TW Steel is a young but adventurous watch brand founded in Amsterdam only five short years ago. The name stands for “The Watch in Steel” and is the mission statement that can be seen guiding their brand through the tumultuous process of launching a watch company. They have strong ties to all levels of motorsports, and have developed a solid brand identity in building large watches with bold and flashy style.
The TW680 RF1 CEO Tech is a quartz chronograph with a little extra style. It was designed in partnership with the Renault F1 Team, and the entire line is a departure from the usual TW Steel look and style. Let’s start with some facts:
- 44x14mm case.
- OS25 quartz chronograph movement from Miyota.
- 1/20th of a second resolution.
- Date display.
- 316L case.
- Sapphire crystal.
- 100m WR.
- Silicon rubber strap.
- MSRP of $750.
The first thing you’ll notice about the TW680 is the stark contrast of its beautifully edged case and the included rubber strap. The case, crystal, and dial have a very jeweled appearance which flow nicely into the clasp used with the strap (see video and photos). As it turns out, the rubber strap is a very high quality, very soft and stretchy, and a delight to wear.
The whole package is somehow style neutral; I could see wearing the TW680 with jeans, a suit, or even a flame retardant race coverall. The design carries bespoke elements like the star shaped inlays on the bezel, and the fine polishing of the pushers and the edges of the bezel, and it pulls it all together with a nearly 3D dial, racy sub-dials, and a dust resistant rubber strap.
The movement is the Miyota OS25 quartz chronograph which has a 1/20th of a second resolution on the six o’clock sub-dial. This chronograph movement is without trickery or needless complication; top pusher starts the chrono, push it again to pause, then depress the lower pusher to reset. There is a maximum read of 59 mins and 59 seconds, and the 1/20th hand only spins for the first 20 seconds.
The black dial is tightly compacted under the sapphire crystal which appears to have an under anti-reflective coating (see the blueish colour of the crystal in the video). The dial markers for hours on the TW 680, are not simply painted on or even flat inlays; rather, they are fully raised numerals which gives the watch a much better depth and a finish not generally seen at this price point. The hour, minute, and seconds hand are yellow to give the TW680 a little more race appeal. The chapter ring is a tachymeter as is customary on many race watches as the scale can be used to measure average speed around a given circuit. As previously mentioned, the case is very well finished with a mix of brushed and polished surface with strong but not sharp edges, and a very solid feel.
The TW680 retails for $750 which is in the upper range for a quartz chronograph. However, the price is less than a quartz Tag Heuer and most Tissots while providing an excellent fit and finish. I throughly enjoyed wearing the TW680, and found it perfectly sized for my 7.5 inch wrist (if you want something larger there is a 48mm version as well — the TW681). TW Steel also makes a version of the RF1 line that is PVD coated with gold accents.
The TW680 is a very well made, nicely styled, race inspired chronograph that is comfortable to wear and easy to use. We would like to thank TW Steel for providing us with a sample to review.
By James Stacey