Contrary to the claims the wrist watch is “dead” it is actually quite an exciting time in the world of watches right now. New micro-brands are popping up with some regularity providing a variety of new shopping options. The brands provide a gamut of styles and prices across different models and builds, from Asian to Swiss to something in between. Ronin Watches has entered this micro-brand game looking to bring you “quality watches at prices that make sense.”
Ronin Watches, based in Singapore, is looking to do this by building all Asian made watches. Their first offering is the Ronin Pilot. Based off the classic Flieger watch style from the 1940’s, the Pilot is being offered in a couple of configurations. Sizes available are 44mm and 47mm and versions with the crown on either side of the watch. Running seconds are captured via a sub-dial: at 6 o’clock for the crown on the right and at 3 o’clock for the lefty crown. The movement, visible via a display back, is a hand wind Asian-made Unitas clone with 40 hours of power reserve. Naturally this movement is one component used to keep the price in the affordable range over using a Swiss made movement.
The case of the Pilot is 316L stainless steel and has a water resistance rating of 3 ATM. For a less expensive timepiece some might expect a mineral crystal but the Ronin actually comes with an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. Topping off the package is a leather strap with matching brushed buckles.
Right now Ronin is focusing on their pilot watch design in 44mm and 47mm with the hopes of expanding their offering should this first line be successful. The story behind the brand is an interesting one: Ronin Watches founder, Phil, is an undergraduate student who started the brand while lusting after the more expensive pilot watch brands. He was after “all the good stuff, without the hefty and inflated price tags”. The ideas for the watch started about a year ago with an outline of the criteria desired in an affordable pilot watch. Later, a chance meeting in Hong Kong with a watch manufacture led to a batch of watches being made to those specifications. Ronin Watches was at that point born.
Overall the Ronin Pilot looks like many other observer-style watches but still has some quality traits to offer, especially at $265 USD. The watches are presently available for purchase by placing an order through their Facebook page or their Etsy shop. Ronin will ship the watches world wide, but if you happen to be a resident of Singapore you can visit one of two shops, Goodgoods and Mr. Bulli & Sons.
by James Enloe