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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
: 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.
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.