How would it be when you could design your own watch for every special moment in your life? A watch that is delivered to your doorstep in two (2) weeks and can be sent to an authorised dealer close to you when you need it serviced. A watch with Swiss automatic movement and date that costs less than 700 euros. It is Revolo’s dream to get there. Revolo – a combination of the world “Revolution” and the word “Volo” (Latin for I wish or I want) – was founded in 2014 and successfully launched its first model range via Kickstarter in 2016. Read on if you would like to know how far Revolo is in realising your personalisation dream and what we think about the business concept and watches. We will also give you an exclusive preview of the new chronographs that will be launched shortly.
The Concept: Harmonise online business and dealership
The return of a classic watch for service during his earlier business life, triggered the idea for Revolo’s business concept. The watch that was turned in for service had a yellow strap. Revolo Founder and co-owner Ron Westrate did not like it at all but realised that someone else apparently liked it. So he thought “who am I to determine what beauty is”? And that’s exactly what happens in the industry; consumers choose watches designed by others. There is a limited choice between options. The concept of configuring your own watch online is not new. But most providers have limited choice. When sufficient choices are offered, other issues may exist, such as higher prices or a slow process.
Revolo has taken the Configure-Your-Own Watch concept a step further by combining an easy-to-use configuration and ordering process together with a dealer network. That is a smart move. After all, what do you do if you have a small problem with your watch or need a service? When a person configures his or hers watch online, the system will suggest a local dealer within a circle of 25kms to the person. Each dealer has secured online access to his/hers own dealer-specific dashboard. Dealers are also able to configure a watch together with their clients. Their dashboard provides an instant overview of the order status as well as the configured watch. Revolo aims to establish service hubs per continent.
The first model range was launched via a successfully funded Kickstarter project in November 2016, after a design and development process of two years. A lot of time and money has been spent to develop a custom web-based ERP-system. The simplicity used in the design-screens makes it possible to configure a watch on a smartphone or tablet.
The configuration capabilities will be gradually expanded with smaller cases (36mm), chronographs and features such as domed crystal glass and date loupes. Another area of expansion is the ability to further personalise a watch. Currently, it is possible to add your own text, photo or logo on the case-back. In the future, it will also be possible to order special editions and add custom features to the dial.
This brings us to the core of Revolo’s business strategy, which is to create watches that are personalised to each one’s taste and special occasion: a watch to celebrate an anniversary, gathering, event, age, graduation, and so on. A watch that can be worn long-time and can be serviced.
The future will tell if and how this is going to work but the start is promising. The company is run as a business, not just as a hobby out of love for watches. The people behind the brand have extensive business experience.
Creating Your Personalised Watch
We will not bore you with describing all options to you. Visit Revolo’s website and experiment by creating your own watch. It is fun and intuitive! You can also order one if you can’t resist the temptation. Revolo has done a great job in keeping the process simple and fast, although it is to be seen what happens when the number of options grows and the number of concurrent users grows. The number of options is large enough to serve most needs, although currently are offered only two case-sizes in 41mm, respectively 43mm and three movements: Ronda 515 quartz, Miyota 821A Japanese automatic movement and STP 2824, a clone Swiss automatic movement.
Further personalisations offered:
- Case shapes include round, classic and cushion models;
- Bezels are fixed or unidirectional;
- Dials include marks and/or Arabic numbers and a date display for the current day or for the current, prior and next day (3 days display window);
- Hands are arrow-, leaf- or straight-shaped;
- Seconds hands come with an arrow or circle pointer;
- Crowns come in four different shapes;
- Straps or bracelets with pin buckle or double folding buckle.
Revolo will extend the collection by adding a chronograph movement, classic dials, a diver-edition as well as 36mm and thinner (3.9mm instead of 5.8mm) cases. In the future, it will also be possible to order a watch with real diamonds.
What do we think about the design and quality?
The design looks, well, familiar. In fact, very familiar. The execution is good. The quality of cases, dials, crowns, movement and finishing are what you would expect (or above) from a watch in this price class:
- Cases are made of 316L steel (with or without PVC- or gold coating) and are partly brushed, partly polished. Edges have a slightly rounded finishing done by hand. There are subtle differences between the shapes of the 41mm and 43mm watch cases.
- The rotor weight has a Côtes de Genève finishing. Bridges have a perlage finishing.
- Use of blued screws.
- Use of sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating.
- Dials are attached via connectors instead of glued.
- “Quick release” bracelets and straps.
- Hacking seconds.
- Luxury, personalise-able packaging.
The watches fit comfortably on the wrist. You may like or not like the gap between strap and case of the 43mm divers case. It is something Revolo plans to change.
As far as I can assess – based on wearing two watches – the movements run accurately. The power reserve of the STP automatic movement works up to 44 hours. Legibility is excellent, also when it is dark. Nevertheless, Revolo aims to improve the luminova by switching to a Swiss vendor.
The bracelet looks good, have a nice feel and wears comfortably. An area for improvement relates to bracelet shortening, that is definitely not easy. In fact, I did not manage to do that. I just could not push the pins out. A specialised tool – or a dealer – comes in handy. Revolo plans to change this in the future. The company has definitely paid attention to its straps. The quick-release system requires some practice, but it is a nice feature, especially if you like to change straps frequently.
Pulling the crown of the STP automatic movement to the correct positions to change the date and/or the time required some practice. The crown – well, at least the crown of the 43mm “diver” watch I configured – is rather small. The winding is not buttery smooth but it works. My recommendation would be to opt for the larger crowns if you have bigger hands and when you choose for the STP-movement. Winding the Miyota movement works smoother. Slightly moving the watch makes the watch run. However, the Miyota has no stop seconds mechanism. We have not been able to test the chronograph movement yet.
The Assembly Process of Revolo watches
Revolo has all parts in stock: case, dial, glass, bezel, case-back, hands, strap, buckle, movement, rotor (for chronograph) as well as accessories such as sealings. For every watch configured by a customer, all the required parts are collected together.
A watchmaker assembles the watch, does a visual inspection and tests the accuracy and the water resistance with Witschi equipment. Revolo assembles piece by piece. The last step is the engraving of the case-back. Based on direct communication with the customer, the engraving device is configured and triggered. The engraving is done within minutes. Proper alignment is guaranteed by a custom-made mould. In the future, the entire engraving process will be automated: the client enters or selects text, font, position and graphics in the web interface. The web software instructs the engraving device. Each watch is sent to the customer or to his/her dealer in a good-looking, good-quality box. A Quality Control process has been implemented to ensure that the client gets a reliable product.
Swiss Automatic Movement: Self-winding STP1-11 with 26 jewels, a power reserve of 44 hours and 28,800 bph, height 4.60mm, diameter 25.60mm, incabloc shock protection, regulated in 5 positions. Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds, date with rapid correction, stop-seconds.
Note: Revolo regulates with a margin between 0 and +10 seconds/day. My watch showed an impressive result of +3.6 seconds/day.
Japanese Automatic Movement: Self-winding (Citizen) Miyota 821A with 21 jewels, a power reserve of 42 hours and 21,600 bph, height 5.67mm, diameter 26mm. Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds, date.
Quartz movement: Ronda 515, height 3mm, diameter 26.20mm, max. deviation of -10 to 20 seconds per month, battery cell nr: 371 (1.5v), battery life: 2 years (Some websites report 45 months).
Kickstarting the new kid on the block: the Revolo Chronograph
A new Kickstarter campaign will be launched shortly to generate the funds for adding watches with chronograph movements to the collection. The new Revolo Chronographs will feature a higher-standard finishing, an optional domed crystal, and two movements options: the Ronda 5030D Quartz movement or the Swiss Concepto 7750 automatic chronograph movement, a 7750-alike automatic chronograph movement, produced by Concepto. The retail price for the Quartz Chronograph starts at €395 while the retail price for the Automatic Chronograph starts at €1,645 up to approximately €1,800. The Kickstarter price of the Quartz Chrono starts at €249 while the price of the Automatic Chrono starts at €899. Revolo has given us an exclusive preview of the upcoming models. The chrono dial comes in 2 dial versions, one with subdials at 6-9-12 and one with the traditional subdials at 3-6-9. The design versions with subdials at 6, 9 and 12, domed crystal glass, black and red colours are Revolo-unique designs. The chronograph dials looks balanced and it is legible. Some photos:
As soon as the Kickstarter campaign starts, we will post more photos accompanied by a link to the Kickstarter campaign.
Revolo has managed to provide good-quality watches at competitive prices as part of a state-of-the-art business concept. The words value-for-money spring to mind. I would not hesitate to recommend it to friends who want to buy a watch for their children’s birthday, graduation, or for themselves as a nice addition to their collection.
For more information see:
Revolo’s website: https://www.revolo-watches.com/en