Today we are gonna look at a brand from France. Many of you have requested to review something from Charlie Paris as in the last year they’ve been coming out with some very well designed watches, distancing them from their first collections which were a bit of a fashion watches.
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Charlie Paris is a French brand based in Paris (as you can tell from the name of the company.). The brand was founded in 2014 by two friends Ambroise and Adrien. You can actually check out the interview I made with both of them a while ago. The brand actually was very well received and in 2016 they opened their own boutique in the Haut-Marais, at 26 rue Pastourelle, Paris 3rd. Right now the brand concentrates on watches like the one we have in for review, they want to make good, well-made watches for a reasonable price. I also have to mention that their all pieces are assembled in France although there is no information from where they get all the cases, dials and everything.
The watch we are looking at today is from their Initial line which consists of three watches: Calendar (4 dial colours available), Time only (3 dial colours available) and the Power reserve (2 dials colours available). Also, all the watches in this line come with automatic movements and are 40mm in size and I just love this, I wish more companies would make watches in this size, it just works so well! The one we have here is the Calendar watch with the Blue panda dial variation. Out of the four dial colours, this looked the best in my opinion, plus we never had a panda dial watch here on our blog in a long time.
The Initial Calendar came in a blue clamshell box, which actually is pretty well made and has an original design, also it isn’t big and won’t take up much space in the closet. The one thing that is weird is that the all paperwork, writings on the box and everywhere are in French. I know this is a French brand, but the whole manual is in French, not a word of English, the same thing happens on their website where half of the text is in English and half in French. I know that the instruction manual isn’t important to us watch guys as we know how to set time and wind the movement and other stuff, but what happens when a non-watch guy buys the watch and wants to understand each function it offers?
The first impressions of the watch were good. Although the blue in the dial is a bit darker than on their website, but the watch looks amazing! I really like the screw-down mono-pusher at 2 o’clock which controls the month subdial. I also quite like the 40mm size, my readers probably know this because in the last year I have started to love smaller sized watches and this one is small and tidy calendar watch! The ostrich leather strap is another great addition to the watch!
The case of the Initial Calendar is made of 316 stainless steel. The case is very well machined with nice angles and sharp line. The case shape is round with nice small lugs that bend down so it sits on your wrist nicely and due to that it also looks a bit smaller on the wrist. The diameter is 40mm, the thickness is 13mm and from lug to lug it measures at 48,5mm. The watch is rather small, but in my opinion, it is a bit too thick for this style of watch, but I guess is the one thing you need to sacrifice for the affordable price range. The finishing all over the watch is high-polished which is done exceptionally well! At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull crown which is pretty easy to grip and use. At 2 o’clock we have the screw down pusher for the month subdial. The pusher is also very easy to unscrew and use + it has that nice mechanical feel to it when you push it in. The screw in exhibition case back has a flat sapphire crystal and around it, we have some engraving with specifications. The crystal on the top is also a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating. The water resistance is only 3ATM (30m) which is a bit too small, I wish it had 50m. Of course, you can’t swim with the watch, but it will resist some rain or handwash no problem!
The dial on the Initial Calendar is a panda style, but in the place of the usual black colour, we have the blue. The dial itself is in matte white/silver colour. Around the dial, we have the chapter ring in dark blue with minute markings. The applied hour indexes are in polished silver colour. At 9 o’clock we have the day subdial and at 3 o’clock the month subdial. Both subdials are in this dark blue colour with a circular pattern on them. At 6 o’clock we have a date window with a polished silver colour frame and a matching ate wheel. I really like how they made the dial symmetrical, it just looks a lot better this way! At 12 we have the crane logo of Charlie Paris which I quite like.. Right upon the date we have a text in French printed: Automatique which you probably know means Automatic. The names of days and months are actually in French too so be aware when ordering the watch. The sword hour and minute hand are polished. The polished second’s hand is stick shaped and has a spear-like counterweight. Dial, in my opinion, is very well designed and thought out, each detail just looks like it belongs there, they really nailed it!
Inside the Charlie Paris Initial Calendar, we have the Miyota Japanese 9122 automatic movement which I think was a good choice. They are reliable, very accurate, and even have some nice Geneva line decoration on the plates of the movement. The power reserve is around 40 hours while it beats at 28,800BPH and contains 26 jewels. Some of you would ask why they used this movement, well if they used a Swiss movement the price would be double or even triple. Mine example is running at around +8 to +10 seconds a day. Tested it with my portable timegrapher from Lepsi, you can actually read a review of it on my blog here!
The strap on the watch is a light brown ostrich leather strap which is made super well. The strap is super soft and supple right out of the box so the watch will be sitting comfortably on your wrist right out of the box. The straps on all Charlie Paris watches are actually manufactured in France from high-quality leathers. This Ostrich leather actually comes from South Africa. The underside of the strap is lined with creamy colour leather and is signed with the crane logo of Charlie Paris. The tang-style buckle isn’t anything special, just a plain polished look. I wish they engraved it with that crane logo at least. The strap attaches to the watch with built-in spring bars which are very handy to make strap change fast and without the risk of scratching your watch.
Overall the watch is amazing! I really like the dial design, the 40mm case size, that mono-pusher for the month and the ostrich strap. For some, of course, the price could be a little high at €655 (with ostrich strap, the regular price with a different strap is €595), but you need to understand that the watch is purely Charlie Paris design and isn’t takes from a parts bin in China. Also, you need to consider that it got sapphire front and back, automatic calendar movement which is pretty complex, nice design, ostrich made in France strap and nice packaging. I also think this will become a future classic in the affordable market as it has all the points to be one! If you are looking for a nice looking watch with month, day and date complications, this is the way to go! It just can’t get better than this!