If you reach this journal entry, you might already know what you’re looking for. To those of you who don’t know what this is but end up here anyway, this journal is my review of one particular watch made by Archer Watches: Sterling.
Sterling is one of few watch lines made by one-man watchmaker company, Archer Watches. The watchmaker, Allen Jenskey (Al), is well-known for his work on repairing luxury watches like Panerai, Rolex, Omega, JLC, etc. His knowledge and broad experiences in watch repairing business suggests him to create his own watch models.
It all began when I tried to look for an independent watch brand. I’ve been given to understand that if I’d like to start new watch collection, I can start with buying used luxury watch, or alternatively, find independent (or quite simply ‘indie’) brands which has good expertise in watch-making. Archer Watches is one of the many indie brands out there, with good movements backing up his models, and his personal experience in watch repair and calibration. He also has good reputations in some watch enthusiast forum, like Watchuseek (WUS). I pay my fair share of respect to him. Another plus side, independent watchmaker tend to have competitive price compare to well-known brands. With that in mind, I decided to approach him and inquiry to his watches. You can also find my communications with all via email on my previous journal entry: Phase 1 & Phase 2.
I sent my inquiries via email couple of months back, and I got to say that the way he personally answer and communicate delights me. Not only he gave me explanation to his models, he also open to discussion on watch style, class, and suggestion. You can’t find this kind of approach on an established watch brands. Don’t believe me, try to email Panerai or Rolex representative I dare you.
At first, I was stumbled between Sterling, Stratos, and Executive of his lineups. I brought up this dilemma to him, and he gladly explained each of the model style, purpose, and heritage. As he explained and as I recon correctly, Stratos & Executive give a bit more to the elegant and exclusive appeal as a dress watch. Stratos in particular, resembles Breguet Classique lines with its guilloché dial.
I wanted something that can touch both sporty and elegant look. I decided to go with Sterling as Al suggested. This model takes the dial style from marine chronometer.
Sterling uses Unitas/ETA 6498 movement. This movement is well-known powerhouse movement and used by many brands as base for their own respective lineups. Take Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer and Stowa Marine for example. They take the same movement base and apply different style of dial. All of them represent the marine chronometer style.
In price comparison, the well-known brand like Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer will cost you USD 1,095. The Sterling cost a little less, with the same movement and with better dial, according to me.
The only thing that you need to consider for this type of movement is that there’s no date or day-date complications on this watch.
Dials & Hands
Sterling gets its name from its dial color, 925 Sterling silver dial. Which brings a really nice good-looking watch. If you look at the dial really closely, you can see the subtle sparkle and frosty finish. I don’t find many watch with the same idea and design like this. The hands resemble those that you find on Breguet lineups. The hands appear black, but it actually blued hands and you can see clearly when you tilt a bit to reflect the light. Really good combination with the off-white dial. In addition, Sterling has Arabic numeral with railway design for main dial and sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Clearly depicting the style of a deck watch.
The Sterling case sized at 42 mm, German made stainless steel, with double round profiled bezel, and has 22 mm screwed lugs. The 22 mm is quite popular size, and you can reuse whatever 22 mm size straps that you previously have. Do remember, the Sterling make use of screwed lugs, not spring bar. So, remember to unscrew carefully should you wish to change strap. With thickness at around 11 mm, this watch can be used for daily purpose and fit nicely under the your sleeve.
The Sterling applies domed sapphire crystal with internal anti reflective coating. Really useful to glance at your watch during daylight time under the sun. At the back, you can find flat sapphire see through glass so you can observe the beautiful movement.
For the crown, the Archer has onion style crown that sticking out from the case at 3 o-clock. This onion style is really nice and good looking. But one note, for those who like to wear your watch all the way down to below the wrist level, the crown will stick to your back of your hand.
On purchase, Sterling will be equipped with german made 22 mm Di-Modell Oregon or Softina. This is really nice strap which cost you around $ 90-100 if you purchase separately. But I suggest you buy new pair of straps with dark brown color with white stitches. This color combination will bring more elegant appeal to the watch.
This is my favorite part. Archer Watches will send you the watch in a really nice and good looking wooden box, plus one wooden ballpoint. Other well-known brand will only give you box and inner box. This wooden box gives you a really nice intention of how personal Archer Watches sell their watches.
If you’re interested in finding another indie brand from a person who has proven experience in horological and watch-making, you can opt for lineups from Daniel Marchert. Althought he only has one model right now and the price is well above Archer’s.