SJOO Sandstrom UTC Extreme II
SJOO Sandstrom, a brand you may not be familiar with, and might not be able to correctly pronounce (see how I completely butchered the pronunciation in the video). Pronunciation aside, SJOO Sandstrom has quite the array of models, and though I have only seen one in hand to date, I will say I am excited to see more if the opportunity presents itself. Their models are not exactly cheap, seeing as how the UTC Extreme II is priced around $3,400, which definitely puts it into the luxury category for me, as it would most of the general public. The silver dial is not my absolute favorite that they offer, but below are some variations that are a little more pleasing to me. Color aside, lets explore this luxury chronograph from the Swedish Brand.
SJOO SANDSTROM UTC EXTREME SPECIFICATIONS
- UTC EXTREME ART NO 015285
- CASE Stainless steel, 44.2 mm.
- Lug to Lug: 52mm
- Thickness: 16mm
- Lug Width: 22mm
- CASE-BACK See through engraved case back with flat sapphire crystal. Individually numbered.
- GLASS Scratch resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
- DIAL AND HANDS Dial with white super luminova index marks and hands with super luminova.
- DIAL Silver.
- BEZEL Stainless steel in sun brushed finish with six matte black screws.
- BRACELET Rubber.
- WATER RESISTANCE 10 ATM (100m).
- Self winding SS G4 (Swiss made) Hour, minutes, small second. 24 hour hand with second time mechanism. Stop second device. 28.800 vibrations per hour; 4 Hz. Chronograph 60 seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours counters. Date window. 25 Jewels.
Price $3400 USD
Let me get the bad out of the way, which really has nothing to do about the watch itself, but more about where it stands in the market. At $3400, it has some major competition from not only Swiss brands, but German and of course some well known British Brands as well. As watch enthusiasts we are well aware of perception, and lets face it, Swiss and German made usually get the most recognition of being the best. So, what is exactly wrong with SJOO Sandstrom? Simply, they just need to get out in the market more, as many will be weary to drop this kind of cash on an (at least to many) unknown brand. Do not get me wrong, I am in no way saying that the UTC Extreme is not worth its price. I would say it absolutely is, but with the way the market works, it is a hefty price tag for a brand without immediate name recognition.
There is no doubt that the SJOO Sandstrom is an exceptionally finished watch. The company has executed multiple finishes from brushed, to polished to PVD treatment on the bezel screws and crowns, which matches the hands on the dial, showing cohesiveness in the design. I have personally never been a fan of screws in the bezel, whether it is an Audemars Piguet or a slew of other brands that have done it. Nothing wrong with them per say, I just hate how most are never aligned with one another. My personal feeling on aesthetics aside, when it comes to case finishing, I have no complaints, even at this price point.
I mentioned earlier that the silver dial was not my favorite, and not because there is anything wrong with the dial, it just is a little monochromatic for me, and compared to the other variations of the Extreme UTC, this would just not be my first choice. If you do like the silver, but want a little splash of color, check out the model pictured below, from the SJOO Sandstrom website. As far as dials go, especially chronographs with a GMT hand, they have got it right for sure. It is not cluttered or overdone with text and even with the silver/black/white color combo, the hands are easily distinguishable, the way they should be. My only real knock would be the date placement, which is somewhat out in no mans land. Had the date been centered between the 3 and 4 markers and not pushing towards the center of the dial, it would be much more pleasing.
Of course, beyond finishing and wanting to put itself into that luxury market, what else makes up the price of the SJOO Sandstrom UTC Extreme? The Valjoux 7754 automatic chronograph movement. I mean the SS G4 movement. Wait. Huh? Let me cut through some of the BS that brands like to do. And, yes, I am stating that bluntly, and here’s why; The SJOO Sandstrom website does not state what the actual movement is, or based on, nor what they do to call it their own caliber. Glycine and a few other brands have done the same. Best I can tell, you have an engraved rotor and possibly some more decoration to the movement. In the grand scheme of things, is this a huge issue? No. But, the customer should know what they are buying and at the very least, should state it is a modified 7754. Regardless, while I know that sounds harsh, it is really not meant to come off that way, and the movement shown through the open case back sure is beautiful.
On this wrist, it wears just like it specifications suggest, although does not really feel 16mm thick, which is always a good thing. These days, I’m just not into wearing super chunky watches on my wrist, at least not on a regular bracelet. The rubber strap is fitted to the case, and is extremely comfortable. The only thing I wish is that it had a nice custom deployant clasp, as opposed to the standard buckle system.
Wrist shot on 7 1/2 inch wrist
Is the SJOO Sandstrom UTC Extreme a well made watch? I think so, and in terms of price, I absolutely think it is worth it, as long as you are not bothered by brand recognition. And lets be honest, while it might be nice to have some people know the watch that is on your wrist, it is also nice to have something a little more exclusive, not just the same old thing. I think the rubber strap could use a clasp upgrade, or maybe just opt for the bracelet as I think it really does change the look of the watch, at least it does in the pictures I have seen. Kicks it up a notch if you will (Emeril fans will appreciate that. No? Well, the bracelet makes me go BAM! Better?). All silliness aside, if you are looking for a new brand to check out that is not just some off the shelf microbrand and has a well regarded movement and all the good stuff, you might want to check this model, or others out, from SJOO Sandstrom.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. Did you watch the video? If not, scroll up and listen to my fantastic voice guide you through an HD look at this watch.