Pramzius Berlin Wall Watch Review
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
When I first read discussion about the anticipated release of the Pramzius, Fall of the Berlin Wall timepiece, my first thought was, this was going to be a crazy cool design concept for a timepiece. But admittedly, after seeing the early prototypes, which included the daring, colored, graffiti relief across the dial, I wasn't sure how the bold design would resonate with watch collectors, and if the Fall of the Berlin Wall would be relegated to little more than a novelty timepiece.
The Pramzius brand is the brainchild of Craig Hester, owner of R2A Watches / Detente Watch Group. R2A has developed a strong distributorship, and relationship with Eastern European and Russian watch brands, the likes of Vostok Europe, Sturmanski, Tsikolia, Aviatior / Volmax, just to name a few. So it made perfect sense for Craig Hester, to look to the Russian, and Eastern European regions as influence, something he was already intimately familiar with, in the development and design-build of his own brand, Pramzius. To emphasize this point, Pramzius' first ever model release in 2017, the Trans-Siberian, was a timepiece whose design-build was influenced by a Russian Railroad pocket watch. Per Craig Hester, Pramzius models will always be designed, taking cues and influence from the regions that border the Baltic Sea; so if nothing else, Pramzius has a clear concept of its brand identity, and future models being created will bear this out.
The fall of the Berlin wall is one of the most notable and significant, if not the most significant, events in world history. And for Craig Hester and the Pramzius team to take on the design-build and engineering of a timepiece, that not only pays tribute to, but capsulizes specific characteristics of the Berlin Wall itself, in a true limited edition, on the surface sounds like a daunting, if not impossible task for a major brand to pull off, much less a micro. And no mistake, that the release of this timepiece coincides with the 30-year anniversary marking the date the Berlin Wall fell. So, how'd Pramzius do with the effort? Here is my synopsis.
For many brands, the presentation box is becoming an afterthought, and a way for many brands to cut their design and manufacturing costs. Thankfully, Pramzius recognized the presentation box is still an essential means for showcasing a timepiece. And is the first impression that a watch collector will develop about the watch and brand. The leatherette-bound, zippered presentation box, is emblazoned with with Pramzius logo, but is also functional, doubling as a 4-slot travel case. The case is designed with holders for two additional straps, and a 3rd spot for watch strap changing tools; definitely a travel-ready case, and nice added touch.
To appeal to a wider range of collector preferences, and varying levels of disposable income, the Pramzius, Berlin Wall Watch was created in a few different configurations and options. available in both 42mm and 48mm case diameters, with either etched, or full color graffiti relief on the dial. There are also two movement options made available for the timepiece. The trusty, Seiko Instruments NH35, is the standard movement offered, however, there is an upgrade option to a Swiss ETA 2824-2, for an additional $250. There is also the option to add a distressed, stainless steel bracelet, which matches the look of the case and bezel. For my purchase, I chose the 48mm, full color dial, powered by the NH35. Given how bulletproof the NH35 movement has proven to be through the years, I personally didn't see the need, or advantage in spending the additional $250 for the ETA upgrade.
Visually, this timepiece, and its overall presentation on the wrist is stunning. The 48mm case definitely covers some real estate on the wrist, but remains a comfortable wear. The comfort is aided by the rather unique, custom lug and case design, with the built-in end-link, an extension of the case, curving downward where it meets with the lugs, hugging the wrist and providing nice balance. The only disadvantage with this lug / case design, it pretty much negates the ability to perform a standard strap swap, but there are options available to procure custom straps for this timepiece.
My Berlin Wall shipped on a very high-quality, thickly padded leather strap, with the tanning, a slate gray with White contrast stitching, providing a nice complement to the distressed look of the case. The additional, Black textile strap provided, would most certainly change-up the attitude of this timepiece, to a slightly, more sporty look.
But without question, there's a lot of cool factor with the various design-build aspects of this timepiece. Start with the Graffiti artwork on the dial, replicated from actual artwork from the Berlin Wall, now forever immortalized in the West Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany, with the artwork rendering perfectly displayed against a marble dial; talk about POP! This is my first experience owning a timepiece with a marble dial, but the various color hues and striations are nothing short of magnificent.
A prominent design characteristic with the Berlin Wall Watch, is the rather obvious "89" on the dial. The 8 and 9 positions flip-flopped on the dial, to signify the year the Berlin Wall fell (1989), which certainly bears historical significance. The surgical-grade stainless steel case, if finished to replicate the distressed look of a weathered wall that stood for 28 years. An angular case design pays homage to the architecture of the Brandenburg Gate, a key entry point to the City of Berlin, with compass directions on the bezel, a thoughtful nod to the East / West demarcation line, that was the Berlin Wall.
Pramzius didn't ignore the caseback as my Berlin Wall Watch example sports an engraved relief of the Brandenburg Gate, along with the limited edition specs. The 2824 ETA upgrade, also comes with an exhibition caseback option.
The last design gem within the Pramzius Berlin Wall Watch, and probably the most important, is that this is a true DNA timepiece. For the uninitiated, a DNA timepiece is one that is built incorporating materials from another object; that object usually being noteworthy for some reason. And as DNA watches go, the Berlin Wall Watch arguably contains DNA with the most historical significance of any DNA timepiece ever produced. Encased within the crown of this timepiece, are pieces of the actual Berlin Wall, talk about wearing a piece of history on your wrist! On the cool meter, and Wrist-Game scale, having pieces of the actual Berlin Wall on your wrist, rates about a 20, on a scale of 1 to 10!
And yeah, for you lume lovers, the Pramzius Berlin Wall Watch has you covered, with many multiple layers (15) of Super Luminova; torch-like is an understatement!
The Berlin Wall Watch as the second model installment from the Pramzius brand, represents an excellent build on their part. It's a daring enterprise for any brand to design, and build a limited edition timepiece, that can truly live up to that status, while keeping the pricing at affordable levels; but Pramzius, and their Berlin Wall Watch covers all those bases.
A unique look, high-grade build materials such as sapphire crystal, marble dial, high-quality, custom bracelet and strap options, and incorporating DNA, pieces from the actual Berlin Wall into the engineering of this timepiece, there is nothing at all cookie-cutter or homage-like about this timepiece; a true stand-out timepiece that lives-up to the historical significance of the event it pays tribute to.
The look of the Berlin Wall Watch is definitely bold and daring, and may not be every watch collectors cup-of-tea, but if you're looking to wear a piece of true World history on your wrist, and adding a sure-fire conversation starter to your collection, look no further than the Pramzius, Berlin Wall Watch. This timepiece comes in various configurations, with my example retailing around the $650 USD mark. Please visit R2Awatches.com for additional details and information.