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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Watch Review: Equipe Caters to Gearheads

No one would ever accuse the watch brand, Equipe, of not knowing its market. The company’s new line of watches are made to appeal to people who like to spend their afternoons under the hood of muscle car and their evenings showing off their polished high-performance vehicles to women who are as attractive as the bikini models on the company’s pinup calendar. For a little extra fun on a hot summer night, they might turn to street racing.

A company that caters to such a specific set of American-car fanatics could only be headquartered in the Motor City. Detroit seems to be in the midst of revival as commercials and television shows are showcasing the city’s grittiness and survival instinct. So maybe the timing is right for such a watch company to appear from the belly of automotive beast. But while the city and American cars may be experiencing a revival, this is a company that is also trying to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon—taking people back to a place when cars with large engines built for straight speed and power were the symbol of status and cool for many America males.

The folks at Equipe sent four watches to me for review. Pushing the car theme to extreme limits, all their watches are named after car parts. The ones they loaned to me were named: Balljoint, Paddle, Dash XXL and Hemi. In addition, each watch has its own VIN number and they come with a “presentation case” that the company says resembles a tool box, but to me looks more like an elaborate portable safe with its own combination lock. The four watches retail from $399 to $899, which makes them quite accessible compared to watches from European manufacturers that cater to car buffs.

All the watches made of surgical stainless steel with screw-down crowns and screw-in casebacks. They use Miyota automatic movements made by Citizen. The company says the watch hands are luminous but I did not notice this. They all include date indication, chronographs and dual time zones functions. Watch straps are either made of leather, silicone or surgical stainless steel.

Setting all the watches and using the chronograph features was fairly easy with the exception of one glaring, vitally important issue: With the exception of the Dash, the crown on each watch was extremely difficult to pull into the third position for setting the time. It was nearly impossible to move the crown to the second position for setting the date. 

This was my favorite of the four watches. It is also the most expensive at $899. The price is because it has four flexible lugs that move 360 degrees, adjusting to the movement of the wrist. The design is nice as well, with a round yellow dial, chronograph dials designed to look like a timing chain and silicon wristband fitted my wrist the best of all models. 

My second favorite of the four gets its name from the lever-shaped bars above and beneath the crown that emulate paddle shifters, which control the chronograph hands. The round white dial is attractive and the uni-directional rotating bezel is interesting and the leather strap is nice. It’s a watch that felt good on my wrist. It retails for $399.

 Dash XXL
The most car-authentic watch in the group has an elongated watch face that is designed to look like the dashboard of a vintage auto, such as the Chrysler Imperial and Lincoln Continental, the company says. It’s certainly something to look at while driving. It was also the easiest to set and use. The drawback for me was the feel. The watch spreads across the wrist and the silicone strap had a lot of stretch to it. I found myself adjusting the watch often. It retails for $499.

Guess what this watch is named after? The design of the oversized round black watch is interesting. Like the Balljoint, the subdials of the chronograph are designed to look like a timing chain. The crowns and pushers are made to resemble the contours of the piston of the famous Chrysler engine. The metal bracelet fully closed was too large for my wrist. It has a magnified crystal cover that makes the watch appear even larger. It’s a large watch for a large person who likes large things. It retails for $599.

1 comment:

  1. The Equipe line of watches was just added to the shopnbc lineup. The prices are very attractive and lower then where you would find other Equipe retailers. I'm not sure if they're making a lower line for shopnbc but the watches look similar to others I've seen around the web. I'm going to sell one of my Invicta's and own at least one Equipe.