For years I was thinking why no one did customisable vintage Rolex homages as many people like the design, and can’t afford the originals as some of them from those years are now in six figures. And the company is called WMT watches or Watch Experimental Unit. They have been around for a couple of years and I was surprised to learn that no one knows about this company, there were only a couple of reviews and some posts in the watchuseek forum. They basically offer you to customize Rolex Submariner homage with the crown guards (they call it Royal Marine), also there is one with no crown guards (they call it Sea Diver) and there is another version with no bezel and with crown guards (they call it Royal Marine 1950). All these watches are customisable. The customization process is actually very easy and pretty cool, I spent probably 2 hours just playing with the customizer, haha.
The things you can customize are:
- Case colour (Stainless Steel, Rose Gold, Gold, PVD Black, Vintage Bronze, SS and black PVD)
- Dial colour and layout, there are just too many to write down, haha.
- Strap material and colour
- Bezel style and colour
- Hand style and colour
- Crown colour
- And also you can choose the aged effect for the dial, bezel, case and hands, which means that it would have forced patina on all those parts so it would look like a vintage watch that has been used a lot over the years.
WMT let me customize my own watch and the process was pretty interesting, as before I only customised my Eoniq watch and one other that will have a review soon (shhh). I chose the Sea Diver with no crown guards and I think this is a perfect design as I really like those old Rolex Big Crown Submariners. Plus I know I will never be able to afford them so this is perfect to experience that design. Before I start the review, let’s talk with WMT watches founder Alan:
1. Introduce yourself
My name is Alan Shum and I am the founder of WMT Watches.
2. What started your watch passion?
I love wearing watch on my wrist ever since my father bought me one when I was a kid. After I grew up, I was the design director of a watch company. I have so much experience to work with many hi-end European brands and get me deeply influenced by the design of European designers.
3. What makes a good wristwatch to you?
Being cosy with high durability makes a good wristwatch in my opinion.
4. I see that all the watches are homages to Rolex Submariner, and why did you choose to make homages to that particular watch?
I think the Rolex Submariner is the very root of all modern dive watches. No other brand can design a dive watch without the homage to the Submariner. My design is the bridge that brings my customers from that very root to my “customize system” where to let my customers build their watches using their unlimited creativity.
5. How much watches do you have in your personal collection? And maybe you could list them?
I own over 10 antique watches in my personal collection. But my favorite one is still the G-Shock that I am wearing.
6. Who is your ideal customer?
Those who appreciate our concept of vintage.
7. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I love visiting the second-hand stores around the world. These places can help you to find a lot of treasures and inspire you to have some bright ideas.
8. How do you see your watch brand in the future?
There are lots of custom-made watch brands already in the market. However, I see that only a few could allow customers to fully utilize their own creativity. We may not be the best out there but our team is working so hard every day on creating remarkable watches with vintage concept and design. Plus, our exclusive “Aged Processing” technique is believed to be the major reason why our products are getting people’s attention in the market.
9. Are there any other new watches coming out this year?
Yes. “Sea Diver” is our newest collection to the market. And a limited edition collection named “Royal Marine” will be released soon.
10. What was the hardest part of creating a microbrand watch company?
Being creative and Marketing.
11. Any suggestions to someone who wants to make their own microbrand watch?
Creativity is still the most important element. Since there are so many microbands already in the market these days. Style alone is hard to survive. You need innovative sales strategies to impress the people and stand out your brand.
I was really waiting for the package to arrive from WMT as I wanted to see this watch in the flesh as it is something totally new, not so many people make Rolex homages in this case size, probably WMT is the only ones who do that (prove me wrong in the comment section). When the package came I immediately ripped apart the shipping packaging, that’s how excited I was, usually, the packages stay unopened for days. The Sea Diver came in a really nice rectangular cardboard box. Inside the box you will find a lot of stuff, I actually wasn’t expecting so much. Inside the box, there was the watch, of course, spring bar tool, olive green nato strap and a little bottle in which you had two spare spring bars, in my opinion, this is one of the best unboxing experiences. The first time when I took the watch was that it was very small, as the case is only 38mm. This is the smallest diver I have ever had on for review, also the weight was weird as this is a dive watch, it was strange that it was pretty light (but not too light to feel cheap). I also really like patina (real or faux) so I really love that GMT Pepsi bezel that has that fade to dark blue and pink.
The case of the WMT Sea Diver is made of 316L stainless steel. The machine work is actually really good, all the lines are sharp and expressed. The case has a standard Role submariner look, but with no crown guards. The diameter is 38mm, the thickness is 13,8mm and from lug to lug it measures at 45,8mm. The proportions are super good. I never had 38mm diver in for a review. Usually, divers I’m reviewing are 40-45mm big and seeing this is a bit strange, and I like it. It just wears so good and smaller case size watches seem to get back in style now! The case has two finishes. The sides of the case, crown and bezel have polished finishing, everything else is brushed. The brushing maybe looks too deep in my opinion, I would say cheap, but when touching it doesn’t feel rough. The 120 clicks unidirectional bezel is pretty good. The clicks are solid, it isn’t too loose or too tough to turn. The aluminium Pepsi (blue, red) bezel insert looks pretty cool with that faux fade/patina which made the blue a bit darker and the red has gotten to this pink colour. Although it is a bit strange that they chose this one for this watch as it is a submariner homage and it hasn’t got a GMT hand or something. At 3 o’clock we have a big screw down crown which is signed with WMT logo. The crown has very good action and due to its big size, it is really easy to change the time or wind it. The solid screw in case back is kept very simple. On the case back you will find a circular brushing with WMT logo engraved on it with some specifications an what I guess is the number of the watch. On top of the watch sits a double domed hardened mineral crystal. The water resistance is strangely only 100M (10ATM). For a dive watch design that is pretty low, I would expect at least 200M for this one, but I guess there the case is so small that it can’t withstand the pressure that good.
The dial I chose wasn’t the maxi dial, I chose one of their own designs as I wanted something different. As I chose to patina the dial, the matte black dial has gotten to kind of dark grey with some grains on it. All hour markers also have a patina on them, if you get the regular dial, they would be white, but on this one, the markers have this yellowish look to them, like if they were many years in the sun. I like how exactly this dial looks so sterile, usually, you would see a big logo at 12 o’clock, but here at 6 o’clock we have a very well placed Walter Mitty logo which is a part of the design, and you can’t see it at first glance. At 3 o’clock we have a square date window. The date wheel is white, which is a shame as it ruins kind of the design, I wish they used a black date wheel. Or maybe if I chose the patina on the dial, they could at least make the date wheel a bit yellower too, just like the hour markers. For the hands, I chose the Mercedes’ hands, which I think fits the design. I also chose the aged process for them too, to fit the design. There is lume on the hands, but as I chose the aged effect on the dial and hands, the lume isn’t so strong now, so be aware if you choose the aged effect.
The movement that is inside is Japan Made Miyota 8215 automatic movement. It has a 40-hour power reserve and 21 jewels, that ticks along at 21,600bph. Miyota has been making its way into more and more watches, and for good reason. These movements are reliable, easily serviceable, and keep a great time. I have this in one of my father’s watches, and it is going like a champ for years now without any service. But I heard that many people don’t like these movements and it is a big turn off for many due to the lack of hacking feature. The lack of the hacking feature means little to my day-to-day, but I know it is the norm. Mine example although has a pretty noisy rotor, I have heard that these movements are noisy, but I have watches with this movement and they aren’t so noisy. Maybe mine has some problems or they all are just noisy due to a smaller size? Don’t know, if read this and you have a watch from this company, write in the comments section if your rotor is noisy, or is it just mine example.
The strap that came with the Sea Diver was the vintage brown suede strap with some black stitching. The first impressions of the strap were that it has a very tapered look and it is a pretty thick one. The strap tapers from 20mm to 16mm, but it looks great. The thickness is 3,6mm. The strap is very soft and wraps your wrist nicely. The stitching is really good and no loose threads or glue is sticking out. The strap came with tang style buckle with a polished finish. The one thing that I’m always happy to see is the quick release spring bars. I think every watch company should use them as the strap change takes only seconds with them. Also with the watch in the box, there was also an olive green nato strap with pretty basic hardware and the weave of the nylon is pretty rough. But on the wrist, it feels good.
Overall the watch is pretty cool. The size is good, on the wrist, it feels good as it is lighter than any of my other dive watches. The looks I think are also cool, the vintage faux patina aesthetics looks just killer! Yes, it has some problems like the small water resistance to make it a dive watch or he noisy rotor, but the customization and everything overweight it in my opinion. You won’t find any other company that allows customizing your own Submariner homage. Also be aware when ordering your watch that if you order the ageing process, it will cost you more, but you can still customize your watch how you want. Mine example costs 555$ with the ageing process, but without the ageing process it costs 430$, yes the difference is big and I know many people don’t like faux patina, but I like it, there is just something about that look I like, this one could almost be called a resto-mod, haha.
|Movement||Automatic ( Citizen ) Made in Japan|
|Case Material||316L Stainless Steel|
|Case Finishing||Brush & Shiny finishing|
|Case back||Stainless steel, screw down|
|Strap Material||Hand stitching Italian Leather|
|Strap Size||20 mm / 16mm buckle|
|Glass||Double domed / mineral|
|Water Resistance||10 ATM|