Recover, recycle, reclaim. This is the motto and also the base concept of the fresh Danish brand called REC Watches. Established in 2013, the goal of the company’s young founders was to create a watch brand that would incorporate recycled (or rather, upcycled) materials in the construction of their pieces. The piece I have in for review is called the “Mark I” , one of their first two lines of watches, and what makes them unique is that the dials have been cut from sheets of metal recovered from a 1978 Mini Cooper! As a result, no two watches are exactly alike, and while the REC Watches “Mark I” would be a lovely watch all by itself, it also tries to be more unique than other offerings in this entry-level price segment.
Sporting a Japanese Miyota OS21 quartz movement with date, 24-hour display and 60-minute chronograph functions, you know the REC Watches Mark I will not be at the center of attention for its elaborately crafted mechanical movement or the reassuring action of its chronograph pushers – but again, you are not paying the price of those luxuries either. It is about something less “watch-nerdy,” something that I experienced to be more widely interesting: the story it has to tell. On the back of each watch is the large “REC” logo and below it a peculiar line that says “VIN: XL2S1N1112358B.” That is not your usual reference number and there is good reason for that: on the case back of every REC Mark I is this so called Vehicle Identification Number or “VIN”, unique to the car from which the dials have been claimed.
The REC Watches Mark I collection comprises five models, differentiated by the colors of the subdials and the finishing of the case, which can be either stainless steel or ion plated black steel. Speaking of the case, although it is relatively large at 44.3 millimeter in diameter, it wears smaller than that figure would make one assume – it actually manages to look good even on my small, 6.75″ wrist. The piece reviewed here is called the Mark I M5, and it sports a black ion coated stainless steel case with a brushed dial, and grayish subdials. The metal components of the Mini used for the dials are from different parts of the car, the texture of the dials are never exactly the same. The design was inspired by the dashboard of the original Mini.
REC Watches sends out all models with two straps, one Nato strap and a brown or black leather strap. The color and pattern of the Nato strap depends on the model in question. I got black leather and nato strap. The Nato strap remained very comfortable even through extended periods of wear and complemented the dial’s design nicely. As for the leather strap, it’s equipped with spring bars which allow the wearer to remove the straps without the use of a dedicated tool. The straps have a small opening that expose a tiny slider which can be pulled aside by hand, hence making the removal and installation of the straps much quicker and easier compared to traditional alternatives. While this design is by no means unique to REC Watches, it is a most welcome tweak and one that is omitted even on the majority of much more expensive watches. One remark with regards to the leather straps is that they were rather stiff out of the box and took quite a bit of time to break in.
With all that said, the Mark I is great piece from REC Watches, a relativelyfresh brand established and ran by two young Danish entrepreneurs; and with that and the competitive pricing taken into consideration the REC Watches Mark I remains a very impressive offering that could be recommended to anyone looking for a diverse piece for everyday wear, or just a fun “coversation piece” to add to collection. Price on the REC Watches Mark I M5 is $395 @ recwatches.com
CASE (w/o HC): 44.3(W)x44.3(H)mm
CASE (overall): 44.3(W)x51.0(H)mm
THICKNESS (w/o HC): 11.5mm
THICKNESS (overall): 13.0mm
OPENING DIAMETER: 36.5mm
STRAP WIDTH: 22mm
MVMT REF: MIYOTA OS21
FUNC.: 2 Hands / Date / 24H / Chronograph 60 Min.
BATTERY LIFE: Approximately 3 years
CASE: Circular and vertically brushed stainless steel case
TOP GLASS: Mineral glass crystal (domed)
DIAL: Handcrafted Recycled Mini Metal
WARRANTY: 2 YEAR FULL WARRANTY
WATER RESISTANCE: 5 ATM, 50 Meters
STORY: Comes with STORY Booklet, including original registration certificate and description of the story of the specific car which became your watch!