PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 4 Sep, 2016.
When Aries Gold reached out to me, I hadn’t heard of them before. I’ll admit, I’m not really too keen on the name; but the skeletonised Inspire El Toro range appealed to me.
Costing $419 / £325, the Inspire El Toro 9005 is hardly cheap; it’s not necessarily the kind of thing people would willingly spend on an unknown brand. So let’s take a closer look to see if it’s worth your money.
- Case dimensions: 43mm diameter x 12.7mm height x 50mm lug to lug
- Weight: 99g
- Lug width: 22mm
- Crystal: sapphire
- Movement: Miyota 82S0
- Water resistance: 50m / 5ATM
- Price: $419 / £325
The case is fully polished rose gold plated; the finishing of which is good. At 43mm in diameter it’s on the large side for a smart dress watch, but it certainly makes a statement thanks to this.
Whilst the finishing is highly reflective and spotless, I feel that the machining could be a little more refined – such as sharper angles, but then thinking about it it would lose it’s “fluid” appearance.
The case is attractive in shape, with bulging sides and a ridge around the bezel and on the top of the lugs.
The stainless steel screw-in caseback doesn’t match the case colour, but that’s something that is usually the case with rose gold. The exhibition window shows off the movement well, which isn’t as nice from below as it is from the top. Surrounding the window are various watch specifics laser etched.
The push-pull crown has logo very lightly embossed on it, personally I would have preferred better definition and therefore attention to detail. The grip is good and easy to use.
Sitting on top of the case is a flat sapphire crystal, which is very clear and provides good legibility.
The dial as a whole is intricate and dominated by the skeletonised movement peeking through. There’s some decent detailing on the bridging and segments that are overlaid on top of the movement, such as the portion below the logo and the area of the balance wheel.
There’s one thing that I find extremely tacky though – fake elements that don’t do anything like the supposed regulator at 3. Why has this been added apart from to look cheap? I don’t mind the fake screw heads or jewels – but this takes it too far on a watch costing this much.
Apart from that, everything is pretty smart. The applied elements like the hour markers could be a little thicker, but it still looks pleasant.
The hands are pitched thick swords with a lumed centre and the seconds hand is a straight point with a arrow towards the tip, featuring a cross cut out of a disc acting as a counterweight. All are very well made and finished.
There’s a fair amount of intricacies going on: the outer disc is multilayered, and the inner skeletonised section has a few finely detailed elements. The logo is built into the top applied bar. Personally, it’s a little too bling for my taste, plus I’m not too sure on the name either – but of course, that’s my personal opinion.
The leather strap is stamped with a crocodile pattern which is done to a high standard. The colour is a delicious deep brown with various inflections which complements the rose gold case very well, and the general feel of the leather portrays good quality.
The strap feels comfortable on the wrist, thanks to a soft underside. Comfort is also aided by the rose gold butterfly clasp to match the case. It’s smooth, easy to use and fits to the wrist well. It has the logo deeply engraved on the top bar.
The movement powering the Aries Gold is the Miyota 82S0. For a Miyota, it actually looks pretty nice – they’re usually ridiculously plain and industrial in appearance.
It runs at 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second), has 21 jewels and a pretty wild accuracy gauge of -20 / +40 seconds a day.
Miyota are pretty reliable and well known for being hard wearing so it’s likely to perform well for a long time.
I think the best alternative is the Thomas Earnshaw Beagle. Whilst the RRP is more, if you shop around you can find it for the same price – which is great as it’s Swiss Made and a higher level of build quality.
From afar, the Aries Gold Inspire El Toro definitely looks impressive; it has caught many people’s eye.
When you get up close, though, there’s a couple things that could be better. In particular the logo on the crown needs to be embossed more; and the dial needs refinement – the applied elements need to be thicker and better quality and they have to remove that fake regulator. Because of these things I feel that the RRP of £325 may be a bit too steep, especially when you can get the Thomas Earnshaw Beagle for about the same price which is Swiss and more refined.
I will say that it’s hard for a skeleton watch to look high quality without it also being very expensive. So in this regard Aries Gold have done well to make it look much better than the usual quality you see around the ~£100 mark.
Of course, it is a visually attractive watch, and one that I have enjoyed wearing. I just hope the price goes down a bit in time.