Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review of Swiss Legend Worldtimer GMT & Swiss Legend Reserve Automatic

Model # SL-90013-77-BB (Worldtimer); SL-10012A-11 (Automatic)

At a Glance:

Brand/Model:  Swiss Legend Worldtimer GMT & Reserve Automatic
Movement:  Worldtimer:  Swiss quartz; Reserve:  Swiss automatic
Material:  stainless steel cases and bracelets
Complications:  Worldtimer:  date display, independently adjustable third/GMT hand; Reserve:  date display
Price:  Worldtimer street price:  $100 USD; Reserve street price:  $150 USD


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


These two Swiss Legends are the second and third examples of the brand I have owned.  Almost three years ago, I purchased the same GMT Worldtimer, but in a different color combination and ultimately sold it.  When you get this brand on sale (don’t pay attention to their fantasy retail prices) they seem to represent a good value along the lines of Invicta, that is, nicely finished cases and quality bracelets, sometimes over-the-top designs and decent movements.

This new Swiss Legend GMT Worldtimer is a big watch, measuring 45.2mm without the crowns, 14.3mm thick, with 24mm lugs.  All stainless steel construction with a screw down case back.  The case is polished and brushed and the main time setting crown screws down and is signed, being protected by two chunky crown guards.  The knurled crown @ 10 rotates the inner cities bezel in either direction.  Quickset date @ 3.  Overall fit and finish is quite good, although the press fit black bezel could be aligned a tad better.

What attracted me back to this watch for the second time was this particular model’s nifty color combination.  The dial is a vivid yellow, with an appealing iridescence in some artificial light.  The black outlined hands make this watch supremely legible.  The red second hand and black GMT hand with red tip complete the dial’s overall easy-to-read nature.

One quirky thing about the second hand is that the center of the hand, where is attaches to the pinion, is not painted red, but rather shows the natural brass color of the metal.  I at first thought this was a defect, but all models of this watch have the second hand look this way.  Why it isn’t painted all one color is a mystery to me. 

The black ion-plated bezel is non-rotating (I wish it rotated!) and has the numerals in-filled with white paint.  The two large arabics, the hour markers, the hour and minute hands and GMT hand tip are luminous, but the lume is a disappointment; it is so-so on the hands and almost non-existent on the markers and arabics.  I recall the lume on the first version of this watch I had being much better.

The crystal is slightly domed and is heavy mineral.  The watch is factory rated at 100 meters water resistance.

The quartz movement is keeping fine time and I believe it to be the trusty Ronda 515 GMT movement with independently adjustable GMT hand.  No complaints here.

The bracelet is solid link with screw pins, brushed and polished with solid end links and a push-button butterfly clasp.  Swiss Legend includes two half links which makes the possibility of at least an acceptable fit with the bracelet much more of a reality than if they didn’t include half links, owing to the non-microadjustment that is inherent with a butterfly clasp. 

Why do so many companies insist of putting these continuous link bracelets with butterfly clasp designs on their watches?  Who decided that this is a preferred system?  Give me a standard pushbutton clasp with a machined deployant and at least four microadjustment holes on the clasp and I’d be a much happier WIS.  Fortunately, I have been able to achieve a pretty good fit with this Swiss Legend GMT.

What really appeals to me about this watch in addition to its superior legibility is the overall clean and spacious layout of the dial.  The center of the dial is textured, but it doesn’t detract from the functionality of this watch.  There’s plenty of ‘white space’ and a nice long second hand and GMT hand.  Of course, the printing of the city names on the inner rotating bezel is quite small, but all worldtime watches exhibit this trait.  I just think the overall design with this model is superb and it helps make it a joy to wear.

Another thing Swiss Legend does with many of their models is to make the same design in many different color combinations.  This is a good move.  How many times have we all said “if only they made it in black, or red, or yellow, or gold, etc.?”  This GMT Worldtimer comes in blue, black, yellow, tan, silver, orange and red dials and in stainless, black ion plate and gold two-tone combos, if not more.  A flavor for everyone!

Presentation is standard Swiss Legend, a red vinyl box inside a white cardboard outer box.  Totally appropriate for this price point.
 

Pros:  very legible dial and hands, great wrist presence, useful GMT/Worldtime functionality, good fit and finish

Cons:  poor lume, continuous link bracelet with butterfly clasp could be a negative for some, wish the bezel would rotate, a bit large for some

Verdict:  a very nice watch for a good price, value all the way

Pictures follow the second review below.

________________________________________________________________________


The second Swiss Legend in this review is from their Reserve Series and is considered a dress watch, or at least I consider it as such.  What attracted me to this watch was the automatic movement, sapphire crystals and price, which was on sale.

This Reserve model has a fully polished all stainless steel case with a screw down display back.  Flat sapphire crystals are installed front and rear.  The bezel is stepped on this watch, but is formed as one piece with the case.  It would have imparted a much nicer look and more expensive feel to have an actual separate bezel that would be pressed into the case, instead of the somewhat cheap looking stepped design.  I guess they had to cut costs somewhere. 

Case measures 41.9mm without the signed screw down crown and curved crown guards, 13mm thick with 24mm lugs.  Factory water resistance is rated at 100 meters.

The dial is jet black with a gentle circular ‘record groove’ pattern on the outer edge where the markers and arabics are located.  The dial layout is superbly clean, with just the Swiss Legend name and logo and the word ‘automatic’ being present.  A quickset date is located @ 3. 

The hands are clean, simple and legible, as is the red-tipped second hand.  Applied markers and arabics are luminous, as are the hour and minute hands.  Contrary to the GMT Worldtimer reviewed above, the lume on this Reserve Series is superb.  It’s bright and fairly long lasting.

The movement is the much-discussed Claro CL888 ‘Swiss’ 18-jewel automatic.  The movement hacks and can be manually wound.  Power reserve is a fine 45 hours and time keeping has been -5 seconds per day, crown up, right out of the box.  I cannot complain. 

A lot of people dis this movement, but I have this movement in my Zodiac Oceanaire and in that watch and in this Swiss Legend, it has performed well.  This Swiss Legend has a nice smooth second hand sweep with no stuttering or hesitation (see timed exposure lume shot for the smoothness of the tick).  The rotor is signed ‘Swiss Legend.’  Although I do not like this movement as a whole now that some time has passed, the unit in this Swiss Legend is the best example of this caliber I have owned.

The bracelet is a similar design to the GMT Worldtimer, a brushed and polished solid link affair with solid end links, screw pins and a pushbutton butterfly clasp.  It was harder for me to get a good fit with this watch compared to the GMT Worldtimer, even though it also has half links.  I found that if I put both half links on one side of the bracelet instead of having one on each side, I was able to achieve a more comfortable fit for my thin wrist.  Why not just put a one full link on that side and dispense with the half links?  I tried that and the fit wasn’t right.

Currently, I am experimenting with wearing this watch on the stainless bracelet from my Zodiac V-Wolf and also investigating leather strap options as I think one of these possibilities may be the ultimate solution for me with this watch.  The inside of the lugs on the case could be polished and finished much nicer; this was discovered when I removed the stock bracelet and installed the Zodiac bracelet.

Presentation is the same as the GMT Worldtimer.  This watch also comes in a variety of dial colors including blue, red, yellow and silver.  This watch is also sometimes sold with a watch winder in lieu of the presentation box.
 

Pros:  Swiss automatic that hacks and manual winds, supremely clean dial layout, good lume, sporty and dressy at the same time, sapphire crystals

Cons:  perfect sizing hard to achieve with bracelet/butterfly clasp design, stepped one-piece bezel/case design could be executed better

Verdict:  strong value, nice dial design and overall good looks, a deal when bought on sale


Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.

Excelsior!

-Marc

UPDATE!

I owned both of these watches for several months and have since sold them.  The Worldtimer GMT is still a winner, but the design of the bracelet didn’t sit well with me with such a large case.  The Reserve is a nice watch, but I couldn’t warm up to the Claro movement or the case design after wearing it a number of times.  Still, this watch is a good entry-level automatic for those on a budget.

-MCV, 7-14-11


No comments:

Post a Comment