Pancor Watch P02 Review
and My Kickstarter Buying Experience

By: Jason Tricoli

It was only August of last year that I was catapulted into the world of watches by a birthday gift. An NH35 movement and a display case back was all it took. A neural superstructure that had lay dormant for 34 years of my life was activated by the hypnotic movement of a balance wheel.

From then it was obsession. Pouring over watch reviews on Youtube. Endlessly scrolling through Instagram. It remains a mystery to me what I used to do with the time I now spend looking at watches.

I am nostalgic for those early days. The purity of ignorance. I remember stumbling onto a picture of a Tudor North Flag and thinking it “looked cool.” I can still feel the way my naive mind reeled at the ~$3,500 price tag. Yet here was the Seiko SKX that the internet adores and it only cost ~$200! This was a time when everything was new and possibility was around every corner.

I don’t know how it happened, but my watch-seeking eventually led to Kickstarter. Kickstarter was a cornucopia of watch diversity. Watches made of wood, watches made of cars; hell, they even had watches made of reclaimed rocket metal and meteorites!

Eventually, I found the Pancor Watches P02 and I fell in love with it. This watch called to me for a three reasons: (1) It had a hi-beat movement. All of the watches I had experienced up to this point were 21.6k beats per hour, and I yearned for a smoother sweep; (2) it was black PVD and I thought that was awesome; (3) And the power reserve reminded me of that elusive Tudor North Flag.

Before I get through all of my thoughts on my Kickstarter experience, let’s get into the watch itself.


 
 

Case & Crystal:

    • Dial: 42mm
    • Lug to Lug: 50mm
    • Lug Width: 22mm
    • Thickness: 13mm
    • Crystal: Flat Sapphire

The Pancor Watches P02’s case is entirely black PVD. The crystal sits slightly recessed in an unadorned bezel. The long 50mm lug to lug length is slightly helped by the fact that the lugs angle down. The screw down caseback features a display window, showing off the Miyota 9132 movement and a black PVD rotor to match the case. The Pancor P02 features a custom crown that is only a few millimeters wide, but is a whopping 9mm in diameter. I didn’t think I would like the crown from the pictures, but it is easy to use when setting and winding the watch while also being out of the way because of how slim it is.

Even though the Pancor Watches P02 is big for my 6 and ¾ inch wrist, the black PVD of the case helps it fade into the background. This helps draw the eye naturally to the dial of the watch. The Pancor’s PVD is consistently applied. The only downside of this PVD case is that there is no interplay of mixed surfaces such as brushed and polished that is common (and interesting) on other watch cases.

The Dial:

The Pancor P02 features a sandwich dial with a matte black top layer. The hour markers are created with cut outs in the top which reveal the bottom white layer. The watch is powered by the Miyota 9132 which features three complications. A power reserve, date, and 24 hour sub-dial reside at the 12, 3, and 6 o’clock positions, respectively. Rounding out the dial is the brand name Pancor written in plain white script. The watch has two white and grey baton hands and a very long blue second hand.

In addition to the blue second hand, the bottom part of the power reserve register and the minute markers on the chapter ring are a matching blue. These small splashes of color add a lot of character to the dial. In a show of consistency, the watch uses BGW9 lume which is also blue. The application could have been stronger, but I really like the attention to detail with the matching lume color (the Pancor Watches P02 also comes in a green and yellow colorway and that one features green Superluminova C3).

I have two complaints about the dial. My first complaint involves the minute and hour hands. While the second hand is very long and reaches almost to the chapter ring, the hour and minute hands are somewhat stubby. My second complaint is about the date window. While I appreciate that the date uses a white date on a black background to match the dial of the watch, the aperture is a touch too small which makes the date difficult to read when not viewing the watch straight on.

Other than those two complaints I very much like the dial. It is busy, but cohesive.

The Strap:

The strap of the watch is black nylon with a leather backing. I appreciate the attention to detail in that the hardware of the strap was also PVD black. There is also a small Pancor symbol on the keeper as well as in the leather backing. The strap is comfortable, but it seems to be wearing out fairly quickly. Fortunately, the strap features quick release spring bars, and the watch looks great on a NATO. With a 22mm lug width, you will have no trouble finding options for this watch.

The Movement:

    • Caliber: Miyota 9123
    • BPH: 28,800
    • Power Reserve: 40 hours
    • Stated Accuracy: -10 ~ +30 sec/day

You’ll find the Miyota 9132 powering the Pancor P02. This hi-beat movement hand winds and hacks. The winding profile is so smooth it almost doesn’t feel like anything is happening. I actually prefer a more tactile feedback while winding a watch. However, it is very fun to watch the power reserve indicator climb towards the plus symbol with each turn of the crown.

The rotor of this Miyota is PVD black to match the case and features the Pancor symbol. This one has been quite accurate, ~+/- 5 seconds a day. My only complaint about this movement is that the automatic winding only occurs in one direction. This means occasionally you will move your wrist in such a way that the rotor will enter a rapid counterclockwise spin which you can feel. While it is disconcerting at first, it is a fun reminder of the mechanical innards of the watch.

Overall Thoughts on the Pancor Watches P02:

Overall, I am happy with this watch. With the PVD coating, and mostly monochrome color scheme, it lends itself well to different straps. My personal favorite is the blue and black NATO shown above. The watch doesn’t really fit into any of the standard categories: diver, dress, racing, etc. It is more like a casual fashion watch with a soul.

My Kickstarter Experience:

This is purely based on my experience so it may be anecdotal, but here is my advice on buying a Kickstarter watch.

    1. Be prepared to wait.
      The watch was shipped pretty close to deadline. The goal was April 2018 and mine shipped in May of 2018. However, I backed the watch in September of 2017. Of course I knew I had to wait, but the waiting process was stressful for other reasons. For example, at the time I backed the watch I had not yet discovered that a 50mm lug to lug watch was at the maximum my wrist could handle. If I had known that, I might have skipped on backing this watch. So keep in mind your taste might evolve over the period you wait for a Kickstarter watch.
    2. Expect a few changes.
      The watch evolved from the prototype slightly. Originally, the chapter ring had a small bead marker at each of the minute locations. However, during production there was a worry that if any one of them fell off, it would basically ruin the watch. So the chapter ring evolved to printed markers. I was okay with the change, but there was an angry minority that expressed their frustration with the change in the comment section on Kickstarter.
    3. Know you are taking a chance.
      The watch met my expectations. However, in retrospect I think I did get a bit lucky. This was Pancor’s second watch so I had some degree of confidence that they would be successful with this second model. But no matter how many pictures or videos you see of a watch, actually experiencing it “in the metal” can be jarring. This is true of something as ubiquitous as the Seiko SKX. This problem is compounded with a Kickstarter piece because there may not be many photos or videos of the watch, and what does exists is likely of a prototype. Finally, selling a watch from a microbrand that is not popular may be very difficult if you decide the piece isn’t for you.

If you feel comfortable taking a risk, I think a Kickstarter watch can be an adventurous option. You can also get a pretty good deal, especially when early backers get a discount. At my Kickstarter backer level I paid ~$280 for the Pancor P02 which included a high beat movement and a sapphire crystal. As is true in more than just watches, your best bet is doing research and carefully vetting what is on offer.

The Pancor P02 is still available in both the blue and black PVD and the green and stainless steel options.


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