Monday, May 16, 2016

Review of Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer

Model # 93005-3-NBUR

Brand/Model:  Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  stainless steel case with solid ceramic bezel, rubber strap
Complications:  date display, independently adjustable third GMT hand
Price:  approximate MSRP $3,492 USD (discontinued)

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Edox is one of those Swiss brands that fly under the radar and I became curious about the brand, since I had never owned an Edox watch before.  When some of their more recent, yet discontinued, pieces started showing up online at substantial discounts, I pulled the trigger on this Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer to see what the brand was all about.  Boy, am I glad I took the plunge!

Edox makes its watches in its Les Genevez factory in Switzerland and has quite the range of models and styles, with both automatic and quartz movements.  Edox history dates back to 1884 in Switzerland, when the company was founded.  Edox means ‘measuring of time’ in ancient Greek.  The company’s hourglass logo was first shown in 1900 and the company’s watch manufacturing has progressed steadily since.

Edox has developed some well-known horological innovations, such as the double gasket crown for improved water resistance which debuted in 1961 and the famous ‘Geoscope’ worldtimer, introduced in 1970, being billed as the ‘first genuine world time watch.’

In 2008, Edox became the official timekeeper of the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, of which the watch being reviewed here is named after. 

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer being reviewed starts with an all stainless steel case that is both polished and brushed.  The left case side has a polished stainless steel inset plate secured with screws that says ‘Class I’ in reference to the brand’s Class 1 Powerboat timekeeping sponsorship as previously mentioned. 

Case diameter is 43mm; with crown it measures 47mm.  Lug-to-lug measurement is 49.1mm, so this watch sits comfortably on the wrist.  Case thickness is a rather svelte 12.3mm.  Lug width is 24mm.

The lugs have fixed screwhead covers on them that add a bit of style and all the screwheads are aligned vertically, which is cool.  Also, the screwheads for the lug covers and the inset plate on the case side are styled in the hourglass Edox logo.

The crown screws down and is signed with an inset black circle with the Edox logo on it.  Very classy!  The crown is just about the perfect size (slightly on the large side without being huge) and screws down smoothly with about 3-1/2 turns.

The caseback is a screwdown  type with an rather heavily embossed propeller in the center, and various engravings depicting the serial number, case number, etc. plus verbiage about the Class 1 Powerboat Championship.  The look of the caseback is nifty.

The quality and finish of the case is superb.

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer is factory rated at a good 300 meters of water resistance.

The dial on this watch is unique, functional and easy-to-read.  The dial itself is mainly black with a grey radar-style circular grid on the inner part of the dial.  A red and white roulette-style track is on the outside of the grey grid, and comprises the 24-hour subdial for the GMT hand.  Small arabics in black are on a red background and are separated by a small block of white between each red block. 

On the outside of the roulette 24-hour ring is a plain black area with applied rectangular luminous markers and finally the chapter ring, which is done in blue and black, with the hash marks and arabics (every five seconds) for the seconds markers.

This may all sound a bit busy, but in reality, it is not and functions as a cohesive whole.  Also, please note, even though this watch is billed as a ‘worldtimer’ it does not have any cities listed on the dial or bezel, so it can only track a second time zone, but not the time in individual worldwide cities.  Why Edox decided to add ‘worldtimer’ to this model’s name is beyond me, but I just wanted to be clear about this.

The hour and minute hands are silver with white inset lume and the seconds hand is a simple non-luminous silver stick.  The handset style is a pleasing rectilinear design that looks contemporary while also being easy to see.  The GMT hand is a semi-wide pointer style that is all red and extends only to the inside of the roulette-looking 24-hour subdial, which is a GMT style that I appreciate.

A quickset date is at the 3 position, which features a black on white date wheel.  Alignment of the date inside the window is perfect.

A flat sapphire crystal covers the dial and a solid black ceramic bezel encircles the crystal.  The bezel is a 60-click unidirectional design that is slightly tall on its sides with grooves for an easy grip (a good idea, as the ceramic is smooth and can be hard to grab hold of) along with standard infilled white hash marks for the first 15 minutes of the hour and infilled white arabics and markers for the rest of the hour.  There’s an inverted triangle at the 12 position with a lume dot in the center. 

The bezel is shiny black and also has four of those stylized screwheads as on the case that add a bit of pop to the bezel.  The screwheads appear at approximately the 7, 22, 37 and 52 marks on the bezel.  Personally, I could do without this embellishment because they really don’t add anything to the watch.  But I do really love the ceramic bezel, it looks and feels super and gives this watch an expensive cache.

Lume color is green and lume quality is good, but not overly strong, although the application of the lume is even.  The hour and minute hands, the markers on the outer edge of the dial and the lume pip all glow in the dark.

Dial lettering is about average, with the Edox logo, the name ‘Edox’ and ‘Automatic’ appearing below the 12 position and ‘GMT’, ‘Worldtimer’ and ‘300M/1000FT’ appearing above the six position.  Thankfully, the lettering is rather small and doesn’t detract from the readability of the dial.  As I already said, while the dial might appear busy, it functions great and is easy to tell both the local time and GMT time at a glance.

As with the rest of the case, fit and finish and build quality of the dial, crystal and bezel are all first-rate.  My standard 8X loupe exam showed no dirt or defects on the dial or hands.

Inside the Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer beats a Swiss automatic movement that Edox calls its ‘Caliber 93’.  This movement is based on the venerable ETA 2893 and runs at 28,800 vph in 21 jewels.  This movement is pretty much the standard bearer among GMT movements and works just like it should.  

In the first crown setting position, moving the crown clockwise sets the GMT hand in one-hour steps, while moving the crown counter-clockwise sets the date.  The local time on the main hour and minute hands is set with the crown in the outer most (#2) position.

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer winds and sets fine, the GMT and date functions are easy to set and perform flawlessly.  During my testing, accuracy was +11 seconds over 24 hours in the crown-up position with a strong power reserve of 50-1/4 hours, so overall performance is very good.

This Edox comes on a smooth black rubber dive strap that is scented.  I just don’t understand the allure of scented straps.  I really don’t care for them; just give me the natural rubber smell, but at least the scent here isn’t too overpowering.  

That being said, the quality of the strap is nice, with a soft and flexible feel and minimal embellishment, with just a small Edox logo on each side of the strap near the lugs, a pleasing departure from some brands that feel they have to use their rubber straps as billboards with garish and overly large brand lettering.  There are also two floating keepers.

The strap measures 24mm at the lugs and tapers to 20mm at the clasp.  The clasp is a pushbutton butterfly style deployant that is signed with the Edox logo.  While the clasp could be a bit more comfortable at times, a nice detail is the perlage that has been applied to the outside of the clasp, so you see it when you open the clasp.

The strap has two trimmable sections on one side if you wish to shorten the strap, with the other side of the strap having seven holes to choose from for the pin on the clasp to fit into.  I did not trim the strap and it works pretty well on my thin wrist, but I do find the butterfly deployant to be unnecessarily fussy when putting the watch on.  Please just give me a standard pin buckle or a single-style deployant, thank you very much.

While I haven’t tried it, I think this watch would look super cool on a black or dark brown leather strap, as I am one of those guys who loves their divers on leather straps.

Presentation is quite nice, with a large signed black two-piece outer box and a plastic two-piece inner box.  The inner box fits into a plastic Edox logo frame which makes it a bit clunky but kinda cool all the same.  A small slot at the bottom of the outer box holds the combined instruction manual and warranty booklet.

Overall, I am quite impressed with the Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer as my introduction to the Edox brand.  It’s a unique, high-quality watch from a true Swiss brand that has great functionality, style and lots of little details that make it stand out from the crowd.  Factor in that these watches can be had at decent discounts and you have a winner, with the added bonus that you won’t see too many out in the field.  Very well done!

Pros:  true Swiss quality from a real Swiss watch brand, reliable Swiss automatic engine, unique design, lots of cool details, solid ceramic bezel, 300 meter water resistance

Cons:  scented strap not for everybody, lume could be brighter, butterfly deployant hard to use and not that comfortable, screwheads on bezel don’t enhance the design

Verdict:  Edox has created an enjoyable watch that has its own unique personality, with real Swiss DNA through and through.  The Class 1 GMT Worldtimer is a true work of art and worthy of your consideration if you want a quality, classy/sporty GMT automatic.  Nice work!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.



Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review of Ingersoll Cobham II Automatic

Model # IN3107BBKO

Brand/Model:  Ingersoll Cobham II Automatic
Movement:  Chinese automatic
Material:  stainless steel black ion plate case, leather strap
Complications:  power reserve indicator
Price:  MSRP $460 USD (can be found heavily discounted)

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

It’s been quite some time since I ventured over to the world of Chinese-based automatic watches.  Ingersoll has been a brand I have been interested in for awhile now and when this Cobham II automatic showed up at a price I couldn’t resist (about $100 USD BNIB), I couldn’t pass it up. 

Boy, am I glad I spent the money, as this watch has really shown me how far the Chinese have come in terms of both the accuracy and the quality of their watches.  Ingersoll says all their watches are designed in Germany and even goes so far as to print it at the bottom of the dial on this watch, but don’t be fooled, these may be designed in Germany, but they are made in China.

Ingersoll as a brand dates back to 1892 in America, when they made a name for themselves making the famous ‘Yankee Dollar’ pocket watches by the millions.  This was followed by Mickey Mouse watches in the 1930s through the 1970s. 

Fast forward to 1989 when British watch importer Zeon acquired the brand and has since relaunched it with mostly automatic movement watches.  Today their range is quite extensive with a variety of styles and features that can be found on-line and discounted prices.

The Cobham II automatic reviewed here takes its name from Sir Alan Cobham’s pioneering flight in 1928 across the African continent, when he wore an Ingersoll watch to keep the time.  This modern Ingersoll Cobham II watch celebrates his aviation triumphs and it’s nice that his name and that of Ingersoll are truly linked in history.

The Cobham II starts with a very nicely finished all stainless steel case that is ion plated in black and is signed with the Ingersoll name on the left side of the case.  The finish is shiny and is somewhat of a fingerprint magnet, but the overall look is sharp.  The case measures 45mm across; 49.5mm including the crown.  The crown itself is signed and is properly oversized, to make winding and setting the watch easier.  The crown alone measures 7.8 mm in diameter.

Case thickness is 15.1mm, with a 22mm lug spacing.  Overall, the proportions of the Cobham II are quite good, with nothing seeming oversized or bulky and this watch does not wear overly large.  The lugs are fairly short which help to position the watch comfortably on the wrist.

The screwdown caseback is standard polished stainless steel and is a display type with a mineral crystal that shows up the surprisingly well-decorated automatic movement with a signed and decorated rotor.  As previously stated, overall fit and finish on the case is excellent.

The Cobham II is factory rated for a modest 5 ATM of water resistance, so best not to get this watch wet.

The dial at first glance appears to be quite busy but after a bit, you adjust to it and it really is quite useful and easy-to-read.  The dial itself is a matte black with aged lume (ie:  cream colored) arabics, with only the ‘6’ being ‘hacked off’ at the bottom of the dial.  It always bugs me when watchmakers bother to put arabics on a dial only to cut them off to make room for various subdials, calendar windows, etc.  The arabics on the Cobham II are all of equal size and with only one arabic partially cut off, it presents a clean and purposeful look.

There is a simple chapter ring with minute gradations around the perimeter of the dial.  The power reserve indicator is below the 12 position, with the watch subseconds hand located above the 6 position. 

The power reserve dial has circular patterning and is marked ‘down’ and ‘up’ at opposite ends with a simple red pointer to indicate the power remaining in the main spring.  The gauge does have some gradation marks on it, but it does not state how much power is left in hours, it simply gives you a visual indication of about how long the watch has left to run.  This works fine for me.  I have always appreciated a power reserve meter on a watch and this one does the job well.

The subseconds dial has circular patterning and has arabics every 10 seconds, with hash marks at the other points.  The hand is a propeller type (three-hands) with one of the hands painted red.  It’s a nifty look that’s easy to see.

The hour and minute hands are styled in aged lume and are a broad sword-type style.  The minute hand is nice and long and extends to the chapter ring for accurate setting.  The hour and minute hands and arabics around the dial glow green in the dark and lume quality is quite good; it’s evenly applied and evenly bright.

There is a fair amount of printing on the dial, with the Ingersoll name below the 12 and right above the power reserve meter.  ‘German Design’ is below the 6 position and on the left side of the dial ‘Sir Alan Cobham II Automatic’ appears in three lines and on the right side of the dial is an outline graphic of an airplane.  ‘Limited Edition’ appears above the subseconds dial.  All quite a bit busy, yes, but all the lettering is in the same creamy aged lume color so it doesn’t really jump out at you.   Most importantly, the time on the watch is easy to see.

Capping the dial is a ‘toughened’ mineral crystal that is slightly domed.  I don’t know if they send the crystals to the mean streets of Chicago to toughen them up, but it’s Ingersoll’s version of a sapphire-like crystal.  At this price point, I really can’t complain, as it doesn’t exhibit any distortion or undue glare, despite not being coated with any anti-reflective compound.  Surrounding the crystal is a fixed black coin-edge bezel that adds a bit of pop to the watch.

Under my usual 8X loupe exam, the dial and hands are clean and assembly quality is superb, no dirt or defects where noted.  The watch also has a nice weight to it that helps give it a quality feel.

Inside the Cobham II beats a Chinese-made automatic movement running in 34 jewels.  The movement’s origins are unknown, but it’s amazingly well decorated, with blued screws and perlage adorning the innards.  Ingersoll calls this movement a Calibre 219B. 

The movement hacks and manually winds, although the hacking function could work a bit better.  At times, when the crown is pulled out, the watch takes a few seconds to actually stop, which defeats the idea behind a hack function.  A lot has been said about the long-term reliability of Chinese-made movements.  I cannot speculate as to how this movement may or may not perform over the long haul, but early indications appear that it will do just fine, despite the intermittent hacking.

The watch winds and sets properly and has no problem winding itself during average wear, as indicated by the power reserve indicator.  How many times have you had a watch with a power reserve meter and worn it all day and the meter barely budges?  The Cobham II’s meter responds nicely to body movement and shows the watch is winding throughout the day.  Nice.

What has surprised me most about this watch has been its accuracy.  In my initial testing, in the crown up position, the Cobham II ran at +3 seconds over 24-hours.  Power reserve is a robust 51.25 hours.  I have worn this watch once a month or so since purchasing it and its accuracy on the wrist has been equally strong.  Absolutely no complaints here, as this watch keeps great time.

The Cobham II comes on a thick, slightly padded black leather strap with white contrast stitching and because of its good looks, it’s another pleasant surprise with this watch. 

The strap is signed and is very good quality, especially since it has two keepers, one fixed and one floating, along with a fixed metal keeper located between the two leather keepers and a decorative stainless steel rivet at the end of the strap.  I really don’t know what the purpose of the metal keeper ring is, because it does make the strap a bit fussy at times.

The strap measures 22mm at the lugs and tapers to 20.2mm at the signed black ion plated pre-V style buckle.  Despite the strap’s thickness, it is fairly flexible and looks great with this watch. 

Presentation is in keeping with the overall purpose of this watch.  A signed two-piece outer cardboard box and a padded black inner box.  A separate cardstock holder contains the instructions and warranty information.  A perfectly acceptable presentation.

I don’t know if other Ingersoll watches display the combination of quality, accuracy and looks that the Cobham II does, as this is the only Ingersoll watch I have owned and/or handled, but as an introduction to the brand and a reflection on how far the Chinese watch industry has progressed in the past few years, it truly is an impressive effort.  When you consider the price this watch was purchased at, it makes everything that much more amazing.  Very well done, Ingersoll, the Cobham II is a winner in almost every respect.  I’m sure Sir Alan Cobham would agree as well!

Pros:  surprisingly good fit and finish, excellent accuracy, power reserve indication, nice strap, good looks

Cons:  modest water resistance, hacking function could work better, strap a bit fussy, a sapphire crystal would be nice, dial has too much printing on it

Verdict:  an out-of-the-box hit from Ingersoll, the Cobham II automatic is a nifty watch that combines neat design with a useful power reserve indicator and overall very good quality and accuracy, especially for the extremely modest price

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.