Manufacturer: Houtman Watches | Price: £270 GBP ($375 USD)
The Pilbara from Houtman Watches is yet another diver I discovered by total accident, whilst browsing through my usual social media pages, groups and feeds. As quite a few of you are aware, I’m a total sucker for white dials, so when I saw a white Pilbara staring back at me on Instagram, I just had to investigate further. A few emails back and forth to Houtman, the white dial version was winging it’s way to Scotland, all the way from Houtman in sunny Australia.
- Dimensions: Case – 41.1mm, Thickness – 11.2mm, Lug to Lug – 48.2mm, Lug Width – 22mm
- Movement: Miyota 9039, 28,800vph, 24 Jewels, Hackable, Self Winding, 42hr Power Reserve
- Case: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel, Polished Chamfered Edges
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Coin Edge, Ceramic Insert, Fully Lumed
- Dial: Printed, Baton Shaped Hands, No Date, Sunburst or Textured
- Lume: Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9
- Bracelet: Fully Brushed 316L Stainless Steel, Engineer Style, Solid Links, Push Pins, Custom Milled Clasp
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Water Resistance: 200m / 20ATM / 660ft
- Caseback: Screw Down, Embossed ‘Red Dog’ Artwork
- Crown: 6.5mm, Screw Down, Signed, Lumed Logo
- Weight: 161g (Sized up for my 6¾″ wrist)
- Where to Buy: Houtman Watches
- Warranty: 2 Years International
Houtman Pilbara Colour Options
Case & Crown
The case of the Houtman Pilbara has a diameter of 41.1mm. The lug to lug is 48.2mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at a rather svelte 11.2mm. The case, caseback, coin edge bezel, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the case is mostly brushed, with the addition of polished chamfered edges, that run along the top edge of the case and down over the edge of the lugs. Overall, it looks fantastic as this attention to detail certainly gives the watch that extra wee touch of premium. The way the lugs curve down is done perfectly, as it hugs the wrist beautifully.
The Houtman Pilbara has a water resistance rating of 200m, which is bang on plenty, if you ask me. The proportions of the Pilbara are near perfection, as it wears brilliantly on wrist and it’s also extremely comfortable. The signed crown is nicely sized at 6.5mm, looks great with it’s embossed and lumed logo, it’s also a piece of cake to operate with tons of grip. There’s no wobble either when the crown is in use and you can also feel a nice wee pop as you unscrew it. The tolerances are very good with the Pilbara, with nothing wrong jumping out at me that should be altered. The overall finishing of the Pilbara is of a very high standard too.
Strap / Bracelet
The Houtman Pilbara comes fitted as standard with an excellent 22mm, fully brushed, engineer style 316L stainless steel bracelet, that I’d certainly class as a cut above the rest. It has all the bells & whistles you might expect to find from a bracelet of this overall quality. You’ll get solid links throughout, female end links for instant articulation, push pins for adjusting and/or sizing, as well as a fully milled & signed clasp. That’s pretty much every single box ticked. ✔️
The clasp itself has chamfered edges, which is an appreciated little extra touch, that does actually match the overall aesthetics of the bracelet very well indeed. When I first saw the clasp though, I think you’ll know what I’m going to say here… micro-adjustment wise, there’s only a total of just 2x holes, which really just isn’t enough. At the bare minimum, this should be at least doubled to a total of x4. The bracelet does have a nice little taper to it though, going from 22mm at the lugs, down to around 19.5mm at the thinnest most point, before heading back up to approximately 21.5mm at the clasp. Nicely done!
Movement / Accuracy
The chosen movement for the Houtman Pilbara is the high beat, smooth sweep Miyota 9039. This Japanese movement is self-winding, has 24 jewels and the oscillating weight spins up, giving you up to a very reasonable 42 hour power reserve. The balance runs at 28,800vph ‘4Hz’ and the movement is also hackable. Checking the accuracy on my trusty timegrapher, after running the Pilbara for just a couple of weeks, I was pleasantly surprised with the final results, with the Pilbara coming in at an average of just +5 seconds per day, with minimal beat error. A fantastic result, that is still miles within the manufacturers tolerances.
Dial, Bezel & Hands
Taking everything into account, it all adds up to a very well designed and legible dial. However, I would have loved to have seen a date option for the Pilbara, with preferably a colour-matched date wheel at the 6 o’clock position. Next up however, are the baton shaped hour and minute hands, that are actually very nicely executed, with their simplistic yet lovely aesthetic. The lumed small baton shaped section of the seconds hand is rather nice too, with the actual tip of the seconds hand reaching right out to the inner edge of the reversed white on black minute track. Overall, I am most definitely a fan of this design approach.
The lume on the Houtman Pilbara is executed very nicely indeed, even on this pre-production prototype. Initially, it is rather potent and even although it will obviously fade over time, it is still legible during the wee small hours. The actual formula that’s been used on the Houtman Pilbara is Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9. You’ll also notice in the image below, that the logo on the crown is also lumed, and it does match the tone & strength of the lume on the dial and hands.
I get sent quite a lot of watches every month, and as the majority of my reviews are of microbrands, a high percentage of them are actually pre-production prototypes. As prototypes go, some of them can be described as nothing less than just garbage. This prototype however, or proof of concept as some might call it, is actually around 99% complete in my opinion. The overall standard is very high indeed… fantastic finishing, tight tolerances with no QC issues found anywhere.
I have a lot of admiration for this watch, as I could pretty much call it that perfect everyday watch, that I’d be more than happy to wear day in, day out. It’s slim enough at just over 11mm to fit under any cuff, not that I would wear a bloody shirt & tie… fuck that! Jeans & t-shirt for this mad Scotsman! Where was I? Oh aye… what’s not to love about this model from Houtman? It’s an excellent timepiece that I wholeheartedly recommend. Just fix that bloody micro-adjustment issue and is there any chance of a date option at 6 please? Do that and I reckon I’d be first in the queue of a long line of customers to pick one of these up.