Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

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Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Mortuus on 2012-05-09, 02:49

Rotary Model #GS00039/21



A recent eBay acquisition, there was not a whole lot of technical information available on this particular model, but I do know that it's at least four or five years old, was used as a 'store display sample' in the UK, and is an overall attractive, very comfortable watch. After a long and fruitless internet search, I contacted Rotary's service office in the UK to obtain information about the movement. The answer: ISA 8172. Like many of you, I'm not overly fond of ISA, but Rotary's response was both prompt and friendly, a very pleasant surprise if you've been dealing with the TV brands' nonexistant CS departments for any length of time.

The case is a nice 42mm wide and about 10mm thick. The middle portion of the dial is beautifully textured in the guilloche style, while the outer portion is sunray silver. Overall, the dial face has a nice, fairly well-balanced color scheme: brushed gold bezel, silver guilloche center dial and subdials, polished gold Dauphine hands, silver 'sunburst' outer dial/chapter ring and black Roman numerals, minute marks and signature. It's all protected by a 'sapphirite' crystal (described by Rotary as a "toughened mineral glass coated with a layer of sapphire glass for extra durability"), and the combined result reflects its 'Rotary Classics' moniker. However, the gold hands tend to wash out the dial's overall presentation. Furnace blue hands would stand out much nicer and add some genuine color to the dial, but since this is a chronograph, such hands might not be available or, if they are available, may not be all that affordable.





The caseback, highly polished gold-plated stainless, is very nicely engraved with the Rotary signature, model number, battery info and 'Swiss Made.' It also makes mention of the sapphirite cystal and lays claim to being 'waterproof.' (I'm superstitious enough to avoid making such a claim, but I'm also enough of an aviation structural engineer to know that nothing is ever truly 'waterproof.' Either way, it's not something I ever want to have to find out about first hand.)

The vast majority of the case surfaces are brushed, so fingerprints from everyday use are kept to a minimum. There are just enough high-polished areas to provide a nice contrast to the predominance of the brushed surfaces. The case is also nicely rounded, adding to the overall level of comfort.




In summation:

Pro's
Swiss Made
Classic Styling
Superb Comfort
Good Info Summary on Caseback

Cons
'Fade-into-background' Dial
Difficult/Expensive-to-Replace Custom Strap
Uncertain Movement Quality

I genuinely like Rotary watches. I like their largely classic styling. I'm not so sure about the company's real history - thanks in large part to 'Eyal the Ersatz' - but I can give almost anyone a pass if they build a good watch for the money. All in all, this particular Rotary is a nice watch. Unfortunately, it doesn't go much beyond that.



One of the real joys of watch collecting is looking through your storage and/or display cases and coming across those pieces that you love so much that you stop what you're doing and put them on, just to take in the way they look and feel on your wrist yet again. You get a little taste of that feeling you [hopefully] had when you first made the decision to add that watch to your collection. If you're lucky, most - if not all - of your watches will make you feel that way. Although this Rotary is not quite there, it does have a lot of potential. A good cleaning and polishing is certainly in order. And maybe even a new set of furnace blue hands...? Maybe black.



Your thoughts and suggestions are certainly welcome...and many thanks for viewing.




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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by bigedsurf on 2012-05-09, 06:33

If it were me, I would prefer a black strap. More contrast i think..........

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by DBCooper on 2012-05-09, 09:50

I like it Mortuus. I have a 3 hand auto in silvertone that looks similar. The funny thing is I just replaced (yesterday) the black gator grain OEM with a genuine gator closer to the color of yours. LBS of WOW barks that the dial is authentic guilloche but at the price I paid, I doubt it. Having said that the guilloche looks damn good even under magnification. I consider my Rotary the best bang for the buck I have paid for a new watch.

Enjoy it Mort!
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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by mrneddles on 2012-05-09, 17:18

Nice watch. I have a pet peeve about faux reptile straps, so I would change that out. Of course, that would sacrifice the curved fitted strap.

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by itfc1959 on 2012-05-10, 06:46

I like that a lot, Mortuus. Rotary are very popular over here. What is their 'Swiss Made' status these days?

Anyway. I think a quick trip to the Jewellers for a buff-up would be in order: I quite like the strap and as it would appear to be a proprietary fit, you may well be stuck with it. Furnace blue hands would be very good.

Not sure of the etiquette around here so forgive me, etc, but can I ask what it was going out for on eBay?

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Mortuus on 2012-05-11, 16:51

itfc1959 wrote:What is their 'Swiss Made' status these days?

Along the same lines of what ChronoMATT posted over on WL, someone else was writing about that very subject on another site just a couple of days ago. The jist of the post was that Rotary has gone to a new business model wherein they're "re-creating" many of their most successful styles from the past, only with lesser materials, movements, etc. Apparently, the easiest way to tell these from the originals is the absence of the words, 'Swiss Made.' They're further "dumbing down" the brand with the advent of the new 'Rotary Editions' line, an even more questionable series of "affordable" (read: uber cheap) watches.

I find this to be very troubling, even disheartening, as it comes down to yet another watch company with an excellent reputation deliberately leaving it all behind to pursue a larger market share with cheaper products. (Much like Deep Blue, and even Movado, with their 'ESQ' watches.)

Sadly, this all seems to be true.



itfc1959 wrote:Not sure of the etiquette around here so forgive me, etc, but can I ask what it was going out for on eBay?

No apologies necessary; mine came in at $233.42, shipping from lovely old Blighty included, which is one of the best prices I'd seen for the genuine vintage item in quite some time. Pretty much in line with what ChronoMATT noted, as well.

Many thanks for the feedback...
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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Guest on 2012-05-11, 20:27

That's a good looking watch. I've wondered about rotary. Seems ok but after certain dubious characters sold them I was skeptical. Thanks for the insight.

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Mortuus on 2012-05-11, 21:28

DBCooper wrote:I like it Mortuus. I have a 3 hand auto in silvertone that looks similar. The funny thing is I just replaced (yesterday) the black gator grain OEM with a genuine gator closer to the color of yours. LBS of WOW barks that the dial is authentic guilloche but at the price I paid, I doubt it. Having said that the guilloche looks damn good even under magnification. I consider my Rotary the best bang for the buck I have paid for a new watch.

Enjoy it Mort!

Many thanks, DB. As I mentioned to itfc in the above response, my big fear is that Rotary is slipping into mediocrity; I have a similar concern about Jacques Lemans, which has long been a favorite of mine, as well. And now we have the advent of Movado's new 'ESQ' sub-brand, and I'm really beginning to wonder who's going to be next to take the plunge into this depressing new trend.

Guess I'll have to permanently add the word 'vintage' to my internet search parameters for Rotary, Jacques Lemans and Movado...
No

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Mortuus on 2012-05-11, 21:40

Teddybear wrote:That's a good looking watch. I've wondered about rotary. Seems ok but after certain dubious characters sold them I was skeptical. Thanks for the insight.

I just hope that I'm wrong about the 'new' Rotary...many thanks for the feedback, T-Bear. What a Face

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by itfc1959 on 2012-05-12, 16:50

Mortuus wrote:
Teddybear wrote:That's a good looking watch. I've wondered about rotary. Seems ok but after certain dubious characters sold them I was skeptical. Thanks for the insight.

I just hope that I'm wrong about the 'new' Rotary...many thanks for the feedback, T-Bear. What a Face

I wandered into Norwich yesterday and called into some stores: one major chain, two family-run boutique stores. The Big Chain and one of the boutiques had impressive window displays.

The majority of the Rotary watches on display are Japanese / Chinese: priced around £180 - £250. Some are the repros of the old classics, some the new super slimline models which young people are buying up hand over fist. Interestingly, the very friendly and helpful manager from Big Chain said that in his store, Rotary's key demographic are males, 40s and 50s.

Both of the stores seemed unsure about the mechanisms in the pieces they were selling, although Japan and China appeared to feature in the equation. Both also seemed unclear about constituted "Swiss Made", although they seemed certain that this was tightly regulated by the Swiss and anyone trying to pull a fast one would be jumped on pretty damn quick. Another area of confusion for them was the practice of sending part-finished Swiss-parts to China for completion. Or was it the other way round?

Or maybe they saw me coming a mile off.

And as for the third store: the other boutique. This is a seriously high-end store, where they like their Patek Philippe very much. To gain entry you have to get past the seriously big concierge, who not very unobtrusively will check out what you are already wearing on your wrist before letting you in. After the briefest of hesitations, he decided to address me as 'Sir'. Having explained my purpose, he helpfully told me that they stopped selling Rotary once they started producing the Chinese rubbish. And that was that.

Hope this is interesting. Photos to follow.

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Re: Rotary "Classics Collection" Quartz Chronograph

Post by Mortuus on 2012-05-13, 02:20

Not just interesting, i.t., but fascinating, as well. Unfortunately, it sounds like a worst-fears-realized scenario, though I guess it shouldn't come as any real surprise to any of us. It sounds like the 40-50 crowd are buying them because they remember how expensive they were, and the young crowd - who, I believe, don't care much about the status of higher-end movements - just like the style and the price.

I guess it speaks to more than a little bit of snobbishness on my part, but I'm very comfortable with Japanese movements; not so, their Chinese counterparts. I don't mind - and would even buy - a top-end Seagull watch with its namesake movement, but the idea of a classic name like Rotary featuring that same movement just plain puts me off. An SW 200 or even a Miyota 8205, while not up there with the ETA 2824, would have been much more palatable, IMHO.

A couple or three years back, Rotary did a brief stint on ShopNBC, even going so far as providing an 'Our Top Value' in the form of a three-hand automatic which, I believe, featured the aforementioned ETA 2824 movement. It was somewhere in the $550-$600 ballpark, and this was considered unheard-of back then. How ironic that, just a few years later, they've been pushed - or, more accurately, jumped - off that lofty pedestal they once occupied. [**SIGH**]

And I didn't mean to write a novella; sorry about that, i.t. Many, many thanks for the extra legwork and excellent info that resulted from it; well done, sir. Would love to see whatever pix you can share when you get a chance.
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