[dropcap size=big]V[/dropcap]intage, Vintage, Vintage. I say it all the time. Vintage is all the rage. The Ollech and Wajs C-1000 is a vintage inspired diver with a unique dial layout, custom made case, massive crown, and 1000m of water-resistance. The 60s and 70s had some great looking watches, most of them now iconic, so it makes sense to look to the past. Let’s face it, these days, we all would like to remember a different time. If you were hoping for vintage on a budget though, you are out of luck, as the C-1000 sells for just about $1800. That $1800 gets you a 90% Swiss Made watch, but still only an ETA 2824 movement. With many companies, macro and micro, making vintage or throwback pieces, is the Ollech and Wajs the right one for you?
I think the first thing you’ll notice about the Ollech and Wajs C-1000 is the packaging or lack thereof. It comes in a small cardboard box with some Ollech art on it, and a leather snap that just looks like an afterthought, and inside you will find a small microfiber pouch with a loop to secure it, but there is no buckle, so it doesn’t latch it closed or anything. Normally I do not care about packaging, nor do I talk about it much in my reviews unless I deem it very special, but something about this packaging just screamed cost-cutting to me. No, it does not have to be a massive 3 box presentation, but at $1800, I guess I expected more. Well, I am sure they put those savings into the watch.
Spoiler alert, they didn’t. I was very excited to get the Ollech and Wajs C-1000 in for review, I have been following the brand for some time now and I loved the images I was seeing on their website and social media. I think I had lustful eyes though. I saw what I wanted to see and just blissfully ignored the finer details, that is until it arrived for review. If you encountered me out on the street wearing this watch, you would probably think it is a good looking and well-made watch. If you saw this watch laying on a table from 5 feet away, you would probably think this is a very good looking and well-made watch. I can say, it is mostly a very attractive watch, and a lot of elements are well made, but the watch almost feels cobbled together, and that is never a good thing.
I’ll start with what I do like about the Ollech and Wajs C1000. First off, I dig the case shape, finishing, and that massive 7mm crown. It evokes that vintage style, but at the same time, I feel this style of case and crown are timeless, and even if they are not, I never want this case design to go away. When it comes to the hands and indices, I am divided. On one hand, the shape, basically being stick hands, are straightforward and attractive. The applied triangle markers are very nice as well. But, they made a weird choice to also include printed markers for most of the dial and when you get up close, you can see the finishing on the hands and markers is very rough, almost like these were done in someone’s garage as opposed to a watchmakers shop in Switzerland.
I also consider the bezel and crown action of the Ollech and Wajs C-1000 to be excellent. No play in either and the crown gives you confidence when pulling it out to set the time. Unfortunately, that is where most of my likes end. I will preface the rest of this review and state this is only one man’s opinion, but there are quite a few things about this watch that have left me scratching my head. For instance, why have a massive domed sapphire crystal, but then do a mineral crystal bezel cover? It doesn’t make any sense. At that point, just go with a non-covered PVD steel bezel or an aluminum insert for that matter. Mineral crystal anywhere on an $1800 watch is just a no-go for me.
Under that massive sapphire crystal, you will find a very matte dial. Very matte. It almost looks like black construction paper at angles. I don’t know if that is what they were going for- I mean I can’t imagine anyone sitting there going, “We should make a watch dial that looks like black construction paper”, and then everyone else agreed. Who knows though, I have been wrong before.
Remember when I said this watch was 90% Swiss Made? Now, this is something that is very prominent on the Ollech and Wajs website, as most Swiss Made watches in this price range are built elsewhere (China) and usually assembled in Switzerland. It is in all the fine print of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, and what constitutes what when it comes to the percentage of parts and services to label a watch Swiss Made. The Ollech and Wajs C-1000, and I assume the other similar models they carry, are all Swiss Made, or should I say made in Switzerland, with only the box and bracelet being sourced elsewhere. At first, I thought this was great on Ollech’s part, and the brand is very transparent, which we could all use more of, especially in the watch industry. But the more I think about it, it is less about the bracelet and packing and more about pushing that 90% Swiss Made moniker.
Why do I bring all this up? Hey, marketing is marketing and most of us buy a lot of watches because it says Swiss Made. Many of us enthusiasts know that to be labeled Swiss Made, watches need to be comprised of a 60% Switzerland manufacturing cost, so if you hear something is 90% Swiss Made, it is automatically better, is it not? Well, that is how a lot of our brains work anyways. Is a watch instantly better because it was made in Switzerland? I will not answer that, at least not today, but I pose that question to you, the reader. Stew on that for a bit. What I know to be Swiss though, or at least from a Swiss company, is the movement, an ETA 2824 Automatic movement with a custom rotor. I can’t show you the movement and custom engraving though, as this 1000m dive watch has a solid case back (as it should). So why do I mention the engraving and custom O and W rotor? I don’t know, but Ollech makes a point of it on their site. As far as accuracy, it is a standard ETA 2824, unless I missed where it says otherwise, and it performs as it should, with it running about +11 SPD throughout a week of testing.
What do you want to read about next, the bracelet or the lume? You in the back, raise your hand. Bracelet you say? Alright. All jokes aside, the beads of rice bracelet on the Ollech and Wajs C-100 has that classic look and feel and good news, the case has drilled lugs for easy removal, and the links use one-piece screw bars. Bad news-it has a stamped deployant and a push-button clasp that looks like it was transported right from the 60s. If this were an actual vintage piece, I would find it attractive for sure-nostalgia is a real thing. On a watch in 2020 that cost almost 2 grand? Not so much.
*Update- Ollech and Wajs has confirmed a new bracelet launching in November. It will be upgraded, but to what extent I am not sure. Check their website middle of November for more details.
If you are a lume junkie, just scroll to the bottom to read my summary and close your eyes. Hurry, don’t look! Yes, I am full of it today, but the lume is another area that is lacking on the C-1000. I do not mean it does not glow well-the parts that actually glow, are plenty bright and last a good few hours. I just wish there were a lot more of it, you know, like all the hour markers. I’m okay with the bezel not being fully lumed, many dive watches only lume to the 20-minute marker, but the dial has let me down again. If all the indices were applied, then they could have really lumed this watch up, but I guess it was not meant to be.
If you own an Ollech and Wajs C-1000, you probably hate me by this point of the review, as I know this is a very popular model for the Swiss Brand. As I stated earlier, I had on rose-colored glasses every time I saw pictures of this watch online. To be fair, this watch is not what I would call a failure, but I do believe they failed in certain areas. Here’s the thing though, it can be rectified. Hopefully, Ollech takes this feedback constructively and 2.0 of this watch will be the one we all want, or because I should not really speak for everyone, the watch I want. To a certain extent, this is all being measured on price, but even at $1000, I would still question the choice of the bracelet and clasp. I can’t love them all though, but, let me hear from you. Do you own one, or have been lusting after one for a while? Hit me up in the comments down below and let me know your thoughts and/or feedback.
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I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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