PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 29 Jan, 2014.
In our previous review of the Perpetual PR-02 power reserve, we explained the set up of the watch company Perpetual Watch.
They are based in Hong Kong, and are made up of only 4 people. They make just 100 watches a month, but due to the low output they can guarantee optimum quality control.
We’ll be looking at the Perpetual R-01, which means that it is their Regulator model, with a white face (02 means a black face). This is one of their most popular watches, and due to this I had to wait a number of months to get my hands on one. Now I have it, I can see why it is constantly sold out.
Let’s see why the Perpetual R-01 is such a well selling model and if it’s good value for a mere $150.
Perpetual R-01 Regulator Watch Review
The case of the R-01 is 41mm wide, and is all polished 316L stainless steel. It is a very distinctive rounded “bubble” shape. The top is larger than the bottom, and you can really see this when you look at the watch side on. This is a nice change from the usual plain cylindrical cases you see so often.
The R-01 is 12mm thick so is reasonably sized, especially for a dress watch. Yet, it still fits under a cuff snugly, and in fact the extra depth increases the wrist presence.
Throughout the whole case, the machining is impeccable. The polished finish is spotless and there are no machining or tool marks to be seen. Very impressive for the price.
The case is of 3 piece construction – that’s is of the bezel, main body and case back. They all match up and join together flawlessly.
The lugs have a very rounded down turn and feature screw-in pins – which do look unusual, but pleasant too. It means changing the straps will be easy and will stop any scratching to the polished lugs trying to get the pins out!
The push-pull crown is a large onion shape, with deep grip which is uniform and well machined. There is no sharp edges on the crown, it is very comfortable In the hand when you are using it. The Perpetual logo is deeply engraved in the end, which is another nice touch which you wouldn’t normally expect with a watch this price.
The R-01 does have a thick bezel – maybe a bit too thick according to my personal taste. I think that it would look a lot classier if it had a very thin bezel, but it still looks great nonetheless.
There is a lovely domed sapphire crystal sitting on top. This crystal follows the curve and lines of the case immensely well. I am very very surprised by the accuracy of the fluidity of the case and crystal and the seamless feeling they provide. They are joined together perfectly.
There is a single layer of anti-reflective coating on the underside, which is reasonably effective. You don’t notice it that much with a white face anyway, but you can tell it’s there.
The screw in exhibition case back features a mineral crystal in the centre to display the movement. The crystal is the same size as the movement so you get the whole view of the rotor. It has the watch details lightly laser etched surrounding the crystal. The etching could be deeper, but that’s just being picky. The caseback, like the bezel, provides a graceful finish to the flow of the case.
In my opinion, the dial is the main feature of this watch. It’s not very often that you come across a regulator, let alone at this price. A regulator is when a watch has a separate dial and hand for hours, minutes and seconds. In the R-01’s instance, the hour hand is in the top subdial, the minutes is situated in the centre and the running seconds is located in the bottom subdial.
The hands are all blue steel, and are all different designs. The blues effect is only really visible when the light hits the hand right – usually it get look black. So it’s a nice dash of colour when you do see it. The main minute hand is twisted which is beautiful and so classy. The top has a large base and a wide onion point. The running seconds is a little more elegant, with a thin, long diamond shaped tip and counter balance with a circle on the end.
Personally, I am a real sucker for textured dials. And the R-01 does not disappoint. The appearance and completely of the dial is very impressive for this price, especially being that it is so immaculately done.
It’s hard to explain exactly what’s going on with the dial, but I’ll do my best. It’s also important to note that pictures do not do it justice – you need to see this in the flesh to really be able to appreciate it.
On the outer rim is a minute track, with concentric circles within. The printing is flawless and subtle. Numbers every five minutes and between them is a marker for each minute. The serif font chosen is very classy, and suits the watch well.
The subdials have an outer rim with the markings and numerals within, which also feature a concentric circular pattern. Within the subdials is a very light cross-hatched/square/checkered texture. Hard to explain, but check out the pictures to see what I mean. The top subdial is the hour hand, and the printing is in roman numerals – which emphasises the classy appearance.
Then the rest of the dial has a beautiful sweeping and looping texture, with lines going both directions. I am so deeply impressed by this I honestly don’t know how they can do this at $150. I love it!
The Perpetual logo is situated at 3, and “regulator” is at 9. Both of these printed items are positioned on a raised flat table so they can be seen properly and are printed on well.
A very elegant dial, Perpetual have done a good job of making it very intricate and well designed.
With all Perpetuals, you have the choice of 3 colours for your strap – black, dark brown or light brown. I went for black on the Regulator R-01 as I thought it would compliment the dial perfectly. And I was right! The contrast between the strap and the watch makes the dial really stand out – and enhances the classy looks.
It is 20mm wide, and it is made of calfskin leather – which is beautifully soft. It feels very high quality leather, not the usual rubbish “leather” strap you’d usually find on an affordable watch. It has black stitching on the top, which is white on the underside of the strap. So it’s actually white stitching which is painted black on the topside. It also has a very well made butterfly clasp which is all polished stainless steel. It clicks together with a very satisfying and reassuring click. It feels very secure, which is always good for the clasp of a watch. You release the clasp by pressing the buttons on either side of it, which hook onto small loops on the underside when it is closed. The top of the clasp is also polished, which suits the rest of the watch perfectly. It has the Perpetual logo deeply etched into it. The quality is evident and nice to see.
The movement powering the R-01 is the Sea-Gull ST1711, also known as the TY2708. It is automatic, houses 20 jewels, and has a 42 hour power reserve.
You know what you’re getting with Sea-Gull: a dependable workhorse of a movement, whilst still being affordable. This is why so many affordable brands are choosing either Sea-Gull or Miyota. The movement has the usual Chinese cotes de Geneve finishing (Geneva waves), which are light but make the movement look more pleasant to the eye.
Unfortunately you can see the plastic movement holder in the far corner of the case through the exhibition back, but only if you look hard enough!
When winding, the movement can feel a little scratchy in the hand, but nothing to worry about. It feels solid and dependable in the hand when you change the time. Accuracy wise, the movement is very accurate – this is because Perpetual regulate all their watches to +/- 15 seconds a day before sending them out. The fact that they go to this much trouble on every watch is amazing – especially on watches that only cost $150!
It’s nice to see that Perpetual have gone into the extra effort of adding their logo to the rotor too. Not something you would usually see with a watch this price.
This is the third Perpetual Watch I have had the pleasure of reviewing. As was the case with the C-01 chronograph and the PR-02 power reserve, the R-01 regulator is a hell if a watch for the money.
I just love the whole ethos of the company, who are determined to provide the customer with the best watch for the least amount of money. This fits in perfectly with what Watch It All About is about too, hence the reason why we like them so much.
My honest conclusion? There is literally no reason why you should not buy this watch if you are after a classy dress timepiece. The quality and specs are punching way above their weight for $150.