Nine Four Successor
Despite all that is going on this year, watch brands are still producing new watches. The Nine Four Successor is a new brand and model to me and with a recent wave of Genta inspired designs that I have had in for review, I was not quite sure what to expect, especially considering the very low prices of the Successor. Fortunately, the Successor is not only a very nice watch for the price but possibly the best of the Genta designs from microbrands that I have had in hand to date. Nine Four is based out of Milwaukee Wisconsin, with the production taking place in China. Coming in at just under $300, this watch has a lot to offer, so keep reading.
Nine Four Successor Specifications:
- 40mm case
- 10.5mm thickness
- 46mm traditional lug to lug
- Plank Dial
- Seiko NH35 Automatic Movement
- 10ATM water resistant
- Sapphire Glass
- 316L Stainless Steel
- Applied Indices and Logo
- Anti-Reflective coating
- C3 SuperLuminova
The Successor is obviously the second model from the fairly new microbrand, and quite a departure from their first model as well. The Culture Chronograph was a fairly inexpensive Meca-quartz Chrono with a design that looked somewhat generic and never would have caught my eye. In fairness, it seems all versions of this first model are completely sold out, so apparently, I am in the minority as far as that watch goes. The Successor is the watch that made me take notice of the brand though and for good reason. It is heavily inspired by famous watch designer Gerald Genta designs, some would say most notably Audemars Piguet, others would say Zenith Defy Classic, I say it is a mix of both. I know what you are all thinking. “Another microbrand that does an homage watch and hopped on the current trend.” Firstly, I will not disagree, that is absolutely what Nine Four Watches have done. But unlike some of the other recent watches I reviewed that went this route, this watch comes in at half of what those models sell for.
Your $299 gets you a large stroke satin-finished case and bracelet with just a hint of high polish on the outside of the bezel, a solid NH35 movement, a very comfortable bracelet with a dual deployant clasp, and probably the best attribute-that dial. All colors of the Nine Four Successor come with this stepped, or more appropriately plank design dial. This dial and the applied indices are what make the Successor stand out in a very crowded market. I will go out on a limb and say if this watch had been produced with a more common dial such as a matte or sunburst finish, It may have never received a second glance from me. That may sound harsh and like I am discrediting the rest of the watch, but it is more about how great this dial looks and boosts this watch into another level.
I have been publishing the video reviews a few days before the written article for a while now, and there are a few reasons I do this, but one of them is that I like to compile some feedback from the comment section. I enjoy this Nine Four Successor dial and not just the plank lines. Forgoing the polished steel or chrome look most brands would use for a watch such as this, Nine Four decided to do a blasted finish for the outline of the applied indices, hands, and logo. A few comments have mentioned the size of the logo, and that they feel it is too large for the design and overall dial space. I’ll be real here, I could go either way with it. As it is, I do not find it to be that large, though if it was a little smaller, it could improve the dial somewhat. Fortunately, the owner of Nine Four Watches has stated that any future releases of the Successor will have a reduced logo.
Now, almost no $300 watch is without faults, and the Nine Four Successor is not any different. There are a few things that I would change or hope to see on future releases. While this is not a dive watch, or even considered a sports watch, I wish this watch had a screw-down crown. With only 100m of water resistance and a push-pull crown, it puts it takes it out of the everyday wear category for me. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the lume is one this watch. I assumed the lume would be pretty weak, and while it is no Seiko Monster, it is more than suffice and looks great all charged up. Expect it to last about 3-4 hours before almost completely fading out.
On the wrist, the watch head and integrated bracelet (yes, if you had not noticed yet, this has an integrated bracelet, so no custom or aftermarket strap options) are quite comfortable. The lugs and bracelet drape down very nicely over the wrist and the links are easy to adjust with friction pins. Unfortunately, this watch has a deployant clasp. Now, that is very common in a watch like this and this one is at least a push-button deployant, unlike the D1Milano Atlas that has a pull apart clasp system that just feels cheap. The problem here and that most watches at this price suffer from, no half links. That means getting that perfect fit could be a problem. How big of a problem? Well, I am always someone that needs that “Goldilocks” fit and one bracelet like this, it is always one link out, too tight, two links out, too loose. If you are usually the same, expect to wear this watch a little on the loose side.
At $300, the Nine Four Successor is a decent value in the budget world, especially if you have been looking for that Genta-type design, but did not want to shell out more than a few hundred dollars. You will probably be hearing this a lot from me in the future, but with a watch such as this, you can only pick it apart so much, when considering the price. As you move up the ladder in the watch world, it is easy to condemn a brand or model, especially when they are charging thousands of dollars. At this price point, the Successor is exactly what it should be, save for maybe a few half links and a screw-down crown that would put it on my wrist more than once a week.