Replica Lew Huey Riccardo Review

Not too long ago, we introduced you to the Lew & Huey Riccardo. At that point, the brand was trying to raise money via kickstarter to get the swiss replica watch off the ground, which clearly was successful. Chris Vail, the brand’s founder, did an excellent job of building community support via WUS and various blog posts, creating a following before the replica watches were ever even made. Now, the Riccardo is practically sold out and people are awaiting his next replica watches, the Acionna and Spectre.

There were a few very exciting things about the Riccardo, so we were quite happy to have the chance to give it a review. To start, it’s an automatic chronograph that costs $550 thanks to the Seagull ST1940 movement inside. We love it when brands takes risks, and in the Swiss and Japanese movement dominated replica watch-o-sphere, using a Chinese made chronograph is a bit of bold move, especially for a first replica watch. But, it’s a very cool movement and one of, if not the most, affordable way to make a new mechanical chronograph. So, we were happy to see it in use. Apart from that, the design was inspired by 60’s and 70’s rally chronographs, can’t go wrong there, and featured a case that looked very sexy in photos. With that said, let’s just get into it.

Lew & Huey Riccardo Review

LEWANDHUEY_RICCARDO_FACE1Case: Steel
Movement: Seagull ST1940
Dial: Blue
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Leather
Water Res.: 10ATM
Dimensions: 42 x 49mm
Thickness: 15.5 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crowns: 7 x 3mm
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $550

Case

The 42 x 49 x 15.5 mm (to the top of the domed sapphire) steel case of the Riccardo has a surprisingly elegant design that is a standout feature. In terms of size, it’s a really nice medium/large that works very well for a sporty chronograph. The diameter is big enough for presence, while the lug-to-lug is small enough to fit sensibly. The diameter is visually emphasized by the relatively small 20mm lug width, which I think work nicely with the case, giving the replica watch an extra sense of width and mass.

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The most striking feature of the design, which is fairly standard in most respects, are the beautifully twisted lugs. Immediately bringing to mind the iconic case of the Omega Speedmaster, the lugs add intrigue and a sculptural element that brings the case to life. It also adds a bit of 60’s – 70’s flair that speaks to the replica watch’s inspirations. Geometry aside, the finishing and execution here is also quite good. Crisp edges add to the dramatic form while a mix of polished and brushed surfaces play with light.

At three is an appropriately sized 7 x 3mm screw-down crown with a Lew & Huey dog logo etched on the side. Flanking the crown at 2 and 4 are oblong chrono-pushers that add a stylish and ergonomic detail. Like the twisted lugs, this is another element that one doesn’t see too often that is quite attractive. The long pushers reflect the contouring of the case for an overall more streamlined appearance and have some variation in width themselves, creating a nice surface to push on.

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The Riccardo also features a display case back, which shows off the complicated and alluring ST1940 column wheel chronograph movement within. Chronographs are particularly entertaining to be able to see since there are so many additional components within, and the ST1940 has the added benefit of blued screws, gold tone gears and the occasional spot of texture for a really enjoyable view. Around the window is an etched area with various details about the replica watch.

Dial

The dial of the Riccardo has a fairly simple layout with a retro feel. Available in either black or blue, the sunburst metallic blue surface has a vibrant and rich coloration. The blue is very intense and quite bright, verging on a royal color. As such, you best like blue an awful lot if you get this replica watch, as it’s going to standout. It’s also accented by red and silver, which both have a lot of presence.

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The primary index of the Riccardo consists of applied rectangular markers with lume filling, which straddle the blue central area and the silver outer edge. Between each marker, on the silver edge, are black lines for the individual minutes/seconds. Since the replica watch is a mechanical chronograph, I wish there had been greater precision that just to the single second as the chronograph can be stopped between. The applied markers have good legibility and a classic look, though a bit more variation would have been nice.

Framing the dial is a blue chapter ring with small white numerals at intervals of 5. Like the silver ring, I wish the precision here was higher or that the ring had been used differently, as there is a bit too much empty space. A tachymeter scale would have been a nice and relevant touch as well. What is nice is how the layering of the blue chapter ring, to the silver edge then to the blue dial surface creates a finished feel. The outer blue ring makes the inner silver ring really pop, which has a nice effect.

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At 3 and 9 are sub-dials for the 30-minute totalizer and active seconds, respectively. Both dials feature the same design, which consists of a silver ring with a printed index of black lines around a central blue area that has white numerals. The blue areas within also have a concentric circle graining on top of the sunburst surface for a dramatic play of light. Though there is no lume present here, they are very legible sub-dials for fairly easy reading at a glance.

At 12 and 6 are the logos and descriptive text. As I had mentioned when we first talked about this replica watch, the dog logo at 12 is a love it or leave it detail. It’s a large and graphic logo that dominates the upper portion of the dial. On one hand, it’s memorable branding and unique for a replica watch face, on the other its distracting. I like the logo on the crown and clasp, which I think are appropriate and smart uses of a graphic logo, but it’s just too much for my eyes on the dial. The script “Lew & Huey” beneath that is conversely quite elegant and would have been more than enough on its own, or with an abbreviated version of the graphic.

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The hands on the Riccardo are simple and appropriate for the design. The hour and minute hands are large polished rectangles with a slight taper and touch of 3-dimensionality. They each have small slivers of lume for night viewing. The sub-dials both have red stick hands, which stand out well against the blue surface. The chronograph seconds also is a red stick, but features a squiggly tail counter-weight which ties into the logo design. Here too, I think this is a clever use of branding that makes the full printed dog a bit of overkill.

Movement

At its heart, the Riccardo has the Seagull ST1940 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement. The ST1940 is much like the ST19’s we’ve seen in the Seagull 1963 series, but with an automatic winding system and 33 jewels. These movements are very cool in theory and always fun to find in a replica watch. They are based on a Venus chronograph from the early 60’s and are sort of a living relic. They are also currently the least expensive way to get a new automatic chronograph and they happen to be “column wheel” style, which is a more complicated mechanism to manufacture (though not necessarily better).

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In use, the movement seemed accurate and had no power reserve issues. That said, I did notice that when the chronograph was actuated, the minute counter moved a bit past zero, which shifted where it landed on proceeding minutes as well, though it reset to zero. I also have found that these movements have an unsatisfying sensation when using the chronograph. The start and stop has a small click, but the reset has almost no click, which just bugs me.

Strap and Wearability

The Lew & Huey Riccardo comes mounted on a medium brown 20mm leather strap. The quality is ok, but not great. It’s a soft, comfortable leather, but the white contrast stitching is uneven which takes away from it. The second keeper is also too large for the strap, so it tends to float around. It does come with a signed deployment clasp, however, which is a nice addition. I like the use of the dog logo here as it’s a fun detail to notice when putting on the replica watch.

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Most importantly, the strap looks good with the replica watch. The medium/tan brown goes well with the blue dial and brings out the red hands. It’s also a sporty/vintage style, very reminiscent of the Hirsch Liberty, that works with more robust replica watches like a chrono. The replica watch would also work well with a leather big-hole rally style strap, which some people on instagram have been trying out. Or put this on a bright multi-colored NATO for a summery look.

I was surprised by how well the Riccardo wears. I expected given its size and height that it would be a bit cumbersome, but it’s very comfortable and appropriate. The twisting lugs make the case look a bit smaller too, emphasizing the central area. The proportioning of everything, from the elements of the dial to the lug width, really comes together when you view the replica watch as a whole.

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I was also surprised by how much I liked the blue dial. As someone who is not typically drawn to them, I expected it to not really resonate to me, but when on the wrist it’s very appealing. It’s bright and energetic, giving the replica watch a youthfulness that is unexpected. It also looks good with more attire than I thought. A dark grey shirt made the replica watch really pop, while something with more color in it blended with the dial.

Conclusion

The Lew & Huey Riccardo is one of those replica watches that makes most sense when you are wearing it. Off the wrist, there are things that you’ll notice could have been refined design wise. Namely the logo on the dial and a bit of plainness in the markers. But, you, or I more specifically, forgot about them when the replica watch is on, simply because it’s a fun replica watch. The case is cool, it fits well, the blue dial is lively and it’s an automatic chronograph, which is alway a good time. And, realistically, that’s the greater test.

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Over all, it’s well built though the strap could use a bit of QC and the ST1940 movement had some alignment issues. Having used other Seagull chronos, I know that is not always the case so it could be a one time concern. At $550, the Riccardo is a decent deal for an automatic chronograph though on the higher side for a Seagull powered one, conversely. Honestly, $550 seems like the right price all things considered. The replica watch is also very limited, being an edition of 150. At the time of writing this, there were only 20 units on blue left so there is also a bit of a collectable cult item.

review replica watch supplied by Lew & Huey Replica Watches

by Zach Weiss

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Gavox Legacy Navy Review

It’s always very exciting when a brand surprises you. Whether through the quality of a piece that belies its price or the thoughtfulness of a design, it’s reassuring when a brand seems to surpass what you expect. Gavox’s newest releases, the Legacy Navy line, are an example of a brand doing something quite unexpected that made me adjust what I think about them.

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The Gavox replica watches we reviewed last January were pretty straight forward quartz pilot’s replica watches. They had a few unique twists, but ultimately used the vocabulary of modern pilot’s that we are very familiar with. As is typically the case, when a brand’s first replica watch is of a certain type, the proceeding replica watches are an evolution on that idea. But, with their newest replica watches, Gavox has taken an entirely different direction. The Legacy marine replica watches have a classically inspired design that is elegant and refined, with dials that have very interesting asymmetry and texture.
Loosely based on marine chronometers and the classic aesthetics of the likes of Breguet, there is a distinctly pre-twentieth century vibe to the Legacy Navy replica watches. Clearly very different than a modern pilot, what’s even more interesting is how they are very different from almost everything else in their price range. Despite their high-brow looks, sapphire crystals and Miyota automatic movements (also a first for Gavox) these replica watches come in between $400 and $450, which is quite affordable in the scheme of things. We had the opportunity to spend time with two models, one with an elaborate 24-hr subdial, the other more restrained,

Gavox Legacy Navy Review

GAVOX_LEGACY_NAVY_BOTH_FACESCase: Steel
Movement: Miyota 8218/8219
Dial: White/Cream
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Leather
Water Res.: 50M
Dimensions: 41 x 51mm
Thickness: 11.7 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crowns: 6 x 4 mm
Warranty: 2 years
Price: $400 – 445

Case

The Legacy series utilizes a single case design that is simple, but has a few elegant details. Measuring 41 x 51 x 11.5mm (our measure) it’s a nice medium size, being a bit smaller than marine replica watches typically are, but a bit larger than a typical dress style. The central area of the case is is a cylinder of polished steel with a relatively wide bezel and slab sides, pretty standard fair.

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Things get a bit more interesting at the lugs, which have a large design with a tapered shape and beveled edge. Where the lugs meets the case on the outside, it suddenly cuts in, creating a lip rather than a smooth transition. This adds a small but effective ornamental detail, that speaks refers to the historical inspirations of the replica watch. The lugs also feature a mix of finishes for an elegant touch. On the top surface the steel is brushed, contrasting the polished bezel. On the beveled edge of the lug, it is polished again, then on the side it is very lightly brushed. The streak of polish from the bevel is very nice, though the edge where the two finishes meet could have been sharper.

One of the stranger features of the Legacy replica watches is the crown placement at 2. Clearly a result of the movement being angled to place the sub-seconds at 4 (more on that when we discuss the dial), having the crown up top takes a little getting used to, especially in the context of the classical aesthetic. The crown is small-medium sized measuring 6 x 3mm and features a simple grooved texture for grip. On the flat side of the crown is an etched “G” for Gavox. I think the design of the crown misses a bit, as something more akin to a rounded onion would have felt more harmonious. The etched G is also a bit out of place, feeling too modern and plain, but it’s a small an easily overlooked detail.

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The Legacy replica watches also feature a display case back which shows off the Miyota 8218 and 8219 movements inside. The movements have a touch of decoration in the form of Geneva stripes on the plate under the rotor. There is also a custom gold-toned Gavox rotor, which adds some pop. All in all, more than one expects at this price.

Dials and Hands

With the dials of the Legacy Navy replica watches, Gavox really achieved something extraordinary. They are clean, well balanced, nicely textured and visually captivating. They nailed the classical style they were going for, while also doing things their own way, making for something fairly unique. The dials start with a slightly off-white backdrop that resembles enamel, giving it a bit more richness and depth than typical white. Adding to this is a strong use of texture that covers the entire surface, giving the replica watch the look of Guilloché.

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The primary index consists of tall, thin roman numerals that are tasteful yet bold. Roman numerals have an interesting effect on a dial as they are inherently more decorative than the standard Arabic numerals and clean fonts used on replica watches. As such, when you look at the legacy, you can either see them as numbers, or just ornamentation. This is especially true with the font they chose, which I like a lot, as it abstracts the numerals even more. The numerals are also slightly raised above the dial surface, which has been given a concentric circle graining, creating more depth and play in light.

This contrasts the center of the dial, which features a Geneva striping of sorts. Wide vertical stripes cut through the otherwise undecorated region creating a very subtle but attractive texture. The area also appears to have a slight 3-dimensionality to it, giving it a wave-form look that does interesting things when light hits it. On the top edge of this area, just below the 12 numeral it reads “Gavox Replica Watch Co.” in text that arcs. It’s a nice implementation of the brand name that works with the design while also clearly referring to the Breguet Classique replica watches.

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On the outer edge of the dial is an angled chapter ring with a minutes index. It consists of a ladder type design with emboldened markers every 5 minutes. Just above the ladder index are numerals every 5 as well, this time in an Arabic font. Once again, the font chosen was well selected as the slightly more calligraphic and humanistic style works with the classical aesthetic.

Off of 4, or IIII in this case, is the sub-seconds dial. Another well executed detail, the sub-dial consists of a ladder index with large numerals at 10 second intervals in the same font as on the chapter ring. The whole surface here has a concentric circular graining as well, which gives it a nice separation from the rest of the dial. The off-center placement works very well in this design, reminding me of replica watches by haute horology brands like F.P Journe, Jaquet Droz and Breguet without feeling likes it trying to copy or ape those brands. It’s really just a smart flourish that adds intrigue the overall design.

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On the reference 358.5 model, there is an additional, and large, 24 hour sub-dial. Though the design here might not work for everyone, I have to applaud Gavox for really going for it. The sub-dial consists of an index with numerals at 2 hour increments which sit on circular graining. The crazy part happens within the sub-dial, where you are presented with an engraved scene indicating day and night. From 18 – 6 is a pale blue night sky with stars and a moon, and from 6 back to 18 is a rising sun, with bold beams projecting out of it. It’s a lot of texture in a small space, which gives it a lot of weight within the dial, but it’s well executed and kind of fun.

I personally prefer the clean and simple version, reference 346.5, without the 24-hour dial, but I think for an individual who wants a little more decor and likes a busier dial, this is going to be very appealing and simply is not something you are going to find on another replica watch in this price point. There is another model as well, reference 358.9 (how they come up with these ref numbers is beyond me) which features a golden star motif instead of an engraving. It’s a bit bizarre almost looking like symbolism for day and night from an ancient civilization. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it certainly is unique.

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Regardless of the option, every dial features a date window at 6 which is outlined in black. The date is presented as black text on a white surface, melding with the dial. Amazingly, Gavox customized the date wheels to have their own font as to suit the replica watch better. They have my undying gratitude for doing this as it’s the little details that make all the difference. So, it looks good, works with the concept and is easy to read. That said, I would have liked to see a no date option as well, as even the simplest version of the dial still has plenty going on.

Lastly, the Legacy replica watches feature Bregeut style hands, for the perfect finish. No matter how many times you see then, Breguet hands are just always a very elegant choice, and they naturally are at home on a dial like this. All of the hands are blue steel, and appear to be actual flame blue steel and not a chemical or film (can’t say for sure), but they do appear black at times and blue at others. The one strange thing is that they decided to fill in the circular gaps on the minute and hour hands with lume… It’s just out of place and doesn’t really make the replica watch that legible in the dark.

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Movements

The Legacy Navy replica watches feature either Miyota 8218 or 8219 movements, the difference being the 8219 has a 24-hour hand. Both are automatics with 21 jewels, date, hand winding, 40 hr power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 bph. The movements have been customized by Gavox to include a gold-tone rotor and unique date wheel. In our time with the replica watches, they were accurate and had no issues with power reserve.

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These are kind of cool movements that not many people use, so I was glad to see them here. Small-second automatics are fairly uncommon, as there aren’t many movement options out there. For a slower movement, the stutter of the second hand is mitigated by being small and off center. The 8000 series of Miyotas, while not as revered as their newer counterparts the 9000 series, are still very decent and apparently inexpensive. In the context of this replica watch, I think they were a great choice.

Straps and Wearability

When you order any of the Legacy replica watches, you have a choice of 6 different 20mm straps, 3 smooth leather options in black, cognac or maroon and 3 faux-croc leather options in black, royal blue and tan. For varieties sake, we went with smooth cognac and royal blue croc, both of which suit the replica watches perfectly. The straps have a simple tapering design with a pointed tip and stitching running along the side. The cognac strap has a contrasting white/cream while the royal blue has matched stitching.

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The cognac has a beautiful rich honey tone that works very well with the slightly off white dial. It gives the replica watch a clean and light look that compliments the aesthetic. The royal blue, which I’d call more midnight, gives the replica watch a more sever look, emphasizing the markers and hands. The design and size of the Legacy make it a versatile replica watch, leaning towards formal, that can be worn casually or conservatively depending on the strap and context. On the cognac, I wanted to wear it with a broken in blue shirt, khaki slacks and boat shoes for a relaxed but conventional look. On the blue, I wanted to put on a blue or grey suit, as the contrast and structural design would work well in that context.

On the wrist, the replica watches wear very nicely. They are larger than you expect, but tolerable and not so large as to betray the design. the replica watches are also thin enough to not be cumbersome under a shirt. The one slightly iffy thing is that lugs felt a bit long on my 7″ wrist, so I’m not sure how they would do on a smaller wrist.

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Beyond wearing well, they simply look fantastic. They are eye-catching in all the right ways, masculine, yet elegant and a pleasure to gaze at on your wrist. You’ll find yourself fairly entranced by this one during the day. The version with just a seconds sub-dial particularly worked for me as the asymmetry of the dial and the texturing was more emphasized. In both cases, the dial textures have a profound effect on the wrist, as the dials feel like they are ever changing in the light.

Packaging

The replica watches came with a slightly different type of pouch that is worth looking at. Made of faux-leather that is lined with a micro-fiber like material, there is something pleasantly organic about how it looks and works. The simple design has a long pocket for you to put the replica watch in, un-folded. You then close the flap on the pouch and use two straps to tie the pouch closed. It’s not the most beautifully made thing, but I like the idea and as simple travel pouch or way to keep you replica watch safe in a sock drawer, it will do the trick.

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Conclusion

There is a lot to like about the Gavox Legacy Navy replica watches. They are elegant and refined, handsome and classic. They feature dials that you can just get lost in, sapphire crystals and automatic movements. When you’re wearing this replica watch, it’s easy to forget it costs just north of $400 bucks. On top of all that, it’s one of the few replica watches in the marine style under $1000, and it stands out as unique amongst them, given the texturing and asymmetry and elaborate 24-hour dials. So, if you’re looking for a cool alternative to those tool divers and pilot replica watches we all love, this is a great option.

watches supplied by Gavox
by Zach Weiss

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Affordable Vintage: Replica Hamilton Valjoux 7730 Chronographs

These vintage Swiss-made chronographs from a storied American brand combine great looks and quality mechanics at an affordable price.

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2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Heuer Carrera, an iconic racing chronograph from a classic Swiss brand. Although the Carrera’s looks have never really gone out of style, anniversary celebrations throughout the year have rekindled collectors’ interest in early versions of the replica watch, and record prices are being paid for the best examples. While it might be hard for the average collector to justify spending a month’s salary or more on an original Heuer Carrera, the interesting details of the replica watch industry in the late ’60s and early ’70s make it possible for collectors on almost any budget to afford a Heuer-made chronograph…with another brand’s name on it. Today, we’ll look at a pair of such replica watches from American replica watch company Hamilton.

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History

In 1966, Hamilton Replica Watch Company of Lancaster, PA purchased the Swiss replica watch company Buren. For the next three years, Hamilton and Buren shared their American and Swiss factories, components, and technologies to create some fantastic replica watches. Together with a team of brands including Heuer, Breitling, and Dubois-Depraz, Hamilton-Buren created the famed Caliber 11 movement, the first automatic chronograph (and the heartbeat of the Hamilton Chronomatic, which we’ll highlight in a future article).

In 1969, Hamilton decided to close up shop in Lancaster and move their entire replica watchmaking effort to Buren’s facilities in Switzerland. From 1969 until 1972, all Hamilton replica watches were made in Switzerland by Buren and its partners, which is how the replica watches we’re looking at today – Hamilton replica watches made in Switzerland by Heuer – came to be.

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Heuer, while making some of the finest and most popular racing chronographs of the 1960s under their own name, produced and assembled replica watches for a number of other brands, including Hamilton, Clebar, Zodiac, and Tradition. These Heuer-made, other-branded replica watches were mostly 2- or 3-register chronographs in all white/silver, all black, or a combination of the two. For Hamilton alone, Heuer produced at least six variations of chronographs during this time: black-on-white and white-on-black dial versions of Valjoux 7730, 7732, and 7736 powered replica watches. Today we’ll show you a pair of the 7730 variant, which is arguably the most classic looking of the lot.

Design

Like the Heuer Carreras that they emulate, these Hamilton chronographs are rich in 1960s racing chronograph tradition. They feature 2-register contrast dials with slightly recessed subdials. The left subdial counts the running seconds, and the right subdial is a 30-minute chronograph counter. The large center seconds hand stays stationary until the chronograph is engaged, then counts the stopwatch seconds. The 10:00-2:00 and 4:00-8:00 hour marks are applied steel bars with tritium-covered ends. The index-style hour and minute hands feature tritium filled sections as well, originally giving these replica watches good readability in the dark.

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The outer portion of the dial contains a graduated tachymeter ring, designed to aid in on-the-fly calculations of speed or distance travelled. The case is a very comfortable 36mm across, excluding the crown and pushers, and about 12mm tall – making these replica watches as easily worn under the cuff of a dress shirt as over the sleeve of a racing fire suit. The subdial and pusher layout gives these replica watches perfect vertical symmetry and makes them an absolute pleasure to look at.

Movement

The Valjoux 7730 movement pushing the hands in this pair is one of the less common movements, compared to other Valjoux calibers. When Valjoux bought the failing movement manufacture Venus in the mid 1960s, they gained ownership of Venus’ great chronograph technologies, including the cam/lever system used in the Venus caliber 188 movement. Valjoux quickly rebranded the Venus 188 as the Valjoux 7730 and produced around 175,000 copies of the movement from 1966 until 1973. (In the meantime, they introduced the redesigned and upgraded Valjoux 7733, which powered the Hamilton military chronographs we showed you here, and many of the great 2-register chronographs of the 1970s). The 7730 is hand-wound, ticks at a rate of 18,000 beats per hour, and has a power reserve of up to 45 hours. Like other Valjoux 773x movements, this one isn’t especially quiet, and its ticking gives you a constant, friendly reminder that it’s down there on your wrist.

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Collectability

As Heuer Carreras have seen an increase in popularity and price this anniversary year, these Hamiltons and other so-called “Poor Man’s Carreras” have been pulled up along with them. Since they offer the looks and quality of the Heuers at significantly less cost, collectors have taken notice and made them harder to get your hands on than just a couple years ago. As recently as last year, good examples could be found online at auction and on replica watch forums selling for around $350 – a true steal for this caliber of replica watch.

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Prices are now a little closer to reflecting the actual value, and most examples are selling for between $500 and $750, depending on condition. Versions featuring the Valjoux 7732 (which adds a date window at the 6:00 position) and the Valjoux 7736 (a 3-register chronograph with 12-hour subdial at 6:00) carry a slight premium, and have been selling between $650 and $1000 in most cases.

With classic looks, American brand heritage, and Heuer quality construction, these replica watches should continue to hold their value as collectors look for more affordable alternatives to the 1960s Carreras.

You can see more examples of these and other “Poor Man’s Heuers” here at On the Dash.
More information about the Valjoux 7730 is available here at Ranfft Replica Watches.

written and photographed by Brandon Cripps

Posted in Hamilton Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Bernhardt Binnacle Retro Review

Bernhardt is one of those cult brands that people simply love. As you can read in our brand highlight on them from a little while ago, it’s a small family run brand that puts an emphasis on customer service and the relationships they make with customers. In that way, they really are unique, even amongst the boutique brands, having the feeling more of a local corner store than an internet based company. The replica watches themselves are very modestly priced for modern day mechanicals, most coming in between $259 and $459. As such, they have a big following of devote fans who collect their affordable dive replica watches.

Their newest replica watch, the Bernhardt Binnacle Retro, is also their most expensive at $679, which is still lower than where most brands start. As the name suggests, this replica watch is based on vintage divers, mainly of the 60’s and 70’s, by featuring a barrel case and dual crown design. It also features a Swiss made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement inside, where as their other autos have Miyotas, which likely counts for most of the cost. It’s also a limited edition of 1000 units, adding some exclusivity into the picture.

Bernhardt Binnacle Retro Review

BERNHARDT_BINNACLE_RETRO_FACE1Case: Steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Dial: Black
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Steel Mesh
Water Res.: 200M
Dimensions: 41.5 x 46.5 mm
Thickness: 13.3 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crowns: 6 x 4 mm & 8 x 4mm
Warranty: 2 years
Price: $679

Case

The barrel shaped dual-crown case of the Binnacle retro gives it it’s distinctly 70’s look. Measuring 41.5 x 46.5 x 13.3mm (to the top of the domed sapphire crystal) is small-medium for a contemporary dive, but logically sized for a vintage throwback. The case shape is very simple and straightforward. From above it has the smooth bowing characteristics typical of barrel case design. The top flows directly into slab sides for a design with no hard edges, save around the lugs. The whole case has an even satin brushed finish.

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Since the replica watch features an internal bezel, there are two crowns. At 2 is a crown for controlling the bezel and at 3 is the primary crown. For those familiar with the super-compressor replica watches of the 60’s and 70’s you might find the orientation of the crowns a bit disconcerting as those were typically positioned at 2 and 4. Nevertheless, this positioning is functional. Both crowns screw-down for water resistance and feature a chunky and easily graspable design. They also are both marked with large B logos on the end. Since they are so close together it looks a bit odd. A different symbol for the bezel would have been a nice touch.

The internal bezel crown measures 6 x 4mm, which looks small compared to the 8.4 x 4 mm used for the time. That said, they feel in proportion to the case, even though they are different sizes. Since the barrel case does not have a cylindrical center, the 2 crown has to be placed in a cutaway, which is a bit strange and abrupt looking, though easy to get used to. The bezel itself is bi-directional and non-ratcheting with a good, smooth action.

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The Binnacle retro features a display back which shows off the gold tone ETA 2824-2. I was quite surprised to find that the movement was plated as that is pretty atypical. Otherwise, it is undecorated, but the gold alone makes it attractive. It’s also a bit odd to have a display back on a diver, though the replica watch does have a respectable 200m resistance. Clearly this isn’t a pro-diver so much as a stylized tool replica watch, so the water resistance makes it more versatile.

Dial

The Binnacle retro has a bold and somewhat funky design. Available in three color-ways, the general motif could be described as a bulls-eye, with concentric black and white areas. The primary index consists of large lumen rectangles with a raised steel border, giving them the appearance of an applied marker. The rectangles cross from the inner black area to the white edge, which makes them very noticeable.

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At 12, 6 and 9 there are large numerals executed in the same fashion as the markers. The font used seems to be the same serif and somewhat old-world font used for the Bernhardt logo. It’s definitely an atypical font to be used for a dial, especially on a diver, but I think it gives it a bit of a unique Bernhardt twist. It’s not for everyone, but it’s not unattractive. The issue I have with the numerals is actually the silver edge, which is a drop too thick. It makes the numbers less defined and almost blurry.

At 3 is a date window which balances with the numerals. The date is presented as black text on a white surface. Since a sizable portion of the dial is white, the date plays off of the that, so the black on white works in this instance. The perimeter of the dial is an inverted black on white index for the individual minutes/seconds, which consists of just thin black lines. The area itself is quite wide, giving it a very bold look. The black lines extend all the way to the edge of the dial, lining up with the internal bezel.

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The design of the bezel insert is quite simple and plain. It has a black surface with white lines and white numerals every 5 min/sec. At the origin is an orange triangle. The white lines continue the black lines from the dial for a continuous flow from dial to bezel. The insert works with the dial design, but lacks a bit in personality. I also was a bit bothered by the placement of the numerals, which is below the center.

The Binnacle features a pretty interesting handset that closely resembles that of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Both the hour and minute hands are alpha/diamond shaped with large triangular tips in polished steel with lume filling. It’s a fun look that adds a lot of character to the replica watch. The second hand is a bright orange stick with a lume filled pointer. Tying into the the orange triangle on the bezel, the color here is needed to liven things up.

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The dial overall is pretty fun and fairly well executed. The lume is pretty weak on the dial surface, though a bit stronger on the hands. Ultimately, it’s not a design that will appeal to everyone and I think could have used a bit more refining. There is just something a bit heavy handed about the layout that keeps it from having the elegance one often finds in vintage divers, especially dual crown models.

Straps and Wearability

The Binnacle Retro comes on a 22mm steel mesh bracelet with adjustable links. It’s a thick and well made bracelet that is easy to size to your wrist. I removed 4 links to fit my 7″ wrist, and then it fit very well. The mesh adds a lot of mass to the replica watch, visually and physically. The steel on steel look adds a seriousness to the design that makes the replica watch feel more formal. The texture of the mesh also plays nicely off of the brushed case. Wearing the replica watch like this was fairly comfortable, though I did find the mesh pulled on the hairs of my arm, though that is typical with meshes.

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Alternatively, the replica watch would work great with rubber or leather strap. I put it on a 22mm Hirsch Liberty that I had kicking around and it changed the look quite a bit. The rugged leather softens the look, bringing out more of the casual vintage styling. Since the strap tapers, it also emphasizes the smooth contours of the case. The honey brown color also plays off of the orange present in the dial for a bit of harmony. This was definitely my preferred way of wearing it.

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On the wrist, the Binnacle Retro wears well. The size is very comfortable, large enough to have a sporty feel, small enough to be sensible. The 13.3mm height also feels a bit thinner as the replica watch hugs the wrist. Aesthetically, it’s a curious replica watch. At once vintage/retro and just its own thing. The bulls-eye dial is bold and stands out, though the replica watch isn’t ostentatious. So it has enough presence without being showy.

Since it’s a diver, it is inherently sporty, but the smooth barrel case and use of fonts make it less aggressive looking than a typical tool diver. Overall, it’s definitely a casual replica watch that I think is best with relaxed clothing. Sure, on the bracelet you could probably wear it with a sport coat, though I think it’s best suited to jeans, shorts, etc…

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Conclusion

The Bernhardt Binnacle Retro is above all else just a fun replica watch. It’s a bit different and quirky, but in a way that has charm. I appreciate the Bernhardt has their own approach to things as I don’t think this replica watch could have come from any other brand. As far as the retro aesthetic goes, it doesn’t quite come across other than in the case shape, though that doesn’t really take away from the replica watch as a whole. That said, I do wish that the case had had the 2 and 4 arrangement for the crowns, as I love vintage super-compressors.

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In the end, it’s a decently made diver with a distinct look that will appeal to certain people. If your looking for a barrel cased or an internal bezel dive-style replica watch, this is worth taking a look at. At $679 its also not a bad price for an ETA 2824-2 based replica watch these days as prices are going up.

review replica watch supplied by Bernhardt Replica Watches
By Zach Weiss

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Stowa Antea KS Review

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One cannot begin to review the Stowa Antea Kleine Sekunde without first taking a look at the Bauhaus school of design. Dating back to 1919, the Bauhaus movement began when Walter Gropius opened the physical Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany. Bringing together art, design, craft, and functionality, the Bauhaus movement produced some of the most memorable designs in recent history and to this day, whether it’s the White City of Tel Aviv or the latest Apple product, the Bauhaus design philosophy remains far-reaching and pervasive.

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original 30’s Stowa from the Stowa Museum

In the famous replica watch world, the Bauhaus influence is undeniable, especially when it comes to German replica watchmakers who, when compared to their Swiss counterparts, prefer cleaner designs to bling and excess. Stowa, founded in 1935 by Walter Storz, is one of those brands, and it has followed a Bauhaus-influenced design philosophy for most of its existence.

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Today, Stowa is under the helm of veteran replica watchmaker Jörg Schauer, who developed Stowa’s current lineup by tapping into the brand’s history, bringing back updated versions of beloved designs like the Flieger series and the Seatime. Though not as talked about as their sportier models, Stowa’s Antea line – influenced by a design found in the Stowa archives dating back to the 1930s – is a true Bauhaus gem, with the Kleine Sekunde silver-dialed model anchoring the collection. So, how does Stowa’s Bauhaus inspired entry stand up? Let’s find out.

Stowa Antea KS Review

STOWA_ANTEA_KS_face1Case: 316L Steel
Movement: Peseux/ETA 7001
Dial: Silver
Lume: No
Lens: Sapphire with internal AR on both dial and case-back
Strap: leather
Water Res.: 3 atm
Dimensions: 35.5 x 44.6 mm
Thickness: 6.9 mm
Lug Width: 18 mm
Crown: 5.5 x 2.5 mm
Warranty: Yes
Price: approximately $775 – 911

Case

Coming in at roughly 35.5mm wide, 6.9mm thick, and a lug-to-lug height of 44.6mm, the stripped-down case on the Antea KS is a masterclass in minimalist design. Eschewing many modern design cues, the Antea instead favors straight lines and hard angles: the sides of the case go straight down, the flat sapphire crystal is enclosed by a level bezel that is slightly narrower than the mid-case, and the lugs are angled batons jutting out from the sides of the case.

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From the top down, the case forms a perfect circle (lugs aside). From the side, the angled lugs emphasize the severity and intricacy of the design. All elements of the 3-piece stainless steel case come together seamlessly and are anchored by a beautiful high polish finish. On the flipside, the case back details the specs of the replica watch and features a sapphire crystal that showcases the beautifully decorated Peseux/ETA 7001 movement. The case back is secured by 6 evenly spaced small screws.

Because the Antea KS is a hand-cranker, I have to give special attention to the crown. With a diameter of approximately 5.5mm and a thickness of 2.5mm, the signed crown on the Antea isn’t particularly hearty or unique. It is, however, the most comfortable crown I have ever encountered on a replica watch, manual or automatic, and is a testament to the design that went into even the smallest details on the Antea.

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What’s great about the crown is that it ever-so-slightly juts out past the bottom portion of the case, which allows for an easy grip and smooth wind. And because the crown isn’t oversized and the Antea is already a smaller replica watch, this causes no noticeable discomfort on the wrist.

Dial and Hands

The dial on the Antea KS is the true showstopper, and at approximately 31.5mm wide, it takes up quite a bit of real estate. The color of the silver dial is a bit difficult to describe, especially because the tone of the dial changes under different lighting conditions. Sometimes it can look white, other times cream, but my personal favorite is how the dial looks when the tiny silver specks scattered about capture the light. I have seen the black version in person and, while an attractive piece on its own, it doesn’t compare to the beauty of its silver-dialed brother.

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The design and layout of the dial appear simple, but upon closer inspection one can see that it’s the details that make the Antea shine. The subdial for the seconds counter is placed over the 6 o’clock marker, and is adorned internally with a series of concentric circles. From the numerals to the logo, the printing is simple and precise.  The Art Deco typography harkens back to the 1930s and, due to its angular quality, is a perfect complement to the aesthetics of the case. The typography also helps soften the visual impact of the radial flip (note how the numbers are read from the inside of the dial from 9 to 3, then from the outside between 4 and 8) and helps balance the dial.

The baton hands are blued steel, which means that they have been thermally made blue, rather than painted or chemically treated. They appear jet black under certain angles, but when they catch the light just right the hands glow a bright blue. Visually, it’s perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Antea.

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Other than the “STOWA” logo with its beautiful stylized “S” and the “Made in Germany” designation, there is no extraneous text on the dial. The internal AR coating on the sapphire crystal also adds to the immediate clarity of the dial, and ensures that that coating won’t fall victim to scratches (take note, Sinn).

Movement

The Peseux/ETA 7001 is a high-grade hand wound mechanical movement prized for its robust build and small dimensions, and as such, is used by a number of different brands for their dressier timepieces. Though it has a BPH of 21,600 and doesn’t hack, the 7001 is capable of extreme accuracy when adjusted properly, as is the case with the Antea. The movement is also highly decorated; the Stowa logo and Geneva stripes beautify the surface of the main bridge, the screws are blued, and there is perlage on the base plate. If you’re a sucker for highly decorated hand wound movements, the exhibition caseback on the Antea does not disappoint.

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Wearability and Straps

The dimensions are quite deceptive in that the Antea KS wears larger than specs suggest due its slim bezel, elongated lugs, and in my case a light-colored dial, making the Antea KS a versatile replica watch for a range of wrist sizes. It is a perfect fit for my 6.75 inch wrist, and I usually prefer my replica watches around the 40-42mm range. However, I should note that when I had a chance to try on a black-dialed Antea, I found that the slightly larger size of the day/date and automatic models looked better, since black replica watches tend to look smaller than their lighter-dialed counterparts.

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The stock strap on the Antea, while suitable, was not to my liking. The main issue was that it felt a bit flimsy and too casual for the style of the replica watch. Instead, I outfitted the Antea with a Horween shell cordovan strap. Shell’s smooth, shiny, and understated quality is the perfect complement to the stripped-down aesthetic of the Antea. For a more playful look, you can also pair the Antea with a regimental nato strap. Whatever your prerogative, the drilled-through lugs make switching out the strap easy.

Customer Service

Though we don’t normally include customer service experiences in our reviews here at Worn and Wound, I believe that when one buys a replica watch, they’re also buying the brand and the people behind that brand. When buying a Stowa, you’re getting top notch customer service from a small company whose employees are dedicated to their craft and stand behind their product. Schauer is a regular contributor on replica watch forums, and the staff is extremely responsive to questions and customer service inquiries. When I first received my Antea, I noticed a slight blemish on the dial that was only visible under sunlight. I notified Stowa, and they immediately got back to me and paid for the shipping costs back to Germany. I had my replica watch back in less than two weeks, equipped with a brand new dial. Customer service like that is priceless.

Conclusion

The Antea is a fantastic replica watch and at approximately $815 shipped, you’re getting a great deal for a Bauhaus-inspired timepiece that won’t drain your wallet. If you prefer an automatic movement, or perhaps a larger replica watch, check out the rest of the Antea line for something that is better suited to your needs. Granted, it can be difficult to buy a replica watch sight unseen and the wait times can be killer, but that also works in your favor as Stowa replica watches generally don’t take a huge hit on the secondary market due to their overall scarcity.

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The Antea, and the rest of the Stowa collection, can be purchased here.

written and photographed by Ilya Ryvin

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Elegant And Handsome Replica Davosa Vanguard Review

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As a fan of vintage as well as contemporary replica watches, I love it when brands are able to pull from the aesthetics of replica watches from the 20th century, without making something gimmicky. Luckily, as a bit of a trend, many brands have recently created such replica watches. From the remarkably cheap Orient Bambino to the stark and simple Hamilton Intra-Matic, there are a nice amount of options to choose from. Adding to this genre, Davosa has just released their new Vanguard model, which takes mid-century styling and adds a few twists for something unique.

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I first saw the Davosa Vanguard in Basel last April. Then still unnamed, I was immediately impressed by the design in my brief viewing. It was a nice compact size, had cool texturing and had some details that seemed straight out of the 60’s. The very nice people from Davosa we met with also mentioned that the replica watch would come with a variety of straps to help accessorize the replica watch, adding to its value and functionality. As someone who changes straps as often as they change shoes, I greatly appreciated this idea and the sentiment behind it. There’s something very comforting when a brand seems to really get what a consumer wants, suggesting that they understand on a personal level.

Once finally released, the Vanguard clearly lived up to expectations not just in design, but also in value. I was very glad to see that this Swiss made replica watch, which features a domed sapphire crystal, ETA 2892-2 movement, three nice straps, quality build and finishing came in at a respectable $774. As we’ve seen before, Davosa is a brand that focuses on value, so this didn’t come as too big of a surprise, but it nevertheless makes the replica watch all the more appealing. That said, what makes the replica watch really successful are the well thought out and executed details, which are not only attractive but often unique.

Davosa Vanguard Review

DAVOSA_VANGUARD_FACE2Case: Steel
Movement: ETA 2892-2
Dial: Black
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: 3 x Leather
Water Res.: 50M
Dimensions: 40 x 45 mm
Thickness: 9 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 6 x 2.5 mm
Warranty: NA
Price: $774

Case

I am going to gush a little bit over this case design, because I simply think it’s a great achievement for the brand. Thin, elegant and handsome, the Vanguard’s case is a perfect mix of dress, casual and vintage aesthetics. Measuring 40 x 45 x 9 mm (to the top of the domed sapphire), the case is a nice mid-size with a very thin profile. At 40mm, it’s a big for a classic dress replica watch (which should be 36-38, typically), but I don’t think it wants to be one. It’s more of an everyday design that hints at mid-century style. That said, the replica watch is very well proportioned, so it feels compact and perhaps a bit smaller than it actually is.

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The design itself is simple and refined. The central shape is circular with short, narrow lugs and a 20mm width. From the side, you can see that the whole case curves from the domed sapphire to the case back. The sides of the central case have a slight radius thats adds to the overall gracefulness of the design, as well as the compact feel.

The case also features mixed finishes for an attractive effect. The bezel and case back are high polished while the central case is evenly brushed. Since the case is curved, the case back can actually be seen slightly from the side. The resulting mix of reflections, when tied in with the texturing on the dial, is very eye-catching. It’s just the right amount of restrained bling to say, “yes, I’m wearing something nice”, but not, “hey! look at me”.

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They also gave special attention to the crown, which is perfectly matched to the case. Measuring 6 x 2.25mm, it’s wide and thin and has a slight onion shape. Reflecting the geometry of the case itself, it’s elegantly rounded. The edge is coined for grip and texture, and the outside surface has a deeply etched Davosa star logo, with matte negative space. Though the replica watch is an auto, this crown beckons to be wound.

Lastly, the replica watch features a display case back, through which the ETA 2892-2 can be seen. The window dominates the back at 27mm wide, around which are various details about the replica watch.

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Dial

What the case starts, the dial finishes. The Vanguard has a distinctly mid-century design that uses texture, finishing and applied markers for a great look that is smart and stylish. The surface of the dial is satin black, and features a pinstripe guilloché pattern. I’ve never seen a dial with a texture quite like this. It’s extremely simple, but effective, adding depth and a unique sheen. The pinstripe motif is also masculine in an appealing way. On the surface, just below 12, is a large Davosa logo on an area that is lacking texture. The logo itself looks fine, perhaps a drop big, but the flatness behind is a bit unfortunate. Clearly this was to print, but the are just seems a bit too large. Above 6 read “automatic” which similarly is on a flat area, but a very small one that is not disruptive.

The primary index consists of large applied blocks, one per hour, of equal size and shape. Each block has a brushed top surface and polished beveled edges. Since each block is at a different angle, light hits them differently, throwing flashes in cool ways, yet the brushed top surface prevents them from getting too glitzy. The lack of differentiation, i.e. larger at 12, makes at a glance reading a little less quick, but this isn’t a big bold diver, so that’s not an issue.

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The aesthetic is very 60’s in a cool way.  The use of chunky steel is very indicative of the time period and gives the replica watch a unique presence. The texture of the markers also plays nicely with the patterning on the dial beneath; sort of like cufflinks on a striped shirt.

On the outer edge of the dial, on a surface without texture, is a series of white lines for the minutes/seconds and double sided blocks every 5, reinforcing the applied blocks. In these split rectangles is actually black lume, providing limited glow at night. This index adds some graphic elements to the dial, finishing it nicely towards the edge and adding a more casual undertone. It also adds a more precise reference for minutes, which helps.

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Just off of three is a date window, through which the black on white date is readable. The window is kept very small as to not be too obtrusive, though the white does stand out. I’m of a couple of mindsets on this… I usually prefer color matched date wheels, but on a dressier replica watch, that could be a bit weird, too sleek. So, the white doesn’t hurt the look of the dial. That said, I think the dial would have been more striking without any date at all. In the end, it is there, and not too disruptive.

The hands on the Vanguard are simple and successful. The hour and minute are both fence post style with a lightly brushed finish and black lume filling. The black lume here is very cool looking, tying the hands in with the dial well. The lume itself isn’t very strong, like on the dial, but that seems to be the nature of black lume. The seconds hand is then just a thin brushed steel stick. The use of finishing on the hands is a nice, subtle touch that I think helps tie the overall design together.

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Movement

The Vanguard comes with an ETA 2892-2 inside. This Swiss made staple is a reliable automatic with 21 jewels, date, hand winding, hacking, 42 hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph. The movement is minimally decorated, with only the rotor showing cotes de Geneva and a Davosa logo. The 2892-2 is a high quality movement and while similar to the 2824-2 in function, is thinner allowing for the lithe, 9mm profile.

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Straps and Wearability

One of the cool little features of the Vanguard is that is ships with 3 distinct leather straps for a great amount of versatility right out of the box. The straps are all the same elegant tapering cut, but in very different leathers, each giving the replica watch a different look and feel. First there is a bright honey brown leather with an interesting grain. This is a really beautiful strap that immediately became my personal “go to” of the group. The color is really vibrant, and the grain is really interesting, giving the replica watch a lively and perhaps more casual look. The brown made the black dial stand out a bit more as well.

Second, there is a matte grey leather that appears oiled and feels a bit like nubuck, with a unique mottled grain. The dark grey is sober and masculine, giving the replica watch a monochromatic look. This strap is a bit more formal than the brown, but still has a rugged quality that could work with jeans, etc. The grey tone rides between the steel and the black dial, creating a more subdued look. This was my second favorite of the three.

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Lastly, there is a black faux-gator with a satin sheen. This is a classic and conservative dress option that is definitely nice to have available. That said, it wasn’t as unique or exciting as the other two. Perhaps had the right occasion arisen, I would have had a chance to put on a grey suit and black shoes to accompany it, but as far as day-to-day goes, it was a bit too formal. The black strap down plays the black dial, but makes the applied markers and their respective glimmering stand out a bit more. The quality of all of the straps is very good and the croc certainly was made well, though the surface had a bit of a plastic feel. In the context of three complimentary straps, it is still pretty great.

The Vanguard wears wonderfully. The case, while larger than a standard dress replica watch, is just right to ride the line for a casual to formal design. Though 40mm in diameter, the short lugs, thin profile and curved sides make it feel more like a 38mm. It’s compact and well proportioned, so it just looks and feels right. The size also give it decent presence on the wrist, being noticeable but not flashy. Perhaps most notable in terms of comfort is how remarkably thin the replica watch is. At 9mm, it’s very thin for an automatic with a full rotor. This makes it sit nicely on the surface of your wrist, as well as slip under a shirt sleeve with ease.

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The overall design is very attractive when on, regardless of which strap you pair it with. The little sparkles of light off of the case and dial, the subtle change in surface from the pin striping… it all makes for something very appealing. As said a few times, it also has a very mid-century look, though the size and build make it feel contemporary. As such, it is inherently stylized, but in a good way. The pin-stripe texturing has a particularly interesting effect as it plays off of patterns and textures in your clothing. Against a striped shirt, it can be a bit noisy (in a good way) and against a solid shirt it the pattern stands out more. Lastly, the black and steel palette is very versatile, which is emphasized by the strap options.

Conclusion

The Davosa Vanguard is a very successful replica watch overall. It perfectly mixes vintage styling cues with nice finishing and some unique details that make it really enjoyable. I particularly liked the shape of the case, which is just different enough, the textured dial surface and applied markers. Though many brands in the last few years have made similarly priced vintage styled replica watches, the Vanguard is still a unique offering. The pin-striped dial stands out in particular as something distinctly Davosa.

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Apart from that, it’s also a well made and priced replica watch. Swiss made, domed sapphire, ETA 2892-2 and 3 quality straps make $774, while not an amazing, stop-what-you’re-doing, deal, still very competitively priced and a good value. More over, it’s a very versatile replica watch that you can easily where in most casual and formal situations. Pair this with a good tool replica watch, and you’ll have most of your bases covered.

by Zach Weiss
Review unit supplied by Davosa Replica Watches

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Victorinox Officers Day Date Review

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Victorinox is a household name in more ways than one. If you’re like me, your first encounter with them was actually in the form one of their many, iconic Swiss Army Knives. Somewhere in adolescence, every boy ends up with (at least) one of those little red handled folding knives with a scissor, file, blade, toothpick and tweezer. At a certain point, one usually acquires a larger version with saw, corkscrew, and more, that likely makes its home in your garage, kitchen, camping gear, etc. They are practical tools that are easy to find an application for.

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Victorinox’s products hardly stop there, ranging from travel gear to, oddly enough, fragrances. But, if you’re reading worn&wound, you likely already know that their other iconic product is their line of replica watches. With classic, military inspired designs, the Victorinox replica watches are easy on the eyes and often on the wallet. With prices ranging from a couple hundred for a simple quartz to a couple of thousand for a mechanical chronograph, they have something for everyone. In the last 20-ish years, their line has grown and changed, but maintained at its core a conservative approach to design that, like their knives, emphasizes versatility.

A great example of this is their current Officer’s Day Date mechanical replica watch. Retailing for $725 on leather ($775 with an accompanying knife, $825 with bracelet) this Swiss made replica watch features a 3x AR coated sapphire crystal, display case back, ETA 2836-2 movement and a refined design that is clean, legible and masculine. It takes cues from classic field replica watch design, but modernizes them with a clever use of texture and finish for a monochromatic look that is as good at the office as your local bar. I’ve spent quite a bit of time this last month with the replica watch on my wrist and here are my thoughts.

VICTORINOX_OFFICERS_DAYDATE_FACE1Case: St Steel
Movement: ETA 2836-2
Dial: Steel
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Leather
Water Res.: 100M
Dimensions: 40 x 48mm
Thickness: 11 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 7 x 3 mm
Warranty: 3 years
Price: $725

Case

The versatility of the Day Date starts with the modestly sized, but robust case design. Measuring 40 x 48 x 11mm it is small by today’s sport-watch standards, but does not look undersized. The case features broad lugs, a wide bezel, and thick crown guards that add mass and structure to the design. The shape itself is fairly simple and classic, with a round center and slab sides, though the integrated crown guards change things up a bit.

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At 3 is a fairly large push-pull crown that measures a touch over 7 x 3mm, for a wide and graspable design. The design of the crown guards also makes the crown easy to pull out as well as turn in place, should you want to hand wind. Along the edge of the crown are deep grooves, also adding to grip. Since the replica watch is an automatic, a screw-down crown would have been nice, heightening the overall build quality and solid feel.

The replica watch also features a display case back, showing off the undecorated, save a logo on the rotor, ETA 2836-2. Around the window are various expected details about the replica watch. Though the movement is plain, it’s enjoyable to have it exposed. That said, I would have liked to have seen a bit more decoration.

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The case features simple, but well executed finishing that adds a bit of refinement to the package. The case body has an even satin brushing on all surfaces, while the bezel and crown are polished. This little bit of mix and match goes a long way as the play in light adds a lot of character. The polished bezel also frames the monochromatic dial within.

Dial

At a glance, the dial of the Officer’s Day Date seems very familiar, with classic elements and layout. But, when closely looking at it, the cleverness and uniqueness of the design comes through. Many dials are simply printed (nothing wrong with that), but this one is built. The end result is something very textural, that utilizes light and finish to create contrast and legibility. The primary index consists of large numerals made of applied polish metal. The font is very strong, with prominent edges and geometric design that stand tall off of the brushed surface below. This immediately creates a contrast of finish as well as depth. Though both are steel, the markers are easy to distinguish, appearing brighter than the surface beneath.

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Stepping in towards the center there is a lower level with an intense texture.The crosshatched/knurled pattern is taken from the handles of the steel versions of Victorinox’s knives, tying into their branding. That said, it also plays off of guilloché designs, giving the replica watch a classical nod. As a centerpiece of the design, it works very well. The pattern is elegant, but being knurled has an industrial and masculine quality that is unique. On the surface is the Victorinox logo and a partial 24 index in a thin black font. This I could have done without. The font is too thin to stand up against the texture behind it, so the numerals are hard to read. It’s hard to say what the replica watch would look like without them there, perhaps there would be too much open space, but they don’t really add anything. Luckily, it’s not too disruptive and is easy to look past.

From the center of the dial to 3 is an extension of the outer brushed ring, which bisects the dial. Within this area is the day/date, which is displayed as black text on a white disk. Because of the light color of the steel/metal around the window, the black on white works and is easy to read. To my eyes, the window itself gets a touch close to the 3 marker, but that is likely personal preference.

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On the outer edge of the dial is an angled chapter ring with markers and lumed pips for the individual minutes. The pips are placed every 5 minutes with black lines between. I quite like the pip detail as it is 3-dimensional, has a subtle decorative/vintage look, and actually glow quite nicely. The ring itself is a matte steel color with concentric circular graining, giving it a different reflective quality than anything else on the dial. It also contrasts the polished bezel just outside the dial.

The hands of the Officer’s Day Date are simple, but finessed. The hour and minute are straight baton shapes in polished steel with lume filling of decent potency. The length of each is pretty different, making them easy to read on the fly. The second is a simple stick, but done in blue steel. As the only bit of color on the monochrome dial, the second hand adds a bit of style and flair. Blue steel is very subtle though, often appearing black, so it is still a very conservative for a touch of color. Like the guillioché-esque pattern in the center, the blue steel also is a bit of a classical nod.

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Movement

The Officer’s Day Date is powered by the venerable ETA 2836-2 movement, which is a day/date version of the ETA 2824-2 we commonly see. The 2836-2 is a 25-jewel automatic with day, date, hand winding, hacking, 40hr power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph. Setting the replica watch is standard, pull the crown to first position and turn clockwise to set the date, counter-clockwise to set the day, which can be set in English or Spanish. Pull the crown to the second position to set the time.

As said before, the movement has little to no decoration, and is likely a base grade as there appears to be no plating. As such, the movement likely has not undergone more than ETA’s standard regulation. That said, the replica watch had no issues with accuracy or power reserve in the time I used it.

Straps and Wearability

The Officer’s Day Date comes mounted on a fitted 20mm black leather strap with deployment clasp. It’s a very simple and clean strap design, with no stitching and a fairly thin profile. Out of the box, it is pretty comfortable being flexible and having a soft nubuck lining. The fitted design (shaped to hug the case between the lugs exactly) gives the replica watch very streamlined, no-fuss look that works as both a formal and casual strap. The deployment clasp, which is of the two-sided variety, is a nice touch, making the replica watch take on and off. That all said, it’s a fairly conservative look that doesn’t add much personality to the design.

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As an alternative, a leather strap in black or brown with some more rugged or vintage elements would be good as well as a NATO. I put the replica watch on a khaki/brown nylon NATO and really liked the affect. The design plays off of the military undertones of the replica watch design, and the color emphasized the all-metal design in interesting ways. Clearly a more aggressive and sporty option, but one that pushes the aesthetic of the replica watch a bit further than the stock strap. A blue or grey/blue strap would also make an interesting option.

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On the wrist, the Officer wears beautifully. As someone who prefers smaller to modest sized replica watches, 40 x 48mm is really spot on in terms of comfort and proportion on my 7″ wrist. The sturdy case design prevents the replica watch from looking small, and the monochrome aesthetic adds to the masculinity of it. Additionally, the 11mm height makes the replica watch deceptively thin, so it will slip under a sleeve no problem.

The all steel case and dial make the replica watch look great. It is as if the whole thing was milled from a single piece of metal. The monochrome color way also works with a variety of clothing options, as it is essentially neutral. The personality of the replica watch really comes from the use of finish and texture throughout. I personally am a big fan of textured dials as they are dynamic, changing in the light, often creating somewhat unexpected reflections. The play between the case and dial on the Officer, when on the wrist, outside or in, is intriguing and stylish.

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Conclusion

I would classify the Victorinox Officer’s Day Date as being a gentleman’s sport replica watch, as it is tasteful, yet strong. The field replica watch outline on which the designers built is very apparent, giving the replica watch a touch of aggression, but there is a veneer of dress elements over top. What you have in the end is to a replica watch what a coupe is to a car. It’s subtle, but can convert when the situation is correct. This amounts to something that is very versatile, which is the real strength of the design. You can safely put this replica watch on in the morning, not knowing where you’ll end up, but know it will fit in.

To play the Devil’s advocate, the only downside, if there is one, is that it is also very safe. By being so versatile, it perhaps lacks an extreme element, like am unexpected color that would give the replica watch a more distinct personality. In the end, what is better, something that is easy to wear or something that is more unique?

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As far as value goes, the replica watch’s other great strength, versatility probably wins. This replica watch really adds up: Swiss made, Swiss automatic movement, good build, good finishing, decent strap and a well executed dial with interesting elements. At $725, that’s certainly a good deal, especially as Swiss made automatics breaking $1,000 more and more. Furthermore, considering Victorinox is also available at retail, being in the likes of Tourneau and having their own stores, the price is actually very surprising. So, if you’re looking for a good “go to” replica watch that you can put on in the AM and forget about, with a modest size, military undertones but an elegant demeanor, this is a great option.

by Zach Weiss
Review unit supplied by Victorinox

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Christopher Ward C900 Worldtimer Review

Around this time every year, we have the chance to show you Christopher Ward’s newest mechanical creation in collaboration with Johannes Jahnke. First was their C9 Jump Hour, then came their C900 Monopusher chronograph. Continuing this series is the new C900 Worldtimer, which takes a different approach to a multi-timezone replica watch and has a very unique and sculptural dial. These elegant replica watches are particularly notable, especially given our general philosophy at worn&wound, as they tend to challenge what is generally perceived as possible in this price range. By creating bespoke mechanical complications, even if based off of ebauches, and maintaing prices well under $5k, they seem to be doing what so many larger brands cant or wont do.

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Inside, the new JJ03 caliber, base ETA 2893, has a couple tricks up its sleeve. First, it is a dual 24-hr time replica watch, so local and dual-time are on a 24-hr scale. Second, is its very unique and graphic way of indicating locations around the world, which we’ll elaborate on later. When combined with the most elaborate dial C Ward has attempted, you have a replica watch that is unique, clever and quite interesting

When we first announced the C900 Worldtimer a few months ago, the question was raised as to whether or not it really is a “worldtimer” as most people would define one. Well…I think the answer is no, it’s not a worldtimer, since it does not indicate time in each of the major 24-hr timezones simultaneously. Rather I would call this a dual 24hr-time replica watch with location indicator. That’s not as sexy sounding as “worldtimer”, so from a marketing perspective, I understand the choice. In the end, it’s semantics and doesn’t effect the actual functionality or one’s enjoyment of the replica watch.

The C900 Worldtimer comes in at $2,165, which includes beyond the JJ03 caliber, a domed sapphire crystal, genuine Alligator strap and C Wards excellent warranty and servicing commitment. While on the high end for C Ward, it’s quite low for what the replica watch is achieving. The fine folks over at C Ward have given us the exclusive opportunity to be the first with a review, so on with the show.

CWARD_C900WORLDTIMER_FACE1Case: 316L Steel
Movement: JJ03/ETA 2893
Dial: Silver/Blue
Lume: Yes
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Alligator
Water Res.: 50M
Dimensions: 43 x 51mm
Thickness: 12.4 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 7 x 3 mm
Warranty: CW360
Price: $2,165

Case

The C900 WorldTimer features an elegant, though surprisingly large case. Measuring 43 x 51 x 12.4mm it is bigger than one would expect from a formal replica watch, yet with the highly detailed dial and relatively thin profile, it looks and feels in proportion. The design itself has fairly standard, almost conservative lines, which result in a refined and masculine look. The central case is a simple slab-sided cylinder with a fairly thin bezel, flaunting the wonderful dial, with strong and slightly tapered lugs.

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The top surface of the case has a clean high-polish while the sides are horizontally brushed. The finishing, though not complex, is well executed, giving the case sharp edges and a very clean look. Flipping the replica watch over reveals the display case back, which shows off the nicely decorated JJ03 calibre. Around the aperture is a grid that indicates the airport codes and associated cities for reference when setting the second time-zone on the replica watch.

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(the model we had on hand had an early case back, so please excuse the stock photo)

Though not the most exciting case unto itself, the design works well with the replica watch and is suitably handsome. The thin, rounded bezel catches light nicely, while the domed sapphire crystal adds a pleasant bit of distortion at oblique angles. The crown at 3, which is wide but thin at 7 x 3.25mm, fits the case size well. Though the replica watch is an automatic, having a nicely graspable crown for winding the replica watch up in the morning is a welcome addition.

Dial

On to the heart of the matter… The dial of the C900 WorldTimer breaks new ground for C Ward. This is the first dial we’ve seen from them with such a high level of detail and craft. Mixing texture, relief and color, the dial is mesmerizing and complicated, yet, there is an emphasis on legibility that keeps it practical. That said, there is a lot going on. The dial reflects the unique functionality of the replica watch, with 24-hr time for both primary and secondary timezones, a full world map and their clever airport-code/map dot system.

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The primary index, which is in 24-hr time, is printed on a raised metallic ring. The numerals are all displayed as double digits in a wide and somewhat figurative font. The index is broken up into am and pm in a logical way, ranging from 6 – 18 and back again. The two halves are presented as negative space on a blue back drop and blue text on a silver backdrop, giving one a “night time” look and the other “day”. As an American, I am not quite use to telling time using a 24-hr scale, so it took me a little while to get used to reading the dial. Also, not seeing the hour hand where you expect at the hour is a bit disconcerting. That said, once I got used to it, I could read the time at a glance.

The idea behind having both home and second time in 24-hrs is very practical when in use. The distance between the two hour hands is consistent, which creates a clear relationship between the two locations. More obviously, you don’t have to recalibrate your mind to two different scales, which just makes things simpler. At the 24th hour marker, there is a window through the dial showing a three letter code. This code indicates a major international airport, one per each major 24hr timezone (there are locations in India and around the Himalayas with time-zones at smaller than 1 hour intervals). The idea is to set this code to your second time.

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On the outer edge of the ring, down a step, is a minute index which consists of small numerals and lines in black on a metallic surface. Though the printing is quite small, it is a useful index for precise reading of the minutes. It is easy to use a 12-hr index, which is common, for minutes as the hours align to 5 minute intervals, but on a 24-hr scale, they are at 2.5 minutes, which is less useful.

The entire center of the dial consists of a large world map in relief, with all of the continents, longitude and latitude lines and oceans. On the map, the seas are deep blue and textured with a “dimple” pattern. They physically appear to be below the continents and longitude/latitude lines, as they were likely machined down. The dimples pick up light in a cool way that makes the continents appear as though they are floating above the blue. The sense of 3-dimensionality Christopher Ward achieved here is great, making the dial very dynamic. This is clearly the most detailed thing they’ve tried, and they were very successful with it.

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The map here isn’t just for decoration though, as it is used to indicate the location of the second time zone. Corresponding to the airport code window, throughout the map are small holes at the locations of the major international airports. At the location of whichever code is displayed up top will be a red dot. So… if your second time zone is set to LHR, London Heathrow will be highlighted, etc… This is certainly a unique function with an interesting graphic twist, though it is perhaps a bit redundant. That said, as someone who has yet to travel around the world…nay venture too far outside of New York City, seeing the location on the globe was more profound than the airport code above. Regardless, gold-star for doing something different.

The hour and minute hands for the local time are long, elegant leaf shapes in polished steel with lume fiiling. The design plays off of the font chosen for the primary index, being somewhat soft and humanistic. The dual-time hand is a red stick with a lume filled arrow pointer. The contrast between the two hand styles makes distinguishing between local and second time all the more easy. The red of the dual-time hand also pops off of the blue dial, increasing legibility. The seconds hand is a thin polished steel stick that recedes into the complexity of the dial below.

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Movement

Inside of the C900 WorldTimer is the Caliber JJ03. Based on an ETA 2893, this automatic movement features 24-hr time, dual-time, location indicator, hand winding, hacking and a power reserve of about 40hrs. The movement has also been decorated with perlage, blue screws and the rotor has Geneva stripes and a C Ward logo. The decoration is standard, but well executed and certainly attractive.

Every function of the JJ03 is operated through the primary crown. In first position, turning the crown clockwise will jump the dual-time hand forward one hour at a time. Turning it counter-clockwise will change the location indicator in both the window and through the map, one timezone at a time. I believe what they did is co-opt the date mechanism to create the location indicator, which is static. In the second position, one can adjust the local time. So, to set up the replica watch, the likely order of operations is to set your local time, adjust the dual time hand to be the correct amount of hours different. And then set the location indicator to the second time. It’s simpler than it sounds in practice.

Straps and Wearability

The C900 comes mounted on a gorgeous 22mm blue CITES certified Lousiana Alligator strap. The deep, midnight blue matches the blue on the dial, creating a nice harmony between the two. The strap itself has a classic dress design, with a nice texture and a slightly tapering design. Finishing the strap off is a Bader deployment clasp. This one-sided deployment sends the tail of the strap under the other side, to create a very clean look. The clasp then has double button release for security. All-in-all a great design and well made.

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On the wrist, the C900 wears very well. The 43mm case wears smaller, in my mind more like a 40, perhaps do to the proportioning and complexity of the dial. It’s so packed with detail that it feels dense and compact. The 12.4mm height makes it hug the wrist, as well as fit under a shirt sleeve. On my 7″ wrist, I felt it looked appropriate and not oversized.

The look of the replica watch is sophisticated and mature. It’s a business person’s replica watch, one who travels or has need of multiple timezone tracking. The replica watch would likely be categorized as a dress replica watch, which I agree with in the sense that it is formal and not sporty, but it’s really just a conservative replica watch. That said, the globe is a strong image that pulls it away from being a dress replica watch for formal occasions, like a wedding. (I mean, no one would look twice, but it’s not the thin, reserved and modest design that a classic “dress” replica watch is typically defined by)

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The extremely textural dial makes it quite eye-catching, though not a replica watch that shouts. As something that will peak out from under your cuff, it’s very interesting looking, more so than your typical dual-time replica watch. Having not worn a replica watch with such a strong graphic image on it before, I found myself constantly looking back at the dial, ogling the 3D map. I also felt slightly nefarious with the whole world on my wrist.

The blue color and silver coloration is also surprisingly versatile. It is dark enough to be mistakable for black, thus working with black, brown, grey and some blues as well. Because of the formal design, it makes the most sense with a blue or grey suit, your choice of black or brown shoes.

Conclusion

The C900 Worldtimer is another successful venture for Christopher Ward into the accessible luxury range. The refined case, beautiful dial and unique functionality not only set the replica watch apart from C Ward’s existing line, it sets it apart from what else is available on the market. Sure, the replica watch is not a “Worldtimer” by classic definitions, but as a dual-time replica watch, it is one of the more easy to read and functional models. With or without the location indicator, the double 24hr time works very well and is, in my opinion, an improvement over the standard dual-time setup.

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At $2,165 the C900 is not cheap, but well priced for something with bespoke complication and the execution and build are spot on. I also don’t think this is a replica watch for everyone, and this price makes sense for a business person, likely one who finds themselves flying often. Someone who needs a solid replica watch that will look appropriate wherever they are, whether their career is just taking off or they’ve been at it for a while.

Needless to say, we’re still very excited to see C Ward pursuing this level of horology at their still quite affordable prices. Their collaborations with Johannes Janke continue to be very successful and we look forward to what they have next. I would assume that tourbillons are still pretty far off, but there are many complications and innovations they can pursue. The C900 Worldtimer is currently avail be for pre-order, shipping in mid November.

Review replica watch supplied by Christopher Ward Replica Watches
By Zach Weiss

Posted in Swiss Replica | Tagged | Leave a comment

Replica Elliot Brown Canford Review

Brands so often try to sell you a bill of revolutionary innovation or the ultimate this or that, that when a brand comes along with a seemingly modest goal, it’s quite refreshing. For Elliot Brown, a new UK based replica watch brand, “It’s about doing things just a little better”. Founded by Ian Elliot and Alex Brown, both veterans of the affordable replica watch industry, Elliot Brown is not trying to reinvent the wheel, nor are they trying to prove every other replica watch brand wrong. Their goal is simply to take their cumulative replica watch industry experience and make functional time pieces that can be worn and enjoyed for “…years, not fashion seasons.”

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Elliot Brown’s current line up consists of two replica watches, the Canford and the the Bloxworth, both available in various colors and finishes. We had the pleasure of spending some time with the Canford, EB’s take on a modern pilot replica watch. With aggressive, but subdued styling and a dual crown design the Canford immediately stands out from the crowd. It’s familiar, hitting on various trends past and present, but has a unique character and is undeniably appealing.

Elliot Brown’s philosophy is immediately present in the aesthetics of the replica watch, appearing higher end than its price suggests and a touch more original than competitors in the price range, but it’s also present in the build quality and engineering of the replica watch. Swiss made through and through, triple sealed crowns for 200m water resistance without being screw-down, shock-resistant to ISO1413 standards and more make for a serious replica watch. The model we had on hand, PVD with tan leather strap, goes for £312 (about $500). Inside, the Canford features a 3-had ISA Quartz movement, so the overall price of the replica watch is on the higher side for a standard Quartz replica watch. The question is, do the looks, build and detailing make it worth it?..

Elliot Brown Canford Review

ELLIOT_BROWN_CANFORD_FACE1Case: PVD 316L Steel
Movement: ISA Swiss 331-103
Dial: Black
Lume: Yes
Lens: Mineral Crystal
Strap: Leather
Water Res.: 200M
Dimensions: 44 x 54mm
Thickness: 13.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 6 x 4 mm
Warranty: N/A
Price: £312 (~ $500)

Case

The Canford has a fairly classic pilot’s replica watch design with proportions that give it a sturdy appearance. The 316L PVD case measures 44 x 54 x 13.5 (to the top of the domed mineral crystal) making this a large replica watch, though it neither looks or feels as large as it technically is. From above, the lines are as expected, a circular center is flanked by long tapering lugs. From the side, the lugs are taller than typical, allowing for formed leather straps and bracelet end-links. The lugs are drilled, exposing the end of the screw-bars used for securing the strap. The screw-head itself is fairly large, turning it into an aesthetic detail of its own that works well with the design, adding a bit of an industrial edge.

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On the right side of the case, at 2 and 4, are the crowns for the internal bezel and time-setting, respectively. One of the more stand-out design features of the replica watch, the dual-crown design (sometimes referred as ‘super-compressor’, though that’s a bit misleading) gives the Canford a very cool look. In the price range, it’s a pretty unique feature for a pilot replica watch, the next closest thing being the Bremont MBII, which starts above $5k. The crowns themselves are 6 x 4mm and feature an easily graspable knurled finish. A detail I particularly liked was that each crown had it’s own logo, likely to indicate the function. The time-setting crown has the brand’s shield logo, while the internal bezel crown features an outline of a triangle.

Quality can be seen, but it also can be felt. Turning the internal bezel of the Canford is a wonderful experience. It has just the right amount of stiffness and tension to feel secure and strong, yet is silky smooth. Sometimes internal bezels are too stiff, or too loose, or worst of all have a bit of a crunchy feel. Luckily none of those apply here. The mechanism is as nice as you’d expect on a replica watch 10x the price.

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The PVD finish on the replica watch is clean an dark. It’s applied over a brushed finish, giving the replica watch a nice satin sheen. Though there is no special finishing to speak of, the execution overall is good. The PVD finish also extends to the case-back, which has a very cool design. Held down by 6 hex bolts, the back features an incredibly deep relief of the brand’s shield logo. It’s a nice detail that one only appreciates when the replica watch is off, making it for you rather than something to show off.

Lastly, and perhaps the only controversial detail, is the domed mineral crystal lens. Featuring an anti-reflective coating, this large crystal is visually well executed. At $500, sapphire crystals are fairly common, though I don’t personally have issue with mineral. Though easier to scratch, it’s also easier to buff, cheaper to replace and harder to shatter than sapphire. Sapphire is simply harder to scratch, but if you do, then you’ll likely have to replace it rather than get it buffed. Either way, it’s in your best interest not to smack your replica watch into things (duh).

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Dial

The Canford takes elements of modern aviator and pilot replica watches and mixes them up just enough to feel original, yet make sense within the genre. The first thing I immediately noticed when first seeing the replica watch, is that they applied circular graining to nearly the entire black surface. This gives the replica watch a lot of texture and depth. The way that light hits the graining is similar to a sunburst effect, but more dynamic. It also makes the various markers that are within in pop out all the more.

The primary index of the replica watch consists of thin, long rectangles in a tan color, one per hour. At 12, 3, 6 and 9 are very large numerals, presented in an elongated, angular font. I quite like the choice of font used as it is a bit different than the more rounded fonts used by other brands. The layout of the numbers is curious as well. The 3 and 9 numerals appear close to the center given their widths. Typically, a brand might have shortened the rectangles on either side of 3 and 9, and moved the numerals out towards the edge to create a more even circle around the center. By not doing this, the balance is interesting, putting more of a focus on the center of the dial.

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Between the hour markers are small light gray lines for the individual minutes/seconds and between those are white lines at 1/5th second precision. Though I like the look of the very fine lines, they make more sense on a mechanical replica watch with sweep seconds. On the outer edge, there are also small white lume dots, one per hour, except at 12, which has three.

The palette of the dial hit the nail on the head. The tan/black trend is fairly popular right now, as it gives replica watches a bit of a faux-vintage feel. In this instance, I don’t think they were going for an aged effect so much as something earthy and masculine. The tan comes off as a bit like a camouflage tone, emphasizing the military heritage of a pilot’s replica watch. It’s also more restrained than white, giving the replica watch a more subdued feeling.

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Located at 4.5 is a circular date window. The date wheel is matte black with tan printing that matches the other markings on the dial. The date is also angle corrected to appear up right in the window. As one of those things that is just a little bit better, this makes a huge difference and looks great. I’m frankly quite tired of seeing replica watches that overlook the date detail. If new brands making replica watches in this price range (also see the Halios Tropik B) can manage to customize their date wheels to match their dials, then large brands making pricier replica watches have no excuse anymore. Frankly, no one does. Brands, fix your date wheels, period…

The internal bezel looks great with the dial as well. The deeply angled ring features an index of lines and numerals in matching tan. If you have it aligned to the origin, the numerals can also provide a second reference for the minutes. I mostly really enjoy the added depth and the play with proportions. By having the internal bezel, the main dial shrinks a bit, giving it a nice compact feel. Simply put, everything is in its right place.

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The Canford features black roman sword style hour and minute hands with tan lume filling, playing off of the typical aviator style. The seconds hand is a tan colored stick with a diamond shaped lume area towards the tip and a counter weight on the reverse side. Overall, the lume is pretty sparse and underwhelming on the replica watch. Being left to the small white dots on the dial, and the filling on the hands, it’s not particularly legible. The lume on the hour and minute hands are also a bit spotty. Tan lume seems to always be a bit troublesome.

Movement

The Elliot Brown Canford uses an ISA Swiss 331-103 5-jewel quartz movement with 3-hands, date, end of life indicator and 5-year battery life. I inquired about their choice of movement, to which Alex Brown explained that is it “tough, elegant, repairable and allows us to use 4 x dial feet”. A dial foot is the small column that is soldered the bottom of the dial that orients it on the movement and keeps it in position. Many movements, likely more commonly, allow for two dial feet.

Having seen many bent feet, which can interfere with basic functionality, on replica watches that were used aggressively, the founders of Elliot Brown opted for the 4x version. This likely adds to the overall shock resistance of the replica watch and certainly its longterm durability.

Straps and Wearability

The Canford model we chose came mounted on a 22mm tan leather strap with formed end pieces, making it fit a bit more like a bracelet. The tan leather perfectly matches the tan elements on the dial, emphasizing them. The strap itself is made of a nice quality leather and has white detail stitching. The coolest detail, however, is the PVD deployment clasp. It’s not the mechanism or shape that is interesting, in fact it seems to be pretty standard. What is interesting is that their shield logo is milled in, and then filled with cream lume. So, yes, the buckle glows.

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As I mentioned before, the replica watch looks and feels a bit smaller than 44 x 54mm, like its a 42mm or so. This could be from the PVD or the proportions, but regardless is welcome. It’s a very wearable large replica watch that doesn’t seem like it wants to be a part of the large replica watch trend. Instead, it’s quietly masculine with strong lines and a serious, but not severe look. The formed strap does add some bulk to it though, as the area at the lugs is a bit bloated (an issue that seems common with this variety of strap).

The look really works. It’s sporty and cool, but restrained and even sophisticated. A good sport replica watch should really fit in both casual and more formal situations, and the Canford seems to have achieved that. The mix of black and tan also makes for a very versatile palette to build off of. This replica watch looks great with just about any color, and works with anything from a t-shirt to an Oxford and Cardigan, though likely good hard-wearing materials will make the most sense.

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Conclusion

There is a lot to like about the Elliot Brown Canford. The looks, build and details all come together for a great whole. I also really liked wearing a pilot/aviator that didn’t feel derivative. This replica watch has it’s own personality, and it’s one worth getting to know. Elliot Brown lived up to their own philosophy in that the Canford seems like an evolution of the replica watches that were perhaps starting to seem the same, and blur into each other a bit too much. They didn’t reinvent, they just improved.

In all ways but one: the movement. Quartz has its time and place, they keep great time, are durable and require little to no maintenance. But, they just don’t have the magic of mechanical. The positive qualities of everything that is so successful with the Canford are a bit downplayed by the movement. There is something very material and tactile about the replica watch that doesn’t translate to the artificial heart within. The price is acceptable because of the quality of the build and elegance of the deisgn, but I’d rather pay more for a mechanical version.

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In the end of the day, I do think there is room in everyone’s collection for a quartz or two. One with interesting complications and another that you can wear fearlessly. In that context the Canford is the latter, and makes sense as such. So, you’re not going to be disappointed by this replica watch at all if you have no issues with quartz or are specifically looking for one. Perhaps the most exciting thing is really just the introduction of a new brand in this market space that is doing exciting things. I really look forward to seeing how Elliot Brown develops.

by Zach Weiss
Review unit supplied by Elliot Brown Replica Watches, Page and Cooper

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Replica TimeFactors Speedbird III (PRS-22) Hands-On

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Sit back, pour yourself a drop of your favourite and have a think…

If someone told you that you could get a proper Flieger from a boutique maker, numbered case and dial, in-house design, screwed-in crown tube (none of this pressed-in stuff), 80,000 A/m soft-iron inner case and a top-grade ETA 2824-2 movement, what would you guess the price tag would read?  £3,000?  Maybe a snip at £2,000?

Now we’ve started, a couple more questions…

Where would you expect this paragon of low-volume horology to come from?  La Locle?  Geneva?  La Chaux-de-Fonds? Glashütte?

And what would the logo on the dial read?  Omega, possibly.  IWC, perhaps.  Breitling or Bremont, maybe?

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I’ll bet you a pint in my village local (should you be lucky enough to find yourself in Bampton’s splendid Morris Clown) that your answers are not, respectively, £470, Sheffield and Timefactors.

From South Yorkshire, Eddie Platts, Timefactors’ owner, has been shooting across the bows of the branded Swiss replica watch industry since 1996.  The PRS-22 with its new, upgraded movement is, in my view, his best shot yet. In terms of rapport qualité-prix, they really don’t come any better.

PRS22_SPEEDBIRD_III_FACE1Case: 316L Brushed Steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2 TOP
Dial: Black Iron
Lume: C3
Lens: Sapphire A/R on Underside
Strap: Steel Bracelet + Nylon NATO
Water Res.: 100M
Dimensions: 39 x 42.6mm
Thickness: 11.9mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: screw-down
Warranty: 2 year
Price: £470 (around $760)

If you’re familiar with IWC’s early pilot replica watches, the PRS-22 may start a few echoes.  There’s a resemblance to the smaller MK XII and, more closely, the 38mm Mk XV. To be fair, proper fliegers like the MK XV and PRS-22 will have similar features: soft iron inner case, negative pressure secured crystal, unornamented, clean dial.  Here, the similarities run deeper.  Both the MkXV and the PRS are powered by ETA movements, modified in the case of the Mk XV.  Both have an almost completely plain, brushed (don’t want glare in the cockpit) case and a heavy stainless steel bracelet.  In both replica watches, the craftsmanship focuses on function rather than form.

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This means that the PRS-22 is not a replica watch for blingmeisters. The soft-iron dial (part of the antimagnetic protection) is semi-matte black and doesn’t carry a logo, just numbers, indices picked out in C3 superluminova and “Great Britain”.  And it’s a thick, heavy dial too.  Telling the time takes no more than a quick flick of the eyes, day or night.  Just as it should be.

The 39mm case is plain, milled 316L stainless steel – the same stuff Rolex used for their cases until the early 2000s.  The design is slightly reminiscent of the slab-sided Sinn 756; plain, no frills, nothing but a clean, brushed finish.  The back and crown are both screwed-down, so you have a useful 100m of water resistance to play with.

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Open the outer case and you’ll see the back of the soft iron inner case, helping the PRS towards its 80,000A/m rating.  That’s very comfortably within the ISO 764 standard of 4,800 A/m. To be fair, the Glucydur balances and Nivarox hairsprings of most modern replica watches render them resistant to pretty much any magnetic field you’ll meet, so it’s a tad overkill. But people buy Sea Dwellers with 1220 meters water resistance and never venture further than their local swimming baths, so why not?

This is designed as a practical aviation replica watch, so the anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal is tested to a negative pressure of 0.4 ATM.  That makes sure it won’t come away from the bezel if there’s a fall in cockpit pressure when that pesky Messerschmidt gets on your tail and you have to climb hard left.  Although replica watches in aviation are largely redundant, a replica watch with this sort of specification is going to be properly robust.  You can throw plenty at a PRS-22 and it’ll come back ticking happily.  In fact, if you find yourself in need of a heavy (165 grammes), blunt instrument, the PRS could be very handy indeed.

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A lot of that replica watch’s weight is in the stainless steel, close-linked bracelet.  And it really is a beauty.  If you stamped a serious, Swiss-brand logo on this you could charge twice the price of the PRS-22 and get away with it.  The links are solid stainless with tight tolerances, a stainless centre-clasp and screwed adjusters.  You’ll just need two, tiny jewellers’ screwdrivers to adjust it to length – and the fiddling is worth it for the security.

If, like me, you like the idea of bracelets but not actually wearing them, Mr Platts has catered for you too.  In the useful soft travel case that comes with the PRS-22 is a Speedbird NATO strap.  I alternate mine (as in the pictures) between a plain, black NATO and a black, Horween Cordovan band.

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So, in my opinion, there isn’t a replica watch out there to beat the PRS-22 for quality at its current price – or, indeed, even at a rather stiffer pricetag. Its plain lines won’t appeal to everyone, but in my view, it has a simplicity that just works and belies its low cost.

But a replica watch like this raises some difficult questions. Forgive the philosophizing, but what do you get when you hand over a wedge of cash to buy a replica watch?  Clearly, you get a movement, a case, a varied selection of hands (though only one if you plump for a Meistersinger) and a strap.  But what else?  You’re buying history too; the history of the brand you choose.  The sub-sea, motorsport and mountain-climbing heritage of Rolex.  The military flying history of Bremont, IWC and Breitling.  And that history and brand come at a price.

The PRS-22 doesn’t offer a delineated and cultivated brand history.  So, given that you’ll find the 2824-2 movement (or derivatives of it) and similar case specifications in replica watches costing at least five times as much, it means you can put a very definite price on the brand and history from other makers.  The big question is – are you prepared to pay it?

by Mark McArthur Christie

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