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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know that many of us have been following IanC's "custom watch project" since November of last year, and discussed in these threads:

Getting a custom chinese watch made...
Dial design for custom watch project
Custom chinese watch project part 2

Well, Ian was kind enough to send me one of the sample pieces, the blue hands/white dial version so I could check it out first-hand and make some comments, and I'm pleased to do so. I have to start off by saying say I'm impressed with Ian's "let's try this" attitude. It's not an insignificant risk and the series of posts has been a real education for those of us wondering about the process involved in getting something like this done. My congrats and respects to you, Ian, for your vision.

First, a quick re-cap of the basic specs:

  • Case diameter : 40mm with exhibition case back
  • Case material : all stainless steel
  • Crystal : Sapphire front, mineral back
  • Movement : Seagull ST25 (hidden date function, with handwinding and hacking)
  • Lugs : 20mm (Black genuine leather strap, padded alligator grain)
I know there's been some recent discussion as to whether or not weight is a sign if quality, and I'm nowhere near technically aware enough to give a definitive answer but my very first impression on handling the piece was "man, this thing is hefty"...beautifully hefty, weighing (at least subjectively) as much as some of my dive watches with solid steel bracelets. It just feels solid. Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who doesn't like titanium cases because they're too light for my tastes; I appreciate a watch that lets me know it's on my wrist...and this one certainly does that. In my books that's a plus right off the bat. I like the thickness of the case, too. I know it's kinda thick for a dressy watch but it suits the crown and the coin edge and...I just have no problem with it at all b-).

The second thing that struck me was the the dial texture: the guilloching is very cool and I tried to show that (with only some success) in my photos. Unlike some more subtle textures, this is easy to see but not garish...just a nice balance and visually entertaining; the dial radiates and dances in the light. On to some other stuff...

Now, I'm not always a fan of "breguet" style (a.k.a. "pomme") hands, but on this watch, with it's quite European feeling texture, Roman numerals and dial script, I don't think any other hand design would work better and an arrow-tipped second hand always works for me. Also, before I received the watch, I wondered about the coin bezel. I don't any more. It's a great idea for this watch and really adds to the visual impact, catching the light along with the dial so even at 40mm it catches the eye like a bigger watch, but without being "in yer face". Another (unexpected) plus: the very substantial leather strap is nicely thick and yet still the softest, most immediately comfortable OEM leather strap I've ever received and that includes even my Mido.

And last but not least, the ST-25 Sea-Gull movement is very nicely decorated, and the engraving on the caseback looks like a quality engraving job, not just a quick once over with a laser.

Here's pics...

de_rieter_face_1.jpg

de_rieter_face_2.jpg

de_rieter_face_3.jpg

de_rieter_crown_1.jpg

de_rieter_movement_1.jpg

...and even though this watch (to me) sort of naturally gives off a dress watch vibe, I purposely paired it with a jean shirt to 1) highlight the cool blue of the hands and 2) to show that it wears casually every bit as well as it would wear as a dress piece.

de_rieter_wrist_1.jpg

...and I'll add one more thing. I've worn the watch for two days and although I haven't formally timed it against anything, my impression is that it's pretty much spot on when it comes to time-keeping...very easily within my standards for a daily wearer.

Thanks, Ian, for the chance to check this watch out up close and personal! All this and it's made in China!!! Well done, friend.
 

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Beautiful results! Well done (huge) project for Ian and nicely balanced comments from Ron. I must say this has come a long distance since Ian's early posts, and I can see the results of many small decisions that must have been agonizing along the way. Great job, Ian!
 

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Awesome watch |>

I'd love to see a hand-wound version of the watch.
 

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Are those double-drilled lugs? Good idea that. I reckon I've got a similar wrist size to Ron so it's good to see that a watch of this size can fit a normal wrist (in my opinion :-d) without stumpy lugs.
 

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I think IanC did an outstanding job on this watch. I think the dial looks great without a date window but find it interesting that it does have the date function on the movement. Beautiful watch and I'm really impressed.
 

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Thanks for all the comments guys!

Ron : Great review and very nice pics. Certaintly much better than the pics i tend to take :p (usually has shadows and reflections on the crystal...).

lvt : I have good news for you then, the watch can be hand wounded too (unless you want it to be handwinding only...)

Chascomm : What do you mean by double drilled lugs?

As a general update to the project...most of the watches are finished, and it's mainly taking care of some final QC details before they are ready to ship.
 

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Chascomm : What do you mean by double drilled lugs?

I think he means that the pictures show two different sets of holes for the springbars, so you can choose to put a thin leather strap up close to the body of the watch, or farther out toward the tips of the lugs for thick straps or maybe a bracelet. It's actually a rarely seen feature - perhaps you didn't specify this, but it's a great addition.

Edit: to avoid confusion I should point out that AlbertaTime came in later to say that there are only single sets of holes in the lugs; one of the photos misled us. False alarm. ;-)
 

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Ah i see. I didn't notice a double set of holes (and i can't check now because i don't have anymore samples on hand at the moment), but Ron probably could.
 

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Ah it looks really good. Have to say the coin bezel is growing on me. I applaud you for going through with making these watches :), it's been an enlightening journey.
Have you sourced/chosen a new watch box yet?
 

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Ah it looks really good. Have to say the coin bezel is growing on me. I applaud you for going through with making these watches :), it's been an enlightening journey.
Have you sourced/chosen a new watch box yet?
Tried, it didn't work too well. By the time i started looking, the watches were going to be done in a few weeks. The few companies that were willing to do a low MOQ of 200 boxes either couldn't make the boxes in time, wanted very high prices or only had cheap paper boxes that probably wouldn't protect the watches much during shipping.

So that gave me two options...the factory black box or the factory red box. The red box looks...well kind of weird, but is of a higher build quality and made out of sturdy plastic. The factory sent me a sample of the black box, complete with tracking, and it promptly got lost due to the incompetence of china post (the tracking number they gave me doesn't work on their website, can only be tracked via their phone system, which simply says the box left china...and Singapore post states they have not received the box, so it has vanished somewhere enroute).

I also hired an inspector to check all 200 watches because i was very concerned about the factory's QC, but due to a screw up, he was only able to check 123 of them (apparently the factory had not finished assembly for all 200 and the inspector refused to check the dials or movements for the ones that had not been finished...still trying to get the full story). He also checked the boxes, and concluded the black one was probably just cardboard with bad glue. So to be safe, i'm going with the red box to protect the watches (which is the most important thing here).
 

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Are you taking orders yet for this watch? How much will one cost?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Are those double-drilled lugs? Good idea that. I reckon I've got a similar wrist size to Ron so it's good to see that a watch of this size can fit a normal wrist (in my opinion :-d) without stumpy lugs.
Excellent idea, but the lugs are single drilled. Still, it'd be an easy mod for a machinist.
 

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I see.

I thought you were using the watch as a foray into the watch market, and this was your brand-name.
Oh, no it's not. This is a personal watch project. There are actually two colors, one is the white/blue in the review and the other is a cream with black hands/numerals. Here's a pic of the cream :

 

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being cursed with a small wrist, how likely would it be for me to wear a watch like this, without looking like a total fool. My wrist lengh is roughly 50mm.
 
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