The trend continues. What trend? Gerald Genta-inspired pieces. This time it is the Rotary Regent. If you are not familiar with Rotary, they are a British brand that has been around for 125 years and these days, most of their watches are manufactured and assembled in Asia. I have reviewed a few Rotary watches in recent years, such as the Henley GMT and the Super7 Scuba. Both of those watches are certainly derivative, but anyone who knows anything about watches, especially highly-famed and renowned watches such as Patek Phillipe, will know this watch is no doubt an homage. But I am not singling out Rotary, I mean, I am in this review, but they are not the first to make a Genta homage. It has been what many brands are producing the past year. Why? That is a question I do not have an answer to. The good news is, because of all the watches Genta designed, and their evolution over the years, none of these homages really look the same, but yet they are all very familiar.
One thing I have been dwelling on with this Rotary Regent is why is the current Rotary not making their own designs. Sure, you can say that part of this watch was designed by Rotary- I mean the dial design, and what designs from Genta watches they wanted to meld together to create their own homage. I am not sure if that is what designing something truly is all about, but who am I to say? The Super7 Scuba was highly inspired by the Seiko SKX but also had its own design language and also tried to improve on the SKX, and did so in many ways. With this Regent, that really isn’t the case, but it does offer a Genta design at an affordable price, much in the same way Steinhart, NTH and so many other brands offer affordable Rolex and or Tudor homages. This piece doesn’t really offer much else that others I have reviewed do, though it does look and feel like a higher quality piece, despite it having a low-grade Miyota 821A movement.
When it comes to dial design and colors, you have two options. This dark blue dial as you see here, and a black dial. The Regent collection is also available with skeleton dials and all are supplied on either a bracelet or leather strap, but not in the way you would think. In terms of the three-hand models, the blue dial is on a bracelet and the black dial a leather strap, and the opposite for the skeleton models. That is a little quirky, no? As you can see, there are a few things I just do not have answers for on design decisions, but what I do know is if you want a basic three-hander on a bracelet, this deep blue dial is the only way to go. And this is a very deep blue, and in certain light will look almost black, as the dial is matte, and does not reflect any light at all. The applied indices are outlined in a chrome finish as is the date cutout and overall it is a fairly simple dial, clean, and easy to read.
The case and bracelet are done in a combination of a brushed and polished finish and I have to say, for the price point, I feel the finishing is top-notch. I do not need to elaborate on it here in type, you can see it in the photos and the video. Overall, the finishing is something you would expect to see on a watch of a much higher price tag, so kudos to Rotary on that. The design is somewhat a mix-mash of Patek and Audemars Piquet, and I would be lying if I didn’t find the watch attractive, even if this is not typically the type of piece I would wear, at least not on a regular basis. The biggest letdown for me though is the use of a push/pull crown. Yes, this is not a dive watch, and only has a water-resistance of 100m, which is better than the 50m that are typical of this style of homage. So, thanks again Rotary. I just would prefer a screw-down crown for peace of mind. The crown is easy to grasp and use, something not always prevalent on a 40mm watch such as this.
Because of the integrated lugs, you will not be able to swap this bracelet out for a regular strap, though you could switch it out for the Rotary leather strap, though that raises a few questions. The Rotary Regent includes drilled lugs as you can see in the photo above, yet, there is literally only one other strap that you can put on this watch, at least for the time being, yet they do not include it with the purchase of the bracelet model. Why? Is it available to purchase separately? Maybe it is, and I missed it, but I know when I wanted to purchase the bracelet for the Super7, I was told they did not have separate stock to sell, as they were paired with watches only. The other thing about these lugs and this bracelet is that this watch can not lay flat at all. If you do not have watch cases with pillows to store your watches, get used to putting this watch in the drawer on this side all the time, or having to buy some little pillows to wrap it around.
The bracelet is attractive though and even though I am not generally a fan of high polish center links, it definitely works with this design and makes the watch stand out, but in a good way. Sizing the Regent is easy enough via friction pins and while the dual depolyant closure is not elaborate in any way, I like the way they integrated the Regent name into the rectangle above where you deploy the bracelet. The big downfall of the bracelet? No half links, so getting that perfect fit may be a challenge for some, including myself. I have a 7 1/2 inch wrist, which is pretty average, but I always have a difficult time with bracelets like this where no micro-adjustability is available or half-links are not included. Too many links out, too tight. Put a link back in, now it is too loose. I really would have thought that in 2021, watch manufactures would have figured out to always have half-links with bracelets such as this. Tsk, Tsk.
That brings me to my biggest point of contention, the movement. Yes, I will ALWAYS give a beat down to the Miyota 8200 series line of movements. The Rotary Regent uses a newer version of the Miyota 821A, which gives it hacking ability (finally), but at the end of the day, it is still the basic, low beat Miyota that has been used in some form or another in lower-end and inexpensive microbrands for over a decade now. The Regent allows you to see this movement through the exhibition case back and for that, I always ask, WHY? Even with the skeleton rotor and supposed higher level of finishing, this is still one of the most mundane-looking movements and should be really covered up. I know, some people will think this is harsh, and claim this movement is a work-horse and all that, and to that, I say-don’t you deserve better?
On a more positive note, the lume on this piece is very surprising. I would not expect a watch such as this to have serviceable lume, but it indeed does. It is not in the category of lume kings, or lume you would expect on a dive watch, but it is more than adequate and does look good when all charged up as well.
If I were to put aside the movement for a second, and just concentrate on the build quality, finishing, and overall design, I would have to say that the Rotary Regent is definitely one of the better Genta homages I have reviewed in the past year. This watch has a good look, a good heft, and looks quite good on the wrist. Slide back into reality though, and turn it around to look at that movement and that is where things just fall down for me. At $469, I would have expected a better movement, and even if you could not have done it for the same price, source a better movement and charge more for it, and allow this piece to be all that it can. It seems certain watch companies concentrate more on the design and finish than they do the movement, and just use the bare minimum quartz or automatic, which tends to put the brand into the fashion watch realm. Is that where Rotary is aiming to be? The fashion watch arena? Am I wrong on this, do you think this is more than a fashion piece, or is it somewhere in between the fashion and watch collector genre? If you are a watch collector/enthusiast, would you pay almost $500 for this watch? That is the question you need to ask yourself. Would I? Unfortunately the answer is a no.
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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