As this is my first review of a watch on RWI, Ill pretty much stick to the basics, and follow some of the normal formats put forth by By-Tor and the other great watch reviewers out there. This watch is newly available from the rep factories, and I bought mine from one of the reputable dealers here on RWI.
Firstly, I love the way this rep looks. The Grand Carrera in general is a great design, but I am not crazy about the Calibre 17 RS2, which has two rotating systems (RS) as opposed to this Calibre 6 which has one. The effect is for a less busy dial, and the rotating dial system is pretty cool - in the RS6 it displays the seconds.
In general the watch is a good replica; however, there are some glaring errors that will make the nit pickers out there cringe. Mine is a 21J model (I have not seen ETA models yet), and the watch has kept good time since I received it. It has mineral crystal, and average anti-reflective coating with a slight blue tint. I have not seen the genuine up close, so I do not know if this is accurate.
As you can see from the pictures below, the rep is pretty accurate as first glance.
FIT AND FINISH: The fit and finish are above average, but not stellar. My Discovery 1911's fit and finish blow this one out of the water, but for $128 its not so bad. There is one finish issue I have had with this watch which I will describe below on its own.
BRACELET: Very nice bracelet, unique to the Grand Carrera's. Its basically made up of interlocking small and large links, held together by 4 small pins (no screws). Its a bit sharp at the edges, but pretty comfortable and I love the clasp with the TAG logo.
CASEBACK: Caseback is dual-window mineral crystal, similar to the gen in this respect. The engraving is very well done, and its numbered as are the gens. The caseback screws off with 6 small screws, also as the gen does, and there is a rubber gasket just inside. All in all, very well done.
HOW DOES IT WEAR: As the gen, its just a bit over 40mm, which puts it in the middle of the road. It does not wear very large, even though the dial is relatively large compared to other watches I own. Gives a nice presence on the wrist, but does not wear as large as an Aquaracer. Does feel bigger than 42mm PO however.
DIAL: And then it all came apart. The dial is where the action is with this watch. Its where the aforementioned glaring errors are.
The dial is blue, and though I like it, the gen does not come in blue, although there are a variety of combinations of white black and brown with ss and gold. The most glaring error is the "Calibre 8" on the dial. Its supposed to say Calibre 6. The Grande Carrera Calibre 8 RS has a grande date window at 12 o'clock. Interestingly, the rotor also has the Calibre 8 inscription, and it should be 6.
While the text overall is crisp and well done (just a bit thick), the size of the "official chronometer" is a bit big. Also, the date window in the rep is a bit different than the gen, but this is the same as on many other reps - its not stepped-down like the gen. The date font is pretty good, and though not exact, it does look better than the date fone on other Asian datewheels I have seen. Perhaps this has been upgraded. The last couple things (though not big) would be that the minute hand seems to be the slightest bit short, and the indices are a tad larger than they should be.
"THE ISSUE": The issue I mentioned before with this watch would be the hour indices. Its not very clear in the pictures until now, but the indices look like they were put into a coffee grinder before being applied to the watch.
As you can see below, they are pitted and scratched, and I really can't understand how it was not noticed by whatever QC was done on it. Makes me think that perhaps all of them are like this? In short, the seller has agreed to replace it, but I really don't want to wait another month for the replacement. I may try to source a new dial.
THE VERDICT: Despite the issues with the watch, I really like it. Once I get the problem with the indices straightened out, I think this will be one of my favorites...and at only $128 I think it's a bargain if you can stand its flaws.
Thanks for reading....