Watches designed and inspired by the legendary Gerald Genta are expensive – think Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Vacheron Constantin Overseas, Patek Philippe Nautilus, IWC Ingenieur and so on. While we recognise that there are other Genta-inspired watches out there in the market, more often than not, they either look like blantant rip-offs of the existing icons or are just poorly constructed watches. It’s indeed refreshing to see a brand like Schaffen doing justice to the legacy of Gerald Genta with their latest offering, the Reference 65.
Founded by two Singaporean brothers, Schaffen Watches first started their business making custom quartz watches two years ago and have since crafted over 300 watches. The Reference 65 was conceptualised in late 2016 when the brothers decided to push the boundaries of watch customisation. After a year of planning, sourcing for the right suppliers and prototyping, they finally debut their flagship model featuring two distinctive timepieces – the A65 Dress Watch and S65 Sports Watch.
Most of my readers will know that I prefer sports watches to dress watches. Out of the two timepieces, the team at Schaffen decided to send me the S65 for review which gave me no reason to decline. As a PR professional, I’d like to give kudos to the team for the conscientious effort!
First impression – the Schaffen S65 looks amazing out of the box. The first thing that I noticed is the impressive detailing on the dial. Instead of a flat dial, it features a horizontally-ridged dial texture that appears similar to wood grain. There are three different dial colours to choose from – Grey, Blue or White.
The applied markers are non-obtrusive with the only arabic numeral at the 12 o’clock position, giving it a sportier look. Its smooth chapter ring is a simple minute indicator that works effectively with the overall dial design. For the date indicator, customers can choose either to go with a date window or without it. The arrow-shaped minute and hour hands work just fine, while the polished second hand reflects light for improved visibility against the dark dial.
Taking a closer look at the S65, the bezel starts to appear louder. Its construction is quite interesting as it features two layers – the top is round with brushed finish while the bottom is hexagon with a fully polished look. Thank goodness, the team at Schaffen didn’t attempt to put fancy screws or unnecessary beveling on the bezel.
The crown guard does its job and the crown is a little too small. At times, it can be difficult to pull out the crown for time and date adjustments. There’s little room for entry and it appears to have a very tiny space between the case and the crown. However I was told that the actual piece will resolve all these issues. Personally, I’d still prefer no crown guard for a more symmetrical look.
The case of the S65 is rather slim at 9.8mm thin featuring lugs that integrate with the bracelet – a trademark of Genta-inspired timepieces. At a perfect size of 39.5mm in case diameter, the watch sits nicely on my wrist and should be able fit a wide range of wrist sizes. I’m pretty sure that the team put some thoughts into the case detailing as well. It has a nicely polished bevel on the sides of the case that runs smoothly along onto the bracelet.
As this is a prototype, the weakest link (no pun intended) is probably the bracelet link bars and clasp. It is a single-fold clasp that doesn’t really go well with the design of the bracelet. Also, the bars holding the links are extremely stiff and fragile that I broke one when I was sizing the bracelet. Thankfully, the team at Schaffen heard many feedback and they are upgrading it to screw link bars and butterfly clasp! They will also include an integrated alligator-grained leather strap, likely as a complimentary alongside the bracelet (at least for current backers) or as an option.
Flipping over the watch, the S65 features a sapphire crystal exhibition case back secured by six screws. Water resistance on this watch is rated at 50m but it is likely not suitable for swimming, maybe a leisure day at the pool or beach is fine.
The watch model and name of the movement are inscribed on the case back. Obviously the Selitta SW200-1 movement can be seen through the exhibition case back. On top of the Swiss movement, its value proposition is presented in the custom rotor that Schaffen offers their customers – either skeletonised or engraved. For a touch of luxury, you can also choose to have it plated in 18k yellow, red or white gold.
Overall, the Schaffen S65 is a very handsome watch with a conservative design that stands out well among other Genta-inspired watches. It has a nice heft to it but wears comfortably even for an extended period of time. The construction and build quality of the watch is well above the proposed price of US$499 (Super Early Bird on Kickstarter) and not forgetting the elabore grade Selitta SW200-1 movement with custom rotor. If i’m asking for more, I’d love to have some perlage on the movement.
Schaffen Watches is running at the mid-point of their Kickstarter campaign right now and you can still pledge for the S65 and A65. Each watch comes with a 2-year warranty for hardware & manufacturing defects. The S65 and A65 will be delivered in June 2018.