WatchGang Review 4.0: Szanto and Elliot Havok Chronographs
Things are not looking too great for WatchGang. After the terrible watch they sent last month, WatchGang offered to send a replacement watch for free. A very nice gesture, and something I gladly accepted. (I truly must say upfront that WatchGang had excellent and speedy customer service — they even gave me free shipping on my next month’s watch.) What they sent as a replacement though was even worse than the original! It was an oversized (45+mm), red-faced, TW Steel watch, and not something I would ever wear on my wrist (if it even fit). So, I’m very happy that WatchGang offered to send me a replacement for the bad watch they sent, but what they replaced it with is just as bad if not worse. So, in the end, I am left with two watches that I will never wear and don’t like. This makes me effectively out $109 (the cost of a monthly subscription to WatchGang Black).
Now, as it happens, there was actually a bit of a shipping issue (long story), which ended in WatchGang sending an additional third watch as well. And, this time, they actually got it much closer to right. I still don’t love the watch, but I like it, and have been wearing and enjoying it.
It’s a nice Szanto chronograph with a tan brown leather racing strap. The face is a nice black, with white complication — something I rarely see, and can’t tell if I like or not. I am also a big fan of the racing strap here; a variety of watch strap I never owned prior to this watch. The whole watch feels hefty and high quality, right down to the thick, rich leather used in the strap, and the sturdy and substantial clasp. The watch runs on a Quartz movement — I would have much preferred automatic. Still, the overall watch feels high quality, and I quite like it. It’s a great casual watch the goes with almost anything.
Then came this month’s watch. It was another Quartz chronograph, this time from Elliot Havok — a company we have had some past experience with through WatchGang. And, I have to say, as soon as I saw the company I was a bit disappointed. Havok watches does not seem the sort of company that is going to be around for the long haul. They don’t really make their watches in-house, and seem much more like a company simply slapping their name on watches produced overseas. The last watch I got from them feels rather cheap, and I never really loved it (though, admittedly, I do wear it).
This particular watch is a black face dress chronograph with a gold metal case and accents. It has a black leather band as well. Overall, I love the aesthetic of the watch — I really like black and gold. However, this particular watch does not do such a great job with it. The leathers feels and wears cheap and stiff. The metal feels cheap and lightweight. This does not feel like a premium watch by any means. The retail price of $199 seems ludicrous to me. Worse, the watch seems a bit confused as to what it even is. The styling is all dressy, but the white numbers running around the bezel of the watch make it far less dressy. I also find the logo at the 3 o’clock mark to be a little bit obnoxiously placed.
In truth, I don’t hate this watch. I’ve worn it a few times with a suit, and I think it looks just fine. Still, I don’t have much high praise for this watch. It’s fine, but nothing at all to write home about. I certainly would not have paid $199 for it, and am not even sure how happy I am to have paid $109 for it.
Conclusion & Value
In truth, I don’t much love either of these watches (and certainly not the two terrible watches they sent prior to these). I have now effectively spent $220 on two watches that I don’t love. One I like more than the other, and neither do I hate, true, but I would much rather have bought one solid watch for that $220 that I knew I loved! Plus, getting that Szanto watch (which, of the two, is the one I like more and think is better!) was happenstance. One month was an utter bust, and the more time I spend with WatchGang, the more I am convinced it’s not a great way to spend your watch money. Yes, it is exciting to open up a surprise watch box every month but, as we have said so many times when it comes to these subscription services before, it only truly works when you’re excited both before and after you open the box. When you end up being disappointed with a watch you like but don’t love (or worse), then it was just not a wise way to spend your money.
We’re going to give WatchGang a shot for one more month and see what comes of it before we draw any definitive conclusions, but as it stands right now, I’d rather take the $1200+ a year this subscription costs, and it put it towards one really amazing watch than have twelve mediocre ones. I’d rather be more excited about wearing the watch than I am about opening it.