Rotary has been going a fair amount of time; they’ve just recently celebrated their 125th anniversary. Recently they’ve blown us away with the staggering Super7, a superb affordable diver with excellent specs.
Here’s another new release from the British brand; the Regent. It’s a Gerald Genta inspired piece, with definite Patek Phillipe and Audermars Piguet vibes.
Available in either skeleton or solid dial variants, as well as with a leather strap or bracelet, it promises a decent mechanical watch to the masses thanks to Rotary’s impressive high street exposure. Are the masses getting a decent watch for their money? Or are they being duped out of £329? Let’s find out.
The video review
- Dimensions: 40mm diameter x 11.8mm height x 48mm lug to lug
- Weight: 147g
- Water resistance rating: 10ATM / 100m
- Movement: Miyota 8N24
- Accuracy: +15.2 sec/day
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: £329
- Buy here: https://www.rotarywatches.com/regent/GB05415-04
Coming in at 40mm, it is a very lovely size on my approximate 7” wrist; and the height of 11.8mm is thinner than I was expecting too. It’ll certainly easily fit under a shirt cuff. Those Gerald Genta vibes are strong from the octagon shape case, as well as the flat, vertically brushed bezel.
There’s a lot of polished accents on this watch – I think it’ll start picking up hairline scratches very quickly. The sides of the case have a lovely mirror-like finish, but will get beat up pretty sharpish; the central link in the bracelet will be the same. However, it sure does make it quite flashy and enjoyable to view.
The plain push-pull crown is a bit disappointing, it’s screaming out for a logo or something etched or embossed on the end rather than the very plain brushed finish with nothing going on. It does have a good grip, however, with a rather nice rounded profile.
The bracelet is delightfully unusual, featuring a polished trapezoid central link, interlinking the brushed main links with polished sides. The links naturally curve in a wrist shape, so there’s not too much leeway in how it wears – but thankfully, it seems to be just the right fit. The concealed butterfly clasp is comfortable on the underside of the wrist too, and the over flapping notch has “REGENT” accurately engraved.
Rotary doesn’t specify the movement – but thankfully the model number “8N24” is printed on the rotor, referring to the Miyota 8N24. Specs include a 42 hour power reserve, beat rate of 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second), 21 jewels, and automatic and hand winding capabilities. It looks the part and is a step above the real cheap and cheerful skeletonised mechanical watches available for under £50. Finishing appears to be good and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of muck or dirt around. It doesn’t seem to have been regulated, as it’s coming in at a pretty wild +15.2 seconds a day.
The dial is eye-catching, but can also be problematic to read at a glance. For me, that’s not a problem at all – but I do know that can be of utmost importance for many. I do enjoy the depth that’s provided by the applied frame sitting on top of the movement, which supports the deep hour markers and makes the watch more readable than if it was solely skeletonised. the frame has made a feature out of the exposed balance wheel, with a bordered disc surrounding it which draws the eye.
The pitched hour and minute hands are thick and bold, with a slight dauphine shape to them, but are more sporty than dressy. The finishing is spotless, and the pitched aspect ensures they reflect the light in a way that stands out against the busy backdrop.
The lume is average, but you wouldn’t expect world-beating lume on a dress watch.
All in all, it’s quite a tempting proposition. Sure there are cheaper skeleton watches, but it’s always a case of you get what you pay for. You could easily pay £50 for a half-decent Submariner homage, but as soon as you go down the skeleton route, those cheap and cheerful watches just don’t cut the mustard. You can tell when a skeleton watch is cheap. With the Rotary Regent, however, what you’re getting is a very well-built watch with a solid, dependable and nicely finished movement. It does look the part, and the various finishes on the bezel, case, and bracelet give it quite a flashy edge that will appeal to many, and it makes it look rather expensive.
30 September, 2021 at 5:10 pm
I agree that the Regent is a very nice Genta inspired auto/mechanical that comes in well under the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 and just above the Quartz version of the PRX, which I submit is it’s closest competitor by a major brand. I do not have the skeletonized but I do have the blue-faced dial on the bracelet and have the same complaints about the lack of a signed and screw-down crown. It’s really a missed opportunity for Rotary and the lack of a signed crown really detracts from overall presence of it. I would also go on to suggest Rotary could have used the Miyota 9000 movement positioning it on more of parity with the Tissot Powermatic PRX while still potentially coming in below that $650 USD of the Tissot. As it is, debatable if the Rotary is even in the same league as the Tissot since the Rotary uses a similar movement to the various Chinese homages makers of the AP Royal Oak and Nautilus (I’m looking at you Pagani and Casseden!) since it is those Genta watches from teh ’70s that the Regent takes its inspirational ques from. Moreover, Rotary chose to make this one in it’s China based operations and not its Swiss operations. I agree that this move allowed it to be a Genta inspired watch that the masses can enjoy and opting for the low-beat 8XXX series is an understandable business move (although still very disappointing) but the missed opportunity with the signed crown is almost unforgivable. I am glad the got the bracelet right even if it has simple push-pins opposed to screw down. It’s surprising how other Chinese manufacturers, i.e. San Martan, can make incredibly great homages with all the bells and whistles (i.e. Sapphire sandwiches, brilliant faces, ceramic bezels, high-beat movements, signed crowns, screw links, and on-the-fly adjustable clasps, excellent lume and half-links) while still keeping the price under $500 USD! I assume a brand like Rotary should be able to do the same thing! Nonetheless, I really do love the Regent and feel it can be dressed up and down, at least the non-skeletonized bracelet variants! Great review!