I have a new installment of my Trapped In Time Watches Hands-on series.
As promised, I will be sharing the article on the forum and I am looking forward to your questions, feedback and maybe own experiences with this brand.
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Kind regards, Michael from Trapped In Time Watches.
Hello and welcome back to Trapped In Time Watches, I’m your host Michael and today I will be talking about my hands-on experience with the latest collection of the Dutch based watch brand ‘NYI Watches’; the Soho collection.
NYI Watches was founded back in 2013 after two friends returned from a trip to New York City. With a passion for watches and new found inspiration straight out of The Big Apple, these young gentlemen chased their dreams and started a watch company that would embody their vision on making watches. NYI Watches wants to help the modern day’s man make a statement with what he wears by offering modern watches with classic design elements and are wearable on any occasion, while not breaking the bank.
Today we’ll be addressing a watch from the newest line-up, the Soho collection.
This latest addition to NYI Watches’ portfolio features a modern day chronograph with more classical and dressy design language, combining a sporty dial layout with subdials to accommodate the chrono-function and a more traditional approach for the case, bracelet and overall feel of the watch.
The Soho collection comes in 6 different versions, with different dial, indices and strap combinations
I chose the ‘Wilder’ variant of the bunch, a matte grey version with rose gold details and a complementary grey leather strap.
Unboxing and first impressions
Unlike a lot of the watches I order, this one did not need to travel hundreds of km’s to reach my doorstep as NYI watches is a company based in The Netherlands (I’m based in Belgium). Delivery only took 1 day and the outer packaging was perfectly intact.
My purchase came with a nice, PU (fake) leather box containing my watch and a tag, some promotional cards with social media references and a little book with the rest of NYI’s watches. I like how the hard-copy (paper) manual is replaced by a QR-code that you can scan with your smartphone.
The first impression I get from this watch is good. In full honesty, I had some doubts about the actual quality of these timepieces. When looking at the specifications of their watches, on paper these timepieces should be more than decent at the price point they are being sold at, but I know that the budget + fashion focused brands often fall short in terms of quality and finish once you get the watches in your hands and on your wrist.
Luckily, this is not the case when taking this watch out of the box. It feels solid, smooth and free of severe/obvious visual flaws.
Let’s take a look at the specification of this Soho - Wilder watch.
Specifications and key features
The case of this Wilder is made of 316L Stainless steel, measuring 40mm in diameter (43mm when including the crown and a thickness of 10 mm (site says 9mm?). The lug-to-lug distance comes down to 49mm.
The finishing of the case has been done with a combination of brushed and polished sides.
The side profiles of the case are brushed with an almost satin like finish while the top parts of the case (and lugs) are finished in a high gloss polished way.
A very interesting design feature is the way that the finishing on the bezel has been inverted when compared to the finish on the case.
Unlike the case, the side profile of the (fixed) bezel is polished and the top part has a circular brushing to it.
The slightly curved and protruding sapphire coated glass gives this watch a bit of vintage feel.
I really like this design language as it creates a more complex visual experience when looking at the case from different angles.
The unsigned, push-pull crown, together with the push buttons for the crono-functions can be found on the standard positions (2 - 3- 4 O’clock).
The Wilder version of this watch features a matte grey dial with rose gold applied indices.
On the dial, two sub dials are embossed for the chronometric function (on the left) and a 24-hours time indication.
The sub-dials executed in a black color with a circular pattern applied. At the outer side of the dial we can see a printed minute track with an additional track for chronometric measurements.
The hour-, minute-, seconds- and chronometric hands have the same rose gold finishing as the indices, with the sword style hour- and minute hands have some lume to them (no information on which kind of lume they use).
The 12 ‘O clock position is marked with roman lettering ‘XII’, with the NYI-letters/logo below (also in rose gold).
At the case back we find a full 316L stainless steel, engraved screw-in plate.
NYI Watches claims up to 100m of water resistance for this setup, which seems fair with these specs.
The Soho collection watches all come on a leather strap by default. The strap is genuine leather and has a premium feel to it. At the back of the strap we find the NYI logo and a ‘genuine leather’ marking. The NYI-branded fitting of the strap seems to be the same 316L stainless steel material.
It features a brushed finish on top, with polished sides and has no sharp edges whatsoever.
Straps can be swapped out with ease thanks to the easy to reach/use push-pull mechanism, which lock in to the 20mm lugs.
The watches from this Soho collection all feature a TMI (aka Seiko) VK64 movement. A hybrid mecha-quartz movement, where the time is being regulated by the quartz section of the movement and the chronometric actions are being driven by the mechanical part of this workhorse. By using a mechanical set-up for the chronograph, the seconds hand displays a nice sweeting motion when the chronometer is activated.
It’s a cheaper but very reliable movement with good accuracy and won’t need a battery change for up to 3 years.
You are not getting high- nor mid-tear specifications when buying this Soho timepiece, but that is something that you can not expect at this price point.
That being said, you really do get a decent bang-for-your-buck when putting this ‘sporty dress chronograph’ on your wrist. And that’s exactly what NYI was set out to do with this timepiece.
On the wrist
No extreme test this time. It’s my first weekend that I can relax at home after 2 weeks of action packed vacation and I just want to see how this neat timepiece wears around the house.
When being completely honest, I don’t usually tend to buy ‘dressy’ watches, even if they are in a sporty jacket like this Soho - Wilder. But, as i’m trying to build up a ‘respectable’ (but affordable… you’re welcome darling my wife) watch collection, this gave me the opportunity to get a feel for this kind of watches without having to grab deeply into my pockets.
That being said, It’s clear that I didn’t fall in love at first sight when opening the packaging and discovering this watch. However, once having the watch in my hands and on my wrist, I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality that this Wilder brings to the table. Again, this is not an exceptional timepiece (even when comparing it to other watches in its class), but I didn’t catch myself thinkin that I was going to immediately put this piece at the bottom row of my watchbox, where it would spend it’s time to the end of days… But seeing it in person and taking a closer look at it, I do find that the chronograph layout, together with the grey dial and matching leather strap make it more sporty and modern looking than I thought it would.
Speaking of that leather strap. As I mentioned before, my preference usually goes out to metal bracelets or tropics. But I have to say that this strap is superb. The leather is of great quality, providing a very comfortable fit. I have a small wrist size of about 16,8 cm and sadly, that makes it wear a bit on the larger side for me (even on the tightest setting). It’s not like it’s not wearable, but I personally like to wear my watches quite snug to my wrist (where some of you might like a little bit more loose fit). This could perfectly be addressed by adding another hole to the strap (by a professional, don’t mess up the strap yourself please!) or swapping it out for a third party bracelet. Which is easy-peasy by the way thanks to the easy to reach push-pull pins.
I have no real quality issues when it comes to the visual elements of the watch. I like how the rose gold (and white) hands and indices contrast to the matte grey dial. I think the overall design of the dial works fine, but I would like to have seen the indices a bit taller in size. (in height that is).
Legibility is good throughout the day even though this sapphire crystal lacks AR-coating.
The design feature that I really like the most of this watch is the view you get in side-profile.
The alternating brushed and polished finishing on the case and bezel creates a pleasing effect when the light hits it and the protruding sapphire crystal gives the watch a cool vintage character.
The only visual flaw I noticed is the brushing on the case in between the lugs.
This part of the case also has a brushed finish, but it’s applied much rougher and in a vertical manner (not horizontal like the side profiles of the case).
It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s quite noticeable when looking at certain angles.
Furthermore, I would have liked seeing a signed crown and a bit more lume to the hands.
The buttons for the chronometric functions feel crisp and react as they should, providing a ‘snappy’ action when being activated. I’m glad to see the seconds hand line up perfectly upon resetting the chronograph.
As the weekend comes to an end and I'm enjoying my glass of wine in front of the television, the Wilder shimmers in the soft, cozy light of our living room. This watch has really grown on me during the last two days and I can definitely see myself wearing it on casual/chic occasions.
The specifications, quality and finishing are adequate yet expected at this price point.
Interested in the new Soho-collection?I can definitely see this sporty dress watch being upon the top selling timepieces in the store.
The Soho line-up offers a no-nonsense approach to a classic yet modernized looking watch, delivering on design, build quality and overall finish.
A good choice if you are looking for an affordable watch which can be worn on both casual and chic occasions.
Michael from Trapped In Time Watches
Visit NYI Watches' online store and take a loot what they have to offer during their summer sale!
Thank you for Taking.Your.Time. to read the article, I hope you enjoyed it.
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Kind regards, Michael.