PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 14 Jan, 2014.
The main aim of Watch It All About is to find brands which offer the best quality and high spec’d watches for the least money. I’ll be honest, I strongly feel that Perpetual Watch have hit the nail right on the head.
A small outfit based in Hong Kong of only 4 people led by a very pleasant man named Alex, Perpetual offer some of the best value watches I’ve ever bought. The only problem is that they only make 100 watches a month, so there’s usually a wait to get one.
All watches have sapphire crystals, Sea-Gull movements, 2 year warrantee, beautiful calfskin leather straps and an additional silicon strap, accuracy to +/- 15 seconds a day, and free 3 day EMS speed post worldwide delivery. Now that’s a lot of good things for any watch manufacturer to deliver. Now think that their watches start at just $150! Trying to think how they manage it? Me too. Don’t ask questions though, do what I did and just buy one.
This review is looking at the PR-02. The PR stands for power reserve, as it has the addition of that complication, and the number represents the dial colour. 01 is white, 02 is black.
Let’s take a closer look to see if it’s just too good to be true.
Perpetual PR-02 Watch Review
The 316L stainless steel case is 41mm in diameter and 12mm thick. It looks smaller than that though on the wrist thanks to the thin bezel – which is actually thinner in the flesh than it looks in pictures.
The actual construction of the case is rather simple, and is elegantly designed. It is very well machined.
The finishing of the case is mostly brushed stainless steel, bar the bezel and a thin outer rim of the caseback which are polished. All the finishing is very high quality, the polished being spotless and mirror-like, and the brushed being uniform without any out of place markings.
There is a neat button on the side of the case positioned at 2 to advance the date. It is very small, smaller than the tip of a ball point pen – but that’s ok, as you are provided with a tool to use. A nice touch which helps you appreciate the time and effort that is put into these watches, even though they are so cheap.
The top section of the case is the bezel, which has an interesting indentation in the centre, breaking up the width if it well.
The exhibition caseback has a mineral crystal, with the watch details lightly etched surrounding it. These could be a little deeper, but it really doesn’t bother me at all.
The push-pull crown has very a thick and deep toothing as grip, which again attests to the high quality machining for the price. It features the logo embossed on the end, which is deep and again is a pleasant surprise.
The lugs are well rounded at the end of the case and nicely shaped too, offering a very comfortable wear which fits the wrist well.
Another thing that is staggering for the price is that every Perpetual Watch features a sapphire crystal on the front. This really impresses me, as it is incredibly clear and perfectly cut too – the high quality is evident. A new option they now offer for their black dialled watches is double sided anti-reflective coating. This is very unusual for affordable watches. Usually you’d just have the choice of it on the underside, if at all. For my watch, I decided to go for it. And you can really tell the difference. The clarity is so so good – better than watches many times the price. However, there is a draw back. It’s not quite as high quality in terms if durability. I’ve been wearing it a lot of course, but I can see it very very slightly rubbing off around the edges on the top side if the crystal. I know that this will really annoy some. So I can only really recommend the double sided anti-reflective coating if you plan to not wear the PR-02 too often. I know Alex is currently working hard to improve the durability, so hopefully soon it’ll become harder wearing.
So the case has really impressed me for the price – it is perfect machined, and is very surprising quality – you’d expect some marks or sharp corners here and there but it is flawless and looks and feels great.
The dial is very well designed and beautifully balanced to include the special feature of the power reserve indicator.
It is a dark charcoaly matt black, which makes the watch look very classy.
One thing that sets it apart in terms of looks is the PR-02’s unusual dial placement. You have the power reserve at 11, date (in dial form rather than window) at 2, and small seconds at 6. Although it may seem like a lot’s going on, Perpetual have done a good job designing the dial and the subdials in a subtle way. You’d barely even notice they’re there.
The dial also has very gentle layering to it, which is a nice touch. There is an outer ring which is the width of the hour markers, which then steps down into the centre of the dial. The date and seconds subdials have a indented outer ring with the numbers in, and the power reserve indicator (which is a rounded triangle shape) is all in a deeper level.
All three subdials have same hand style – they’re long and very elegant, with a round base and a long thin point.
The big hands (hours and minutes) have a skeletonised centre, and a lumed triangle at the tip. I think these work well as the width of the hands are quite large, resulting in good visibility. But the fact that they are skeletonised means they don’t overpower the rest of the dial, and in fact add to the classy looks.
The lume strength is average, but lume is not completely necessary with a dress watch.
The lumed hand tips aren’t the only helping of lume on the PR-02 though. Within the minute track there are round lume dots on a stainless steel base at every hour. The precision and attention to detail on these are astounding for the price.
The hour markers are perfectly applied 3D stainless steel batons. These are very well machined, there is no sign of any marking on them and the polished finish is spotless. When the light hits the dial just right, these hour markers as well as the polished hands all catch it in a beautiful way.
The Perpetual logo is positioned at 9 and is well suited for this style of watch. It has the word Perpetual with a capital P and L, and above that it has an icon of a column-wheel, the part which disengages the chronograph function from the rest of the movement when not in use. I think it’s a decent logo to have for a watch manufacturer.
All printing on the dial is again flawless, the overall execution of the watch is so impressive. Perpetual excel in the usual places where affordable watches fall.
All in all, the dial is extremely well designed and also well refined. The attention to detail and all the small bits you wouldn’t expect at this price help to demonstrate how great value this watch is.
The PR-02 is powered by the Sea-Gull ST 1780, which is also known as the TY2714. It is a mechanical automatic movement, and runs at 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second), but due to the small seconds hand it looks smoother than that.
It houses 28 jewels and boasts a 42 hour power reserve. With Sea-Gull, you know you’re getting a well made workhorse movement, which will do you very well and serve you for a good amount of time before needing any maintenance.
Due to the hard working nature of the movement, it’s not the most beautiful, but Perpetual have done their best with it by fitting a their logo on the rotor. Although it looks as if it’s only a stick-on logo, it’s another nice touch which would usually be overlooked by other affordable watch brands to save money.
In my time of having it, it has proved to be a reliable timekeeper. This is because every watch Perpetual send out is regulated to +/- 15 seconds a day. Another pleasant surprise.
With every Perpetual, you get a choice of colour strap – you can choose from black, dark brown or light brown. I decided to go for the dark brown strap on the PR-02, and I’m very pleased that I did. The colour is a beautiful dark brown which accompanies the charcoal black dial beautifully. It also features high quality white stitching around the outer edge which is a refreshing colour contrast. The strap is 20mm in width so a reasonable and comfortable width.
The quality of the leather is surprising for the price you are paying. Usually the strap is where a manufacturer of affordable watches would skimp on, and it’s usually cheap and very poor quality, but not Perpetual. It is thick, supple, and very comfortable.
Not only is the leather good quality calf skin, but the butterfly clasp is excellent too. It is all polished stainless steel, matching the classy looks of the watch perfectly. It is machined very well, and is comfortable to wear – nothing sharp or badly designed digs into your wrist. It does a fine job of what it’s supposed to – keep the watch on your wrist with minimal fuss. On top if the buckle is the Perpetual logo, which is etched with good precision and depth.
It really is staggering to have such a lovely strap on a watch that only costs $150. You do also get a free black silicon strap. To be honest, I think this is a bit pointless, as it most definitely wouldn’t look right on a watch like this. But hey, it’s still a free rubber strap which can be used on another watch! With the strap(s), the value for money of the PR-02 continues to excel.
I like to think that Perpetual Watch are a little gem in the affordable watch market. Whereas so many manufacturers try to offer bad specs at high prices, Perpetual offer the opposite – high specs and quality for a very sensible price.
Let’s not forget that you also get a 2 year warrantee and free 3 day worldwide shipping. I honestly don’t know how they manage to do it for just $150.
The quality and price has resulted in very high demand too. I have also bought the regulator, which I will be reviewing soon. I had to wait over half a year to finally get my hands on one! Obviously many people are realising that you would be hard pushed to find a better watch for the money. And I agree. Not only does the power reserve PR-02 look great, it feels great too, and you can sit there feeling pleased with yourself for getting the best bargain available today.