A Good WL Friend wrote:Please Mort, no more of those long ass reviews of cheap ass watches..."
This is one of those watches that genuinely attracted me the first time I saw it. The truly classic looks, from the uncluttered dial to the simple leather strap, appealed to my sense of vintage style. I was also very pleased to note that it had a Swiss automatic movement, albeit the somewhat maligned SW200.
I did some online research into the S. Coifman brand, and immediately discovered - a bit to my dismay - that the company has been part of the Invicta Watch Group (IWG) since 2002. Like other brand names bought out by Invicta over the years, S. Coifman had once enjoyed a modestly successful run as a mid-19th century Swiss watchmaker. Beyond that, there just wasn't much useful information out there. Of course, the cynic in me always wonders if this is a bit of deliberate 'historical obfuscation' by the new trademark holder to blur the already unclear line between genuine Swiss and non-Swiss brands. Or, put another way: need some instant "Swiss cred?" Buy out an old Swiss name and make up a story about your late grandmother and the ex-Soviet navy...er, maybe not...some images, especially those of this nature, should just be avoided, even if they are from your own imagination.
Here are the basics for this watch:
Brand: S. Coifman
Model Name: Men's Swiss Made Automatic Date Window Leather Strap Watch
Movement: Swiss Sellita SW200 Automatic
Crystal: "Flame Fusion" *
Clasp: Push Button Deployant
Date Window: Three (3) O'Clock Position
Strap Measurements: 9-1/4" L x 22mm W
Case Measurements: 45mm X 9.5mm
Weight: 91 grams
Water Resistance: 5 ATM - 50 meters - 165 feet
Model Numbers (based on dial color):
Aqua Blue: SC0080
Warranty: Watch comes with a one-year limited warranty from IWG, with option to extend to a total of five years. (ShopNBC provides its buyers a Protection Plan for $29.99 USD.)
Misc. Notes: Comes in high-quality 'leatherette' watch box, along with operating manual, warranty card and polishing cloth.
*An interesting confirmation of S. Coifman being an IWG product. They don't put the 'flame fusion' notation on all Coifman products - and the same is true for their 'Imperious' brand - but that doesn't mean much, as it seems (to me, at least) that most buyers of IWG products do little-to-no research prior to 'pulling the trigger.'
ShopNBC lists the watch as "S. Coifman Men's Swiss Made Date Window Leather Strap Watch." Certainly a mouthful, but it didn't detract from the attractiveness of the watch. Unfortunately, my first choice, the aqua dial color, was sold out. Same story for the black. And the gold. The silvertone version, however, was still in stock. For $483.50 USD...Jeebus wept. No cigar, Melvin...
A couple of days later, and it's on sale for about half of the above-noted price, so I decided to take the plunge with the silvertone version. All of the stars must have been perfectly aligned, because - for once - it arrived after only five days in transit. No damage to the shipping box; always a good sign. I was very curious as to what the S. Coifman presentation box looked like, so I got the shipping and protective boxes open as quickly as I could - without, of course, inflicting any damage on the contents...or my fingers, for that matter.
Not a bad little box at all, though its layout is eerily like that of everyone's favorite 'cheez it' packaging. Still, it is padded much better than most presentation boxes out there, and it even smells better than its 'limburgeresque' Invicta cousin.
Ultimately, I acquired the aqua version - again for half the original cost. I found the color to be as nice in person as it was in its on-screen iteration. I've worn both watches many times over the last three or four months, and have developed the following impressions / opinions:
As already noted, this is an attractive watch. I tend to over-use the words classic and vintage, so please forgive me when I say that the dial is truly a classic, vintage styled piece of work. I really like the baton hour markers, the applied SC logo just beneath the 12 o'clock position, and the rather vast areas that are clear of any markings. The chapter ring is subdued by its position on the vertical wall that gives the dial its rather attractive depth. The long, graceful second hand sweeps smoothly around the dial with very little-to-no 'wobble.' The date window, though not large sized, is very easy to read at its 3 o'clock position.
The SW-200 movement runs smoothly enough, and the average variance of both watches is right around +3 to 4 seconds per day. The exhibition case back shows off a nicely cotes de geneve decorated rotor that also has a stenciled S. Coifman moniker just above its beveled 'blade edge.' The signed crown is a no-nonsense, easy-to-grasp and easy-to-use affair that reflects the watch's overall high quality construction.
Unfortunately, the case back goes a little too far in providing info about its IWG affiliation, but this is ultimately a non-issue since most of us wear our watches dial-side-up (Duh...!). The leather straps are very comfortable, and Coifman adds a very nice dual-deployant clasp. The only difficulty with the straps is their tendency to look a bit on the cheap side, especially the dark blue version that comes with the aqua dial; its darker, raised areas are set off by an odd light blue coloring in the 'croc cracks' (Say that five times fast, Conj!) give the straps the look of an ill-advised afterthought.
The only other down-check is its size. While the case is 'only' 45mm, it's, well, too damned big to qualify - IMHO - as a genuine dress watch. And the narrow little bezel makes the case/dial look even bigger.
A closeup picture of my 38mm Tissot quartz dress watch alongside its Coifman counterpart.
Nonetheless, I have found this watch to be a good wear for casual events, and the large size does make it easier on these 54 year-old eyes...and, of course, it has a very nice, classic layout...
...okay, maybe not that classic...
Now that's what I'm tawkin' 'bout!
(The radio is a reconditioned 1953 Arvin tabletop. The chrome plating is aftermarket.)
In the end, I liked the overall look and feel of this watch, irrespective of its larger size. As someone who still wears his 47mm Invicta Grand Divers, it's a bit of a surprise that this watch looks bigger than its stated 45mm case width, but I keep coming back to its appearance and comfort. Ultimately, the pluses outweighed the minuses enough that keeping these two S. Coifmans was an easy decision for me, though, in all honesty, I would almost certainly pass on their quartz offerings. Nonetheless, I would very much like to see more automatics under the S. Coifman name.
As with all my overlong reviews, many thanks for looking...