Saturday, 19 November 2016

ON THE WRIST: Aquaracer Chronograph Calibre 16 Black Phantom


Ernest Jones / Manchester 12th November 2016

I've been interested in trying out this watch since I tried on the Limited Edition 41mm three hand version in Chester in October. At 41mm and with a black case it felt somewhat small on my wrist though this could be because I was wearing my 45mm Heuer 01 when I went in to the shop and the other watch I tried on in that particular shop was a 43mm Aquaracer.

This (non limited) chronograph version is 43mm and pretty thick with it. It kind of reminds me of my Aquagraph in shape and bulk, but as it is coated titanium it is nothing like as hefty. Some might prefer the lighter watch, but I do like my Aquagraph, you certainly know you've got it on! 

Unfortunately for me, I think the simplicity of the smaller black phantom works better with the blacked out aesthetic and they don't make that in a 43mm case. Also as I've mentioned before I'm really not a fan of these nylon straps, but that would be easily remedied. The real deal breaker for me was the cyclops though, the more I see these Aquaracers with them the more I hate them. I think the TAG cyclops is particularly nasty as they have a ridge around the edge rather than blending into the main glass which just looks shoddy to me. 

To be fair it's not like I've tried on a whole bunch of other brands with cyclops on the glass, so I don't have much data to compare, but I've never noticed that ridge on a Rolex (for example), but maybe that's one of the compromises you accept for the less expensive watch? Or maybe it is there and I've just never noticed it? Whichever, the cyclops really bugs me, and I don't feel that this watch (or any watch) really needs one. It seems at odds with the whole 'Phantom' feel, and the date really isn't that small anyway. 

My other slight gripe, was that the markers and hands on the 41mm version seemed to catch the light more, though I am at a complete loss to understand why that should be. I can only assume the difference in lighting in different shops. But whatever the reason, it certainly made this 'on the wrist' experience a bit of a damp squib.

Perhaps it didn't help that while I was trying this on my eyes were being drawn to the Carrera Senna that was on the counter in front of me (see separate review), but even so I feel rather disappointed as I quite liked the idea of a phantom watch in my collection. I even contemplated asking if it would be possible to purchase separately a non-cyclops glass to fit the 41mm (if I could get over the size - which I think I could because it's no smaller than my Formula One). 

Ah well, I suppose the purpose of these 'on the wrist' visits is to help separate the wheat from the chaff and find out which watches really ring my bell, and so I don't consider it a wasted opportunity as I now know that cyclops's are definitely something of a red flag for me.

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