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Pics and Thoughts: Parnis 50mm (Uboat Flightdeck homage)

4621 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Radio_Daze
The design of this watch always caught my eye during "6497" Ebay searches, but the size was always a little intimidating. Never could find a decently sized review or pic set of the thing while searching WUS, so I figured I'd try one in case anyone else was having the same issue.

It showed up today and I'll do a semi-quick rundown of things I think you should know.

Initial Impression: This thing is pretty darn huge. When you first take it out of the wrapping your eyes have to almost readjust, as if you walked out into bright sunlight. But, this shock quickly subsided for me as the watch style is somewhat able to pull off the size. It looks "correct". Too much smaller and it wouldn't have that tough military thing going for it.

Overall, the watch looks and feels pretty great for a chinese automatic. The dial is way deep-set into the case giving it a really substantial (and sort of expensive) look, which is great. It's also quite heavy which, while maybe a downside for some people, is a good thing for me. When things feel too light for their size it reads as "cheap" to me. Anyway, I like this thing pretty well from an initial design and construction standpoint.

Case & Finish: The overall case dimension is huge. Not only is it 50mm across but it has a canteen crown AND is a whopping 17mm thick. Massive, to be sure. But as I've already said, it does feel solid. The actual case itself is probably the most impressive thing about the watch, followed pretty closely by the dial.

Chinese PVD is almost an oxymoron. All too often that finish isn't really PVD and even if it is, there are typically some flaws. This is no exception. I'm pretty much certain that this black case is painted by the look and feel of it. There are also some anomalies in the finish consistency which are notable if you're really examining the watch, but basically impossible to detect from a normal wrist distance. The case finish is not good, but it is acceptable to me.

Movement: Not too much to say here. It's your standard handwind 6497 with a display back. Been keeping very good time for about 12 hours now, so I've got no complaints with it. The second hand's propeller design doesn't really allow you to follow the seconds accurately, but it moves very smoothly and looks nice.

Strap: Like PVD finishes, the straps on Chinese homage watches are notoriously poor. I can't say that this one is GREAT, but it's really not too bad at all. I'd say more than acceptable. It's relatively soft, about 4mm thick, and has a nice 3d textured circle design that gives it a little flair. It also has a "PVD" matching buckle. It's not like I'd pay for this strap by itself, but I'll be keeping it on here which will be a first for me and this type of watch. Oh, and it seems this strap has a reputation for mis-aligned circles, but I can report that mine seem pretty good.

Lume: Oh c'mon. You can't actually expect there's decent lume on this thing! There isn't. Actually, the lume situation is almost humorous. The sandwich markers all lume pretty ok, but there is no lume on the hands at all. So...basically it's worthless for telling time.

Oddities: There are two worth mentioning here. First, the crown. The canteen bit actually screws just fine and works like a charm. But, the real crown (pic below) is absolutely miniature. It's so small that I couldn't even get a decent pic of it in focus. The issue with this is that it makes the watch somewhat difficult to wind. You have almost no leverage with this diameter of crown, so you really have to get a grip on the thing and muscle it around. It's not THAT difficult, but it's noticeable.

Also, it's hard to tell if the spot is on the bottom of the crystal or on the dial, but there's something just to the left of the Parnis font. It's really tiny, and I doubt anyone would actually notice it unless you told them it was there. But, it is there. Totally fine from an everyday use sort of distance, not perfect from a super close examination.

Final Thoughts:
So there we go. That's about everything there is to say about this watch without going into absurd detail. I think the most important thing here is whether or not you can deal with the size. I have a 7.5" wrist, and I gotta say that it's growing on me. Yes, it is large. It will never not be. I do think that some non-WIS type people would probably notice it on your wrist and think, "whoa!, that's huge!". But, I think I feel alright about pulling it off. Maybe it's not for everyone, but an enthusiast like myself can look past a little ridiculousness if it means a cool piece.

Whether or not I would recommend it would depend on how anal you are. There are going to be some tiny imperfections. If you can just enjoy the thing on your wrist, I was pleasantly surprised with the base build quality and look. If you're the type who can't help holding a watch up to the light with a magnifying glass then I would probably suggest you pass.
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Great review. I have one of these, I love it, you are right that it is a PITA to wind, but other than that I can't complain, for the money it is an AWESOME build.
Thanks for the pics, that was very helpful as I've been thinking about one of these for some time. I wish they did something like the Flightdeck chrono with a 7750 in 43mm, or the Classico in 45mm with a standard automatic. I think I would feel more comfortable with those sizes!

Just to be fair, PVD and paint (and powder coating) can all have the same end result... a film of some material applied to a substrate. It's just the manner in which the film is deposited onto the substrate. In some cases, the film can be higher quality--more even, a different type of film, etc. But not in all. So I guess the question is do they really use a vacuum to deposit a vapor of the material onto the case? And does it matter that much?

Your watch looks pretty good and the photos were great!

I do quite a bit of painting myself, mostly in the automotive area, but my expertise tells me that the types of imperfections I find on the case are those that come from spray paint. Specifically, high-heat ceramic "grill" paint. But, I could always be wrong.

While there might not be a difference in the look of a well painted and well coated watch, it does matter which it is in terms of durability. I just thought it was fair to point out my thoughts about it for anyone curious about the watch.
While there might not be a difference in the look of a well painted and well coated watch, it does matter which it is in terms of durability.
Are you implying that PVD will always be more durable than paint?

I'm implying that if you're painting something, and you don't prep it right, it will be extremely fragile. Aerosol (or equivelant) spray paint is even worse. High heat ceramic variants are even more finicky (tend to be runny, lay thin, and the shiny finish exposes issues). Even perfect prep can still result in a less than stellar result. I see imperfections here that appear to be caused by these problems...specifically moisture issues.

I don't personally know enough about PVD coating to say whether or not a well applied coating is more durable than paint...I can only assume it is because more expensive watches aren't painted. Gotta be a reason for that. Powdercoat would be much more durable, no question.

Again, I could be wrong. It's just my guess from previous experience, and price.
Got it, thanks for the clarification!

And I think the reason more expensive watches are PVDed is because PVD allows application of materials that would not otherwise work well being applied as paint. Powder coating and paint and PVD are not going to be more durable than one or the other, it depends on what is being applied... and also as you mention, the prep.

Well, what I know of powdercoating, again in the automotive world, is that it's the preferred material for engine bay parts and wheels. 2 places that see either a lot of heat, or a lot of fast moving grit. This is done because powdercoat doesn't chip and flake easily like paint will under the same stresses. Maybe there are various grades that you're speaking of, but in general, I would say this watch's finish would be more durable if it were powdercoated...or PVD because I see that it is also used in high stress, industrial environments.

Regardless, the hazy bits on this watch are very, very much like the effect you get when either the part being painted is still slightly wet from cleaning, or when there is too much humidity in the air. I'm guessing the second one because the pattern looks like condensation. Will the material hold? I hope so!
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I like it, although the biggest Watch I would wear is a 47mm.

One thng is for sure. You get a lot of Watch or your money with Parnis.:):-!
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