Watch Review: Roue SSD Type 3

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I love to experience new style of watches because it really helps keep me from becoming set in a personal preference holding pattern. Like many of you, I find myself feeling that gravitational pull towards diver watches. Which is fine to know what you like and prefer, but for me it is about needed growth. When I was a fresh faced kid to this industry, I barely knew my ass from a hole in the ground when it came to the vastness of the watch world. I stuck with what I knew and likked and what I considered my safe place. It really kept me from experiencing it all, missing out on some really great watches. Fast forward to the present and I find myself finding the beauty is so many different style of watches. One style that has been particularly growing on me are “racing” themed watches and that is the style of watch that we will be looking at together today.

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”Throughout time, the best design is a beautiful blend of form and function. Whether it’s the rush of a 1960 Alfa Romeo, the sleek creations of Dieter Rams or a simple pair of well-worn Levis. At ROUE (French for “wheel”), we firmly believe in a well-crafted product that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also versatile. A design that will take you from that important business meeting to celebrate at the pub with friends. A design that never goes out of style.”

The SSD 3 arrived on my doorstep in a clever little package which I enjoyed the function and the simplicity of what the watch was packed in. When I opened the box and moved the manual/paper I was greated by the dial, the watch was seemingly smiling at me through a round window. I removed the soft foam window to get a closer look at what this watch was about. The watch was strapless which I thought was really cool because it came with 2 strap options. I liked that Roue gave me the opportunity to pick what strap I wanted to try out first, either the soft genuine leather rallye style strap or the nylon front/leather back strap. Both are great options, and another option that I think this watch would look great on is a nato strap.

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The straps are easily placed on the 22mm spaced lugs via spring bars. The lugs have a curve to them and are relatively short which cuts down on wrist overhang for those with smaller wrists. As for the stainless steel case itself it is beautiful brushed that has a blasted finish. The lines of this case definitely remind me of the curves that are found on some classic cars. “The 60s were a special time for car design. Sports cars were pure elegance: think Series 1 Jaguar E-Type, Ferraris 250GTO and LM, Aston Martin DB4 and Alfa romeo TZ1. A decade of legendary​ drivers Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart. The SSD Sub-Seconds brings back the decade that best describes sporty-elegance.” I captured what I mean by this in the picture below, pay attention to the lines that follow the curves of the case itself. For a watch that costs $190 USD the finishing on the case impressed me.

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The push pull crown is left unsigned which is a bit disappointing but the function of the crown does not disappoint. It’s small, but still can be gripped and operated without difficulty. The screw down caseback has a nice engraved rallye flag design which dresses the back of the watch in a theme complimenting manner. I like how the case has that carved out from one block of stainless steel look which flows beautifully up to the sapphire crystal which gives the perfect window to the dial on the SSD 3.

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The graphite dial is what attracted me to this watch in the first place when I first saw it on Instagram. That caused me to research the watch and brand further. I had a nice conversation with the brand owner who was easily approachable and was happy to answer all my questions. That always makes the experience that much more personal and individualized. Getting back to the dial, like the case, the dial has that classic car look and feel to it. The small seconds dial located at the 6 o’clock position has a cool speedometer look to it. The white printed numerals, white hand and yellow circle all look great, complimenting each other and allowing for legibility is the black background. Adding a touch of depth to the dial is the style of how the small seconds is set sunken to the rest of the dial.

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Roue kept the dial classy by only adding in small yellow printed text “ROUE”, nothing more, nothing less. Bold white printed numerals with bold white hands allow you to tell the time on the SSD 3 easy in most lighting variations. The minute hand has a small black tip, a detail that I absolutely appreciate and love. It allows you to see where exactly the hand is pointing to on the applied minute track. The minute track is one of my favorite details on this dial, it just adds the perfect amount of detail without creating a cluttered mess. I like the slide rule style numbers and markers which adds to the vintage feel of this piece.

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The SDD 3 is a cool and a very affordable piece. Yes it has a quartz movement but that should not steer you away from giving this piece a second look. The case design and finish is nicely done, same can be said for the complimenting dial(even has nice lume). It is a charming little watch with nice appeal. I like the different option that this watch offers from my typical comfort zone watches that I gravitate to. I would have liked to see a screw down signed crown on this watch to really complete the overall finish. But that comes down to preference over something that Roue missed or did wrong. It a fun and comfortable watch to wear. Check out the different options on their website:

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Thanks for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.

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Watch Review: Jekyll & Hyde

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Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”

Every once in a while along comes a watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a fun theme about it. Some watches can have a pretentious are about it that will immediately kill any appeal in my eyes. As you can notice about the watches I review, I try to stay away from those uninspired pieces. Just because a watch doesn’t cost a fortune or has an inhouse mechanical movement doesn’t mean a watch isn’t worthy of serious wrist time.

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Today we will be exploring the Jekyll & Hyde watch. When I opened the box that the watch was shipped in I was greeted by a square shaped box with a white sleeve, I slid off the white sleeve and there it was, the coolest packaging to date. I will leave it a mystery though, I want others to be surprised like I was. Now onto the watch itself, ohhhhhh the macabre. As a child the classic Universal monster movies were my thing. Almost every year at Christmas my mom would by me some sort of monster action figures, I had them all. From the Creature to King Kong, they all were absolutely amazing in my eyes. When I first came across Jekyll & Hyde watches I was instantly transported back to my childhood and remembering my love of the macabre.

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She had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy; but her manners were excellent.”

The dials on their watches are like works of art that are straight out of the haunted mansion. Dripping blood, cracked dial, blood soaked sword hands, Jekyll and Hyde text. Personally I couldn’t decide between the Roman numerals or the Arabic numeral version, so I opted for both. Both are very macabre but so different. They both have a classic appearance but vary due to the white vs black, blood vs cracked/lightning, etc… No bezel, means larger dial surface in the circumstance here on these watches also the 42mm case circumference helps here.

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The dial on these watches really give them some evil wrist presence.

But time began at last to obliterate the freshness of my alarm; the praises of conscience began to grow into a thing of course; I began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after freedom; and at last, in an hour of moral weakness, I once again compounded and swallowed the transforming draught… My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring.”

The polished finish of this case adds a bit of class to this “beast”. Depending on how you look at the original story of Jekyll and Hyde, you can say that the case is Mr. Hyde and the dial is Dr. Jekyll, at least that is how I see it.

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It was his custom of a Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by the fire, a volume of some dry divinity on his reading desk, until the clock of the neighbouring church rang out the hour of twelve, when he would go soberly and gratefully to bed.”

The “welded” wire lugs add nicely to the classic vintage feel of these pieces. Relatively short and curved allow the already thinner watch to wear comfortably to the wrist with a under to cuff low profile. The strap is connected to the lugs via quick release spring bars. The push/pull onion shaped crown is easy to grip and pull, which also operates smoothly for setting the time. I like the fact that there are no date windows to interrupt these unique dials. Another detail that I like is the small seconds subdials on both of these pieces. The small arrow tip hand with an added touch of lume. Though this hand is small, it is packed full of detail.

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For $276 USD you get a unique and macabre themed watch. This watch is perfect for fans of those classic monster movies, whether if you are a fan yourself or if you have a ghoulish friend. The case back features a laser etched picture of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which is a cool little detail that adds a finishing touch of horror. The Japanese quartz movement inside keeps good time. Though the small seconds does have the quartz ticking action, I was really surprised by how the hand hits the markers with precision. You can tell that there was a definitive vision for this watch and the J&H hide team executed that vision with evidence of horological passion throughout this piece. Halloween fans can have a watch that was tastefully down, but still has that sinister macabre theme.

You can unleash the beast by visiting:

https://www.jekyllandhyde.ch

Thank you all for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.

Thank you to Marcia and the Jekyll & Hyde team.

Bold italic quotes from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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Watch Review: Duzu Ningaloo Reef

 

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I had a chance to e-meet the man behind the Duzu brand and I have to say his enthusiasm for watches is  contagious, his vision is inspired and his design is refreshing. I have been obsessed with the water for most of my life, from swamps to the ocean, love it all. Right now the watch swamp is poluted with uninspired rubbish, fortunately for every 10 or so rubbish pieces, an inspired piece emerges and today I will be looking at one of the pieces, the Ningaloo Reef, from the Australian brand Duzu. Both the case and dial are packed with unique details and creates the classic battle of attention. Who will grab the attention first?

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I will start with the Adamantium, I mean stainless steel case which has a real, raw industrial architectural design, like the exoskeleton of a top secret project. Duzu’s choice of a brushed finish is the right choice in my opinion for this case design which adds to the industrial feel this piece possess. I immediately took notice of the skeletonized frame work of the lugs and the sides of the case. Honestly how could you not take notice of this detail. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was skeptical of this before seeing this watch in person, but I can definitely say that it was executed flawlessly. From the triangular shaped lugs to the mixture of brushed and blasted finishes, it all works so well together.

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Of course I appreciate the fact that the lugs are drilled and Duzu used solid screw bars and this is just another example of a single detail among many that makes this watch appear on my bang for your buck list. Duzu carries the detail torch onto the crown and crown guards. Easy grip screw down crown that operates absolutely smooth, is a winning crown in my book. At first I thought that the crown edges were a bit on the sharp side, but after taking this watch into the water, the edges make perfect sense to me. The crown was extremely easy to grip with cold, wet hands, not that you will be unscrewing the crown in the water, but I have personally found myself in situations where operating the crown in cold, wet conditions was necessary.

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While I am on the theme of easy to grip, the bezel on the Ningaloo Reef is also easy to grip. The edges of the bezel are just as unique as the sides of the case, but in this design unique also equals functionality. The bezel has crisp, tight unidirectional rotating action that has no extra play whatsoever. The matte ceramic bezel insert in quite stunning in both daylight and in dark situations, see the pic below and you can see what I mean and it will give you a sneak peak on the unique dial design. The solid caseback is held tightly in place by 6 screws that serve as functional strength but also as design detail strength. The engraved Duzu logo is a bit sharp, but this can easily be addressed by Duzu. When reviewed one of Helms first watches they had the same issue but was fixed rather easily. Also keep in mind that this is just the prototype and not the actual production piece which I will be reviewing when they are available so I can compare them.

 

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The dial has no problem attracting attention by any means. The custom sandwich dial is quite unique and in my opinion so f***ing refreshing. I am so drained by all the submariner style dials. Duzu nailed it in the originality department with the Ningaloo Reef dial. To keep the unique dial flowing they added a stationary chapter ring for the minute markers/track. One ding I have to mention for the dial is that the second hand is void of any lume. The blue color is beautiful and nicely matches the blue on the chapter ring, even the length is perfect, but it definitely needs some lume in my opinion. I like how Duzu used rounded edged hour & minute hands for this watch because they beautifully match the rounded design of the hour markers. The case has that sharp edged architectural design/feel and in contrast the dial has a round fluidity design/feel.

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Duzu kept the text simple on this dial, one suggestion though is that they could have eliminated the Ningaloo Reef text on the dial which would give the dial an even cleaner look, keeping just the Duzu name and water resistance. I would also suggest taking out either the lumed Duzu logo or the printed Duzu text, but having both is a bit busy, especially with the cool, unique hour markers. Dropping the Duzu logo down to replace the 6 o’clock marker would also be a nice touch. Keeping the dial nicely visible though is the 4mm thick single domed sapphire crystal that has an anti-reflective coating. The beautiful blue that glows throughout this piece is BGW-9 Superluminova which looks stunning in complete darkness and glows throughout the night.

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The Duzu Ningaloo Reef shows great promise in terms of both quality of execution and original design. I find this piece extremely refreshing and a great option for an affordable diver that separates itself from the overcrowded swamp of soulless homages. Yes, homages have their place too, but in my personal opinion I am bored with uninspired pieces. This watch has quite a bit of very nice details that make it a value for the dollar. You get a unique designed case, a custom sandwich dial, great lume, matte ceramic bezel insert, solid execution, and if you are one of the lucky 25 super early birds you are getting one hell of a deal in my opinion. I will be doing a comparison review of the prototype vs the actual production piece once they are complete.

Thank you all for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.

A special thanks to Wayne from Duzu Watches.

Stay current to the news via Duzu’s website

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SPECIFICATIONS:

CASE MATERIAL: 316L Stainless steel marine grade CNC machined case
CASE DIAMETER: 44mm (excluding crown)
CASE LENGTH: 52mm
CASE HEIGHT: 15.5mm (case), 16.5mm (including crystal)
LUG WIDTH: 24mm
CROWN DIAMETER: 8mm screwed down custom crown with deep etched logo
CRYSTAL: 4mm Thick single domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
BEZEL: Custom 316L stainless steel bezel with lumed ceramic insert
DIAL: Custom sandwich dial with lumed markers and numbers
CASEBACK: Custom 316L stainless steel caseback with deep etched logo and machine screw fixings
LUME: BGW-9 Superluminova lume to bezel insert markers, hour/min.hands and dial
WATER RESISTANCE: 300m / 1000 feet laboratory certified
MOVEMENT: Japan made Miyota 9015

coming to Kickstarter
​$345 USD – super early bird special limited to just 25 pieces
​$385 USD – early bird special limited to just 25 pieces
​$445 USD – Kickstarter price
​$545 USD – retail after campaign

 

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