Rec Watches 901 GW Chelsea Review
The Rec Watches 901 GW Chelsea represents an intriguing timepiece for those wanting a bold-looking, automotive-infused option.
Unlike the Tourer Onyx I looked at a few weeks ago, this is a limited-run piece that sees the Danish manufacturer collaborate with Gunther Werks, an American manufacturer dedicated to offering resto-mod Porsche 911s with some intriguing modifications.
The 901 GW Chelsea doesn't come cheap, though, sitting at £1995, but if you're in the market for a big, bold chronograph with lots to like about it, this may well be one to consider.
Rec Watches 901 GW Chelsea Design - Big, boxy and utilitarian
The 901 GW is available in two colourways, the Chelsea I've got here, with arguably a more subtle grey and black colour scheme, complete with red accents, as well as also being offered in a lighter blue and orange colour called 'Exoskeleton'. Personally, I prefer this more subtle form, although you may prefer the other option.
This is a big, and bold-looking piece with a larger 44mm case, complete with a thick 14.6mm case. It certainly has a lot of authority when on the wrist with some welcome flair on the angled chronograph pushers, the red accented crown, and protruding angles on the left-hand side, complete with 'Gunther Werks' engraving. With this in mind, its 46mm lug-to-lug feels a little more restrained, meaning the 901 GW Chelsea didn't look disproportionately large on my wrist, even if the initial dimensions may seem that way.
The case here is comprised of the industry-standard 316L stainless steel, and with its segmented edges, gives the 901 GW Chelsea quite a rugged and industrial look. It's a watch with a lot of heft to it, too, compared to others I've looked at, reinforcing that price tag. Intriguingly, the salvaged carbon fibre Rec has used with the 901 GW is inside the case, as opposed to being on the dial, like they usually do. It's a case comprised of six layers, with the carbon fibre in the middle.
A closer inspection of the dial reveals it to be slightly open-worked, as well as carrying a lot of depth to it. It's an intricate system of layers that provide you with a peek at the movement beneath, which I'm always partial to. Across the middle are converging lines that resemble strut braces, designed to stiffen a car's chassis. It also contains three sub-dials, including a running seconds hand on the left, a 30-minute dial on the right, and a 12-hour chronograph counter at the 6 o'clock position.
A wise move from Rec was to inset the tachymeter scale into the case itself, as opposed to having it on the bezel. The markers are still legible at a glance but aren't placed where you'd traditionally expect them. Combined with this, the red tip on the white second hand is a nice touch. Otherwise, the sword and dagger hands are black with a generous helping of lume applied to them, offsetting the darker dial nicely. The hour markers are small, although it's a nice touch that the 'X' pattern lines up with the markers at 2, 4, 8 and 10 o'clock. The Rec and Gunther Werks logos are in the top centre, although are small, and barely noticeable unless you look for them. Clearly, the dial and its various intricacies do the talking here.
The strap here is a major improvement over the one found on the Tourer Onyx I looked at a while ago. The one on the 901 GW Chelsea is comprised of calf leather, which is comfortable, combined with red stitching for a bit of flair and some Alcantara inserts, continuing the automotive theming with some lovely materials.
The 901 GW Chelsea features a closed caseback, complete with a nice engraving of the 'X' pattern featured on the dial. In the middle of that is the watch's number - this piece is number 148 out of 232 made. Other than the large engraving, the caseback features information in each corner detailing the watch's 50 metres of water resistance, as well as the fact it's automatic and Swiss made. It also contains the watch's reference number.
Rec Watches 901 GW Chelsea Performance And Wearability - Weighty, but generally comfortable
Normally, with a watch that's 44mm wide and 14.6mm thick, you'd expect to wear rather large, and therefore be a bit of a behemoth in day-to-day wear. However, that wasn't the case with the 901 GW Chelsea. With a shorter lug-to-lug, it wears smaller than the case diameter would initially suggest and feels more like a 42mm watch than a 44mm one. A
As much as it fits well on my wrist, this makes for an especially heavy watch that can take some getting used to. With its more sporty and automotive-inspired looks, this is a piece that pairs well with more casual wear, as opposed to anything a bit more formal, although those more out-there looks could restrict you a tad.
Inside, the 901 GW Chelsea features a solid Swiss-made Sellita SW510 B calibre with its cam-operated chronograph complication. It's a reasonably accurate movement with a tolerance of +/- 15 seconds per day, while the second hand provides a great sweep.
When fully wound, this movement will provide you with a power reserve of 62 hours, giving you some solid endurance, too. The only issue generally is that there's only 5ATM water resistance, meaning it's suitable for withstanding splashes of water, such as rain or snow, but nothing more.
The Rec Watches 901 GW Chelsea is a decent, big and bold chronograph for the price. It looks good, with a detailed and layered dial and an industrial design that brings its automotive roots to the front and centre. It's pretty comfortable too with a great strap, although you will have to watch out for the hefty feel of the case. The Sellita movement inside provides an excellent power reserve and good accuracy, too. Overall, if you want an automotive-inspired chronograph with a lot to like about it, this is a good option.
You can purchase the 901 GW Chelsea for £1995 from Rec Watches here (limited to 232 pieces). Rec Watches provided a sample for this review.
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