Before we get going, what you should know, is that there’s no better watch I know of for under $300. Flat out, this is the best sub-$300 being made today. It’s also possibly the best at higher price points too. But it gets so much better than that, because while the MSRP is $275, you can get many of these for right at/around the $200 mark.
I’m basically saving you money already. Just buy it, but I can write more reasons if you would like…
Specs & Movement
Ok, so, this watch uses the 4R36 automatic movement with manual winding which runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour. Nothing stellar there, and perhaps the worst part on the movement is the scant 41 hours power reserve — which I am really cranky about. That’s not a full two days, so it might as well be 28hrs for all I care. It’s annoying. Anyways, I digress.
This is a 40mm stainless steel case with short lugs, making it wear a touch smaller — perhaps 38.5mm feeling on wrist. It clocks in at 11.5mm thick — great little package.
The case is rated to 100 meters water resistance, but note that the crown is not a screw down crown, thus I personally wouldn’t intentionally take this swimming. It should be fine, maybe, but I wouldn’t. I have serious trust issues with a crown that doesn’t screw down.
The movement is a day-date complication, and the crown is positioned at the 4 o’clock spot — good for righties, meh for lefties on this watch. It comes on a NATO strap (nothing special) or a bracelet (nothing special). I got mine on NATO knowing I would replace that right away.
I love this watch. It’s so good, that if I didn’t have a Rolex Datejust already, it might obviate the need for one. And let’s talk about that lume, because it is spectacular lume. I hit this watch with 20 seconds of UV light at about 10:15pm, and it glowed like it was radioactive material until I fell asleep. At 5:00am, it was still smile inducing bright, and highly legible. The hour makers, and both hands. That’s a very rare thing, and even more rare at this price point.
Ok, anyways. I like to call this watch a ‘strap chameleon’, because I’ve yet to find a strap that it doesn’t look great on. I suspect my choice of gray dial helps somewhat here, but generally this is a case which can trend dressy, or sporty. It really owns whatever strap you put on it. My favorite is a rough suede in tan, or the Uncle Seiko Jubilee (excellent bracelet) I picked up for it.
On my wrist, it feels amazing. It’s light, and it has a low profile. Sliding easily under all my cuffs. It’s highly legible in all situations and is quite a nice dial to look at throughout the day. I wore it several times outside of what I’ve needed for this review and given the competition that feels noteworthy.
In a word, this watch is: balanced. It feels just wright in every way. They could charge twice the money, and people would likely still buy it (though the movement would need an upgrade).
The real issues with this watch:
- It’s not fully dress as the indices look sporty.
- The 4 o’clock crown is too sporty for dress also.
- The movement is rattle prone.
- Shit power reserve.
Outside of that, it’s an ideal everyday wear watch, and does the job well. I’ve been recording the movement accuracy on this and clock it at +5 seconds on average. It varies based on wear/use, but that’s really solid. (I’ve had it go really bad a couple times, very widely varied movement.)
If money is tight, but you want to buy a really good watch, find this watch at a reduced price. You won’t regret it, and it’s a tremendously good value buy. The case looks fantastic, the lume is amazing, and the specs are good enough to get you through most anything in life. And it can take any strap you throw at it.
In the sub-$300 category, I feel confident saying this is the best watch you can buy, perhaps even in the sub-$500 category.
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