Published by Joshua Clare-Flagg on 28 Feb, 2020.


Ah, the Scandinavians. They certainly know how to do “minimal”. Nordgreen, based in Copenhagen Denmark, epitomises that fact. A beautiful stark chronograph, the Pioneer is not just like any other minimalist watch, it’s got more to it than just another Daniel Wellington lookalike. Solid build quality and beautiful flowing lines all over make this a great option for anyone looking for a clean, crisp, affordable watch.

Let’s check it out.

The specs

The video review

The case

The case is available in rose gold, steel or gunmetal. The size is probably on the large side for many – not necessarily because of the 42mm diameter, but the height of 12.4mm seems quite tall for a quartz chrono. Some of that height is due to the highly domed sapphire crystal, so visually it doesn’t look as tall as it is.

The shape and finishing are splendid. The curvaceous, bulbous flow between the rounded case and crystal showcases solid construction. It’s fully brushed too, so it should hold up to scratches better than if it was polished.

The crown and pushers are also easy to use, thanks to suitable sizing. The crown has the logo engraved on the end and gentle grip.

The lugs imitate a more classic / traditional wire lug, but in actual fact they’re normal. Nice and slender, they don’t detract from the dial.

The polished steel caseback is simple; nay, a bit boring. All detailing is lightly etched in.

The dial

As well as the 3 case options, the dial is also available in white, black or blue – so you have quite a plethora of colourways to choose from.

This is what the Scandinavians do best: simple, stark, minimalist design. The Nordgreen Pioneer is the perfect example. I love the massive subdials.

Also really like the genteel bevels to everything: the rehaut, the subdials, the date window. It’s all so smooth and modern.

The hands are fairly straightforward in terms of design (isn’t everything on this watch?), and the omission of a counterweight is also very modern in style. The finish to the hands is quite silvery, which offsets nicely against the white dial.

The hour markers within the rehaut are unusual and eye-catching too. Sadly, nothing is lumed on this watch though, which is a surprise.

The legibility is pretty great, despite the contrast between the hands and dial not being as drastic as it could. Printwork is clear and delicate.

The strap(s)

There’s quite a selection available (15 in total for this model), but I opted to check out the brown leather and the black rubber.

The brown leather strap is a deep, oaky brown which offsets the gunmetal grey well. The quality is impressive for the price – it’s malleable and very smooth.

The rubber strap is seriously delicious to wear. Some can be harsh, stiff, and uncomfortable – but this is the complete opposite. Beautifully soft and supple, it’s supremely comfortable and easy on the wrist. The Nordgreen logo is also imprinted into the top, which is a cool feature.

They both don the same tang buckle, in a polished gunmetal grey to match the colour of the case, with the Nordgreen logo lightly but accurately engraved on the top bar.

The movement

Rather unambiguously labelled “Japanese quartz”, the movement could be several options.

As the configuration is a 60-minute chrono counter on left, running seconds on right, and big chrono running seconds, it’s likely the Miyota 6S21.

Specs include 3 year battery life, 4 beats per second chrono second hand, and ±20 sec per month accuracy. It should prove to be pretty sturdy and reliable.

Final comments

Nordgreen has done a great job in creating a beautifully simple, minimal chronograph. Build quality is great – it’s solid, and packs a real punch for the price. It’s difficult to do effective simple design, but the Nordgreen guys are certainly pretty great at it.

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