VanBanner Watches embodies the true spirit of the microbrand–a one-man operation producing watches out of a love for horology and an enthusiasm for design. While the brand has experienced both highs and lows since its inception, the Parkingmaster 2.0 represents a triumph. It is also a story of determination and perseverance through adversity.
We have reviewed two VanBanner watches in the past–the LEA (due for production in 2022) and the original Parkingmaster, which sadly failed to reach its funding goals. However, this did not stop LV from returning to the drawing board for the Parkingmaster 2.0. What I considered to be a fun value proposition in the original Parkingmaster has finally come to fruition in a slightly different, somewhat improved, iteration.
The Parkingmaster 2.0–so-called because of its countdown bezel useful for monitoring your parking meter–is a tough and rugged toolwatch, boasting 200m of water resistance. Its case is 40mm in diameter, with a slightly larger bezel–coming in at 41mm. It measures 48mm lug to lug, and is 14mm thick. The case has circular brushing along the top and vertical brushing along the sides. In shape, it is a long, contemporary interpretation of the skin diver. There is no beveling or chamfering anywhere. The watch is all straight lines and broad planes. The lugs are conveniently drilled.
The caseback–also circularly brushed–has a sapphire window through which you can view the workhorse Miyota 9039 (though this is partially obscured by red branded printing). The bezel is a solid coin-edged affair that appears to be bead-blasted. It is 120-clicks and uni-directional. The large crown is nicely machined and interestingly positioned at the 3:30 mark. It is screwed down and lumed in red.
Speaking of lume…this thing has quite a variation. The BGW9 appears in two tones on the dial; one for the handset, and another for the indices. The sapphire bezel insert is also lumed, including orange and red markers meant to warn you of your expiring time.
The crystal is a single-domed piece of sapphire with AR on both sides. The single dome allows for interesting edge distortions, but can also obscure the dial at certain angles.
The bracelet is a stainless steel flat link. Like the case, it is entirely brushed and without beveling. It uses solid, screwed links and has milled clasp with push-button release and six levels of microadjust. It is signed in the VanBanner logo.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
40mm Diameter (41mm /w bezel)
48mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
120-Click Countdown Bezel (Lumed, 2 colours)
Screwed Crown and Caseback
200m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Single-domed Sapphire /w AR (top and bottom)|
BGW9 SUper-LumiNova (2 colours)
|Movement||Miyota 9039 |
42-Hourours Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Flat Link|
/w Milled, Fold-Over Clasp
Noted improvements over the original Parkingmaster include the triangular pip at 12 on the bezel, which seems to suit the design language better. The gradations of colour on the countdown bezel are also more visible and visually interesting. The case–which was finished in black PVD–now looks sharper in the more popular stainless steel, as well. And certainly, the high-beat movement choice is step up. But most of all, the addition of a solid bracelet, where there was only a leather NATO, and the bump from 100m to 200m of water resistance, are the biggest improvements.
The Parkingmaster looks and feels like a toolwatch. However, the case and bracelet finishing–with their lack of bevelling–can feel a little sharp and raw. In some ways, that is part of the watch’s charm, but don’t expect Swiss or Japanese refinement.
The Parkingmaster 2.0 remains fun watch. What it lacks in finishing, it makes up for in presence. The white model featured here makes great use of colour; however, there are two other references with sunray dials of blue and green which are hard to miss. The domed sapphire, in conjunction with the polished indices and sapphire bezel insert, do a lot to catch and reflect light. This is a solid watch, too. It feels tough as nails. At the moment, all three versions of the Parkingmaster 2.0 are sold out. But don’t worry. A restock is due early in the new year.
The Parkingmaster 2.0 retails for $388CAD, or approximately $300USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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