Collinsville Watch Co. Limited Edition Kore 2 Review
By: Kaz Mirza
Immediately the Collinsville Kore 2 grabbed my attention because it’s a microbrand dress watch. In a world where I’m choked to my stinking gills in microbrand dive watches, a dress watch is a welcomed breath of fresh air. And in the case of the Kore 2, this is a microbrand dress watch that’s both visually stunning and a pleasure to wear. Speaking with Frank the owner, operator, designer, and soul behind Collinsville Watch co about the Kore 2 reveals a lot about not only the piece itself, but the brand as well.
The Kore 2 was designed to be a quintessential dress watch with the added special touch of being a microbrand piece. All the design and function choices behind the piece were methodically chosen in order to engender and evoke what a dress watch is, looks like, and how it should feel on the wrist. Without hedging the point, the reason why the Two Broke Watch Snobs tend to really favor pieces from Collinsville Watch Co. is because each piece that is created is a different expression of the owner’s specific horology passion and point of view – and the Kore 2 is no exception, acting as Frank’s expression of what a reliable, beautiful, and timeless dress watch should be.
Fabricated from 316L stainless steel, the case of the Kore 2 is both familiar but refreshing at the same time. The diameter of the case is a classic cylinder that rounds on the top edges towards the sapphire crystal while tastefully beveling in contrast towards the exhibition caseback. Lug to lug, the the case arches itself in a smooth curve in order to conform to the top-wrist diameter of the wearer, a feature that really helps the piece feel comfortable.
The sides of Kore 2 from the diameter of the main case cylinder to the sides of the lugs are a straightforward and classic high polish. However, the tops of the lugs are brushed while the smooth bezel is polished to a round shine. The contrast in brushed lug-tops to the polished smooth bezel helps to focus the eye on the center of the watch by creating an illuminated focal point in nearly every lighting condition. It’s just the way light rolls off that bezel and winks at you – can’t help but to give it your attention.
The piece has an exhibition caseback that displays the ever-reliable Miyota 90S5 (a decorated version of the 9015). The caseback is a screwdown type, contributing to the piece’s 50M water resistance rating. Super similar to the bezel, the caseback is a gleaming, high polish. But instead of being perfectly round like its adjacent counterpart, the caseback is slightly round towards the outer perimeter and then plateaus flat towards the exhibition window, which is made with a mineral crystal. The perimeter also features an engraving bearing the “Collinsville Watch Co.” name and “Kore 2” in script juxtaposed with “Stainless Steel 50meters 24 Jewel No. [x] of 6” in print. This is one of those extra special features that reminds you that Collinsville Watch Co. is one of those microbrands that does very small runs of pieces, which are still very accessible to the #watchfam.
As mentioned above, the Collinsville Kore 2 is powered by the Miyota 90S5, a decorated 9015 that hacks, handwinds, and has an approx. 42 hour power reserve. The movement is rated at about +/- 10-30 seconds a day. Obviously the most standout feature of the movement is it’s decoration. You’ll find some Cotes de Geneve along the main bridge plate behind the automatic rotor. In addition to that, the gold-plated balance wheel bridge visible in the Kore 2’s open heart features a very tasteful perlage. All in all, the Miyota 90S5 is just one of those movements designed to look and function beautifully.
And now to the most important part – the dial. Man, that dial… This is where the Kore 2 will leave its beautifully lingering impression with you long after you’ve finished reading this. The design itself is quite simple but these simple touches have a very dynamic and aesthetic effect on the nature of the piece. The Kore 2 dial is finished in a radial sunburst that can honestly look very different depending on the light you’re in. There are two distinct visual profiles of the Kore 2, (1) vibrant and textured — (2) subtle and soft. Both are beautiful and quite appropriate given the namesake of the dial color.
This Kore 2 in the review features its dial in Glacier Blue. I find the more textured and vibrant profile of the dial to be reminiscent of that vibrant resonating blue you can sometimes see on glaciers. While the subtle and soft profile reminds me more of that soft, almost cloudy white profile glaciers have. The image at the top of this article is a great example of how the dial can achieve its vibrant textured profile in the right lighting. But more often than not, you’ll see that the Kore 2 will have its soft and subtle side showing like in the photo below.
The overall composition of the dial is comprised of three different levels or tiers. Tier 1 closest to the outside perimeter of the dial is where the minute/second ticks and applied markers live. The ticks feature Arabic numerals in 5 second intervals from 05 to 60, which gives the dial a very grounded effect by breaking up the potential visual monotony of the ticks. The applied markers are a mix of Roman numerals and bars (with the Roman numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9). The applied markers are polished with very smooth edges and offer both refinement and legibility. Tier 2 is recessed below tier one and houses the Collinsville logo and tier 3 is recessed below tier two and features the open heart display window.
The bracelet is the other highlight of this piece. Honestly, it’s incredibly comfortable. It’s a highly segmented, five-link, butterfly clasp bracelet that hides its clasp when closed. Being highly segmented allows the bracelet to have a high level of micro-mobility, which means the bracelet conforms very comfortably to the diameter of your wrist. Each link features 5 subsections that alternate between polished and brushed, which adds more visual dimension and flair to the piece. The bracelet is also not too heavy nor does it feel too light – it’s balanced very proportionality to the rest of the watch.
If anything what you should take away from this assessment is that the Collinsville Kore 2 embodies what I feel is the quintessential element of a good, timeless dress piece: balance and direct methodology. A good dress watch is always familiar but with something that just makes it a little unique. In the case of the Kore 2, it’s the dial that makes this dress watch unique. Bearing that in mind, the watch was designed so that nothing overshadows the dial. The lugs are balanced and appropriate, the case is classic but beautiful, and even the crown is sized to be functional for a dress watch, which some may find to be a bit on the smaller side. But, any bigger and the crown would take away from the dial.
A good dress watch is something very personal, which means there will be elements of the watch that only you will notice as you spend time with it – certain nuances you won’t get by looking at pictures or reading a review. For the Kore 2, it’s that dial – I’ve seen the dial go through several difference hues of blue and many variances of textures. There are some nuances of the dial I’ve only seen once because the sun hit it just right – and no matter how hard I try to replicate it, I won’t get that same effect. But then again, the watch is designed in such a familiar fashion, that I can just put it on and go about my day. It’s the balance that’s important. These are the elements that Frank at Collinsville Watch Co understands and this is why he wanted to create a dress watch that was timeless, which I can confidently say is a success.
The Collinsville Watch Co. Kore II is available for $495 on a brown leather quick change strap or for $549 on the Butterfly Clasp bracelet pictured here in this review. Visit www.CollinsvilleWatch.com
Kaz has been collecting watches since 2015, but he’s been fascinated by product design, the Collector’s psychology, and brand marketing his whole life. While sharing the same strong fondness for all things horologically-affordable as Mike (his TBWS partner in crime), Kaz’s collection niche is also focused on vintage Soviet watches as well as watches that feature a unique, but well-designed quirk or visual hook.