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RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

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RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

#1

Post by watchpalooza » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:20 pm

Introducing RZE Watches

RZE is a Singapore-based microbrand started by Travis Tan, one of the original founders of BOLDR. Travis started RZE (initially Reise) with his wife Vivian Ko as a small family-run business with sustainability and environmental responsibility at its core. Rebranded now as “RZE”, the company leverages circular principles in materials and manufacturing to generate less waste, and promotes a long product life with a recyclable end. It is refreshing to see more and more companies designing, sourcing and manufacturing using sustainable practices.

The concept for RZE is to offer titanium watches that are durable and rugged, adventurous and suitable for daily wear. That’s right, the brand specializes in titanium timepieces and related innovations. Travis states, “As with how I came up with the brand and design, I’ve always like[d] utilitarian tool watches from brands such as Sinn and Damasko. I like to wear watches that we don’t have to worry about knocking into and banging. RZE watches is only going to make titanium watches which are super light and durable.”

What I like about the dealings I have had with Travis is that he comes across as one of us, a WIS. He is a very good communicator, a bit type-A when it comes to ensuring details, and a genuine nice guy…a recipe for success that also shows in the reviews on RZEWatches.com. In this space I deal with a lot of microbrand owners, and you get a feel very quickly for who is out to turn a quick profit and who is really building a legacy. Travis most assuredly is in this for his passion and looks build something special that stands the test of time.

Travis introduced the Resolute, RZE’s first watch, in December 2020. He has followed quickly to launch the brand’s second watch, the Endeavour, on February 1, 2021. Both are limited editions.


The Watch

For this review, Travis sent the full kit for the cobalt blue colorway of the limited edition Resolute, and I went ahead and purchased the crimson red version for myself. For full disclosure I must state that I did receive some discount on my purchase, but as I must pay import tax on every watch I review this is really more of an offset than a benefit. Still, it was mighty nice of Travis to do so, and I feel I must state it up front. Here are the two watches together:

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The design concept as stated in the press kit, “With an angular design inspired by stealth vehicles, the RESOLUTE was designed to be sleek, accurate and legible.”

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It appears Travis has been moving toward this design for some time, as the watch seems to inherit some design queues from another of his titanium creations, the BOLDR Venture. The execution of the Resolute, however, is much more refined (note the finishing of the case and hands, and the applied indices).


The Resolute’s vital statistics are:
  • Case: Solid Titanium with ULTRAHex Coating (up to ~1200Hv hardness)
  • Dimensions: 40.5mm wide, 11.5mm thick, 46mm lug to lug
  • Case Back: Screw-down solid titanium caseback with VITON® gasket
  • Crystal: Flat Sapphire Crystal with inner-side Super-AR
  • Crown: Screw-down with custom reverse engraved logo
  • Dial: Sand textured with applied lumed indexes filled with Swiss Superluminova
  • Hands: Brushed steel baton hands with Swiss Superluminova
  • Movement: SII NH35A Automatic Movement
  • Lugs: 20mm drilled end lugs
  • Water Resistance: 100m (330ft) / 10ATM
  • Strap: Custom canvas strap with custom titanium hardware and leather backing
  • Extras: Leather case
  • Warranty: 2 yrs


First Impressions

Each watch comes packed in a flat rectangular rigid black textured cardboard box with the RZE monogram.

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Inside is a similar-sized black zip case, also with (sewn) monogram on top.

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The case holds the watch firmly with two elastic bands, and has a QR code printed inside the top for quick and easy warranty registration. This is a nice touch. The top also has a small pocket, with a cleaning cloth. The watch itself came wrapped in plastic, as well as the customary clear stickers over the crystal and caseback. Overall a nice presentation, and with minimal wasted packing required.

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Regarding the watch, I was first struck by the interplay of the many angles and curves of the case. For example, the non-crown side sports a protruding cushion with top bevel that from the top-down view follows the curve of the dial and bezel…but on the side it is carved into a rectangle bookended by two trapezoids. Each of the lugs is also multi-beveled. There is a complexity, yet simple balance to it all that is pretty unique and beautiful. Overall the design is quite meaty, but the watch is not bulky. It is both blocky and still strangely svelt. Thinking back to my first impressions of the Stealth B2 Bomber and F-117 Nighthawk stealth strike aircraft, I believe Travis really did capture the essence of stealth technology in this design. Impressive.

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The Details

The Resolute is light for its size, but still feels substantial in hand. It is evident that high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques were used throughout. It is equally apparent that Travis paid attention to nearly every detail to bring his vision to life.

The Case
Made from solid aerospace-grade titanium and augmented with a proprietary ULTRAHex Coating, the case is stated to have enhanced scratch and impact resistance and up to ~1200Hv hardness.

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Titanium is already harder than 316L steel, but gets a bad rep because it tends to oxidize and the oxidation layer is prone to showing wear. RZE’s coating is intended to overcome this Ti-tendency and protect the finish. In limited testing the case indeed seems to resist marks and scratches, but only time will tell how durable it really is.

The case, though angular, does not have any uncomfortable sharp edges or corners...everything is smooth. As for dimensions, there is a lot here to make the Resolute very wearable on wrists of all sizes:
  • A reasonable 40.5mm diameter and only 11.5mm thick to the top of the crystal keeps it from being clunky
  • Lugs are short and deeply angled downward, making the watch wear well even on smaller wrists
  • The smaller round bezel rising from the geometrically shaped cushion case also has the effect of reducing the appearance, especially with its further bevel on top where it meets the crystal
  • The lighter weight makes for very comfortable wear
Another small detail, the lugs are drilled for easy strap changes. The holes are finely drilled with no burrs, nicks or chips.

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The flat caseback is also titanium and rather minimalist.

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The Crystal
The flat sapphire crystal with internal AR coating sits 2mm above the bezel edge and when clean offers high clarity. I did find it to be moderately prone to fingerprints and smudges, but not overwhelmingly so.

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The Dial
The sand-textured dial has graduated coloration (dark around the edges to light / bright in the center) and medium-grain texture. The color is deep and vivid with even dispersion. The color-matched date window is another fine touch. The Resolute carries the same angular design concept into the dial with octagon-shaped indices and date window, all outlined in brushed steel.

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The edges are subtle but present, and really tie the composition together seamlessly. The indices are quite thick/tall, visually adding some extra depth to the dial. The double-index at 12 o’clock and single at 6 o’clock are segmented, which also draws the eyes to the centerline. The composition here is very well coordinated, and both day and nighttime readability are very good.

The hands and indices are coated in Superluminova to aid nighttime readability. Another nice accoutrement, the lume is bi-colored, green on the hands and major indices and blue on the major dots in the outer chapter ring. The combination reminds me a bit of my Zelos and works very well.

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The Crown
The signed crown appears to be custom machined and is very well executed. The size and proportions are well-suited both visually and functionally. The threading and operation are both smooth without any grittiness. I find the beveled grooves on the crown very easy to grab and operate, even from the fully screwed down position. Another fine detail, the logo on the signed crown rests perfectly aligned upright when fully tightened.

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The Movement
It’s an NH35A, about which Travis states: “Our choice of movement, the SII NH35A which is very common in the microbrand community is what I believe to the most reliable workhorse. I’ve been running another brand for about 6 years before I left and started RZE. I have experience working with Sellita, ETA, STP Swiss movement and Seiko/Miyota Jap[anese] movement. My conclusion is that Jap[anese] movement is way more superior in terms of reliability and robustness. The challenge is that people want the “swiss” badge, but as a new brand, we want to make sure our watches are close to 100% reliable (100% would be lying, because no one is 100% reliable even established brands). With the watches we ship out thus far, I can say our choice of movement has been a good one. With less customer complaints/repairs, we are able to power on to come up with more exciting products.”

To that I would only add that I hear no rotor noise, like the sweep seconds, appreciate that it is hacking, and have found it to run +/- 3-5s/day for both the sample and my own Resolute.

The Strap
The watch ships with a leather-backed canvas strap that is color-matched to the watch dial, and feature signed titanium buckles.

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The buckle appears to be high quality, and I appreciate the leather backing. That said, the holes in the band are not the cleanest. On both my watch and the sample watch the buckle tang holes show signs of roughness and do not look like they will last without becoming further threadbare. This does not affect the functionality, but will likely shorten the life of the band. On other canvas bands this issue is addresses with additional sewing around each hole to keep the threads there from wearing and unraveling. So for me, the strap is a bit meh.

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The Extras
The watch ships with a microfiber cloth for wiping the watch down, and a flat black storage case made of (I believe) simulated leather. I would say the included storage case is not of the best quality, but is ok. Some of the stitching is visibly crooked, This is definitely not a concern for me as I buy the watch and not the box, but I must note it. The storage case also does not seem to share the “rugged” design concept. It appears to be more a “shipping box” or a “presentation box” than something that will see real use.


Summary
Overall I find that the Resolute really stands out in the attention to details...the little things that showcase the thoughtfulness in design and execution. The quality is there, and the composition is balanced and artfully carried out. I very much enjoy wearing mine (crimson), and the cobalt blue variant is equally breathtaking. The only minor quibble I have with the watch is the lack of sewing around the holes in the canvas band. Otherwise I think the watch is nearly perfect, and highly recommend to anyone who likes the design aesthetic. The watch list price is $399.

Head over to RZEWatches.com if you would like to order one, or check out the new Endeavour which shares several design elements with the Resolute but with no date window and a few less angles. You may also find details about the Endeavor here on [mention]TheJohnP[/mention]’s Crowd-Funded Watch forum.

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Re: RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

#2

Post by TheJohnP » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:49 pm

Fantastic review!

And here's the link to the Endeavour for anyone interested in RZE's latest model - https://manontime.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2417

Another thing to mention, RZE introduced a titanium bracelet with the Endeavour that will also fit the Resolute. That's further proof of their attention to detail.
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Re: RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

#3

Post by pdsf » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:13 am

The Resolutes in new colors and the Endeavours: https://www.rzewatches.com/collections/all-products

Edit: hmmmm, maybe they are not new colors....but anyway, here is the full range for now, with some on pre-order and discounted ;)
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Re: RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

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Post by recapt » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:52 am

I think the yellow would have to be my pick.
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Re: RZE Watches Resolute in Cobalt Blue

#5

Post by pdsf » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:59 am

recapt wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:52 am
I think the yellow would have to be my pick.
For me as well!
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