I’m back guys and gals! Had some bad crash on my bike and needed a long recovery, also needed some time off watches and now I’m back with new ideas and energy! And one thing that may dissapoint some is that I won’t review so many watches as I did, there will be maybe 20-30 watch reviews a year (quality, not quantity), that is due to my main work and other stuff that is happening in my life. But here is the first review of many to come!
Today we are looking at a cool new microbrand Etien, and their first watch is a rather interesting take on a dial finishing technique previously seen on high end watches. I saw this project and was quite interested to check it out, so I reached out to them and they lent me prototype for a couple of weeks to review. Note that this is a working prototype that has been to many reviewers before and it has some scratches. Etien is a small company and I think the company is based in USA, but from what I found the watches are made in Singapore. Their first model is T01 and it comes in three different colour options: Blue, Orange and Green (the one we have for a review). The watches ain’t cheap by any means, but you must remember that the technique is machinery is quite expensive to make these dials. Oh and did I say that each colour is limited to only 25 pieces?
The watch came without it’s final packaging, but I bet it is on par with the watch. And I must say, the watch looks like any dressy piece, but only until you notice the dial, and in the sun, it is just wow. The colour is so rich and the dark/light green colours playing with the light, it looks like peacock feathers to be honest. I was wuite amazed on how good the dial looks. And I haven’t seen a handmade guilloche dial on a watch that is so affordable as most of which I saw with these kind of dials were mostly Breguet and they cost 10000euro and up. But one thing I kind of don’t like is that the dial is so cool, but the case and everything else is quite frankly booring, generic looking. I just would’ve thought with a dial crazy like that the case would have some cooll shape or detail to it, but no, it looks quite simple and generic.
The case of the watch is made of 316L stainless steel and it is finished in high polish finishing through out. While I think the case is a bit booring, by no means it is made poorly, it is really well made with precise lines and all fits together really well. The case is 40mm in diameter, the thickness is 9.8mm, from lug tip to lug tip it measures at 47mm and the lug width is 20mm. At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull crown. Nothing special, without any logo or anything, actually would’ve loved some engraved logo here for the price. The crown action is a bit gritty, but that is I guess from a relatively new movement that isn’t worn in. The solid case back is held on with 6 small screws which we mainly see on German made watches. I also would’ve liked to see an exhibition case back on the watch, I know the movement inside isn’t anythign special too look at, but you always can make an interesting design rotor to add more value. On the caseback you will find some engraved specifications, like water resistance etc.. On top of the watch sits a flat sapphire crystal which lacks the AR coating layers. In my opinion it need atleast 3-4 AR coatings so that it doesn’t reflect everything so you could see the dial more. The water resistance is 3 ATM (30m) which is ok for everyday use, but I don’t reccomend going near water with this 😀
The Etien T01 dial is handmade from a CNC engine-turned guilloche, covered with layers of cold translucent enamel. The dials were all handmade specially implemented through a process called Flinqué Enamel. This technique was a renowned practice by Peter Carl Faberge.It looks amazing, moving in the light and giving a sense of depth that draws the eye towards the centre of the dial with a three-dimensional quality. It’s amazing to behold, and I was suitably impressed. There is no date function, but sadly they left an empty position in the crown where you still can turn the date disc under the dial. There is a graduated chapter ring, but it has too many markings to use as a time-telling tool at a glance as hour indicies are too similar to minute markings. Indeed, I felt it was a bit too busy given the detail on the dial. I would have preferred Etien to have used this space to give at least a clear indication of 12, 3, 6 and 9 – if not every hour. The other thing that I think I like about this watch is that there is no second’s hand, I know this porbably isn’t a popular opinion, but it doesn’t need one, it isn’t a tool watch where accuracy is key, it is a dressy weekend/fun watch.
Inside the T01 is an automatic self-winding, ETA 2824-2 calibre, 21 jewels, 42-hours power reserve. The ETA 2824 is kind of a gold standart for movements and that’s no wonder cause it has the best quality compared to Sellita and other clones which lack the quality of finish and assembly. I tested the T01 watch with the Lepsi watch scope for 10 days straight and it runs at around +6 to +8 second’s a day which is really good! I actually haven’t got more to say about this movement, cause it is really good.
The strap it comes on suits the watch very well in my opinion. It is a green leather strap with green stitching and brown underlining. The underside of the strap is signed with Etien logo, which funny enough is the only place you will find the branding. Which is quite strange as brands tend to put brand name on dial or caseback and make it recognizable, but I guess Etien want’s to go different direction which I actually like, not many sterile watches out there in the microbrand market. So back to the strap. It is very well made, it is super supple right out of the box and very comfortable on the wrist. The strap is 20mm wide at the lugs and 18mm at the buckle. Don’t know if Etien offers any longer straps, but with this strap the watch will fit up to 19cm-19,5cm wrist, so bigger people must get a new strap that is longer to fit. I have still two holes left on my 18cm wrist which is mid-size/average. The tang style buckle is just a generic stainless steel one with polished finishing. Actually would’ve loved to see some logo etched there or anything out of usual.
Overall I like the watch, but I find that everything apart from the dial is just too booring, too average. I don’t know, a watch with a dial like that needs some cooler case or atleast some small details or anything that would accompany that gorgeous dial. But apart from my opinion the watch is very well made, has my favourite affordable movement inside and features a handmade dial made with a technique that is older than the wristwatches themselves. Is it worth it? Well the 1388$ price tag is a bit inflated in my opinion, but you have to take in mind that making that dial is a long process and work, materials and everything is now getting more and more expensive, so I guess I can find some sense in that price. Would I get it? Well, for that dial… actually I would, even despite the booring case and everything else.
Limited to 25 pieces
Material: Case, case back and crown : SS 316L stainless steel
Water Resistance: 3 ATM
Dimensions: Diameter: 40mm; Lug to Lug: 46mm; Thickness: 10mm
Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Movement: Swiss ETA 2824-2; Automatic winding
Strap: Alran Chevre Goat with lining Zematt Calfskin
Warranty: 2 years international
Shipping: International free shipping