Rec Watches Tourer Onyx Review
Many many years ago, I had the chance to buy a Rec watch. It was a model that featured salvaged parts of an old Mini, and something that I had long forgotten about.
In 2023, the interesting microbrand lives on, and has progressed from those heady days, continuing to offer their timepieces with salvaged parts from all manner of cars and aircraft, as well as offering a core collection of pieces that are designed to fit with the brand's aesthetic.
One such collection is the brand's Tourer line - a set of watches inspired by the classic roadsters of the 1960s, and it's one of those I've got in for review at the moment. Let's take a closer look.
Rec Watches Tourer Onyx Design - Sublime looks and feel, marred by an iffy strap
Generally speaking, I'm impressed by the looks of the Tourer, especially in this Onyx configuration. It offers more of a dressier aesthetic look to it, complete with some exceptional brushed case finishing for the price, as well as being made of the industry-standard 316L stainless steel.
A 39mm diameter means this offers more of an understated look to it compared to some bigger dress watches, such as the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow I looked at recently. Its holed leather strap takes inspiration from driving gloves by the looks of things and pairs well with the brushed stainless steel case, and the general idea of what Rec is going for with the Tourer's inspiration. However, the strap itself doesn't feel like it belongs on a watch at this price point - it's quite coarse and feels cheap. It's a bit of a let-down when compared to the rest of what's on offer here.
In delving deeper into the dial, the Tourer Onyx opts for a waffle-type pattern, with a black dial, complete with small silver squares to offer a bit of contrast. It's akin almost to The Twelve from Christopher Ward, although not quite as big, and not quite as impressive. Still, it's a good-looking dial that keeps in with the overall understated looks that the Tourer Onyx opts for. Clearly placed on the dial in an unobtrusive manner are the Rec Watches logo and words bearing the model name of the watch - 'Tourer Automatic'. The font used here is decent enough, and wouldn't look out of place on an older Austin Healey derivative of some form, which I guess is what Rec is going for here.
The syringe-style handset on offer is brushed too, much like the case, and feature some solid finishing to my eye. A small amount of lume is present at the base of the watch's hands, helping the Tourer Onyx to be seen well enough in low light environments. Its lume isn't that impressive, though, with it appearing quite dim when checking the time after dark.
The numbers feature quite a rounded finish to them, again linking back to this watch's GT-car type looks - they look similar to those found on an Jaguar E-Type's rev counter, or similar. The date window is placed at the six o'clock position, and is dinky, to be honest. It's a little difficult to read the date, compared to some other watches I've looked at in the past.
On the reverse of the case though, things become a little more impressive. The Tourer Onyx's caseback features a slightly open design, so you can see the movement's balance wheel whirring away when the watch is wound up. Combined with this, it provides an engraving of a spoked wheel, again continuing the GT car-type styling that's present across the entire timepiece. This looks excellent, although seems a little redundant considering you can't see it when the watch is being worn.
It also seems right to mention that the Tourer Onyx is provided in a good-looking tin that resembles an older gasoline tin, which rounds off the 1960s-style GT-car aesthetics well. Every little helps, I suppose.
Rec Watches Tourer Onyx Performance and wearability - Comfortable, and understated
Coming from wearing a bigger watch for the last few weeks, the 39mm diameter of the Tourer Onyx provided a welcome downsizing for my wrists. It looks and feels good on the wrist, with a diameter that makes it suitable for those with a variety of wrist sizes, sitting in the middleground of where men's watches can be. A 45.6mm lug to lug fitted my wrist well, and meant that the Tourer didn't look too big or too small at all.
At 11.25mm in height, it's a pretty slim watch, and fits neatly under shirt and jacket cuffs, if you want to wear it in a more formal setting. With an unobtrusive colour combo and an understated look to it, the Tourer Onyx is suitable to wear with a wide range of outfit types. In my time with it, I paired it mostly with some casual wear, although on the couple of occasions I opted for more formal wear to go out to things, the Tourer worked just as well.
Inside, the Onyx Tourer features a Sellita SW200-1 movement, a favourite of microbrand watches so it seems. It's a reliable 20 jewel movement that's accurate for +/- 5 seconds per day when wound, which is excellent. A 41-hour power reserve also means it provides plenty of endurance and keeps time for a good while before needing to be wound up again. If you're someone who switches between watches every few days, a longer power reserve such as this one, is definitely welcome.
The Rec Watches Tourer Onyx is a solid dress watch that brings with it some 1960s-inspired looks in a classy looking package. Its case finishing is excellent, while the dial looks good, allowing the watch to line up well with its desired aesthetics. This is also a generally comfortable watch that makes it rather wearable, although you may want to change the strap, given the one provided is quite coarse. The movement inside is a reliable and accurate one too, helping to make this a good choice for those wanting a decent dress watch with automotive-inspired aesthetics for a reasonable price.
You can purchase the Tourer Onyx from Rec Watches for £347 (usually £695) here. Rec Watches provided a sample for this review.
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