Vorque Constantine Review

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In the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of sub $1,000 watches. Within those watches, we’ve seen a handful of movements, various level of finishing quality, original designs, off-the-shelf designs, homages, etc… As time has gone on, what we look for in a watch has shifted away from straight “value”, by which I mean watches that seemingly offer the most expensive components in the cheapest package, to watches that offer quality of concept, design and execution, supported by quality components. So, the latter might cost more for a watch with the same movement and a sapphire, but if it’s offering more in terms of design and finishing; and in our eyes, it’s worth it.

So… When I first saw photos of the Vorque Constantine, who are a new brand out of Singapore, saw the beautiful waffle-textured dial, and read that it was powered by an ETA 2824-2… actually a gilted 2824, I anticipated a certain price. ETAs are expensive these days, a uniquely textured dial that is well executed isn’t going to be the cheapest option, sapphire, deployant buckle, etc are going to add cost too. Having seen it in person now, I can say that on top of that, the finishing (and what we have here is a sample, so it’s likely to be a bit rougher) is decent on the case, the dial is well executed with nicely shaped markers and hands, and the case itself has some elegant details. So, i figured $1,200 on the low end, perhaps $1,800 at the top.

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Well.. while currently in crowd-funding mode, these watches can be had for as little as $429. That’s a crazy price, and one you shouldn’t hope to see for a 2824-2 powered watch anymore (frankly, for this watch, I think it could have cost more than that and used a Miyota 9015, but that’s a different conversation). Yet, here it is. Obviously I don’t know how or where they got the movements, if they are making any money at all, or what they plan to do in the future, but for the time being, the Vorque Constantine is a truly remarkable value, while also being an attractive watch. Let’s take a closer look.

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$429

Vorque Constantine Review

Case
Steel w/ Rose Gold PVD
Movement
ETA 2824-2
Dial
Light Silver
Lume
N/A
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Leather
Water Resistance
N/A
Dimensions
40 x 47mm
Thickness
10.5mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
7 x 3.5mm
Warranty
N/A
Price
$429

Case

The 40 x 47 x 10.5mm (to the top of the boxed sapphire crystal) case is nicely sized for a day-to-day watch with formal leanings. While the style speaks to vintage pieces, and those often seem more appropriate at 38mm or less, the scale here felt in proportion. The case itself has a simple, classic design with nice finishing and one interesting twist. The bezel is actually concave, swooping in towards the boxed sapphire crystal. It’s a subtle detail, but one that gives the watch a nice look and some interesting reflections.

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For finishing, the case is polished on all surfaces but the case sides, which have light horizontal brushing. I was very glad to see this shift in finish, as the brushing on the sides is both attractive and keeps the watch from getting too shiny. The Constantine is available in the rose gold PVD shown or in traditional steel. Clearly the rose gold adds a level of dress to the watch, and I imagine the steel case would seem much more low key.

The crown on the right side is a solid 7 x 3.5mm, giving it a sportier profile than one might expect. It works though, and gives the watch a more casual feel. It’s also nice to have a slightly larger crown for hand-winding, should you choose to do that. The crown’s design is simple, with a toothed edge and a concave bevel that reflects the design of the bezel.

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Flip the watch over, and you have a mineral display back held on with 6 screws. The back has an interesting shape that sort of bows out, perhaps allowing for additional room for the rotor. Looking through, you can the golden, gilt ETA 2824-2. It’s plain in terms of graining or decoration, but the gold color is striking. On their site, they say there will be a custom rotor too, which is not present here. It’s less what it looks like and more that it’s there that counts, should you want a Swiss automatic.

Dial

While having an ETA 2824-2 inside is novel given their scarcity for new brands, I was honestly more drawn to the dial than anything else. This vintage styled dial is simple, elegant and features a gorgeous texture that covers it entirely. Coming out of the slightly pearlescent surface are tiny pyramids, each catching the light, and casting little shadows (it’s called Clous de Paris). The result is nothing short of beautiful. It brings to mind waffles dials of watches from the 50’s, something I am a huge fan of (and have an ever present watchrecon alert for), which were notably on some early Rolexes and Omegas. It’s not something you often see these days, with only the north of $10k Omega De Ville Tresor Master Co-Axial coming to mind.

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The primary index on the dial consists of long, applied markers. On this model, they are rose gold, which contrast the surface below nicely. The silver and black dial options both have silver markers. Each marker tapers slightly towards the center of the dial and features small facets to catch the light. The markers sit atop the minute/second index which is a black ladder, with a bold line on it inside edge. This line creates an interesting frame around the central dial, and corresponds with the curve of the boxed sapphire crystal. The lines that indicate the individual minutes/seconds then extend to the edge of the dial. Because of the box crystal, they get distorted ever so slightly.

One detail I really like is how the markers cross the line of the minute index, but don’t extend to the edge. It’s a nice play of line and form that speaks to the quality of the design. In general, the dial has very familiar elements, but they come together to look like a unique watch. Furthermore, everything is well sized and balanced, with even the fairly dramatic texture not overtaking the rest of the dial.

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The hour and minute hands are slender leaf shapes, with an elegant, fluid design. They, like the markers, are slightly dimensional with a line down the center and each half catching the light differently. I like how thin they kept these hands, which works with the marker shape as well and just gives them an understated feel. The seconds hand is a long, thin stick with a small oval counterweight. This is in faux-blue steel, which, on one hand, works with the rose gold, but on the other is a touch too blue. I think black would have been just as nice until they can get tempered blue.

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Straps and Wearability

The Constantine comes mounted to a tapering 20mm, faux-gator strap. The rose gold case is matched with a dark brown leather that has a slight sheen.  The color goes well, and while I often don’t like faux-gator, it does work with the watch (real gator would be better, but a lot more money). Finishing the strap off is a butterfly-deployant clasp also in rose gold. I personally am on the fence about deployants as they might add convenience, but to me are less comfortable. Either way, it adds to the value aspect of the package as they do tend to cost more.

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The Constantine wears well. 40 x 47mm is a very tolerable size that should fit most wrists, and have plenty, but not too much presence. 40mm is also a nice mid point for something that wants to have some vintage flair, but still look like a modern watch. Sure, 38mm might have been more appropriate, and still would have looked good, but the watch doesn’t seem oversized as is.  It also gives more real estate for the textured dial, which is a good thing in my opinion.

Aesthetically, there’s a lot to like about the Constantine. If you liked the Orient Bambino, Hamilton Intra-Matic, even the Ophion 960, this will appeal to you. The rose gold PVD case isn’t the case I’d personally go for, but looking at photos, the steel model is a nice mix of dress and casual, and would make for a great everyday, office watch. The dial texture really sets this watch apart from many of the vintage-styled designs we’ve seen. Such a simple concept, but works so well.

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Conclusion

It’s funny, the fact that the Vorque Constantine costs $429 is only worth note because it has an ETA 2824-2…which unto itself isn’t that special, it’s just rare for a microbrand these days. But, why the watch succeeds is because of good design and a well-tuned aesthetic. At the price, had it had a different movement, one of the Miyota or Seikos we expect in the price range, I still would have liked the watch, and it still would have a been a good price… the 2824-2 just makes it more special, more rare at the price.

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With that said, this watch doesn’t exist yet, and needs to be funded first. Vorque are using the indiegogo platform to try to raise $75,000 to get these puppies made. That’s a decent amount of money, but for watch collectors seeking a good deal, it’s clearly offering one. And, as I said, the watch is very likable regardless. So, should you like what you see and want to support this brand, who I think will continue to do interesting things in the future, head over to their project page and grab a Constantine.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw

14 responses to “Vorque Constantine Review”

  1. Philopoemen says:

    It may just be the name – “Vorque Constantine” – but am I the only one who’s reminded of Vacheron Constantin with that dial and the blued seconds hand?

  2. Svetoslav Popov says:

    It is too big for the retro style. The crown is screw down, which is strange, given only 30m water resistance. And lastly, I seriously doubt the Swiss origin of the movement. At that price point and also considering brands that used to work with ETAs are shifting to different movements, because of scarcity, I suppose the movement could be a Chinesse clone. They are quite good though, I have to admit.

  3. Svetoslav Popov says:

    OK, I have discovered that the crown is not screw down and the water resistance of 30m is completely sufficient for a dress watch. And if I am to be honest, I quite like the design. Dress watches are my favorite category and this one is unique when it comes to dial, there is nothing similar available on the market, I think.

  4. bjs314 says:

    The dial sets the tone/expectation for detail, so it ends up looking unfinished w/ plain indices. 40mm feels like it will only draw attention to how plain it is. The resistance rating is good, but why no screw down crown?

    My biggest complaint is for a microbrand, I want a watch to look interesting to non-watch fans. That’s the fun in buying one of these little-known products. The makers are supposed to demonstrate a little courage and flair. Sadly, from a distance this will look like any ‘ole watch from Nodstrom’s or Macy’s.

    And as usual, I hate “give me startup money” projects, especially when there’s nothing distinctive going on. As I mentioned about another watch earlier in the week, I seriously doubt this watch keeps any of its value if the owner tries to resell it. Wear it 3-4 times, and try to get more than $150 on eBay..I’d be surprised and impressed. This fundme projects are starting to feel like welfare for middle-class dreamers. I know, I know, if I don’t like it, don’t support them…sigh.

    • Svetoslav Popov says:

      OK, it is really getting annoying with all this reselling values and investments. Is it what loving watches is all about. Not for me, thank you. I never resell a watch. I have something very personal with any of my watches. I have dreamed about it, waited for the moment to get it, loved it. And I also don’t think “investment” is relevant to an amount of $500.

      • bjs314 says:

        One of the easiest ways to determine if a watch is worth is value is to consider what its resale value might be. We do it when we buy cars, houses, boats, guns, etc. Only items meant to be used until they break, like appliances make the exception. $500 is real money in most of the world, regardless of your income. If I pay $500 for something it should be worth at least half that on resale market within first 2 years. I’d go so far as to say, no one would buy this watch preowned, not even on a watch forum.

        • Svetoslav Popov says:

          Obviously you speak about yourself, but you use WE. WE is not ME.

        • BJC says:

          So don’t buy one… Just because you base your decisions on (your own) perceived resale value, doesn’t mean most other people do so when buying what is widely considered an inexpensive watch (<$1000 is generally considered inexpensive/affordable for a watch). And for what it's worth, I (and this is just my own, personal opinion here) would STRONGLY consider buying one of these used for $210…

    • Никита says:

      1) How often do you see screw-down crown on dressy watches? Even major brands don’t usually have it, despite, maybe, Omega AquaTerra. So 30M/100ft WR rating is VERY solid for such kind of watches. Total splash protection and who will dive in this watch?
      2) No, it doesn’t look like cheap fashion quartz-watch. Closest comparison regarding the looks and 2824 auto movement will be something like classy models of Frederique Constant / EDOX / Claude Bernard / Tissot Le Locle, and all of them cost more.
      3) Resale value at this price point? You must be joking? It not Rolex range. I bought Longines HydroConquest for 400$, which is 30% of its initial price, and that happens to almost all watches in this range: Tissot, Raymond Weil, Seiko – any.

  5. DanW94 says:

    Good point on the Seiko. Their 6r15 automatic movement in watches in this price range run at 3hz. As for this watch it appears to be well finished with a nice looking dial. The 2824-2 is no doubt standard grade, but this is a nice price for this movement outside the Swatch group.

    • egznyc says:

      I agree – it’s a very attractive package at this price – or even at a higher price. The only gripe I have is there’s something cheesy in the name (as another comment noted it’s almost as though it’s playing off the Vacheron name) and the font looks amateurish.

  6. Jimmy Margulies says:

    Great to see Worn &Wound mentioned in the New York Times Men’s Style section today. Congratulations, guys!

  7. smoothsweeper says:

    I am not surprised that an indie watch company in Singapore executed a design with such balanced elegance and everyday wearability (based on photos). That country is watch-crazy, and they can afford the good stuff.