Written on: 08/08/2009 by vascoferreir (2 reviews written)
I have always wanted a watch in the style of the Rolex Submariner, but felt that
paying $6000 or more for a watch is a bit extravagant. Although the Rolex
replica watches look quite nice none of them are really water resistant and the
whole concept of the replica does not feel quite right. That left me with the
like of Invicta and Croton, but they are not cheap either and their reviews are
not convincing. As I own a few good watches, I did not want to spend more than
about $60 on my Submariner. The Apogaum looked nice, but was very doubtful on
further investigation. The German Heinrichssohn looked very upmarket, but is not
water resistant. Then came along the Voow . It fulfilled all my requirements at
a very reasonable price ($49), so I ordered the model VW1. All the models are
identical, except for the bezels which differ in colour and are marked either in
traditional elapsed time sixty minute style or 24h-style. Here is my review of
the Voow VW1 Submariner, as ordered on eBay:
The watch came well protected, wrapped in bubble wrap. It was packed inside an
unbranded black hinged plastic case without any documentation. The case was
satin lined and the watch was seated on a satin cushion. The plastic credit card
sized international warranty card (one year) was a nice touch.
The black dial is in the classic Rolex Submariner style. Hour markings are in
white with an inverted triangle at 12, silver stick markers at 6 and 9; date at
3 and round dots at the remaining hours with minute markers in between. The Voow
name with logo above it appears just below the 12 hour marker with "100m/300ft"
and "Automatic" above the 6 hour marker. The hands, including sweeping central
second hand, are also finished in white and silver and also classic Submariner,
but perhaps slightly narrower than the real thing. Although the markers and
hands are supposed to be luminescent, they are really very faint and definitely
not on par with my Seiko 5 Seamaster or 1995 Seiko Kinetic Divers watch. I do
not believe the luminescence is adequate for a divers watch.
I do not have the specifications for the crystal, but it appears to be
made from a glass-type material. There is a magnifier over the date window that
is effective, in contrast to that of some other Submariner-style watches. The
magnifier does appear to be vulnerable to knocks.
Bezel: The bezel is black with silver markings, again an inverted triangle at 12
hour, numerals at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 minutes, stick markers at 5, 15, 25, 35,
45 and 55 minutes and smaller one minute marks in between up to 15 minutes. The
bezel is of the ratcheted unidirectional rotating type, but the clicks are not a
minute each with 74 clicks in a full rotation. The bezel has a fairly prominent
serrated edge, presumably to be able to turn it easily when wearing gloves.
Crown: The crown is situated at 3 hour and I liked the fact that it is of the
screw down type, improving water resistance. There are three positions for the
crown, unscrewing it brings it into the first position, allowing manual winding,
pulling it out one notch allows you to set the quickset date and the last notch
is for setting the time. A Nice touch is the Voow-logo on the crown, adding a
touch of class.
The case is made from stainless steel with a screw down case-back, again to
improve water resistance. It is fairly heavy and has a nice feel to it. The back
is plain without any markings on it. This is a bit disappointing - even though
it does not add to the quality or functionality of the watch, some identifying
marks or information about the watch would have been nice. Personally I would
have put something like "VW1", "Stainless steel", "10 ATM", and "Made in Japan"
on the back. Quality-wise the edges are a bit sharp, but not rough or dangerous.
The quality is probably comparable to a mid-range Casio. Case diameter is 40 mm
and case thickness 12 mm.
The bracelet is made of stainless steel with a matt finish. It appears quite
sturdy, but the surface seems prone to scratching. The clasp is of the fold-over
type with a flip lock, similar to my Seiko Seamaster and Seiko Kinetic Divers
watch. The Voow logo appears on the clasp.
The movement is a Japanese automatic movement, but not much more is
known about it, e.g. the number of jewels. The automatic movement is evident
from the sweeping central second hand which moves in a smooth, gliding movement
and not the one second increments typical of a quartz movement. Although the
watch has a automatic winding, it can also be hand- wound. This is an excellent
feature in a watch that is not worn every day, as it allows you to keep the
watch running. Another great feature is the hack mechanism (second hand stops
when crown is pulled out to set the time), which is unusual in this price range.
Accuracy is outstanding for an automatic in the price range below $150 and
probably compares favourably with even more expensive watches. Over a period of
a week of continues wear the watch lost less than 5 seconds in 24 hours. Power
reserve is also impressive at 49 hours (tested by myself), comparable to any
top-end automatic, including the Rolex Submariner itself.
As I am no diver, I could not test the claim of the watch being "Impermeable to
a depth of 100 metres". I am inclined to believe it though, as the screw down
back and -crown do suggest a high degree of water resistance. As a test I
dragged the watch along the bottom of my swimming pool (it is winter in South
Africa and I do not swim in cold water!) and also exposed it to the bubble
action of my Jacuzzi. There was no water penetration and I believe the claim of
100 metres and would not be surprised if it could go deeper.
The Voow is definitely not a Rolex replica and it would be unfair to
call it a fake or copy of the Rolex. It is a watch in its own right, in the
Submariner style, just as many other well known and established brands, such as
Invicta, Croton and Orient. It is extremely good value for money and the
features of the movement are impressive, but the watch could do with a few
Put the Voow name and -logo on the presentation case and add an instruction
Improve the luminosity of the hands and face.
Put something on the case back.
This would probably cost less than $10 and would raise the Voow to a level of
watches costing three times as much. It is already a great buy as it is and I
would recommend it to anybody.
Postscript: I have written this review 14 months ago and my Voow still runs faultlessly. The crystal is without any scratches and the date magnifier is intact. Omly the clasp became slightly worn, but still locks securely. I really believe that this is one of the best vaue-for-money watches on the market.
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