(Photo courtesy of ShopNBC)
As someone who has bought a few Androids in his day, I've often been impressed by owner Wing Liang's very fertile imagination and, by turns, left wondering what he was thinking when a given idea moved from grey matter to blueprint and, ultimately, into production. By and large, the end product is good, but sometimes...well, you know. Over time, Android watches have gotten larger and heavier, to the point that Wing's midsize offerings are now typically 46MM. This is the environment into which this "Vertigo 9015" was released.
Movement: Japanese Miyota 9015 28800VPH Automatic Movement w/ 24 Jewels
Crystal: Laser color-treated mineral crystal
Crown: Screw Down
Clasp: Push Button Deployant
Bracelet: mesh with sizing links
Bracelet Measurements: 9" L x 24mm W
Case Measurements: 48mm
Case Thickness: 14mm
Weight (unsized): 210 grams
Water Resistance: 20 ATM - 200 meters - 660 feet
Black IP: AD663AK
Warranty: Two year limited warranty provided by Android.
ShopNBC: $276.50 (Black not carried)
Jomashop: Not carried
WoW: Not carried
eBay: $279.75 (Average)
I really like the look of this watch, as it it features some genuinely classic elements. Its design is clean and uncluttered, enhanced by the rich, generous plating and an equally generous exhibition case back that both reveals and showcases the cotes de geneve decorated Miyota 9015 movement.
The dial is textured in a manner that is reminiscent of meteorite, and it beautifully plays off the highly polished case while setting off the equally polished hour markers and hands. My paternal grandfather had a watch with similar dial texturing presented to him when he retired back in the mid-1950's, though for-the-life-of-me, I can't recall the brand name. Unfortunately, the watch disappeared not long after his passing.
The mesh bracelet is both beautiful and flawlessly comfortable, and the inclusion of links - to include half-links and a fold-over clasp with three micro-adjustments - means that you have to really try your hardest not to achieve a perfect fit. The clasp also has dual push-buttons and a fold-over safety catch, so you needn't worry about it inadvertently slipping off your wrist as you go about your day, unless you're lucky enough to be a professional table tennis player...and even then, I'd still bet on the watch staying firmly in place.
The Miyota 9015 hacking movement is a solid performer, averaging about +9 seconds per week. Lume is minimal, present only on the hour and minute hands, but It easily passes the Conjurer quick-glance-in-a-darkened-car test.
With so many good things going for it, I suppose I could just stop right here and tell you to get out there and buy one in each color before they sell out. Indeed, the Android fan in me is nodding vigorously at the thought of doing that very thing. Unfortunately, there are some elements to this piece that preclude my ending it here and calling it all good. In no particular order...
Size: Like so many of his fellow watch makers, Wing has gone all out in the production of very large pieces, especially in the last two or three years. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather a reflection of the current popular market. Obviously, not everyone is a fan of the larger sizes, but they have had a dominant presence of late, and I'm not so quick to dismiss this as a mere passing phase. The problem I have with this particular big watch is that it's a little too much of a good thing. Glance at any photo of this watch by itself, and it looks like the perfect, classically designed dress watch. Put it alongside a vintage dress watch - such as my recently acquired Hamilton in the photos below - and you begin to get a sense of just how big its 48mm case really is.
While this is admittedly something akin to visually comparing cranberries to red apples, its purpose is to express a not-so-easily-explained idea. To my way of thinking, a well built, beautifully laid out dress watch is sleek and thin, like one of those early 1960's tuxedos worn by James Bond. This Android Vertigo, while well laid out and boasting a maximum weight of 210 grams, takes up a bit too much wrist real estate to lay claim to being a classic dress watch.
Date Window: Okay, so we make the decision to go ahead with the 48mm sized luxury dress watch; got it, it's all good. Why, then, given the large area we've got to fill out with hour markers and hands, etc, do we opt for a 2.5mm diameter date window...? Does anyone think that someone over the age of 15 is really going to be able to read the date? At this size, it looks like a rather haphazardly placed little porthole on the side of an Airbus A-380 cargo plane. Instead of the highly polished XII at 12 o'clock, why not a self-correcting, dual-disk big date window?
Or maybe a single big date opening placed unobtrusively at three o'clock?
Instead, I have to haul out my mini jeweler's loupe to set a date at the 3 o'clock position that I'll never refer to during my day because I can't see the bloody thing... Better to have left the date window completely off and preserved an unblemished dial face.
Laser-Treated Crystal: I'm fond of the old bromide that tells us, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Or, in this case, just because you can laser-treat the crystal - and get all those pretty & unusual colors flashing off the dial - doesn't necessarily mean that you should laser treat the crystal. The end result is a series of oddly colored, 'glarey' reflections bouncing off the crystal and ending up, well, in some pretty inconvenient places, like my missus' eyes, or the eyes of the pit bull across the street, or - well, you get the idea. Okay, so I'm exaggerating things a bit, but I do find those odd little flashes of color a little on the annoying side.
(Completely ridiculous photo simulation - Actual results nearly impossible to obtain with still photography...But you can see how annoying this is... )
(Even worse simulation for pretty much the same reasons... )
It was okay when it was used as a major draw in earlier models like the Prism and the Enforcer, but not so much as an add-on in the case of the Vertigo 9015. It's like I'm saying to the world, "Hey, lookit me, I got a watch with a really weird crystal!" We all know that Wing is an innovative and free-thinking designer of fine watches, but this particular laser treatment smacks of him trying to 'out-Wing' himself for no particularly good reason.
28800 VPH: My understanding of the whole "hi beat thing" is very basic: a hi beat watch has a movement that 'beats' at 36000 (or higher) Vibrations Per Hour (VPH), or at a frequency of 10 Hz or higher. So...why trumpet a movement with only 28800 VPH? In the interest of full disclosure, it would never have occurred to me to even mention this issue were it not for my tuning in to a certain watch program where I heard a certain 'technical brand manager' mention in passing that the movement in the automatic watch being shown at that moment just happened to beat at 28800 VPH. And at that same moment, I came to suspect that the whole 28800 VPH thing might just be a red herring, the horological equivalent of the old, off-color joke about the makers of SPAM bragging about their product now containing even more tongues, snouts and anuses than ever before(!). Hey, I don't know enough about the whole hi beat issue to tell you whether 28800 VPH is killer cool or uber nothing, but when it starts entering the lexicon of questionable 'watch executives,' it begins to lose a bit of its importance.
So there you have it, my take on the new Android Men's Vertigo 9015 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch. Overall, it's not a bad piece, but when you plunk down 280 bones for a watch, you're almost always planning on doing quite a bit better than just 'not bad.' The silver lining here is that it's got a solid, high quality movement that keeps good time, and it's pretty easy on the eyes. (Laser treatment be damned...)
Mort's Overall Grade: C+
As always, many thanks for looking...and for putting up with my goofy picture editing.