As others already described the watch before me, for example Watchowskis excellent first review, or the-allways-a-pleasure-to-read-Ric as well as the review from AlbertaTime AMCHPR, I will not bore you with the technical details, but will focus on the details that I personally lke about it (or not ;) ). I hope it will still be a nice and well presented review according to the WUS standards. Since this is also my first review and contribution to WUS, feel free to correct me in case of factual errors, or give constructive criticism.
I got my watch quit early, I guess I was one of the first after official shipments started, since I am also in China. It was a pleasure to deal with Ben (Benjamin Chee, Maison Celadon) directly and he helped a lot, as he knew I would wear it to a special event. Unfortunately that also meant that I was not able to get the watch in the nice leather case. So I can not say anything about it, but this is supposed to be a watchreview anyway.
It should not surprise that the Celadon Imperial looks familiar to those who know the Beijing BeiHai, as it is actually the “base” for this watch. Speaking of the BeiHai, I was allways wondering why they called the watch after a fake mountain ;)
Let me start with shots showing lesser presented details, for example the buckle and inside belt, as it proves in my opinion Bens obcession for details (of which we take profit of course):
As you can see, the Celadon Logo is stamped into the belt and the buckle. Of course other manufacturers do that too, but then, when you pay several times the price for a watch compared to the Imperial, you simply expect this and still, sometimes you don’t get it. Yes, this will neither add anything to the functionality of the watch nor the precision, but it shows a love to details.
Even though the back was also probably shown enough, i personally can not get enough of it. The white and red dial Celadons were limited and this is number 20 of 36 of the Red ones, but does not have the hand engraved golden balance cocks, which were available as a limited option. Enjoy the details as for example the blued screws, or the “cotes de Geneve” of the handwound (S)B18 movements baseplate, covered by a sapphire back.
The chinese character 首 means both ”first” and ”chief”. “BWAF” stands for Beijing Watch Factory.
Another detail I like, which the Imperial also shares with the BeiHai, it is a pleasure to wind it! The noise, the slight resistance of the perfectly sized crown giving a tender clicking noise when winding. So, not only can you look at the watch and find nothing to complain, but also the haptics of it are excellent.
I think that above 2 photographs give a good view to the amazing red plum blossom guilloche pattern dial, the sword-hands and the applique Celadon crown logo. Yes, as mentioned from other owners already, the front sapphire crystal reflects a little, making it difficult to take pictures for amateurs like me, nevertheless, it is never disturbing. I did not encounter a situation where I was not able to read the time due to light reflections and again this is a problem that other, much more expensive watches face too.
Related to the watchband, I will also use above picture to give my 2 cents. I confirm that the strap is actually nice in quality and comfort. Also, the chosen brown matches the red dial in a very good way, but I also admit that I consider the lizard strap from the BeiHai better. So probably I will look for a replacement strap for my red Imperial. I am not sure though what color and leather type yet. Any ideas or recommendations are welcome.
It is an amazing watch that does not need to hide, it looks and feels way more expensive and it deserves its “MADE IN CHINA WITH PRIDE” imprint. I will certainly wear it with pride and pleasure, not only as a dresswatch, because that will limit its wristtime too much.
To the successful launch of Maison Celadons first watch, Ben, I raise my glass of Guizhou Moutai and hope that you can at least have the same success with your next models, because it is going to be hard to top the Imperial.