Manufacturer: Radcliffe Watches | Price: £249 GBP ($315 USD, €275 EUR)
I was contacted by Radcliffe just a few weeks ago, asking if I’d like to review their new chrono. As per usual, I asked some initial questions regarding the watch and when I first saw the images, price and read through their spec list, I thought, ah ffs, here we go again… another rinky dink pile of shite! I decided to give Radcliffe Watches the benefit of the doubt though and said sure, I’ll take a look at it, however, to be brutally honest, I really wasn’t expecting much. When the watch arrived though, I was somewhat taken aback and stared at the thing for what seemed like an age, trying to find something negative. Initially, I couldn’t find anything blatantly wrong. Anyway, let me get into the details and explain further…
- Dimensions: Diameter – 39.8mm, Thickness – 13.3mm, Lug to Lug – 46.7mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Sea-Gull ST1901, Chronograph, Mechanical Hand Wind, 40hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: Sandblasted or Polished 316L Stainless Steel
- Strap: Premium Leather, Brushed Signed Buckle
- Crystal: Domed Sapphire, Anti-Reflective Coating
- Bezel: Fixed, Contrasting Coloured Accents, Ceramic Insert
- Water Resistance: 100m / 10ATM / 330ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9
- Crown: Push/Pull, Signed, x2 Chronograph Pushers
- Caseback: Exhibition Display, Sapphire Crystal
- Warranty: 1 Year Overall Weight: 83g (including strap)
- Where to Buy: Radcliffe Watches
- Kickstarter Launch: 10th November 2020, 3:00pm (GMT))
- Colour Options: Midnight Blue, Dawn White, Sunset Black
Radcliffe Watches, A Brief Introduction
Prototype to Production Changes
- Brushed steel case will be replaced by sand-blasted finishing
- Hour indices will be raised rather than just printed
- Aluminium bezel insert will be replaced with ceramic
- Watch hands might have a matte finish (still under discussion)
- The engraved ‘R’ logo on the crown will be slightly smaller
- Midnight blue version will have yellow highlights matching other models
Case & Crown
The case of the Radcliffe Haxel has an overall diameter of 39.8mm. The lug to lug is 46.7mm and the overall thickness, including the domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at 13.3mm. The case, caseback surround, bezel, crown and pushers are all 316L stainless steel. The overall weight of the Haxel on the supplied leather strap, came in at just 83g.
The Radcliffe Haxel has a water resistance rating of 100m/10ATM, mainly down to the inclusion of the screw down caseback. The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are pretty much spot on and the watch sits on wrist very nicely as the lugs do follow the curvature of your wrist.
The crown is great, nicely made, has a vast amount of grip and is signed with Radcliffe Watches “R” logo. Unfortunately though, it is a push/pull crown, which I suppose is to be expected for a chronograph, although I still would have preferred a screw down crown, not for extra water resistance or anything like that, just for my own piece of mind. Although saying that, the double chronograph pushers are of a traditional style, so I guess you can justify Radcliffe’s Watches approach.
Strap / Bracelet
The Radcliffe Haxel comes fitted as standard with a 20mm genuine leather strap. I have to say, even although it is pretty comfortable and supple straight out of the box, I don’t think that the strap is anything to write home about. The buckle is signed though and nicely manufactured. There is nothing much else left to say about it, being honest.
The Tianjin Sea-Gull Watch Group is a watchmaking company located in Tianjin, China. Founded in 1955, it is the world’s largest manufacturer of mechanical watch movements, producing one quarter of total global production (by volume). The ST1901 movement used in the Haxel is a 23 jewel, column wheel, chronograph operating at 3Hz (21,600vph). It has a running seconds dial at the 9 o’clock position, a 30 minute counter sub-dial at 3 o’clock and a sweeping second counter mounted centrally along with the timekeeping minute and hour hands. The chronograph functions are controlled through two buttons (pushers), one (at 2 o’clock) for starting and stopping the chronograph, the other (at 4 o’clock) for resetting.
Dial & Bezel
The contrasting orange chronograph hand is very nicely designed too, with it’s tip reaching right out to the outer edge of the minute track. Talking of the minute track, it’s all printed too with slightly larger orange hour markers around the dial with defining white markers at the 3, 6, 9 & 12. The sub-dials are also rather sweet looking, finished in black with very legible orange hands. The sub-dials themselves are a running seconds at the 9, with a 30min timer at the 3 o’clock position. All said and done, it’s one of the nicest chrono dials I’ve seen. Clean and very legible!
Unfortunately, the lume on the Radcliffe Haxel I can only describe as nothing more than just plain old average. However, as this is a chronograph and not a dive watch, I’ll let it slide. Maybe just maybe, after reading this review, Radcliffe Watches could do something about the lume for the production models? Time will tell, or maybe they’ll give us an update in the comments section below. Anyway, the actual lume that has been applied is Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9.
Since the Radcliffe Haxel arrived and I subsequently shared a couple of wrist shots of it on Instagram, there has been a fair amount of interest in the watch, from varied comments, to people sending me private messages enquiring about various aspects of the watch. Well, that just proves that Radcliffe have certainly came up with a very popular design.
Personally though, I don’t consider myself to be much of a chronograph fan, although I have owned quite a few in the past. They just don’t seem to gel with my personal taste in watches. However, taking into consideration what changes Radcliffe plan to make for the production models, I’d love to take another look at the Haxel and do another review of the finished product. I do have a soft spot for white dial watches. Hint hint, nudge nudge…
Radcliffe Watches – Excellent effort on your first watch and good luck with your crowdfunding campaign.