You know that our primary mission here at WWR is to bring to your attention the great, affordable watches that are out there, be they from new or established brands, from brands we cover quite a bit or from those we’ve not talked about before. Today, it’s going to be that latter category – an established brand that we haven’t really spoken about before. It does break from our informal affordable rule (generally interpreted as sub-$1000), but it’s good to take a look at what could be beyond that horizon. So, with that, let’s have a look at the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic.
Now, you like have not heard of the Swedish brand Sjoo Sandstrom. The brand started out in Stockholm in 1986 when Christer Sjoo and Michael Sandstrom started talking watches. They then introduced their first automatic in 1993, which subsequently won a Swedish design award in 1995. So, they are not a brand with a centuries-old tradition. That said, they are are still an established, independent brand creating some unique looks with their watches. I first became aware of them through some of my writing at ABTW, and have recently spend a good deal of time with their Royal Steel World Timer. So, while I’ve not seen today’s watch in person, I’ve a feel for their build quality and in-person aesthetics.
With the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic, this is a watch I would consider sort of a good entry into the brand – both in terms of the price (in this case, it starts at $2,011 on the alligator strap, and tops out at $2,811 with rose gold indices and a steel bracelet), as well as the design itself. It’s called Classic, and I think there are definitely some good, classic elements to the watch. For starters, you’ve got a solid three-hander with date layout, baton indices, and numerals as 12, 6, and 9. The dial has minimal text on it. Solid design leading to a watch that works across a variety of uses from casual to dressy.
To my eyes, though, the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic starts mixing things up a bit, though, when it comes to that case design. First off, you’ve got the triple-stepped bezel, which brings some variety where we might otherwise expect a flat bezel. Second, you’ve got the crown showing up at the 2 o’clock position, which is something I’ve only seen from the brand. Finally, you’ve got those inner curves on the lugs, which really looks sharp against the steel bracelet (which is signed on the end link). The tricky bit, of course, with those lugs would be any sort of leather strap. The stock ones from the brand look like they set in pretty nicely, but if you’re a fan of swapping in aftermarket ones, you might need to work a bit to get a good fit and look there.
It’s also worth noting that there is a small dial variance between the two versions of the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic. Of course, the one with the rose gold indices and hands have that tone (rather than polished steel), but take a note of the date window. On the steel versions, it’s a simple circle. With the rose gold versions, you’ve got a rounded rectangle for the date window.
When I was going through the photos of the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic, I really thought that the steel version with the black dial was the one that would resonate the most with me, being the most classic watch design – particularly if you’re looking to have it as a dress watch. The more I looked at them, though, I found that the rose gold indices against the grey dial (and a color-matched date wheel) to be a sharp contrast. And paired, as they have it, with that dark blue strap, well, that is pretty sharp. Of course, my general advice is, if you think you might like having the watch on the bracelet, start of with buying it that way – straps are much easier to come by than bracelets down the road. Here, though, I might break my own rule (if I were buying one) as I think the grey and rose gold would lose a little something if it were on a steel bracelet.
Any which way, I think the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic presents a subtle twist on a classic three-hander design that sits on the dressier end of the sporty spectrum. Yes, with the pricing starting at $2,011, it’s definitely more of a budgetary stretch. However, I think it’s worth knowing what all is out there if you’re in to watches, and thinking about saving up for a watch down the road. Sure, the big names are big for a reason – but there are definitely some great gems out there from brands you may not have heard of. And, hey, how many of your buddies can say they’re wearing a Swedish watch? I, for one, am a fan of Sjoo Sandstrom, and I’m planning on writing about one of their higher-end pieces here in a bit, one that brings a micro-rotor into the mix. For now, let us know below (or in our Slack channel) what you think of the Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic. sjoosandstrom.se
- Brand & Model: Sjoo Sandstrom Royal Steel Classic
- Price: $2,011 – $2,811
- Who we think it might be for: You want an entry-level luxury watch with classic designs and a slightly different flavor
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? In the end, probably not, as it’s not my favorite watch from their catalog
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Play around with the “font” of the numerals – that’s another opportunity to mix the design up a bit
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: If I’m narrowing it down to a single element, it’s the bezel design
- Movement: Automatic movement (Swiss made). Number of synth. jewels / Incabloc: 25. Frequency 4Hz (28’800 v.p.h) Power reserve: 42 hours. Winding: Automatic.
- CASE – Stainless steel, Ø41 mm.
- CASE-BACK – See through engraved case back with flat sapphire crystal. Individually numbered.
- GLASS – Scratch resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
- DIAL AND HANDS – Dial with white super luminova index marks and hands with super luminova.
- BRACELET – Stainless steel, with an engraved logotype on end piece/Alligator
- WATER RESISTANCE – 10 ATM (100 meters).