Straton Watch Company – Curve
- 316L surgical grade stainless steel case
- 42mm and 39.5mm diameter
- 14.5mm (domed) and 13.9mm (flat) height
- 22mm and 20mm lug width
- lug-to-lug length of 47.4mm and 46.5mm
- Seiko NE88 automatic or Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz Hybrid
- Sapphire crystal
- 10 ATM water resistance
Price: Automatic $698 USD or Quartz $286 USD
The Curve is a sharp looking vintage/retro style new watch model from the Straton Watch Company. Straton really wanted to create a watch with a feel of the 1970’s while saluting the watches, cars and races of that time period. The company wanted to replicate the style as well if not better than other companies that have produced similar style watches over the years. The watch model name itself, Curve, is a tribute to great races of the era with all the corners, twists and turns of the events. In my opinion, while the inspiration for the Curve came from racing, I think it can most certainly be an any occasion watch with the right strap, but those with the need for speed or just touring in general will really find this model quite appealing. Strap it on with some racing gloves and get behind the wheel as it takes you back in time.
The Curve and is offered in two different finishes and also two different sizes, a 39.5mm and 42mm and either brushed/polished stainless steel or black DLC. I admit it’s a real pleasure to get my hands on prototypes of each movement type before production. Straton recently launched a campaign to fund these models which can be found here: Kickstarter Campaign.
Before I get into my thoughts on the prototypes, I need to mention the upgrades that will be present on the final production models. The primary crown will be signed with the Straton logo, the bezel crown at the 10 o’clock position will also be screw down, the inner rotating bezel will be stiffer and the superluminova on the watch will be much more intense. With that said, lets move on to my thoughts on the design and the watches themselves.
The prototypes in hand have 42mm stainless steel cases, sapphire crystals, 100 meters of water resistance with a lot to offer including a great vintage/retro appearance. The option for a 39.5mm case size for those with smaller wrists is fantastic idea. At $286 USD for the quartz and $698 USD for the automatic, the watches along with the various strap options provide both the super affordable, as well as, a quality not exorbitantly priced automatic option either of which I’m certain the consumer will enjoy. The Curve with the automatic movement is a limited production of 110 granting the owner a level of exclusivity after acquiring one of these timepieces. I had originally thought 125 were going to be available but at 110, the exclusivity is even better.
The vintage style case consists of a high polished mirror finish across the top of the case down to the lug area while the remainder of the case is finely brushed. Multiple case finishes in my book show an extra level of detail and thought in the production of this model. The only issue with the location of the high polish finish will be scratches and noticeable fingerprints all the time. Keep something on hand to keep the watch wiped down if OCD such as myself. Whether quartz or automatic the prototype watch dials, outside of color (black and brown), have a very similar appearance at first glance. Outside of color the primary difference is the complications.
Both versions are symmetrical 2 eye chronographs but while the automatic has a running second hand at the 3 o’clock position on the dial, the quartz comes with a 24 hour/military time indicator. All of the versions of the Curve will come with applied hour markers which is another feature I really like as they show an extra level of detail and thought toward the overall Protecting the dial on the prototypes is a large domed sapphire crystal. I am not a huge fan of domed crystals at least from a reviewers perspective because they can be darn difficult to photograph. The Kickstarter campaign does indicate that a flat sapphire crystal option is available. I’d recommend the flat if it is truly an option.
While all of my readers probably know by now, I consider lume sometimes a gimmick. That doesn’t mean I do not appreciate lume, I just do not always find it necessary. However, I know there are a ton of lume fanatics out there, so it will be nice for those to know that Straton will be using C3 Superluminova on the Curve. The applied hour markers will all contain lume, as well as, the hour and minute hand. Even on the prototypes the lume has some nice longevity glowing into the early morning hours. The curve will be available with or without a date window. If you opt for a date window it will be positioned at the 6 o’clock position. Both prototypes are dateless so I cannot report on the size or legibility of the date window. As a personal preference I prefer dateless in this design, as it keeps the dial a bit less cluttered.
As I have mentioned so many times in the past, a quality crown is one aspect I will hone in on quickly. Wiggly or wobbling crowns are a huge turnoff and will sour my overall impression on a watch almost immediately. If the prototypes are a good indication, then the production models should arrive with extremely firm crowns with absolutely no play or wiggle when engaged. On top of the crown quality I am quite pleased that the Curve crowns, including the 10 o’clock crown, will be screw down rather than push/pull. Something about a screw down crown just makes me feel so much more confident in wet conditions. I think the Straton logo on the primary crown face will be a nice addition.
My thoughts are a bit mixed on the case backs. While I understand no display on the quartz movement, a display case back would have been quite cool on the automatic. The display could have just been normal glass for all I care but seeing the NE88 movement would have been a good move. Now, the Curve will have two racing inspired case back options, the one pictured in my photographs which is known as option B, as well as, another referred to as option A. Both options are good examples of legendary rims/wheel designs, but I prefer B, as A is a little more wild.
As I have already mentioned, beneath the case back the consumer will have the option of either the Seiko NE88 automatic or the Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz hybrid. The NE88 is considered the top of the line Seiko Chronograph movement which is found in much more expensive watches such as the Grand Seiko for instance. The movement has a vertical clutch eliminating a jumping second hand when the chronograph measurement is initiated. The movement is constructed with a column wheel feature which aids in coordinating chronograph functions while reducing stress on the other components of the movement.
As far as the VK64 mecha-quartz hybrid is concerned, the movement is not your typical quartz and consumers shouldn’t shy away from it. Even individuals with an affinity to automatics only will be able to appreciate the mechanical feature of the VK64. The VK64 has a mechanical component in relation to the chronograph which allows for an instant zero reset. An instant zero reset is one of the features a lot of people including myself appreciate about certain automatic movements such as the Valjoux 7750. The VK64 is going to be highly accurate as any quality quartz and will also, as mentioned previously, be the more affordable option of the Curve. In my opinion, Straton couldn’t have chosen two better movements for the Curve.
The Curve can be finished off with several strap options based on the option chosen, a mesh or quality leather strap with a branded thumbnail buckle. According to the campaign, the Curve should also come with a couple of nylon straps as well. While the quality of the leather straps appear quite nice, the length is probably my biggest area of concern for the Curve. The straps are a bit short and folks with 8 inch wrists or larger may have some difficulty utilizing them. My suggestion would be to offer short and long options on the leather straps for the final production. If not, many consumers will need to make other arrangements. A vintage canvas strap would look fantastic in combination with the vintage/retro appearance of the Curve.
In conclusion, outside of the leather strap length there isn’t much negativity. At least in my opinion. As we always say on WatchReport, we give a real, honest review. Keeping in mind that these are prototypes, quite frankly I do not have any glaring issues to point out. Both Mecha-quartz and Auto options seem appropriately priced for the design and quality they are offering. A display case back for the NE88 would be something I would like and maybe placing the logo on the bezel crown as well. Definitely provide longer leather straps! I really can’t wait to see the end product because I believe Straton has a real winner with the Curve.
7 3/4 inch wrist for reference
Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out Straton Watch Company on Kickstarter if interested in pledging or for more info.
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