Tag Archives: good

Reviewed: Paulareis Omega Planet Ocean Look-a-Likey

There are lots of Chinese watches on Ali Express that bear an uncanny resemblence to famous models from Switzerland, like this Paulareis blue and orange number. It retails for just under £20 including postage, which is super cheap – but is it any good?

GOOD STUFF

This is a big watch at some 44mm across, it has a fairly thick case too at 16.5mm, with a slightly domed and an AR coated crystal. It adds something having that blue tint when you move the watch dial across the light.

With a basic auto movement, it needs a  little winding action, plus a fair bit of shaking to get going. Unlike some DG movement watches NWC has bought for review, this one doesn’t have a nice spinny-spinny rotor to build up some reserve. The rotor slowly tips from one side to the other, meaning you have to work harder to get some power in the mainspring. You get some gold effect on the rotor, which is visible via the see-thru caseback.

Handy little date window too.

The strap is silicone and the blue/orange colour theme continues. There’s a unidirectional click-stop bezel, which is a little bit stiff,  but works OK. All round, it really does look and feel like a solid dive style watch, even though it isn’t. So far, so good.

BAD STUFF

The watch arrived from the Timerunner store with a smashed caseback crystal, which had left dozens of fragments inside the movement. Not good.

I emailed and they sent three new screw down casebacks. Which is good, except it means I had to remove the movement from the watch and try to clean out the caseback crystal pieces to make the watch work.

That took two baths in petroleum ether and a poke about near the stem/crown access hole, with tweezers. Delicate job, as one wrong move and the keyless works would move out of alignment and then the movement needs stripping.

Some lubricant inside the movement was washed out during this rescue mission, which left an oily patch inside the crystal, but that cleaned off.

DUMMY RELEASE VALVE

Second crown is for show, does not do anything exciting.

The second crown at 10pm is a dummy – it doesn’t move a chapter ring and it certainly doesn’t release helium. What do you want to 20 notes? But other cost-cutting measures were revealed on this watch as I continued to repair it.

As it was washed in ether, a little glue was seeping out from the back of the dial plate. Yes glue.

It was then clear that the movement did NOT have dial feet inside the movement, secured by dial screws – as most watch movements do. In fact, the dial pins are clearly visible on the outside of the movement.

There were still glass fragments under the rotor, stopping it from moving around and charging the mainspring. So off it came, which meant the dial plate was pretty wobbly. On the upside, that allowed me to clean glass from under the dial plate without removing the hands.

Luckily when everything was re-assembled and the rotor screwed back on, the watch worked – and continues to do so. But let’s move onto the next problem.

Vandalised by angry customs staff? This was not a good sight to see when unboxing.

SHALLOW LUG PIN HOLES

Trying to re-fit the silicone strap proved to be a frustrating experience. One pin end in, then gently press the spring-loaded pin at the other end..and ping. Off it goes into the workshop somewhere.

New set of pins, and I used the crimper tool to give the pins a chance of sliding into the lub holes each side. Still no joy, and the thin paint also began to scratch off as I fought with the thing.

Finally I gave up and put a blue leather strap on instead. It is too narrow, but at least it went on. The reason for the pin problem is simple; the holes aren’t deep enough, so the slightest touch releases the pin.

VERDICT;

There is a limit to what you get for twenty quid, so bear that in mInd when choosing Ali Express bargains. Sometimes you win and get a lovely watch that just works spot-on and looks very nice, like the Paulareis turquiose dial watch I reviewed last week, also twenty pounds and it’s been no trouble at all, same retailer on Ali Express too.

This one would probably be fine for a while if it arrived undamaged, but that pesky pin problem will come back one day, as you put on/take off the watch, and twist the strap slightly. Then the pin will ping out and your fun half hour begins…

Ali Express Watch Reviews: Paulareis Automatic

Seiko and Citizen know it to be true; a turquoise dial watch is actually very cool, the choice of those who dare to be different. You can still buy a Seiko 5 or Presage today with a mix of blue and green on the dial and we are big fans at NWC magazine.

But can you get the same joy from an Ali Express budget automatic from Paulareis, at just £19.15? Well, yes and no.

GOOD STUFF

Let’s start with the positives on this one, which was bought from Timerunner store. There were some random polystyrene protectors in there, but the watch was packed inside a basic plastic sleeve – no box.

To be fair, this is bargain basement level watch buying, so no fancy box is fine.

The steel case and bracelet feels good, nicely polished, no sharp edges. The clasp has a foldover strap and presses down with a satisfying click. Feels secure. I took out one link and moved the clasp in along for a perfect fit. This watch is 40mm across which most enthusiasts agree is the ideal size.

The dial colour is stunning, it really stands out. There is a touch of lume on the quarter hour markers as well. Solid caseback, with a Rolex style splined backing plate. pretty certain our old friend the Chinese DG movement is inside there.#

Pull out the crown to position one and you can wind the watch. It ran for 27 hours left alone on the workbench. Wearing it all day, even mainly deskbound, put enough extra in the balance spring to power it through the night a day later.

Feels like a mineral crystal, which sits a little bit high by the way. Not sure if that’s a good thing or whether it might be vulnerable to little nicks and scratches.

The bezel is almost the same as a Seiko SNK series watch, it has that chamfered smoothness that’s just good to touch. Plain n simple, classic design.

BAD BITS

The crown is difficult to align on the tube when pressing in, before screwing it down. It doesn’t realy want to screw all the way on the thread. On the upside, it’s a fairly small crown so it doesn’t dig into the back of your hand like some watches do.

Most irritating was the condition of the watch. It was dirty underneath the protective stickers, especially inside the clasp. I took it apart to clean up properly as I adjusted the clasp, but still, not a good indicator as regards quality control at the Timerunner outlet.

It sits a bit high on the wrist at around 14mm, but I don’t really mind – it isn’t a huge lump of a thing like the 43mm Pulsar quartz chronograph I bought last year.

VERDICT;

You cannot complain too much for the money. Yes, a turquiose Seiko 5 is a far superior timepiece in terms of build quality, resale value and you get all that lovely box, paperwork n guarantee. But it’s also £250. This thing is under twenty quid – you know, a chippy tea price for the family on Friday.

I’m amazed that the factory in China is making any money and even more impressed that overall, this Paulareis offers everyday automatic timekeeping for a car boot sale price.

LIV Watches Price Hike Due Soon

We are fans of the LIV watch brand here at NWC mag. They offer great value, build quality and vibrant styling too. Especially if you prefer bigger 43mm sized watches. Bad news though, prices are going up on June 1st, so here’s the word from LIV.

Since 2017, we have not had a price increase on any of our watches. Today I am announcing a modest increase in both the GX-AC and the P-51 collections. This increase is due to material and production costs going up.

The GX-AC will go up by $100:

  • $990 to $1090
  • $1050 To $1150 (for the TJ)
  • $1070 to $1170 (Rose Gold)

The P-51 will go up by $100:

  • $1370 to $1470
  • $1490 to $1590 (Fifth Anniversary Special)
If you have been eying one of these watches, now is the time to take advantage and pull the trigger.

Are Rolex Homage Watches Worth Buying?

It’s an interesting question because even if you have nine or ten grand lying about spare, you may well struggle to buy a Rolex Sub or GMT homage this side of Renata battery expiry date. That’s 2024 by the way.

So if you just want the Rolex look, and don’t care about the Chinese assembly or build quality, here are some alternatives we spotted online.

BENYAR MILGAUSS-A-GO-GO

We actually placed an order for this Milgauss lookalike from China recently, so watch out for a review of this quartz watch which costs a mere $25 including shipping on Aliexpress. At that money it is gonna be hard to find fault even if the second hand falls off after 3 months.

LOREO SUB

This one is one eBay in various dial/bezel combo; Pepsi, all black, blue/black etc at about £95. You get German tech it says, which could be the sapphire crystal? Seagull movement inside, nice steel bracelet too – VAT and customs duty on top of the ebay price though. We saw a couple of pre-owned examples in the UK if you want to save all that mither.

PAGANI DESIGN DAYTONA DEMON

Pagani are one of the best known Rolex tribute acts around, with some positive reviews online. Priced at about £80-£110 in the UK the Daytona lookalike is undeniably good value with a Seiko movement inside.

Pagani even have their own UK based ebay store, which is handy as regards back-up if things go wrong, plus avoid the import duty racket. Great looking Subs and GMT models too.

REGINALD, YOUR ROLEX IS HERE LUV

The Reginald is another China brand, with this quartz Submariner copy retailing at just over £35 plus taxes on ebay. You get 30m water resistance and…oh come on, do you care? It’s under 50 quid.

CADISEN DATEJUST

The Cadisen Datejust sells for about £70 on ebay or Amazon and again, the dependable Seiko NH35 automatic movement in inside the case. Thinking ahead, that movement is worth about 30 quid, assuming you wanted to build a MOD watch one day.

Anyway, you get a steel bracelet, 100m of claimed depth rsistance and a range of dial colours. Aliexpress has this on for about £50 plus import tariff n VAT, so not too pricey. See-thru caseback as well.

Happy shopping!

 

Raven Trekker Blue Dials – Last Few Available

Raven watches has sent us an update on their 39mm case Trekker model, which is down to the last 7 examples with the blue dial. We love the look of this Miyota powered dive watch, which has a 300m depth rating, so we thought yeah, give it a mention.

Another production run is planned for late 2021, but if you want this one for summer then you know what to do. Nope, we aren’t on commission. The watch retails at $750 by the way.

Here’s a link to the Raven website too.

Ltd Edition Nomos Automatics Offer Understated Elegance

There is something to be said for the classic, minimalist timekeeper. A watch that just has bold hands and markers, maybe a sub-second dial, and does the job. No fancy bezels, no chrono pushers. Just a 1960s gents watch, utilitarian and elegant at the same time. Versatile even. At the same time, enthusiasts want a watch that can last a lifetime, made to high standards with accuracy as the foundation stone. Nomos Glashutte are on the case, here’s the word from their press office;

Distinctively fine watches have been produced in Glashütte for 175 years—an anniversary the watchmaking company NOMOS Glashütte celebrated with the release of two special limited-edition models.

And now the third is here: Club by NOMOS Glashütte comes in three new colorways, each limited to 175 pieces. The three names: Club automatic onyx, Club automatic navy, Club automatic olive. This popular model with domed sapphire crystal glass is available in beautiful shades of green, blue, and black (galvanized).

Club Navy Automatic

Within these timepieces, the NOMOS movement DUW 5001 is at work—the first self-winding caliber from the watchmaking company, introduced in 2005. The diameter measures 40 millimeters. All three watches are also easily legible at night. NOMOS Glashütte has crafted these long-lasting timepieces with the next generation of watch owners in mind. People, in other words, who will need a good watch on the wrist for decades to come.

First, there was Ludwig – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, which celebrated the town’s heritage as the center of German watchmaking. Then came Lambda – 175 Years Watchmaking Glashütte, which represented the very best of Glashütte handcraft. And now there is an entirely different watch: An automatic model with an in-house built caliber and the proprietary NOMOS swing system adjusted according to chronometer standards. Available for an entry-level price which many people will find attractive: “A group of customers that has always been of great importance to us,” says NOMOS CEO Uwe Ahrendt.

Each of these watches comes with its own beautiful accessory: The elegant and complementary strap—a light gray and blue-black textile strap for the olive green and navy models respectively, and the NOMOS Sport bracelet for the onyx version. These watches are available from March in select retailers and online in the NOMOS Store, starting from 1960 GBP.

Ball Railroad Trainmaster 130th Anniversary Edition

Ball have a special 130th anniversary Trainmaster model. With a 40mm case, this vintage style Ball pays tribute to the railroad pocket watches of the 19th century, with its retro dial design. Here’s the word from Ball;

The Trainmaster Railroad Standard 130 Years – a classic and elegant timepiece inspired by a BALL vintage pocket watch from the early 20th century to represent our rich heritage and watchmaking ethos. Limited to 999 pieces, the commemorative timepiece features a 40mm case, micro gas tube luminosity and subsidiary seconds design. In all dark and low-light environments, the 14 micro gas tubes on the dial and hands shine automatically without any form of charging.

You can choose a bit of engraving on the caseback, plus choose the serial number from the 999 pieces. So if your birthday is on the 24th then get busy ordering, as those low numbers will probably be snapped up first. This is a COSC certified timekeeper, with a period style white enamel dial, plus Swiss Made, so it isn’t cheap at just over £2000. But if you want Swiss build quality, and that unique pocket watch look, then you have to consider this one.

Verdict; a pre-order special price of £1830 on the Vanguard II, in stunning blue, is probably going to be a better long term investment than the pocket watch revival. It just has a wider re-sale appeal, and it’s cheaper.

More here. 

 

ICYMI: Rado Captain Cook Burgundy

Here’s one we missed from December, the new Rado Captain Cook Burgundy model. Here’s the word from Rado;

One look at the new Captain Cook bronze burgundy dial is all it takes to understand the grandeur of this timepiece. Rado is proud to present its new version of the Captain Cook bronze with the much awaited burgundy high-tech ceramic bezel.

It is not unusual for Rado to make such striking material combinations, and the ‘The Master of Materials’ once again plays with a modern material like high-tech ceramic and the oldest material created by men – bronze. The result is a timepiece that enamours with its brushed bronze case, bronze turning bezel with burgundy high-tech ceramic insert and laser engraved numbers and markers. The burgundy sunray brushed dial clearly contrasts against the yellow gold coloured applied indexes, but blends easily with the classic red-date display from Rado.

Its indexes, numbers, hands and markers are all powered with Super-LumiNova® that allows clear visibility in the dark, and whose looks remain almost untouched from the 1962 original Captain Cook, giving it a natural vintage look. However, diverging from the original, this timepiece is powered with the 11½ Rado calibre 763 movement prodiving 80 hours power reserve.

Red tones are known to be the hardest to be replicated in ceramics, and even more a challenge to be used in watches, that now the watchmaker from Lengnau can add to its many materials’ achievements.

Verdict: Handsome design and the NATO strap adds a certain adventure sport look. Ceramic bezels add an extra level of durability too. It’s a pricy watch at about £2400 mainly because Rado don’t generally hold their resale value too well. We like the DC Leake jewellers green Captain Cook better at two grand in the Sale.

One We Missed: Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton

I’m in two minds about skeleton watches. On the upside, it is great to see inside any watch movement because there is always a fascination with the intricate workings of any calibre. On the downside, you lose the impact of a beautiful dial.

Hamilton released the skeletonised Jazzmasters in April 2020, and since we missed a load of stuff during lockdown, it was time to catch up.

The H-10 movement is inside the 40mm case, which is derived from the ETA 2824 base, although it has had some work done by Swatch Group. It provides the entry level power unit for the Tissot Powermatic 80 as well. Now 80 hours reserve is impressive, but you have to say, this isn’t the greatest looking movement to put on display.

hamilton jazzmaster skeleton 1

The big problem I have with Hamilton is that the resale values are incredibly poor on them. I’ve seen pawnbrokers offer under £200 for a minter, with box and papers, because you cannot sell the thing in the window for much more than £450-£550, depending on the model and colour etc.

Nobody wants them, and they don’t see them as being `Swiss’ watches, even though they are because the same company that owns Breguet are manufacturing Hamilton.

In short, the Hamilton brand lacks prestige and although the Jazzmaster is a well made watch, it isn’t worth over £1100 and never will be. Not when the same company is selling a Tissot Powermatic 80 for £403 via its dealer network.

Crazy.