Some of you may have seen my previous thread, here, in which I asked for opinions on two potential beater watches. After originally going with the consensus, I ran into problems as the Seiko 5 watch had issues with the calendar function. Thus I returned the faulty watch, and rather than wait four to six weeks to get it repaired under warranty, I replaced it with this watch, which I have been asked by ColinW to share my thoughts on. As this is my first review, please let me know if there are any oversights and things I can improve on. I know the pictures aren't great, my phone camera is all I have at present!
I am sure that many of you have not heard of the brand Loyal, and with good reason. Loyal was started in 1934 by the CEO of Wallace Bishop Jewellers, an Australian family owned company, who today also own the prestigious jewellery firm Hardy Brothers. Loyal watches are exclusive to Wallace Bishop, and thus they are a private label company. Loyal watches are specifically designed to stand up to the Australian climate, and I believe they are assembled in Australia using Ronda quartz, and Miyota automatic and quartz movements.
The watch itself features
- 300m≈1000ft water resistance
- Measuring 42mm across without the crown (46mm with the crown), 13.5mm thick, 52mm lug-to-lug, 22mm lug width.
- Stainless steel case and solid bracelet (both links and end links), brushed throughout excluding the sides of the lugs, which are mirror polished.
- Aluminium bezel with hemispherical raised lume pip, unidirectional and 120 clicks.
- Flat, beveled edge mineral crystal
- Fully illuminated dial and hands
- Miyota 9015 movement. When I heard from the store manager that they used Miyota automatic movements, I assumed that it would be an 8215, maybe an 8245 if I was lucky. However I can gladly confirm that this one is beating at the same rate as my ETA 2824-2 powered watch.
The design (and name!) is heavily influenced by the Longines Hydroconquest. However, there are subtle differences from the Longines Hydroconquest which make the Loyal Conqueror more of a tool diver, such as the lumed tip of the second hand, and the bezel teeth which go all the way around it's circumference. The bezel itself looks to me more like the one on the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean rather than a Longines. As a side note, I'm usually not a fan of Arabic numerals, preferring Roman Numerals or plain bar/stick markers. However I quite like dials with Arabic numerals at the quadrants, which in a diver remind me a little of the Rolex Reference 6200 Explorer Dial Submariner.
As I have previously only owned watches with leather straps, I'll review the bracelet with my general opinions and thoughts without getting too detailed. The bracelet is extremely solid, at least to my untrained eye. The links, which taper from 22mm at the lugs to 20mm at the buckle, are made from solid, milled steel. I am lead to believe this is increasingly common in lower priced watches, but still somewhat unusual for an AUD$200 watch. The links are held in place with screws. There are two half links on either side of the solid buckle, which is either made from very thick sheet metal, or milled from solid stock and is engraved with the Loyal monogram.
So far, the movement seems extremely robust. The date flicks to the next day at 11:59:40 PM. I have heard that ETA 2824-2 movements can have rather fragile handwinding, however I have heard no reports of problems in handwinding Miyota movements. I've had the watch less than 24 hours but so far it seems to be running ever so slightly fast, less than 10 seconds in 24 hours would be my guess.
I hope you have enjoyed my review; I believe this is the first Loyal watch review on here. Perhaps other Australians on here can chime in with their experience with the brand as well.