When brands reach out, particularly new ones, I am generally more focused on what the watch looks like, and what it’s built of, more so than the name of the brand. These tables got turned a bit when a fellow named Guy Roebuck reached out about his new brand, Roebuck Watches. While the Roebuck name certainly has some watch history (just ask Victor), and of course Sears & Roebuck retailed any number of watches, this particular Roebuck family line hails from England, and lays no claim to the more famous (at least, in America) association. So, then, what does the Roebuck Alpha have in store for you and I?
What struck me about the Roebuck Alpha, right from the get-go, was the dial. While I do like classic designs and clean lines, I’m also a bit of a sucker when you start getting layers, textures, and dimensionality in there. And that’s something this watch certainly has. At the lowest level, you’ve got a grooved disc, reminiscent of a record or the turned end of a piece of lumber (depends on your frame of reference). Over the top of that, you’ve got a flat, almost steering wheel, piece, onto which the applied numerals and indices are laid on. Remarkably, this is all accomplished without feeling overly busy.
This is due to the amount of real estate the 40mm x 40mm cushion case of the Roebuck Alpha affords – and there’s not a lot of case visible around the domed sapphire crystal, either. You want to see case, though, all you have to do is turn the watch on it’s side, and you see it. There’s no two ways about it – this case is thick. This, it turns out, was due to a design detail that wasn’t realized. Roebuck had wanted to do a double-V groove around the case, but that presented manufacturing challenges. So, instead, we’ve got the center stripe. Roebuck opted to keep the case at the originally-intended thickness, as he likes things chunkier.
Tucked into the monster case of the Roebuck Alpha we’ve got the ever-reliable Seiko NH35 movement. You can see a small bit of it through an observation window on the caseback which, I suppose, gets the job done. For me, unless you’re showing me the balance wheel, go full exhibition or solid caseback, in my book. That all said, the movement performed just fine in the time I had the watch, and should live up to it’s reputation.
The included strap on the Roebuck Alpha is leather, and of a decent quality. Lume is also pretty good on the watch, though I do wish the hands were a bit more filled in with it. Still, though, no problems reading the time in the dark. This was an interesting watch to wear around for a bit, even if it did prove tricky with some of my shirt cuffs. Bear in mind, this is a prototype we saw, so there will likely be changes (for instance, we’re told the crown will be bigger on the production version). If you’re looking to pick up your own, the Roebuck Alpha has pricing ranging from $529 (for a steel finish) to $539 (for PVD), with the Kickstarter project launching on May 15th. roebuckwatchco.com
- Brand & Model: Roebuck Alpha
- Price: $529 – $539
- Who’s it for? You like cushion cases, but want a dial that’s a bit different
- Would I wear it? Ultimately, no – it’s just too tall for my tastes
- What I would change: A slimmed down case would be welcomed
- The best thing about it: Got to dig that dial
Tech Specs from Roebuck
- 316L stainless steel case, 40mm x 40mm, mixed brushed & polished finishing
- PVD case, buckle & bracelet plated to 0.8mic dark IP gun
- Double domed European sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating to the underside
- European sapphire crystal to case back
- Sandwich dial
- Applied numerals & indices
- Skeleton hands
- Super-Luminova C1 lume
- Seiko NH35 movement
- Custom monogrammed crown
- 20mm Italian leather band with monogrammed buckle