Today I took the courage to take a closer look at a monster of watch, namely a watch from S-Force. I must admit, I was sceptical about these watches at first, but I actually grew to like.
These watches are certainly an acquired taste, for their design and sheer size (they are often seen on bodybuilders), but my job is to convey if they are well made and worth your money. I assume that i you are reading this, you have probably already considered buying one, or is at least curious to know more about them.
I am not a fan of their watches with the digital subdials, but there was one S-Force model that did catch my attention. I present to you, the S-Force Two-Tone Spitfire 1st Edition.
Quick Pros & Cons
|– Good quality||– Not good for smaller wrists|
|– Sapphire crystal||– Not the most comfortable watch|
|– Ceramin inlay||– Weak lume|
|– Unique and bold|
The watch comes in a nice big metal box which fits the watch perfectly, while keeping it safe and secure during transport in black foam. Very fitting packaging in my opinion.
The watch itself is surprising big and heavy. I believe my surprise might be due to the fact that this is the first watch I unbox that measures 50mm! This thing is basically a weapon, on or off the wrist. But Audemars Piguet and Panerai have been living off selling big and bold tool watches, so there is a market for it!
To be honest, I was expecting a badly made watch. Something about their brand identity and design, and the fact that they used to be called Swole O’clock (suspicious transition or simply a rebranding?).
But to my great surprise, the watch was actually very well made! The machining was on point, the polishing and brushed finish is impeccable for this price and everything felt solid and well aligned. They played well with the 2 types of metal finishes and colors, making the watch catch the light in some very interesting ways.
Only disappointment at first was the strap clasp, which felt too light and cheap compared to the rest of the watch.
A closer look
The case and crown
The case is actually quite simple in its design, with a round shape in the middle which leads to the square angles “lugs”. No beveled edges, just nice sharp angles that have been dulled down a bit so you don’t cut yourself.
It’s fully brushed with a circular finish on the top, and linear on the sides (with text engraved on one side). The brushed finishes are actually well done, while remaining rough and gritty which I think suits the watch.
And yes, we have to mention those huge screws sticking out the side to the lugs. I wasn’t a fan of those to begin with, but they actually do help balance the proportions of the watch. Again, an acquired taste 🙂
The crown and pushers
It gets more interesting when we take a look at the crown and chronograph pushers. The crown is protected by crown guards with a tension locking mechanism which serves mostly as a reminder to screw the crown in after setting the time. It looks rather cool, just like it does on so many Panerai models, and they have cut out circles on the edge of it to ensure it can rest right next to the chronograph pushers.
The pushers, like the crown, are rose gold colored, polished and features a nicely engraved grip. The grip feels solid and precise to the touch, so no complaints there. The pusher button wasn’t “wiggly” and had a noticeable click feel when pushed (sometimes you barely feel it on cheaper quartz chronograph watches).
The dial and bezel
If you isolate the dial and bezel, then you realize it has a lot in common with the Breitling Navitimer (the watch is branden as an aviation watch, but so are minimalistic flieger watches). All of the dial sits under a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating on the underside.
The dial and hands
The dial, like the Breitling Navitmer, is well balanced while giving you all the information you would need. All the printing is crisp and legible and the hour indices and minute track are made using blue C3 superluminova (i thought it was BWG9 at first, but it actually shines less bright than that lume). The dial has a nice depth thanks to the nice circular slope and a sunburst effect on the subdials, and the applied hour markers and logo.
The hands are well balanced on the dial and the basic straight sword shape is good enough for the Breitling Navitimer, so why not this watch as well? I personally love when one small element pops out on a dial because of its color, so I naturally agree with the choice of a red seconds hands!
The lume is not a strong as i have come to expect from BWG9 lume (which is also blue), but then again, we are not looking at a diver watch so I can forgive them for not using my favourite lume.
The bezel is a clicking bezel, which is an odd choice for a calculator bezel, but how often will you use that? To make up for that weird choice, they have put in a ceramic inlay with engraved markers filled with lume. The markers are actually quite crisp well done but i do think the teeth on the bezel could have been a little more sharp. It would fit the watch better than these rounded slopes that defines them currently.
The bracelet is held together by heavy duty pins and a series of heavy, but well machined links. The polished rose gold colored center links plays well with the brushed main links and offers a fun combo that reminds me of the two toned Patek Phillipe Nautilus. It’s also surprisingly comfortable, which i hope i could also say for the case it holds down on my wrist.
The clasp features a twin button locking system that works well. It does however feel off on this watch and i figured out why after wearing it for a day. Everything on this watch is so heavy and “solid”, so having a stamped metal deployment arms and a thinner top, made it stand out. Not only visually, but you expect it to be heavier and pull down when holding the watch parallel to the ground.
The monster is powered by a swiss Ronda quartz chronograph movement, which I only hear is robust, reliable and has a long lifespan. They could have put in a chinese quartz movement to save money, but I have a feeling they like to use the words “swiss movement” in their branding and marketing… It’s written everywhere on their website and meta data!
What i didn’t like
The bracelet pins
I was surprised at the quality of the watch, and even my local watchguy told me that the metal finishing was quite good! However there was a reason for why he had to see it 🙂
I simply couldn’t resize the bracelet myself. He had to use a hammer to jam these things out of the links, but managed to do it without scratching the watch. I do appreciate the bigger pins in such a heavy watch, but i’d did annoy me that you couldn’t resize it at home. Perhaps they should consider using screws ?
The engraved text
I’ll go straight to the point. There is TOO MUCH text on this watch! It makes the watch look cheap and S-Force isn’t a brand people will recognize anyway. I feel like a human ad and here’s my suggestion to what they should remove immediately:
- The text engraved on the side of the watch case
- The “S-Force” on the endlinks of the bracelet, where it meets the case. Perhaps use the logo instead, because the little “™” just makes it look like a chinese toy (oh, and make it polished as well).
- The “AV8R” and “officially certified” should also go! What is it certified for?
On a small side note, the bezel is not bi-directional even though it says so on their website.
I think the price is fair
Considering this watch is well built, features a sapphire crystal, ceramic inlay on the bezel and a good looking dial with applied markers, only the design should put you off from buying this watch.
This watch is big, brash, cocky and arrogant! But i actually like that, but I am also certainly the type that doesn’t mind the attention, on the contrary. If you’re the discrete and minimalistic type, this watch is not for you. BUT, if you are a big guy or simply like big and bold watches like the Audemars Piguet Off-Shores or a big Panerai, this is the watch i would recommend.
The only thing that should stop you from buying this watch is the design, which is an acquired taste. Everything else is up to par with the price point of this watch. Like the rocket launcher that Arnold Shwarzenegger carries in Commando, this watch has its own masculine and brash charm, but it won’t blow up your back account.