10 1 / 2013
A couple of months ago, I entered a contest on Facebook to win a new watch. I actually all but forgot about it until I received an email telling me that I had won the $580 88RDR Black Chrono from Rue du Rhone. Free is a excellent price for just about anything and I was more than excited to get a new watch. Just a week or two prior to winning this contest, I purchased a Maratac Pilot watch based on the review from worn&wound. This new watch however is a completely different style.
A Quick Word: I am not a professional watch reviewer. In fact, I’m very new to the world of watches as I only have recently decided to put my nearly 8 year old Suunto Vector on the sidelines.
Also, my review format is mirroring how worn&wound does theirs. This is because I absolutely love what they are doing and feel it should be a standard format for watch reviews. If you haven’t checked them out already, go and do that now. Or after my write up. Either way, just do it.
- Case: Matte Black PVD
- Movement: Quartz Chrono
- Dial: Black
- Lume: Yes
- Lens: Sapphire
- Strap: Calf Leather
- Water Res.: 50m/165ft
- Dimensions: 42mm
- Lug Width: 22mm*
- Warranty: 2 Years
My particular shipment came in a box with a few extras that may or may not come with regular orders. I received a hat and a water bottle which may have just been some extra goodies for winning the contest. The quality of both is similar to swag a trade show booth would hand out.
There’s a lot happening on the face of the watch and not much on the back. Without it being an automatic, I doubt there is a reason to show off the back/innards anyway. Everything on the front seems small and thin and that’s not entirely my style. Remember, I’m coming from a chunky Suunto Vector and a Maratac Pilot watch.
That being said, the case doesn’t feel small (like my Timex Weekenders) and I think this is a good sized middle ground case that will fit a broad audience. The matte black PVD is subtle and fairly unassuming, which I like.
The buttons on the right side that are used to start, stop, and reset the chronograph can feel a little “disconnected.” They don’t feel very fluid and are just “buttons.” I guess I was looking for something more tactile and smooth. Although, with this being my first chronograph, I like the way the hands spin around when you reset the stopwatch. It’s my favorite “show & tell” feature.
If you are using the chronograph, the numbers can be a little tricky to read at a glance against the “8-filigree motif.” This is most likely due to the black on black and their silver and black version looks much easier to read. It’s also worth noting that only the hour and minute hands are coated with lume.
The sub dials include a small seconds dial at 3 o’clock, 12 hours at 6 o’clock and 30 minutes at 9 o’clock. The date window is directly at the 4 o’clock position and the tachometer ring has very small digits. I did a minor test to check my speed on the highway and it clocked me going 70 mph, which was correct. Yeah, I felt cool doing that and wish I could test it at a much higher speed but that’s about all my old Volvo will do these days.
As I mentioned previously, the lume is only on the hour and minute hands and it’s a very small strip of “glow.” I want to say that it also fades fast but I think that’s just my eyes playing tricks on me due to the surface area of the lume, especially compared to the Maratac Pilot watch.
As most of you know, I’m a jeans and flannel shirt kind of guy so naturally, stiff leather straps are tough for me to get used to. And alligator styled is a whole ‘nother ball game. Shortly after getting this watch, I swapped the strap it came with for the nubuck leather NYC NATO from worn&wound (which I’d like to review separately). It may be an unusual combination but it’s really the only acceptable alternative I had at my disposal.
I’m assuming that the stock strap will soften up the more you wear it but I really haven’t given it more than a few minutes on my wrist at total. I don’t think I have large wrists yet I was having to settle for the second to last notch on the stock strap.
I shared my initial thoughts with a few people who were interested in this particular watch and it appears I may be the odd man out when it comes to really loving this piece. I feel that it has a lot of room for improvement. I do like the styling however and it does make a nice looking dress watch.
The Black Chrono puts on a fairly fancy front but I feel that the overall quality simply isn’t there, at least for the cost. If this were more in the $280 range, I think it would be a good option for those looking to mix style with some function.
The box that it came in (the small physical watch box) had some paper peeling off on the corner. Not a good first impression. It also came with a little “pillow” but instead of being strapped to the pillow (like it would be on your wrist), it was just laying with the pillow in plastic. The box also felt a bit cheap because of the velcro pull tab. If they went with a hidden/recessed magnet clasp, I think that could class it up nicely.
This kind of poor presentation wasn’t what I was expecting from a company that says this watch has been “expertly designed to the ultimate detail” and “is the synthesis of functionality, technical mastery, strength and passion.” I can’t speak for the mechanical side but from what I see, this is more of an entry level option and should be priced as such.
Reminder: I’m not a professional watch reviewer and I may come off a bit harsh in my write up. I just want to share my honest opinions as it won’t do any good for me to write a glowing review just because I won this. I am very grateful however and I appreciate 88RDR running the contest. You certainly don’t have to take my word for it though and I highly recommend you check this out in person and judge it for yourself.
Do you have any questions or thoughts?