Cars and watches seem to go hand in hand with collectors, which is why the REC RNR Beach Runner watch seems like a winning combination, at least on paper. Rec Watches is known for recycling parts from vintage or iconic (in some cases, both) airplanes, automobiles, motorcycles, and more to create unique watches that have a story. Their latest endeavor was to take two very different Land Rover’s and make watches inspired by them while also using parts of each model to make the dials. These new models are also the very first watches from REC to be labeled Swiss Made, something they are very proud of. The watch shown and reviewed here is the Beach Runner, modeled after a 1981 Land Rover Defender Series III. A Rock Fighter edition has also just launched, with dials made from the door of a 2003 Land Rover Defender.
For those of you that are familiar with how I do reviews these days, you will know the video is usually published a few days before the written article. Because of that, I want to address a few comments that I read about me going overboard with the case design. In the video, I state I feel it was quite the choice to use the square shape with round dial, a design most associated with Bell & Ross. Looking more at the details of the REC RNR Beach Runner and initial drawings, I do see why they chose to go with this design, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that this case shape and overall appearance will remind most of Bell & Ross without me mentioning it whatsoever. My opinion still stands-as nice as this watch is, and the case design appealing to me, it still evokes an homage of sorts, like it or not.
With all that out of the way, the REC RNR Beach Runner is an attractive and unique watch, but I do feel it is very much a niche product. I upset a few with that comment as well, so let me expand on that here. Yes, Land Rover is undoubtedly an iconic brand, and I see a lot on the road every day. What I may be ignorant of is how popular the Beach Runner model was, or how fondly it is looked upon these days. My opinion is just that, and not meant to sway anyone either way. I feel that one would probably have to be really into Land Rover to want to purchase this watch, if not own a Land Rover, vintage or modern, but again, that is just my opinion. The Beach Runner and Rock Fighter models do not say Land Rover on the dial unlike a Panerai Ferrari, so there is a bit of a difference there.
Assuming you love Land Rover of all types, or you like the design of this watch, what do you get for the money you ask? This is the first Swiss Made watch from REC and the dial is made from the roof of a 1981 Land Rover Defender III. Exactly 552 watches were made, which is how many dials they were able to cut from the roof. The colors used here reflect what appears to be a popular color for this model of Land Rover, and I think REC used a lot of restraint by not going overboard with the color, allowing that raw dial to shine through and be a focal point. Being Swiss Made, you get a Swiss movement as well, with this model using the Sellita S290-1.
I showed some of the design photos from the REC website in the video, but I may have overlooked the design influence of the vehicle on this watch. The bezel modeled after the spare tire, the crown guards after the front end grille, and the case back mimics the steel wheels. The case back is one of my favorite aspects of this REC RNR Beach Runner, not only in design but in finishing as well. The combination of satin, polished, and blasted finish is executed so well and does put this watch on another level. I will admit, I initially thought the price of this watch to be rather high, as it is missing a few things which I will get to, but this watch can stand on its own when it comes to fit and finish.
The square case design is one I have always been fond of, and the short lugs and thin case profile allow for a good fit on the wrist. This is a watch that has presence, but is not massive and bulky, which at least for my 7 1/2 inch wrist, it is a joy to wear. The rubber strap is quite comfortable and more than long enough for my wrist size and should fit up to an 8-inch wrist no problem. I feel it was very smart for REC to do a 42mm case and not go any larger. I am sure some reading this would prefer a 44mm+ case, but 42mm allows it to be more of a daily wearer for a wider audience and keeps it from digging into the back of my hand as well, all while still not being what I would consider small. Of course, size is subjective, but this was a good middle ground.
My biggest gripe and one that would keep me from daily wearing the REC RNR Beach Runner is the lack of water resistance and the push-pull crown. With only 50m of water resistance and a non-screw down crown, this is just not a watch that I would feel confident wearing without having to be overly cautious. I am well aware this is not a dive watch, nor is it marketed as a rough and tumble do anything sports watch, but bumping the WR up to 100m and giving it a screw-down crown would have made a watch that watch enthusiasts could wear more regularly. As it is, I feel it is more a collector’s piece or a special occasion watch, and at $1,800 I feel this is an oversight.
As you can tell, I am very conflicted about this piece. I am not conflicted about whether to recommend this piece or not, as I do not do that regardless-that is not what we are about with the reviews here. My final verdict though is that the REC RNR Beach Runner is a nicely designed watch with a good movement, and probably something a lot of collectors, both watch and automotive will be interested in. The lack of water resistance and a push-pull crown keep it from being one I would want to wear and more importantly I just can not wear something so closely associated with a product that I have no interest in. Land Rovers are cool and all, but they are just not for me. It was a fun watch to photograph and wear for a while though, and I definitely can see the appeal, as well as appreciate the watch for what it is. REC stands out in the market with their unique timepieces and I can see why they continue to grow in popularity.
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.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.