on at all. And even though the crown and pushers protrude a little from the case, we didn’t find that they dug into our hand or snagged on cuffs or sleeves.
With that Velcro strap, chunky case and oversized bezel, the Streamliner Adventure channels distinct Timex Expedition vibes, while the digital time-date display with secondary alarm and stopwatch functions reminds us of old Casio watches from our childhood. It’s definitely got a bit of late ‘80s-early ‘90s charm, which is a good thing in our book.
The two digital screens are both backlit, illuminating in green when you press the top left-hand pusher. The bottom left pusher cycles through 24hr time, a 1/100ths second stopwatch with a split lap timer, and an alarm function. The top display shows the day, date and month. The main dial has hour and minute hands and a layered outer ring with painted hour markers and a minute track.
Our test sample had no lume on either the dial, bezel or hands, which was slightly disappointing, since it means that to see the time in the dark, you have to use both hands to illuminate the backlight. Not a dealbreaker, but we also found that if it’s between anytime 5 and 7 am or pm (or similarly, anytime between 25 past or 25 to the hour), the hands get in the way of the digital time display, which is occasionally frustrating. It’s a minor niggle though.
The watch is rated at 100m/330ft water resistance, which ensures it’s well equipped to deal with daily life. Having said that, it doesn’t have a screw down crown and the pushers look a little vulnerable to water ingress. As its earthy colourways suggest, this is more of a watch for land-based rather than seaborne adventures. Our advice would be not to worry too much about getting it wet, but generally stick to terra firma.
The movement is a dual digital/203A Miyota quartz – accurate and shock-resistant, powered by a 377 button cell battery. Usually this is a three-hand movement (hour/minute/second), but Briston have eliminated the seconds hand, presumably to reduce dial clutter and aid legibility – you can track the seconds via the bottom digital display anyway. Quartz is inherently more robust and less susceptible to shock than a mechanical movement, so while it might put off watch nerds, it’s a logical choice for an everyday adventure watch, and certainly makes sense given the ana-digi design.
This is a unique-looking watch that mixes different design influences and inspirations to create something that is simultaneously retro and modern. It’s undoubtedly distinctive and certainly doesn’t feel staid or boring, making this a good watch for outdoorsy types. We like all the colourways but were especially drawn to the bronze version, which looks particularly stylish.
On the wrist, the throwback 80s-90s elements also rekindle a bit of childhood enthusiasm and teenage rebellion. Or, to put it another way, it made us want to buy a BMX again. We guess what we’re saying is that this feels like a watch with attitude – but it doesn’t take itself too seriously either. And that’s a pretty good way to approach all outdoor adventures, right?
The Briston Streamliner Adventure is priced at £295 or €330.
Price: £295 / Cellulose acetate case with stainless steel crown and pushers / Screw down stainless steel case back / Dual digital/Miyota 203A quartz movement / 100m/10 ATM water resistance / K1 mineral glass crystal / Signed, knurled crown / Velcro webbing strap with anti-scratch system.