The Quest is a new integrated bracelet sports watch designed by fledgling German brand, Rosenbusch. It’s commonplace for brands to take design cues from the iconic industrial designs of the 70s in recent years, but can Rosenbusch succeed in bringing something new to the table?
Rosenbusch is a company formed in Munich by three friends with a passion for mechanical watches, and founder Eli has a background in architecture and engineering, so we’re off to a promising start. Let’s dig in and take a deep dive into what this watch has to offer…
The style here is ‘refined sports watch’, something suitable for almost any occasion. The three-section 316L stainless steel case has a wonderful mix of alternating finishes and Gerald Genta inspired geometry. The hexagonal bezel very much reminds me of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with its vertical brushed finish and small, polished screws at the softened corners. However, being six-sided rather than eight-sided actually makes more sense to me as it means that each screw sits precisely in line with alternate hour markers. The sides of the bezel are polished and flare out towards the mid-case.
The mid-case is brushed to the dial side and comprises a longitudinally brushed top section which transitions to a polished bottom section with sides that angle in towards the caseback. The caseback is hexagonal to mimic the bezel design, a nice touch! It’s affixed with small screws and features an engraved maze design with a rose at its centre. You’ll also find some of the specifications engraved on the caseback, including reference to the ample 10ATM (100M) water resistance rating.
The integrated lugs angle down to meet the quick-release bracelet, which tapers from approx. 25mm to 18mm and comprises polished oval links and brushed H-shaped links. The sides of the bracelet are entirely polished. The signed screw-down crown is the perfect size and easy to operate.
Completing the case is a tough, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal which has an anti-reflective coating applied to the inside.
THE DIAL AND HANDS
There are four dial colours to choose from – Emerald Green, Stirling Silver, Deep Black, and the Midnight Blue featured here – all crafted from brass. When the light hits the dial, the Midnight Blue springs to life and the colour is rich and deep. In other lights it can almost appear very dark, almost black. The dial has a real radiance to it, thanks to what Rosenbusch describe as a ‘sunburst radial grind’.
Two design elements are deserving of a special mention here. The first is the applied indices used for the hour markers, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a design like them before. Rounded baton-shaped polished frames surround solid blocks of lume, and both the frame and the lume itself appear to come to an apex. This impressive design is also carried over to the applied indices on the small centre dial (minus lume). Sadly, it’s something that’s very difficult to capture on camera.
The second unusual design element is the secondary inner dial, which brings with it a novel way of tracking the passing seconds. A simple stick seconds hand ticks around a fluted track, which also has tiny, applied indices denoting every five seconds. Think of it like a small-seconds sub dial, but placed centrally on the dial around the pinion. It’s a quirky feature which echoes the shape of the main dial and bezel, but also adds texture and symmetry to the face of the watch.
The hour and minute hands are a simple baton shape, and each has a centre strip of high quality Super-LumiNova BGW9 which glows blue for excellent legibility in low light. BGW9 is also used for the applied hour indices. Dial text is kept simple with just the brand name, applied logo and ‘automatic’. A nicely framed black-on-white date wheel sits at the three o’clock position. Finally, on the outer edge of the dial is a minute track on a colour-matched rehaut, with ‘Made in Germany’ printed at the six o’clock position.
The Quest RB35 is fitted with the Seiko NH35A automatic movement, which you can hand-wind and hack. This ultra-reliable Japanese movement beats at 21.600vph and has a 41-hour power reserve. Whilst the NH35A is not famed for high levels of accuracy (-20/+40 seconds per day) it’s a great choice to help keep the price down and many buyers will opt for this option. If you love the Quest, but want a more accurate movement, Rosenbusch has got your back, as they also offer The Quest RB200, which is fitted with the Sellita SW200, accurate to +/- 7 seconds per day.
HOW DOES THE QUEST WEAR?
The Quest is certainly a watch with wrist presence. It measures 42mm, is 11.7mm thick and has a lug to lug of 49mm. However, the oval-shaped end links are fixed and protrude slightly from the lugs, so the true maximum span is more like 53mm. The case and end links do have a downturn though, which mitigates this extra length slightly. I’d suggest it’s a watch for medium-large wrists, and in my opinion, it wears true to size or maybe even slightly larger than the dimensions suggest. Sized for my 7 ¼ inch wrist, it weighs 167g.
The stainless-steel bracelet is of excellent quality and features a double fold-over deployant clasp. This will probably be a love it or hate it thing, depending on your preferences. It’s certainly looks great, but it does mean that there are no micro-adjustments. However, on the plus side, half links are supplied, so you should be able to get a pretty good fit. A rubber strap is also included in the price, but this wasn’t part of my review package, so I can’t attest to its quality. The steel bracelet and rubber strap both feature quick-release mechanisms, so you won’t need any tools to swap out as often as you like.
Rosenbusch brings increased competition to the integrated bracelet watch market and The Quest is sure to appeal to those looking for an affordable integrated bracelet style watch. For the Kickstarter price of €469 (€669 at full retail) you’re getting a watch made in Germany with a three-year warranty that offers a good balance of specification and build quality. You get a beautiful dial and reliable movement, nice mix of finishes and some design flourishes which help it stand out from the crowd. Quick release straps are a welcome feature too.
Are there things I’d like to see changed or improved? Yes, of course, as always. From a subjective point of view, I’d love to see a 40mm diameter version. Reducing the case thickness and adding bevelled edges to the bracelet would also bring an extra level of refinement. Finally, whilst the central small seconds design brings a unique aesthetic, from a functional point of view I prefer a full-size centre seconds hand.
If you like the design of The Quest, but you place high accuracy near the top of your list of priorities, you’ll be pleased to hear that Rosenbusch also sell a premium version, called the RB200. The RB200 uses a Sellita SW200 Swiss automatic movement and has an exhibition caseback so you can view the nicely decorated Elaboré grade movement. It also beats at a higher rate, so you’ll get a smoother sweeping seconds hand. Or, if you’re after something more exclusive, then check out The Quest RBX, a limited-edition skeletonised variant!