Home Watch Types Automatic Review: CJR Commander, now on Kickstarter

Review: CJR Commander, now on Kickstarter

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Last year, we reviewed the CJR Airspeed, the first watch from CJR. Now, they’re back from outer space with the CJR Commander, a skeletonized movement, and an open dial. CJR shipped one to us prior to launching their Kickstarter, and it’s worth having a look.

Like the Airspeed before it, the midcase is metal, sandwiched between two mineral glass bubble crystals. The minute track lines the periphery of the case, and is honestly a little too far from the tip of the hands to be useful in a precision way, but that’s a minor point here. This isn’t a precision time-teller, it’s a thing of rugged art.

Covering the lightly skeletonized movement at the top and bottom of the face are hexagonal grillwork which is reminiscent of a 2013 Mustang. Hour markers are suspended from a ring at the edge that slopes inwards, luminous, ringed in chrome. The seconds hand is a gold-colored sawtoothed disc that looks like a radiator fan. The 24 hour disc is a clear disc with red numerals viewed through the window between the fork that suspends it, looking not unlike a brake caliper or suspension A-arm, depending on whether you think of things as side view or top down.

The dial makes me think of this grille

Amongst all that’s going on here, on the right side of the movement is a little hint of Geneva stripes. The hands are red-tipped rockets. I realize I’ve compared it all to a car that takes its name from an airplane. CJR thinks of it as being directly related to the airplane. The fan blade seconds hand is a jet turbine to them. The 24 hour disc is the tool for an air traveler to know whether it’s day or night. The hands are as important as needles on a gauge.

In an improvement over the Airspeed, The back of the watch has a screw-in display back covering a metal movement holder that secures the movement on all sides, fastened at 12 and 6 o’clock, with the classic Miyota 82s7 movement inside. The rotor is hollow, and both the back of the winding bridge and the balance cock arm are decorated with Geneva stripes. For a Miyota, this isn’t bad.

The strap is a soft black leather finished with red stitching and red edges. The inside of the strap is brown, and proclaims proudly that it was made in Italy. It uses quick release bars for easy removal. I like how soft it is. At the lugs and the pin and buckle, there are three red stitches holding it all together. Lovely. Note that there’s another color variant that uses the black case, gold accent hands and indices instead of silver and jet stream blue instead of the molten red. I like the blue variant very much.

Would I have made slightly different choices if I were building this watch? Possibly, but what I love is CJR’s dedication to the bubble crystal case, with colored rings when viewed from the side. It’s a fun, easy to wear watch, especially if you like being reminded of the automotive cues that I see in it. If you’d like one, they’re available on Kickstarter for $449 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bhmagnet/cjr-commander-watch?token=5d4a7eca

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: CJR Commander
  • Price: Earlybird pricing starts at $449
  • Who we think it might be for: You like the open dial decorated with automotive or airplane accents.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would have removed the 24H and let more of the movement show through, and changed the open fan blade seconds to one with an enclosed wheel.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: I love the crystal.

Tech Specs from CJR

  • Case size: 44.2mm (51mm lug-to-lug)
  • Case material: steel (polished or black finishes available)
  • Crystal: dome, mineral
  • Strap: leather, pin buckle clasp
  • Movement: Miyota 82s7

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