The world of microbrands is vast and the offering of field-type watches has been increasing in the past few years, from very affordable variants to more expensive ones. There was therefore a niche to fill for mid-range field watches. Serica, a brand founded in 2019 by Jérôme Burgert–a watch enthusiast who spent 10 years in the industry and writing about all things horology–brings about a change of pace: a modern take on the genre, as if the Dirty Dozen could have been made today and not 80 years ago. A watch with character and great specs at still a reasonable price.
Coming in at a Goldie-lock case diameter of 37.7mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 46mm, and a height of just under 12mm, the Serica 4512 shines with its perfect proportions which makes it fit most wrists. Not too small, not too large, it looks great because the overall design of the watch head strikes a perfect balance between the dial opening and the fixed brushed bezel, meaning that the watch fits and looks true to size. Inside of it beats the manual wind STP1-11M or the SOPROD P24 movement (the newer batches are equipped with the SOPROD), either of which offer approximatively 40 hours of power reserve.
The case offers a mix of gentle brushed surfaces on most of the planes, and finally polished accents on beveled bezel edge. The latter creates concentric circles of light which creates a unique visual dynamism when looking at the watch straight down, and interesting reflections when looking at it from an angle. The domed sapphire crystal, equipped with inner anti-reflective coating, makes the black lacquered dial easy to read and beautiful to look at. The brushed arrow handset makes reading the time a breeze, so do the lume accents at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 markers.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
46mm Lug to Lug
Screwed Crown & Caseback
200m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire /w AR|
Broad Arrow Handset
Black Lacquer Dial
40-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Bonklip-style Bracelet|
The 4512, now in its second iteration, offers four dial variants as of March 2022: the Commando, here presented, the WMB with its more traditional military feel, the California and the latest addition to the family, the California TXD (for Tuxedo.) Regardless of which variant you choose, you will find yourself with one of the most versatile watches out there. It’s versatile not only because it fits a variety of wrist sizes, but also because the design strikes the perfect balance between dressy and sporty, making the 4512 at home hiking, diving, or at a cocktail party.
Designing a watch that can do it all is no small feat. It requires using key watch design elements that are familiar, like the broad arrow hands that are reminiscent of the first Speedmaster or the Nivada Grentchen Chronomaster, and combining it with the right proportions and technology to make the watch reliable and sturdy. Because in order to be a go-anywhere-do-anything watch, it was to be able to take a beating and be exposed to a great variety of environment. All of the mechanics of the 4512 are protected by a screw-down crown and caseback.
We have not yet mentioned the bracelet, and this for a good reason. On the one hand, the Bonklip-style bracelet is by far the most comfortable bracelet a watch could have: it’s lightweight and can be adjusted *ad infinitum* due to having a ladder-style link arrangement and a small clasp. It’s also superbly comfortable, both in hot days and during the winter time, and has no chance of pulling arm hair. On the other hand, however, its design and thinness make it the imperfect adventure companion.
Each link is folded and held to another link by way of a bent piece of stainless steel. Although it is sturdy for everyday wear—think going to work or playing with the kids—it is not the best companion for hardcore adventures due to the very nature of its construction, which is a shame since the watch yearns for adventure. Luckily, the 4512 comes with drilled lugs which means it’s easy to swap the bracelet for a rubber strap or NATO, therefore making the 4512 the perfect adventure companion.
For 575 EUR (690 with taxes), the 4512 positions itself perfectly in the middle of the world of field watches. It’s neither too sporty neither too dressy, and its great dimensions and reliable movement makes it a great everyday companion. Although one may feel that spending more than 500 EUR for a field watch is a bit steep, what you get is a watch that truly fulfills the category of a one-watch collection. That means that over time, the 4512 more than justifies the initial investment as it will most likely stop you from wanting to purchase a new watch anytime soon.
For more information, please visit the brand website.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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