Tag Archives: aliexpress

Reviewed: Ailang Twin Tourbillion, Rose Gold Edition

We love to review watches here at NWC magazine, so let’s take a look at this twin-tourbillon Ailang, which we bought on Ali Express recently.

At around £67 (inc postage) this is a typical budget watch, although there are a few extras included in the deal. For example, you get a proper box complete with outer sleeve, VIP warranty card, handbook – English as well as Mandarin – swing tag and protective covers on the crystal, caseback and clasp.

There is also a spare conventional leather strap, plus a wristband, kinda Harry Styles leather thing, with what looks a bit like an Iron Cross in the centre. Useful if you’re in the Vaccine Enforcement Stormtrooper Squad in Vienna I guess.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This watch measures 41mm across – excluding crown – and some 13mm high. It does feel chunky on my slim wrists, but not too wide, in fact 40-42mm across suits me fine. You won’t fit this watch under a fitted evening or office shirt, but maybe that’s a good thing, as it is a conversation piece.

The watch was packed nicely with protective tape and padded box, bubble wrap etc for shipping.

The dial has a classic  tourbillon face with those twin barrrels standing out, then a small time telling dial above, almost like an old fashioned mantel clock; black chapter ring, silver Roman markers. The tourbillion wheels are held in place by two steel triangles, which are exact replicas of the rotor on the movement, but segmented – like a slice of rotor pie.

CAGE NOT FITTED CORRECTLY

The sad thing is this watch is not quite right. If you look closely the tourbillon cage on the right isn’t in situ. Hard to believe it slipped out of alignment during transit but it’s possible.

More likely it’s poor quality control at the factory.

The tourbillion cages hide most of the balance wheel spinning action, with the second wheel kicking in as I shook the watch after winding the crown to get wheel number one started.

Quite impressed it ran OK given the manufacturing fault. But so far it’s still ticking and telling the right time. However it will be returned for a refund.

It is visually very striking, hypnotic and apart from an uber-thin second hand, which looks quite fragile, the dial is impressive.

An AR coated sapphire crystal sits slightly proud of the bezel, which is rose gold tone, just like the case and crown.

Skeleton rotor is a nice touch.

TESTING

I wound this one for about ten turns, then shook it for ten seconds. After a day wearing it doing office stuff and one short walk to the shops it ran until 5.23am the following morning. Not bad. Most automatics I test from China tend to conk out in the early hours and I also own a vintage Lanco and Accurist which do the same thing.

By the way the one vintage watch I own which DOES continue to run through the night is a 20 year old Seiko 6309 basic gents automatic, which will run on the bedside cabinet for about 12-15 hours after being worn the day before.

One thing that does stand out is that changing the strap will not be easy. There’s no quick release slider on the pins and the strap is fitted very flush to the lugs, which means there is a risk of damaging the rose gold finish when you prise in a pin removal tool, to free the pin from the lugs.

On the upside the foldover steel clasp is well made and fastens with a reassuring, solid click, on both sides. The push button release works smoothly too. Many Chinese watches have less than perfect machining on clasps and retaining bands, but this leather deployment feels just as good as Rotary or Tissot in my experience.

VERDICT

This model comes with a silver tone case as well, plus blue, white or black dial options.

You know just 5 years ago I told people in the shop that I couldn’t try to repair Chinese watches as they were so hit & miss as regards build quality. Sad to say this is still the case, as the damaged tourbillon shows.

Very disappointed with this watch.

More here at the YJwatch store.

 

 

Big News: AliExpress 11.11 Online Watch Sale is Coming Soon

Yes budget watch fans, this is the real action you’ve been waiting for. Forget about the Amazon Black Friday deals, because AliExpress has thousands of watches with up to 80% off the previous RRP.

We spotted some nice reductions on well known brands like Cadisen, Pagani, Benyar, Paulareis, Steeldive, Addiesdive and more. You can also get a coupon for a few dollars extra off the price, just click to download it before hitting the Cart page.

OK, here’s our top picks.

MOCK TUDOR IS SOMETIMES PRETTY GOOD

We will start with a Benyar Tudor Black Bay homage, which features a two-colour bezel, auto movement and 42mm case width. On the 11.11 deals email we saw this at $44.39 at the Benyar store page. You cannot really argue on value there.

IT ALL ADDIES UP

Over at the Addies watch store, there are discounts of up to 70%, which is very welcome. We like the 007 style Deepseahunter sports spec dive watch, with 4pm crown, plenty of lume, a Seiko NH35 engine, plus sapphire crystal. Beefy 44.5mm case diameter too, so this is a credible dive model with 200m resistance for $140 on special offer.

Lovely sterile dial bronze case 200m diver too, at just over $216, worth a look we think.

PAGANI ARE GOING DEEP

Pagani is another China-based brand with a bit of a cult following and again, it comes down to decent quality features for not much money. They also do nice homages to the Seiko Presage, Rolex Sub and Omega Seamaster.

The Pagrne 300m Prospex look-a-like is very tempting at $110 on the special 11th November Sale deals. Big case watch with 300m resistance, 4pm crown position, plus a big 45mm case diameter lets you make a statement with this baby.

Something slightly smaller? The Pagani GMT in Root Beer colours also floats our boat at just under 90 bucks. Especially with a two-tone bracelet. Just nicely executed we reckon.

More at the Pagani store and you can add all the bargains you like to your Cart, then wait for the final price on 11.11.

A Minimalist Watch For a Fiver? Yep

Let’s suppose for a minute that you like Skagen watches, millions of people do. But you hate paying £150 for a basic quartz watch that has a caseback so impossible to remove, even Timpsons expert openers leave three or four scratches when its battery change time.

Or you might like Nomos Glashutte models, like the post-modernist Orion Neomatik, with its hushed grey dial tones and wafer-thin hands. But again, you dislike the Nomos price tag of about £1800.

Beautifully understated, but nearly two grand. Not everyone wants to spend that on a watch.

There is a cheaper way to look uber-modern and stylish, albeit with a quartz movement for just a fiver – including postage. Seriously.

We found a brand in China called Top Of the World and bought this grey-green dial model which cost just £4.75, yes under a fiver.

Good old AliExpress brought this one up when we searched quartz gents watches by price and you have to admit that it delivers. Packed in a curious flip-up bubble of plastic, there’s no box or papers. Just a basic leaflet telling you how to set the hands.

It was set to the correct UK time when it arrived, which is a nice touch by the brand, not many Swiss companies would bother to set the new watch to the right time.  Measuring just 41mm across, with a superslim bezel this is the perfect fit for many people. It’s not too high either at 10.6mm.

You get a PU fake leather strap, so it ticks the vegan box if you like to make sure that no leather is in your life. On the wrist the PU actually feels really soft and comfortable.

The dial has got that Junghans Max Bill kind of look, although the numbers are slightly smaller. It’s utilitarian, basic and none the worse for that, in fact the entire design reminded me of a rev counter from a mid-70s Honda CB400/550/750, minus the fabled red zone – which always used to fade in the sunlight.

Save the planet, keep paperwork down to a minimum.

Those ultra skinny hands stand out nicely and you can get the time with a glance. No superlume for night time of course, but you know…it’s a fiver. Some artisan cafes are charging that for a bowl of organic apple porridge.

VERDICT:

This beats Argos, Amazon or eBay when it comes to cheap prices and a decent spec. It arrived in just under a week too, so five stars for value. Nope, we aren’t on commission, we just like a bargain.

More info here.

Can A $25 Automatic Watch Do The Job?

We only ask the question because we bought a Tevise look-alikey Rolex Datejust for that sum of dollars on AliExpress recently.

UNBOXING

You have to be impressed at the overall package for the money. An outer carboard box, inner VIP owners card, little guarantee/user booklet, with some english words in there, plus a Tevise tag. There are various protector strips on the links, the crystal, caseback and clasp too.

Maybe it’s just my eyesight but the dial and the date window cyclops lens didn’t seem to be 100% aligned. The little shield at 12 o’clock just looked like it was set at 11.59?

FIT N FINISH

Removing X4 pins was easy and then the watch fitted my slim wrist. Pulling out the crown it became obvious that you have to manually advance the hands to advance the date, which is fair enough at this price level. The crown action was a little bit stiff and the same could be said for the winding action, but yes, you can wind it up as well as do the famous Seiko shake.

It does sit quite high on the wrist as the case measures approx 14mm high.

The foldover clasp is pretty basic to, with a firm press needed to get the clasp to fix upon the pin. Push button release worked fine.

The gold painted case and bracelet looks kinda average. This hasn’t got the luxury sheen of the Tudor look-a-like I bought for £31 last month from AliExpress. It probably won’t be long before dings and scratches show on this watch, or the paintwork rubs off.

TIMEKEEPING

I fully wound the watch, set it against my phone and checked back the day after. Given I was mainly deskbound, there wasn’t much wrist movement to charge the movement, so it was a relief to see it was still spot-on the day after.

Looking at the movment under a loupe you can see this is a fairly basic engine and interestingly the rotor barely moves from side-to-side. It doesn’t spin freely like some of the DG Chinese movements do.

The decorated Tevise rotor is a nice touch, as is the see-thru caseback. You would not expect that on a watch that retails for under £20, including postage to be fair.

VERDICT

Does it look like a Rolex from a distance? Nah, too goldie lookin’ chain mate.

Yes, this does the job of telling the time and as it is an auto, you never need a battery, so you’re helping planet earth in that respect. But this feels like a watch from the communist era. There are lots of brands on AliExpress selling automatics for under £60 that offer a look and feel that go way beyond this Tevise. Splash out if you love an automatic we say.

After two days one of the bracelet pins fell out and on inspection it lacked two spring-loaded ends on the pin. I often find one deeper spring end and one shallow end, where there is very little `give’ allows the pin to pop loose – which it did, repeatedly. Luckily I have hundreds of spare pins and a crimping tool to make a replacement pin fit more securely, but if you don’t, then that’s something to bear in mind.

Just want a basic timekeeper? Well the Tevise is incredible value for the £18 price tag.  The auto movement might need some winding help but once running, it’s accurate enough.

Given that you can buy a Casio quartz from Argos for under £20, or a Sekonda/Lorus for about £25-£35 in the H Samuel Sale, there are better ways to spend your tight budget.