Today i am reviewing a watch from a brand that might be the most famous microbrand in the world, if you can still call it a microbrand. All watch brands have to start somewhere, and Fillipo Loreti started out by being the most funded watch on kickstarter, mainly due to their large advertisement effort.
Filippo Loreti has been surrounded by a few controversies, if you explore forums and other websites, which is why i feel like stating a few things before i start the review:
- I don’t agree with their marketing message. Their watches are actually not bad, but they are not luxury watches. This kind of marketing strategy is becoming a trend these days, and unfortunately it’s a very efficient way of getting to the mainstream consumers.
- I have heard complaints about their customer service, but i am here to review a watch, not their service department. It’s also worth noting they surely must have improved that aspect of their company, because it’s usually not the first thing that you implement in a new watch microbrand, leaving it struggling in the beginning.
I present to you, the Filippo Loreti Roma Automatic Blue.
Quick pros and cons
|Beautiful dial||Generic clasp|
|Lovely case finish||The movement winding rotor is a bit loud|
|Strap hugs the case and follows the curve of the lugs|
The packaging is not good enough to keep, in my opinion. But to be honest, when I buy a “non-mainstream” watch, I want all my money to go to the watch, so I can let that slide.
Design and quality
To be honest, I was not expecting the watch to look this good. I had my biased, preconceived watch geek opinion about the brand, but I was delightfully surprised. However, you can tell most of your money has gone into the dial and case.
The case and crown
The case has a nice rounded shape that reminds me of those domed church roofs you might see in Rome. The shape is perfect for a dress watch and makes it look less bulky on the wrist, and more refined.
The polished finish in the case is quite good! When looking at the side of the watch, I can see my own reflection completely undistorted (except for the distortion created by the actual shape of the case). The case back is also well done, held down by screws, with it’s deeply engraved San Marco basilique. The Miyota movement is not good looking enough to be shown and I am happy they chose to hide it.
The lugs, which have a nice beveled edge ,slopes down quickly, which is good if you have small to medium wrists. It makes the watch hug the wrist, which is a good elegant look for a dress watch, and the straps follow the curve of the lugs. Bigger wrist will make the strap reach over the lugs.
The crown has a quite unique oval shape with a small track of “teeth” serving as grip. It’s not perfectly aligned with the case at all times, but turning the crown will satisfy your OCD as it eventually aligns. As with most Miyota movements, the manual winding is super easy and the crown clicks out nicely when you need to set the time and the date.
The side of the crown features a lightly engraved star shape that wasn’t necessary to add and makes me wonder if it would have been better without it.
The dial and hands
The dial is where you get all the bang for your buck!
The dial really shines in natural light and gives off different hues of blue, all the way from light blue to purple! This plays so well with the rose gold details and matches perfectly the colour of the strap. Basically a delight to look at, and a good excuse to check the time every 10 minutes.
The base of the dial feature is made out of a dark blue sunburst dial with the middle cut out and replaced by a beautiful guilloché dial. There is a very thin and subtle outer ring composed of engraved teeth that could serve as a seconds track.
Perfectly aligned rose gold hours markers embellish this dial base, and lifts it thanks to their relative height. I also love the roman 12 hour marker which gives the watch a little more personality. There is also a thin rose gold ring that serves as a border between the sunburst part of the dial and the guilloché pattern.
The aperture (date window) is nicely framed in a rose gold beveled frame, sitting on top of the small rose gold ring, making it look like they are connected at a quick glance. I applaud Filippo Loreti for using a blue date wheel because a white one would really ruin the dial. The date is nicely centered in the aperture but the printing could be a bit more crisp.
To crown this beautiful dial, Fillipo Loreti has chosen to add nicely finished dauphiné hands and a classic slim seconds hand that gets slimmer at the edge. The double edge of the hands plays well with the light, which is the main thought behind this entire dial.
All in all, a beautiful dial that looks more expensive than the price tag, sitting on top of flat sapphire crystal with a decent anti-reflective coating.
The strap and clasp
The strap is unfortunately much less impressive than the dial, but it’s still decent. The leather strap is a generic genuine leather strap that does match the color of the dial. It does smell good and it is quite supple, so no comfort issues there.
One thing that shows that some practical design thinking went into this strap is the shape at the end and the placement. It’s slightly curved and so close to the case that there is almost no gap between them. That’s always nice to see.
The twin trigger butterfly clasp is also the cheapest generic kind of clasp you can get. However, at this price point I am not expecting more, especially since the dial and case is quite satisfying, and I should be grateful that it isn’t a generic standard buckle. It does the job and holds the watch on your wrist.
The Rome Automatic is powered by a Miyota Caliber 8215 which is on the cheaper side of Miyotas, but still considered a low cost workhorse movement. It loses around 20 to 40 seconds a day and beats at 21 600 beats per second (3hz or 6 ticks a second). It doesn’t have a hacking feature (seconds hand doesn’t stop when you set the time).
The movement is quite loud and you can often hear the wobble of the unidirectional winding rotor, but mostly when you are alone and in a silent environment.
On the wrist
The watch is fairly slim on the wrist, but with a nice wrist presence! The curved lugs ensures that the whole watch hugs the wrist, which i prefer when wearing a dress watch. It should be elegant and well fitting, like a suit.
The watch is also very light, so you barely feel it, but the strap could hug the wrist a little better. I will definitely buy a better strap and clasp for this bad boy. But for this price point, don’t expect the best strap in the world.
A lot of attention has been put into the dial and case, but the strap and movement could be better. Filippo Loreti is becoming a big endeavour, and they will take more profit on a watch than your small “husband and wife” microbrand. But this watch is not designed to please the watch enthusiast, but a mass market, and i think it delivers on that.
As a watch enthusiast I was always sceptical of these kinds of watch brands, but i have to admit i like the watch, even though i know it was designed to please the mass market and not the watch geeks. If you are a watch geek, you probably won’t buy this watch, but for everyone else, this watch is a great way to get into mechanical watches while staying away from the mainstream brands.
The dial of the Rome Blue Automatic is definitely a looker, and I have no complaints about the case when considering the price. Filippo Loreti doesn’t offer any horology heritage or strikingly unique design, but they do offer a beautiful mechanical watch.