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Lorier Astra Review

A cool watch for doing cool things

Lorier has been one of my favorite microbrands since I first reviewed the Neptune in its third iteration. They are unapologetic in their pursuit of vintage-inspired watches without pickpocketing heritage brands. You look at a Lorier watch and feel nostalgia even though you may not have been alive during the time the watch was inspired from.

The Astra is Lorier’s take on a 36mm sports watch. While the Falcon is described as a field watch, the Astra aims to be a little under the radar. It evokes feelings of finding that holy grail of a coveted sports watch plucked from inside your grandfather’s dresser drawer. Let’s jump in and see if the Astra is as special as it looks. 

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On the Wrist

I am so glad that brands are starting to embrace the 36mm case size and do it in a way that makes them feel substantial. I’ve tried on vintage watches from the 60s and 70s that are 35-36mm in size, and they just don’t hit like a contemporary 36mm watch. The Astra nails it when it comes to proportions. It comes in at 36mm wide, 11mm thick (9mm wrist-to-crystal), and 44mm lug-to-lug. The lug length and thin bezel make this watch feel slightly more prominent than it is, while it still reveals more of the bracelet on your wrist than a larger watch would. 

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Looking at some of the inspiration for the Astra, it is easy to see where Lorier was able to transfer their design language into an original watch. The Rolex Datejust and Breitling Transocean from the mid-20th century are the principal architects of the Astra’s aesthetic, and it perfectly captures the dressy yet functional wearability they were going for. This watch is meant to look cool while doing cool stuff. 

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I’ve been reviewing more 36mm watches recently and have received many comments on those reviews like, “How big is your wrist? I don’t see how this would look good on my 8.5-inch wrist. How can you have such a rave review about a watch this small?” Sure, you’re probably right. This won’t look that great on your bear claw, but a 50mm watch wouldn’t look good on my wrist either. I said above that Lorier is unapologetic in its design approach, including the sizing of its watches. This is a 36mm sports watch designed to harken back to when watches were worn for function, not to serve as a plate for your appetizer at dinner. With that said, if you like what Lorier is doing and want a bigger watch, check out the 41mm Hydra

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Lorier Astra Specs

Case Width

36mm

Lug-to-Lug

44mm

Case Thickness

11mm

Wrist-to-Crystal

9mm

Lug Width

20mm

Weight

103g (Sized)

Water Resistance

200m

Strap

Bracelet

Crystal

Acrylic Crystal

Lume

Super-LumiNova BGW9

Movement

Miyota 9075

Price

$499

Dial Details

The Astra’s dial has a few elements that come together cohesively to create a rich dial without cluttering things up. A central crosshair draws inspiration from Universal Geneve Polerouter (among many others) and is only broken by the branding text at 12 and 6 o’clock. 

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The applied faceted markers sit atop a white ring that is fully lumed. This was a pleasant surprise, as I initially thought this was just an accent to the dial. When I took the lume shot below, I was blown away by how cool this looks. It frames the markers so the time is readable at night, which you don’t see from many dressier sports watches.

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The hour and minute hands are the same used on the Gemini and serve their purpose well. The lollipop seconds hand is the icing on the cake with the dial. I was glad to see Lorier break away from the arrow-tipped seconds hand they use on most of their other models. 

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Case & Bracelet

The Astra’s case is my favorite from any of Lorier’s releases. It is slim and svelte on the wrist, and if you take the crystal out of the equation, it is only 9mm thick. It reminds me a lot of the Nodus Unity case, which was also my favorite case from Nodus. I’m starting to sense a trend here. The polished bezel sits just inside the edges of the midcase. The polished chamfer that runs the length of the case kisses the bezel as it passes, creating a sleek transition. 

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Breaking away from what most other brands are doing, Lorier uses acrylic crystals on all their watches. Once again, Lorier is unapologetic in their approach here and will not use sapphire crystals. While this may be a deal breaker for some, I would advise those on the fence to look past it as a negative and embrace it as a positive. Acrylic creates a warmer tone to the dial, providing striking reflections, and most scratches it picks up can be easily buffed out (Lorier includes a tube of PolyWatch). Get on the acrylic train because it is well worth the ride. 

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Lorier has always done well with their bracelets. They are comfortable and easy to size (Lorier includes a screwdriver), and the clasp is thin and stays out of the way. The jubilee-style bracelet on the Astra is even more comfortable than the oyster-style bracelets they have on most of their other models. The bracelet is fully brushed, and while it doesn’t fully articulate, it does conform well to the wrist.

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I wouldn’t mind seeing Lorier add a quick-adjust clasp in the future. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it would add some additional flexibility to the sizing on their bracelet. However, knowing how Lorier does things, I wouldn’t be surprised if they only launched one that fits their design aesthetic. 

Final Thoughts

There are people out there who love vintage watches. They see a sale post for a Rolex 1601 and damn near fall out of their seat trying to contact the buyer. I am not in that camp. I don’t want to deal with the stress of a vintage watch. Service costs, risk, and decades of it being worn by another person (or many people) are a major turnoff for me. This is precisely why Lorier is such a favorite of mine. I can scratch that vintage itch without any of the shenanigans. The Astra is the watch that scratches that itch the best. It is exactly what I want from a vintage-inspired watch with contemporary materials and manufacturing. I’m writing this review the day before their restock, and I’m having a hard time not falling out of my seat to press the buy button tomorrow morning. 

Check out more Lorier reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Lorier website here

More Images of the Lorier Astra

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  1. Great review and I agree with everything you said. I got a chance to see this watch at the Chicago Wind Up Fair and tried it on. Lorier said the launch was delayed due to sourcing parts. The all white dial is an immediate buy from me.

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