The Rotary ultra slim range proves that old test for a quality watch ‘is it thin? and is it swiss made?’ are still as valid today as they every were. What might surprise you is you can buy a quality timepiece for around £200, and probably less if you shop around.
So does the latest from heritage brand Rotary still hit the mark today? Or has the time come to say for a company that has been making elegant timepieces since 1895, that this is a design that’s had it’s day?
At only 5mm thick, the Rotary Ultra Slim lives up to it’s name and is the slimmest watch in my collection by some margin. I struggle to see why the current crop of oversized huge watches are more than a passing phase. I much prefer the elegance of a slim watch. It means I can wear this watch under any long sleeved shirt with no fear it will catch on the cuff, or get stuck. All the other reviews I’ve seen state this watch to be only 4.7mm. My micrometer says different, but what’s 0.3mm between friends…
The 36mm white face is classic styling at its very best. It has a simple elegance that will be truly timeless. A sundial effect in the centre of the face gives an almost vintage feel to this watch will is very easy on the eye. I could easily imagine my grandfather wearing the same watch. Simple hour markers in gold and a simple date complete the uncluttered look.
The strap in genuine brown leather, is soft enough to be very comfortable, but is very thin and combined with the small and 36mm case, makes the watch look petite. While photographing on it’s own it is perfectly proportioned, but on my wrist, and I don’t have the largest wrists in the world, it looks small. This may be in some part because I am becoming desensitised to oversized watches, I sincerely hope not, but it could be.
The Ultra slim is part of Rotary’s Les Originales range, which is a better class of watch with better quality components and construction to the rest of the Rotary watch range. As this is my first Rotary watch it’s hard for me to say if that’s accurate, but I can say the build quality is excellent. It is certainly on a par with other watches is the £200-500 price range.
Packaging is nice with it’s double boxed approach, and although more than good enough for the price point, doesn’t quite hit the mark to make it feel really prestigious. There is nothing wrong with it at all, I just wasn’t blown away by it. I feel this is a missed opportunity to make the overall experience in line with the premium feel of the watch.
One problem with getting hold of a watch soon after launch means there aren’t many reviews available yet and information on the Rotary website is sparse. Luckily my horologist friends over at www.thewatchnerd.co.uk pointed out it states on the face this a Swiss made Rotary, so it’s likely to be a Swiss Ronda quartz movement. Soon after the I got a response back from Rotary confirming it was indeed a Ronda Slimtech 1006 Quartz movement. I have to say the customer service was excellent and they really did help answer my questions very quickly.
Further investigation into the Ronda 1006 movement highlighted an interesting nugget that nobody seems to talk about. If you disengage the date function by pulling out the crown by one notch, it reduces power consumption by 70%. The standard battery life is 25 months, so this would make a really useful increase. It does then raise the question if you don’t need the date, why buy a watch with the date in the first place? I do like the date, from a styling point of view so I’ll keep mine as standard.
The Rotary Ultra Slim is a lovely watch that has excellent build quality and for the price is unlikely to be beaten on quality. It’s classic styling will broaden it’s appeal, but it’s so thin, that proportionately it is quite small. If you have a larger wrist, it might not suit you, but for most people it would make an excellent choice. It’s nice enough to be an every day watch that feels special, but it’s low cost means you feel less conscious of it as you would a high end watch costing 10 or 20 times as much.
The icing on the cake is Rotary’s lifetime guarantee, as long as you get the watch serviced every three years. All of this means it comes highly recommended by me.
- Polished stainless steel case
- 36 mm white two step face
- 42mm from lug to lug
- 17.5mm Strap at the lug
- 5mm thick (not 4.7mm as advertised)
- Swiss made
- 31g weight
- Date function
- Ronda 1006 Quartz Movement www.ronda.ch
- Saphire crystal anti-scratch screen
- Water proof to 2 atm (20m)
- Retail price £229
- Model Number: GS90800/02
For more information visit the Rotary Watches website at http://rotarywatches.com