“You know they’re a golfer by the watch they wear.”
That statement is the driving force behind Etiqus. I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Gary Butler, the founder, who explained his fascinating story behind creating a watch brand focusing towards golfers. To cut a long story short, he thought to himself that you can tell if someone’s into diving, aviation, or racing from the watch they wear. So why should that be any different if you’re into golf? As there wasn’t anything available on the market, he set out to make an affordable, high quality watch for golfers.
Based in Staffordshire, Etiqus are unequivocally British. They started selling mid last year (2014) so are still a very young watch brand. They have a range of watches, but the model we’re looking at now, the Sport Pro, is in my eyes their most impressive offering. Costing £269 on leather and £299 on the bracelet, let’s see if it’s a good deal – not only if you’re a golfer, but from a general watch enthusiasts perspective.
One thing that immediately stands out is the impressive packaging that the Etiqus Sport Pro comes in. It’s clear that a lot of time, effort and money has been put into this – something that sometimes can be overlooked by manufacturers. View the video review to see what I mean, but it’s a really pleasurable opening experience, with flaps here and there, boxes within boxes, and outer sleeves. It’s also got a brilliant little extra gift of a thick, quality ball marker for the green. A perfect talking point whilst on the course.
The Sport Pro is 45mm in diameter, which has been worked outwards from the size of a golf ball. So immediately in something so simple, we have a link to golf. There’s no denying that 45mm is on the large size. But if that bothers you, then there will be a smaller model released soon which is great news – and will probably go on to be a better seller.
Lug to lug, the Sport Pro measures 53.5mm, which actually isn’t that much for such a large watch. This is thanks to the relatively short and dumpy lugs. They are 24mm wide, which fits nice and large straps that will suit the watch well in terms of size. The lugs take a sudden down-turn, which fit the wrist well. I have a 7.5” wrist and it fits me perfectly fine.
Weighing in at 214g, it’s no featherweight either. It’s reassuringly weighty giving you a sense of higher grade, but not too weighty you couldn’t possibly play golf whilst wearing it.
The finishing and machining of the case is all completely flawless. It is brushed on the top, and polished down the sides and at the back.
Sitting on top of the case is a sapphire crystal. It’s very thick too – it gives you a decent “thud” sound when you tap it. It also has a light layer of anti-reflective coating on the underside, which does a great job in keeping the view of the dial extremely clear. It has a very slight blue hue, which looks great when you catch the light just right.
The push-pull crown is simple, but I like it. I like how the main segment is wider than the rest, creating a side profile that is rather shapely. It is completely polished, matching the sides of the case, and is machined very well. When you pull it out the stem feels solid, as if it’s all well put together.
The screw-in caseback is simple and understated, being completely brushed bar a polished rim, and various watch specifics etched around the outer edge, such as the name, the UK and US patent numbers for the bezel etc.
The Etiqus has a 100m water resistance rating, which is more than suitable for me to dip my hand in the water hazard to retrieve my ball. It’s enough to be able to swim in it too, which is always worth being able to do.
Moving onto the bezel – the first thing you notice is that it’s not steel on top. It has a sapphire coated mineral crystal top to provide beautiful reflections. This is a lovely touch as it makes the watch look much more expensive. It almost mimics how a ceramic bezel looks. The bezel action is smooth, and it also lines up accurately. The printing of the insert is all very neat and fine, and it’s all rather impressive how refined it all is.
One of the main golf related features of the Etiqus is the pace of play bezel insert. Simply put, this works off the well regarded time of 4 hours to play a round of golf on an 18 hole course. You set your tee off time using the tee icon located at 60, and then as the time elapses you can see approximately what hole you should be on. Obviously it is definitely an approximation, as holes vary in length and difficulty, but it allows you to keep track of whether you’re on target to finish on time.
The overall quality of the case is excellent. There’s not a spot on it, and it’s all machines and made to an impressive level.
The most obvious ode to golf is the unmistakeable dimples found on the dial, reminiscent of a golf ball. These are subtle, so they don’t take over or spoil the look of the watch as a whole. The dimples are made to look 3D, with the edges reducing in size, as if you’re looking at a golf ball face on. This took some effort to get right, but it looks splendid now. When you look at the dimples with a macro lens, you can see the edging is not completely clean, but a little bit jagged. But, this is to be expected, and when you look at it with the naked eye you don’t notice at all.
The hands are relatively simple, with the minute hand being a baton with a point on the end, and the hour hand being a shorter baton with an arrow. The second hand, however, is a little more interesting – its counterbalance is a red flag pointing left, as can be found on the logo of a major golfing tournament. The hour and minute hand are both lume-filled. Whilst the lume isn’t mind-blowingly strong, it is suitable enough, and charges and lasts an average rate. The hands in general are excellently made, with no flaws visible at all. They are polished, providing a pleasant reflection when the light hits the dial.
The applied hour markers are also polished, so they also reflect the light. This is always something that pleases me. The hour markers are all the same shape – that of a tall triangle with the very tip cut off. At 12, there is a double triangle, where both are lined up next to each other. They’re all pretty small in size, so they don’t take up much real estate on the dial, keeping things simple and letting the dimple pattern do the talking.
The date window is located at 9, and features a splendid polished steel border, very neatly made and applied. It’s attention to the little details like this that always please me to see.
The printing on the dial is all very sharp and fine, and everything is positioned on its own little platform, providing a flat base for the printing to be accurate. This is a wise choice as it could get messy printing something directly on the dimple pattern. This is the case for the logo in the top half, “Swiss Movement” right at the base of the dial, and “Golf Linksometer, Pace of Play” in the bottom half, referring to the functionality of the bezel.
I do like a good deep rehaut, which can be found on the Etiqus Sport Pro. A printed minute track is located on it, with the number printed every 5 minutes. It’s pretty subtle, not taking up much space on the rehaut, which is a good thing. It keeps everything pretty neat and tidy, without spoiling the overall design.
All in all, the dial is very well designed, and also proficiently executed. It is obviously focused on golf, but done so with taste, and in a way that’s not over the top.
The movement is a solid and dependable Swiss Made quartz, namely a Ronda 6003 D three hand date. It boasts 4 jewels, 40 month battery life, and a date function. Nothing too radical or interesting really. The accuracy is between -10/+20 seconds a month, as is the case with most Quartz movements. Chances are you’ll find it’s actually a lot more accurate than that.
Of course, for £300, you can get Swiss Made automatic watches. But Etiqus have made it a requirement that their movements have to be Quartz. Why? Because they’re designed that they can be worn whilst playing golf whilst the main purpose is as a proper watch worn off the course for recognition as a golfer. It’s much safer to wear a quartz on the golf course, as they are more resilient to shock and are less likely to get damaged in the long term. So whilst an automatic movement would be preferred by many from a watch enthusiasts perspective, in this situation, it’s just not the right choice.
When you’re adjusting the time and date, the movement feels solid in the hand, reassuring you that it’s not a cheap piece of junk driving the watch.
There’s no denying it, the bracelet is thick and chunky. It’s impressive to see, feel and wear. This is mainly thanks to the sheer size of it – it measures in at 24mm at the lugs, reducing to 22mm at the buckle. Personally, I love a decent, thick and bulky bracelet. But for some, this may be too much. I have felt the leather strap, and can say that it looks and feels excellent too – so that’s always a suitable alternative.
It’s completely brushed, bar 2 thin polished lines either side of the centre link. This is a wise choice as the brushed majority will be more resilient to scratches, whilst the polished lines introduce a bit of class and smarten up the look of the watch.
The links are very thick and are obviously very well made. They are quite angular in design when viewing them side-on, which is a pleasant and unexpected design cue.
The bracelet utilises standard pins, so it’s easy to resize straight out of the box, if you have a pin removal tool.
The double locking buckle is all brushed, and feels extremely sturdy and dependable whilst on. This is an obvious plus, as you don’t want your watch flinging off when you make your drive down that 500 yard hole. It’s nicely machines, with the Etiqus logo quite deeply etched on the top. The only negative about it really is the elbow joint is a bit plain and ugly, and doesn’t seem to be quite on the same level as the rest of the bracelet.
The whole thing is very impressive, extremely comfortable, and does indeed portray a high level of quality.
As we discussed earlier, Quartz is the only way to go whilst playing golf. Because of this, I’ve decided to omit all mechanical watches whilst I’ve thought about the alternatives. To be completely honest, there’s nothing out there that is a direct competitor.
The watch that comes closest is the Tag Heuer Golf. They’re no longer made, but you can get one second hand for around the $700. This doesn’t have the functionality of the pace of play bezel on the Etiqus, the only thing really linking it to golf is the dimple texture on the dial. Personally, I don’t think it’s that great a looker.
Another alternative is a watch that’s not golf related at all. It’s Quartz, British, and gorgeous in its design and execution. Costing the same as the Etiqus at £300, the new Swiss Made Christopher Ward C60 Trident 300 Quartz is a watch that would settle in nicely in a golf club. But, if you’re a true golfer, it just won’t cut the mustard when compared to the Etiqus.
I’ll go ahead and say it – if you don’t play golf, a watch like this is rightly so completely lost on you. Even so, if you’re a watch enthusiast, you can still appreciate the thought and design that’s been put into the Etiqus Sport Pro. It is a very well designed and made watch, no doubt about it. It looks and feels impressive, and anyone who appreciates watches will know that this is a quality timepiece. Not only is the watch great, but I love the presentation box it comes in too. It shows how much thought and effort has been put into it. Gary Butler, the founder, is a wonderfully honest man. He discussed with me his desire to create as good a watch as possible for the golfer, at a reasonable price. He’s succeeded in his goal, which is definitely worth commendation.
It’s simple really. If you love golf as much as you love watches, buy an Etiqus.