The watch world consists of all kinds of timepieces, from the budget quartz pieces all the way to the upper tier of haute horology, with complications and dials that amaze even non-watch enthusiasts. But usually, in the $1,000 price range, you rarely get anything with dials cast from melted rocket parts, nor watch cases that haven’t been seen on multiple watches. Enter the Werenbach Soyuz Pitch Black, an all-stainless steel case with integrated crown guards, dials made from the booster of a rocket that has been to space, and a Swiss movement, specifically the Sellita SW200-1, all for around $958.
Now the Werenbach website can and does go into much more detail about the production process of these watches, but to highlight a few things, these are cast dials, made very much like high-end jewelry, and the way they are done leaves slight lines or imperfections on the dial that Werenbach leaves to give them even more uniqueness, or a one of a kind look and feel. This is the Pitch Black model, meaning the dial and markers, including the brand logo are all blacked out, but this is not a watch that is so stealth it is not functional, as the hands are white, as are markings on the chapter ring, dial text and even some pop of yellow along with a white date wheel, making this have a really dark deep black dial that is appealing to the eye but also still usable and functional as an everyday piece.
These cast aluminum dials are 3D and have a really great aesthetic, and I personally love this Werenbach Soyuz Pitch Black version, but there are other versions available, including a cast raw, cast white, and a cast black, which is similar to the pitch black, but has a white chapter ring and all the indices are painted white, giving it a more traditional look. But the Pitch Black really caught my eye for some reason, and this is truly one of those dials that you can get lost looking at. It is not flashy, nor does it have a crazy machined dial pattern, but I think the cast dial is beautiful in its raw simplicity, and there is just something intriguing about it.
Even looking on the website and seeing their photos, I was not sure what to really expect when it arrived in person. I wasn’t expecting the dial to be so deep black and at times, because of the lack of an AR coating on the crystal, it can be difficult in the right light to see all the details though I never had a problem seeing the hands to tell the time. The date wheel is done in black on white, and just like I thought the crown should possibly be black, I thought maybe a black date wheel would look better, but with the other white elements on the dial, I think it all works well together.
So with the price point, the dial work alone is probably enough to set this watch apart from others, but the case design and finishing is not something I expected from this piece. Yes, I did review a previous model from Werenbach, but that was a much more expensive model, and I assumed that there would be some corners cut here. Now this is not some crazy styled case or anything like that, but when you look all around, you can see the attention to detail, but fine satin brushing, the high polished chamfered edges, the brushed and polished signed crown, and yes, even the spaceborn plate on the non-crown side of the case, which admittedly I am not a fan of at all, but I am not a fan with any branding on the sides of watches, no matter what it says. But even with that nameplate, I love the looks and feel of this case. It is not simply off the shelf and you can see how much work went into the production of this piece.
The same can be said for the case back, and yes I can not help but fawn over a case back such as this. I always feel if you are going to decorate a case back, go all out, or just leave it very simple. Well, this Werenbach Soyuz Pitch Black went all out, and not only do you get a stamped and engraved case back, but for those that always want to see the movement, you get a little window to do that also, and this to me is a case back that is worth showing off, provided anyone in your life actually cares about the watch you have on your wrist to the point of wanting you to hand it over so they can take a closer look. That really doesn’t happen that often, at least not in my experience but when it does, you can be ready with this one.
While the SW-200 is used by countless brands and realistically is as basic of a Swiss Movement there is, the fact these watches are labeled Swiss Made and actually use a well-regarded movement, for this price, is kind of astounding, at least to me.
Unfortunately, not everything about this watch makes me smile, and as I type this, I think this is where so many watch brands fall down, as I feel deja vu writing this. Yes, the strap is the issue here, and while straps can easily be rectified, even on the very cheap these days, I still want to see brands step it up a bit. This black leather strap looks the part with the branding, and the illustrations on the back, and does easily fit my 7 1/2 inch wrist, but it is uncomfortably stiff and just not easy to wear. Now, you say well it probably needs to be broken in, but I can already see this is not going to be a soft and supple piece like your favorite leather jacket over time, and coupled with the large buckle, I did not enjoy this piece on the wrist for long periods. Other strap options are available, including some bracelets, though I would like to see some link bracelet options with fitted end links.
The watch case itself does feel great on the wrist though, as it has a short lug to lug and an extremely slim profile, and yes this piece even has lume, and while the indices are not lumed, it is more than sufficient to tell the time in the dark, yes, even if it is pitch black (pun intended).
To this day, I still struggle when it comes to the summary section of these watch reviews, simply because I like to make sure that one does not feel like I am trying to sell them a watch. These are reviews, and while there is always personal bias, telling strangers they need to go out and purchase something just seems out of place. So, I always like to just lay it out for what it is and give my opinion. Would I go out and purchase this watch myself? Probably not, and I have no issue saying that. As unique and well-made as this piece is, it really just isn’t one I would seek to buy, mostly because of my style, but I can see why anyone would, and further, I can’t believe that Werenbach can produce such a well-made piece for this price, which is one of the reasons I wanted to review it in the first place. This is no ordinary or run-of-the-mill piece and other brands should really take note as to what can be produced for the price, and that not all pieces need to be vintage or look like a Rolex. Werenbach definitely stands out and they are a brand to keep an eye on for sure.
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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