A Review of the Elliot Havok Classic Watch from WatchGang Subscription Box
Continuing our search for the best men’s monthly subscription box, today we’re taking a look at WatchGang, a monthly watch subscription service. You pay a monthly fee, and every month, they send you a new watch. Sound crazy? I thought so too, but, spoiler alert, it’s actually pretty great and I have really liked my experience with them so far.
For starters, there are a few different tiers. Yes, it can get quite pricey — they’re watches after all, not a tie and a pocket square or two — but there is an entry-level subscription that is actually quite reasonable. For $29 a month ($39 with shipping, see below) you get the “Original” tier, which is a watch of $50-$150 in value. For $99 a month you get the “Black” tier which is a watch of $150-$500 in value. Finally, for $299 a month you get the “Platinum” tier, which is a watch of $500-$1,500 in value. (There is also a “Centum” tier, which is, as the name implies, $1,000 a month, though I cannot seem to find any information about that on their website.) Basically, whatever you’re paying, you’ll get a watch somewhere around 1.5x to 5x the value. Not a bad deal at all, at least in theory. Oh, also, once a month someone wins a Rolex and a Tag Heuer. I signed up for the “Original” tier to start.
Now, how does WatchGang know what kind of watch you’ll like, though, I hear you asking…? Well, when you first sign up, you select what kind of watch bands you most prefer, in order of most to least favorite. You do the same thing for sport watches versus dress watches versus minimalist watches, and finally the same thing as well for large, medium, or small watch faces. Then, for your watch of the month, WatchGang will send you something that most matches your preferences (obviously switching things up just a bit from time to time to get more variety in your collection). This is, of course, a pretty interesting idea here — unlike all the other subscription services of a similar kind for men, WatchGang does not send the same box to every customer. Each month they partner with a whole slew of watchmakers to send watches from. The value of each watch ranges just a bit, as discussed above, and, obviously the style does as well. The goal is to provide you with a watch that you’ll really like or be happy to add to your collection each month.
Personally, I found the “preference” questions a bit hard to answer. I just couldn’t quite decide with certainty what I really preferred. In the end, I decided to choose the sort of watches that were most lacking from my collection, figuring this was a great way to branch out a bit from what I would usually buy, and so I chose Leather as my most preferred strap. I selected Sport and Dress over minimalist, as I have plenty of minimalist watches. Finally, I chose Medium and Small (in that order) over Large for watch face sizes. I absolutely hate oversized watches.
So, how’d WatchGang do? Well, let’s review my watch the same way we would review anything here on The Peak Lapel. I got the White Classic Havok Watch from Elliot Havok.
The Havok watch is a 40mm silver case, just about the perfect and preferred size for my wrist. It’s got a nice white face with black and red details, including flat-tipped hands, and a red second hand. It’s got a date window on the bottom and a red marker for 12 at the top. It’s got a bit more going on than what would qualify as a minimalist watch as you can see from the picture, but I don’t think this watch is trying to be minimalist. It looks great without being too much going on or visually distracting. I sometimes find minimalist watches to be too plain or simple — this watch strikes the perfect balance of complexity and simplicity in a watch face.
It’s got a dark brown plain leather strap (not NATO, meaning it is not meant to fold back over itself, which is not at all a bad thing… I like both depending on my mood). As far as the style is concerned, WatchGang and Elliot Havok did a bang-up job with this one. I really like the look of this watch.
Quality / Construction
The watch uses a Japanese Hattori VX32 Quartz movement, which are usually made to fit Seiko watches. Nice. The backing is stainless steel, but I am unsure as to what the actual rest of the case is made out of… some sort of non-stainless steel? It definitely feels a bit on the lighter side. This is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to watches, but this watch just toes the line of feeling flimsy. The strap is 100% leather, and it happens to feel great (though it sheds a bit at first). Again, not like something on a higher end watch — or even a watch that costs $300+, but definitely far better than what I was expecting for 29 bucks. The band is also easily interchangeable — just slip it out of the watch, and swap it for a nylon strap you already own if you’d like. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters.
This watch is priced, from Elliot Havok, at $85. At that price, I would say you should get a great Timex watch instead. At the $29 WatchGang price, though? This was a steal. And, indeed, that is ultimately what WatchGang is all about. Perhaps not every month will you get a watch as good as some other months, but when you walk away with a watch that is worth triple what you paid for it, and you really like it and want to wear it — it’s a pretty great feeling.
A warning, though: Unlike other subscription services for men, WatchGang makes you pay the $10 for shipping. It’s a bit of a “gotcha” moment, because the $29 tier is now really $39. Then again, maybe $30 a month for a great watch really is just too good to be true. Then again, the higher tiers have that same shipping fee, which just feels like a nickle-and-dime kind of move… I guess, as I always say, it’s gotta come from somewhere…
If you have a few watches that you like and are happy with, this might be too expensive of a subscription service to commit to. If you find yourself buying a few watches here and there throughout the year, though, like me, WatchGang will very likely be perfect for you, not to mention a ton of fun. If you really enjoy collecting watches, and getting great deals on them, it looks like the higher tiers will be great for you as well. Then again, if you’re super-picky about the sort of watches you wear, well, obviously WatchGang is a bit of a risk. (There is a Facebook group available to members, though, to sell/trade watches you receive that you don’t really like. I saw a bunch of doozies and watches that I really would never want to wear on there… here’s to hoping I never get one of those due to the preferences I set.)
Truthfully, I cannot really comment on how the higher tiers are as I have not yet tried them. In fact, I cannot really even comment on how consistently WatchGang is as great as it was this past month for me since it’s only been one month of my subscription. So far, so good, but we’ll check back in next month!