The 1960 mph Time keeper is a 39.5 mm, 55 grams quartz the watch (45 advertised!). Powered by a Swiss made 5 jewel movement, it is part of series a many VW speedometer faced watches which differ enormously in price. This one being at the lower end of the scale.
Considering its somewhat high price-point for an automobile themed watch, I factored in, the included overnight shipping fees and my local taxes of 13%. The end result was somewhat more reasonable and became even more so when I started looking closely at the watch.
The packaging was unimpressive, not that I expected much at this price, but felt that it could have been better done for the same price. The watch comes packaged in a rather plain TIN-CAN. A few indentations or grooves, a touch of paint, a flat or a convex cover would have given this box the vague look of a piston.
The inside contained the pre-completed warranty card and a spare battery (a usual trait of this distributor) and a bat shaped sponge insert on which rested the watch. Nothing fancy here, pure simple utilitarian packaging.
This where the rather pleasant surprises started to kick in. Watches, some say" is all about the dial"; this one is certainly no exception. The actual speedometer rendition of the North American version 1960 BUG is excellent in every aspect. Of course,to tell the time , you will have to forget all the markers both numbers and intermediate markers, wave the absence (not missed) of the second hand and estimate using the relative position of the very short hour hand, also by using the realistic speedometer needle minute hand. It does take so getting used to, a small mental effort but it does bring a smile on one's face. As best as I can remember and research all markings are correct including the shift points and the 2 screws that held the actual instrument in place. The dial as shown is surrounded by a highly polished ring, again same as in the car.
The 3 part case offered more pleasant surprises. For one, it is made of genuine stainless-steel and not of some obscure concoction. second the sides including the lugs are neatly sandblasted giving the lot a contrasty look with the top ring and flat bottom which is highly polished and clearly engraved. Topping it is the crown shaped somewhat like the oil or is it the internal gas tank cover.(My memory fails me here) The case bottom or cover is of the screw type which is a plus in my books. This one although fitted with the usual indents proved extremely difficult to open. With the watch movement held in a proper Swiss made holder, using a quality opening device, I had to use what I consider brute force to open this case. Whoever closed this case at the factory should be spoken too preferably gently and with a witness present . Altogether a better quality case than normally found in watches of this price-point both for the material and finish.
Note the smooth transition between the sand-blasted and polished case parts above.
The band, like the case, did not disappoint. Well padded, evenly stitched and available in 3 different shades , it is good match and surpassed my expectations. Although the only marking inside the bracelet mentioned "Handmade" and "Leather", I would not at all be surprised if was also made by the same supplier as for a Botta watch I reviewed previously. The gluing, both for the sides and back side was well done, the buckle, engraved with the word " INOX", short for for inoxidable or stainless. 2 leather tangs are fitted one fixed and the second movable. The fixed one being tight at first.
The best surprise was the Swiss Made Ronda movement.
A bit of explanation is of necessity here. Like many other movements bearing the same number (and this is valid for other Swiss manufacturers) the Ronda 703 is available in 2 forms. The number, the diameter and the general performance are the same. ONE is called the Ronda 703 SWISS PARTS, the other version named Ronda 703 SWISS MADE. No big deal you would think, one being assembled with swiss manufactured parts where labour is less expensive but otherwise essentially the same. WRONG ......
Below are pictures of a "similar" Ronda 703 movement:
Swiss parts but made elsewhere above, note the finish and as best as you can the general features. Below the Swiss Made version.
Not only are the metal parts gold plated but the Swiss made repairable one has 5 jewels versus only one for the Swiss part one. Many high volume watch companies print either the words SWISS, or SWISS MOVEMENT on their dials usually employ less expensive , often trow away unrepairable movement. This Bavarian Crono is fitted with the best and most expensive version. The differences in some other twin movements is even more pronounced some being made mostly of plastic whilst their Swiss Made version made of mainly of metal. No need to stress the durability factor not to mention the aesthetics. Being a 10 and a half lignes movement the 703 is surrounded and secured by the usual nylon spacer ring. The easily replaceable battery is held in place with a flexible tab easily moved away (in 5 or six years) thanks to a hole in its extremity.
The movement in my example showed on my test bench a 2 seconds/month fast rate and after a 72 hour settling period of a rate 4 seconds/month fast which is extremely good. The projected battery life for this movement is of 5 years. Not moving a second hand does have some benefits and so does having a more voluminous battery.
This watch was received, again, promptly, well protected, neatly gift wrapped with what I can term now the habitual methodical customer oriented fashion of its distributor.
An uninspired tin can presentoir.
A overly tight case back on my sample.
A wonderfully rendered dial.
A high quality 3 part case well machined with good finish and a unique crown.
A comfortable well padded hand stitched calf leather wrist band.
A much better movement (higher quality) than what is normally found is this price range.
A long life battery (60 months)
Good bang for the buck if you consider the above. Not to be compared with lower priced automobile branded asian offerings ei "Corvette watches and the like".*
* I bought a Mercedes brand quartz watch at my dealership boutique . It worked for a few days and then the coil gave up. The non jewelled unrepairable 6 dollar movement was soon replaced. The case and black lacquered box where really nice but as expected the movement was of the poorest quality. Much effort was put in the presentation but little inside the case contrary to the Bavarian Crono above which offers to put little in the packaging and and more inside.