Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Parnis Black dial Big Pilot Power Reserve Chronometer Watch Handmade Leather Strap (Product Code: NEW-304) – The quality and usability is commendable despite it being a cheap watch, A Review (and Video) - Updated (16 June 2016)

For the last couple of months I have been affected by the pilot watch bug. I love the size and the simplicity of a pilot watch. For a good timepiece under this genre, the price is rather high. So, I’ve decided to find a rather cheap alternative from Parnis, a Chinese brand. After going through its vast catalogue of watches, instead of just getting one, I’ve decided to get two.

For this review, I will be focusing on the Parnis Black dial Big Pilot Power Reserve Chronometer (Product Code: NEW-304).

This is a rather large with a case diameter of 47 mm (without crown). Its lug-to-lug length is approximately 55 mm while its thickness is 15.5 mm. The case is made out of brushed 316L stainless steel polished fixed bezel and a display case-back.

The large diamond shaped crown is located at 3 o’clock and is a screw-down. There is a image of a fish on the top of the crown. The black dial has two scales; the outer one is a minute scale with markers while the inner is an hour scale with Arabic numerals. There are two sub-dials located on a top-bottom alignment where the power reserve indicator (North) and seconds indicator (South) are housed.

Two sets of texts are also seen on the dial. The set on the right has the words “PARNIS” and “CHRONOMETER” while the set on the right has the words “POWER RESERVE” and “AUTOMATIC”. I doubt the watch could be considered a Chronometer. This is just a marketing ploy by Parnis which is known to be very coy when it comes to design copying and boastful exaggerations.

All four hands as well as the markers and Arabic numerals are painted with luminous paint. Unfortunately, the brightness is not that good.

The dial is protected by a domed glass crystal without any AR protection. Similarly, the display case-back is also protected by a flat glass crystal where you can see the automatic and self-winding movement Seagull 2542. This particular caliber has the power reserve indicator with 40+ hours of spring power and sub-seconds module. Note the lack of any other notation, not even a serial number, around the steel portion of the case-back.

The lugs on this watch is 24 mm. The watch is paired with a thick sandy brown leather strap with light brown stitching on the sides. In all honesty, more like raw-hide in thickness and lack malleability. The strap length is approximately 130 mm on the tail side and 80 mm on the buckle side. The watch comes with a Pre-V buckle (meaning a curved Panerai style buckle – another design “adaptation” from Parnis) that is devoid of any writing or image.

Note the tear on the first and second buckle holes after I put in the buckle for the very first time.

Despite the screw-down crown, the water rating of this watch is only 3 ATM or 30 meters. This goes to show how “well” Parnis watch are constructed even with all the protection that seems to go into the watch. I seriously have doubt whether this watch could even handle getting wet from rain.

The Wearing Experience

The thick leather strap coupled with the thick casing makes it slightly difficult to wear with formal attire. The Pre-V buckle tends to snag on clothing.

The strap is very tough to handle. I suspect it will take time for the leather to start becoming soft and this would require wearing it for a few weeks.

From a display point of view, it is easy to quickly tell the time. The size makes it effortless to view without the need to squint or bring the watch closer to the eyes.

Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.

Depending on how close you wear your watch to your hands, it may cause the large crown to bite into your skin if you flex your hands upwards. It is better to wear the watch higher up your arm.

Overall Impression

For a watch that is priced USD105.00, what you get is not all that bad. Granted, the quality is not great but at least it keeps good time and looks fashionable on anyone’s wrist.

Special Mention

I highlighted earlier that I actually got two pilot watches from Parnis. However, the Super Jumbo 60 mm Pilot watch was not working when I took it out from the packaging. After liaising with a representative from Parnis, it was decided that I return the watch to them for a replacement. I will update once I get the replacement watch.

The problems I faced with that particular problem watch were the loose seconds hand, the inability to power up the main springs either by shaking the watch or winding the crown, and the meshing of gears sound when the crown in wound.

Update 1 (Thursday 16 June 2016)

When I put up the pictures on my Twitter account @watchhobby, I got a few comments about the watch being copies of models of well known brands such as IWC. This is not surprising as Parnis is famous as a homage manufacturer (some would even accuse them of outright reproducing copyrighted designs – such as Officine Panerai’s patented crown guard).

It is a fine line the definition of “homage”. I won’t want to get into that now. It is suffice to say that Parnis has not gone out of its way to hide its brand. In fact, it proudly put its branding on most, if not all of its watch offerings.

For this particular design, where there are two sub-dials on a North-South alignment and the top sub-dial is a power reserve indicator, I have yet to find an equivalent or similar watch design in any of the main watch brands. If any of you do find any similarity, please leave a note below this posting.

Photo Gallery

Parnis  Big Pilot Power Reserve Chronometer WatchParnis  Big Pilot Power Reserve Chronometer Watch

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