By Gary Girdvainis.

Like so many watch enthusiasts, brothers Jonnie and Jeff LaMotte had a vision to create a watch of their own – and unlike the vast majority of dreamers, the brothers LaMotte have brought their dream to life.

The LaMotte Balboa

Crafted with a less-is-more approach, the Balboa by the California-based LaMotte Watch Company embraces a design that is crisp and clean without excess – anything. 

When you open the (California-sourced) packaging, the LaMotte Balboa is not a shock-watch with a rampant rainbow of colors, nor will you in awe of a massive 50mm case better suited for a desk clock than a watch. What you will see is a right-sized watch with a subtlety that can be underwhelming at first – but grows on you the more closely you look and the more you wear it.

At 39mm the 316L stainless Steel Balboa is easy to wear as the mid-size case rides very nicely on the wrist without reminding you that it’s on your arm every minute of the day. When you do roll your wrist to check the time, the hand-made leather strap leads the eye to the applied numerals standing tall as they rise from the silver circular grained dial.

Like the hands, the numerals are enhanced with X1 Superluminova that glows an electric blue for ease of reading in low light conditions. Both the front and the back have flat sapphire crystals, and each watch is individually pressure tested to 10atm. 

Worth noting is that these watches achieve a 10atm rating without the need for a screw-down crown, thanks in large part to a double gasket system engineered into the stem/crown.

American calibers

Built in partnership with the Arizona-based watchmaking company FTS, the Balboa is also one of the early adopters of the recently released Americhron 7000 series of automatic winding movements. 

Unlike so many other “new” movements, the Americhron 7000 is not a clone of any other movement and is-fact a new design that embraces time-tested engineering in its own unique layout. Beating at 28,800 with a power reserve of just under forty hours, the Americhron has a traditional lever escapement, is anti-magnetic and shock resistant per ISO standards, and comes with a five-year warranty.

Designed to be service-friendly, the Americhron 7000 can be serviced and repaired by any qualified watchmaker that can work on traditional automatic winding movements.

Each LaMotte is individually tested for chronometry and certified as meeting or exceeding factory specifications for accuracy. On top of the five-year warranty on the movement, the LaMotte brothers have also decided to offer an eight-year warranty against manufacturing defect.

Thanks to the monochromatic mien of the Balboa, LaMotte’s first release feels right at home when active, for casual times, or even dressed-up for a night on the town and picks up on whatever couture you put around it – from a Speedo to a tuxedo. 

Limited to only fifty individually numbered watches, the Balboa will retail at $895 and is delivered with two straps and a certification card signed by the watchmaker who built, tested, and certified that particular watch. 

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