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Product Review: Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection Watch

Product Review: Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection Watch

There are few accessories that can speak volumes the way a watch can. Notably, for men a fine watch conveys confidence, style and stature. The right watch will make a statement and the wrong watch will be an off-note distraction. This limited-edition Fort Dearborn Watch by Wolfpoint in Chicago is “the right watch.”

Wolfpoint is a newer watch company from Chicago that delivers quality timepieces for less than $200. The company launched in March 2018 with a welcoming direct-to-consumer sales model, making affordability a pillar of its foundation. As a company named for the famous confluence of three branches of the Chicago River (North, South and Main), Wolfpoint delivers exquisite timepieces that stand up to daily wear, pay homage to the rich history of industry work in the Windy City, and hit the sweet spot between style and versatility. To further express this confluence in literal and figurative terms, Wolfpoint uses a “Y” logo on each watch crown.

Wolfpoint’s founder is a fourth-generation watchmaker whose grandfather worked as a watch assembler in Geneva, Switzerland in the 1960s. Over the generations, the family has operated a boutique hand-assembled watch manufacturer in Asia and, through that, built lasting relationships with vendors they most trust.

Through their partners and ingenuity, they offer quality, Japan-made parts with American design, engineering and U.S. assembly. Wolfpoint has built a watch company from experience and dedication, not fads or fairytales.

Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection

With the debut of its limited-edition Fort Dearborn line, Wolfpoint has achieved an aesthetic of sleek minimalism that has the power to blend with nearly any dress code. Fort Dearborn is an apt namesake to represent this line. It was a famed fort built on the banks of the Chicago River in 1803. It was destroyed in the War of 1812 but rebuilt four years later at the same site. It lasted, though decommissioned for most of its time, until being engulfed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Stalwart, timeless and historically significant – these can be said both of the fort and the line of Wolfpoint watches.

For this review, we are looking specifically at the Fort Dearborn watch in Wolfpoint Blue, completed by a vegetable-tanned Horween Essex leather brown band.

There are many criteria one can consider before investing in a watch, and all can be applied to Wolfpoint watches. However, given that one of Wolfpoint’s missions is to make quality affordable, we do not have to give merit to aspects like weight (typically achieved by the use of precious metals). Nor do we have to consider splitting hairs between iconic brand names (think Rolex and Breitling) because Wolfpoint is out to make a name for itself. What we do judge this watch’s merits on is what one gets for the affordable price of sub-$200. And one gets a lot.

The Fort Dearborn is packed with exceptional quality, including a classic Japanese-made quartz movement, the Miyota 6P29; a surgical-grade 316L stainless steel case; scratch-resistant sapphire crystal; and a water-resistant rating of up to 5atm. The latter means the watch is resistant to withstand pressures equivalent to up to 50 meters in depth for 10 minutes. Note, this does not mean one can submerge the watch 164 feet underwater. For reference, Apple watches also carry a 5atm water-resistance rating, but they are not waterproof. At most, 5atm is good for wearing in the shower or during a downpour.

Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection

The Movement

The Japanese Miyota 6P29 movement is a workhorse falling into the multi-function category. This movement includes three eyes for Date, Day and 24-Hour markings. These are seen on the Fort Dearborn in the three circles on the enameled watch face. Left-most is the day of the week; right-most is the day of the month; at the bottom-center is the dial denoting 24 hours. The accuracy rating of the 6P29 movement is ±20 seconds per month, and the battery life is about three years.

Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection

The Case

The Fort Dearborn features a 316L stainless steel case, which has a higher purity level than “regular” stainless steel. It is sometimes referred to as A4 stainless steel or marine grade stainless steel. This is stainless steel most often used for manufacturing surgical and medical instruments.

Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection

Durability

Little is worse than having a timepiece marred to the point that it is embarrassing to wear and difficult to read. So, the fact that Wolfpoint goes the extra mile to equip the Fort Dearborn with a sapphire crystal means the watch could last for generations and remain show-worthy. Sapphire crystals are a hallmark of luxury watches. Lesser quality crystals might be mineral or even plastic. Sapphire, which can be natural or synthetic (made by crystallizing pure aluminum oxide at very high temperatures) is one of the hardest substances found on earth. It measures 9 on the Mohs scale, which is a system for rating the relative hardness of various materials. By the way, diamonds measure 10, the highest rating on the Mohs scale.

Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn Collection

The Band

This is where the rubber meets the road, or more precisely, the leather meets the wrist. Wolfpoint laudably partnered with fellow iconic Chicago company, Horween Leather, to supply the watch bands for the Fort Dearborn. Here is what anyone should know about Horween Leather:

Horween Leather Company was founded in 1905, so for 115 years and five generations this tannery has been producing some of the best leather in the world. According to its website, the company offers “an unparalleled blend of quality, consistency, responsiveness and innovation.” The Essex line of Horween leather is vegetable-tanned. Essex leather took Horween three years to develop and has high oil content. Moreover, it ages beautifully over time. It is sold to Wolfpoint directly, with in-house workers at Wolfpoint cutting and sewing each band for every watch.

To be clear, the Wolfpoint Fort Dearborn watch is every bit worth the price. For a timepiece that gets hand assembled (by 30-50 different people in total), is backed by a Two-Year Warranty, is shipped free (orders over $99), has a U.S.-based Customer Service department, and is just plain stunning, there is little to compete with Wolfpoint watches, especially in the Fort Dearborn line.