Rotary Les Originales Tradition Review
My first ever “proper” watch was a Rotary. When I was a kid I thought they were so smart and grown up looking. Now, as an adult that can actually afford to buy my own watches, I’d never really considered buying one. I’m not sure why that is, but when Rotary got in touch and offered to send one over for review I was excited to get my hands on it.
Let’s clear this up first – I don’t wear formal watches day-to-day. I avoid wearing a suit to work if at all possible, and am far more comfortable in a pair of jeans. This tends to result in a taste in watches that could probably be charitably described as casual. Dive watches and tool watches tend to dominate. So having something “smart” to review meant a slight change in how I dressed, or at least limited opportunities to wear it without it looking out of place. Still, it’s a nice excuse to dress well for once.
Considering the watch is aimed squarely at people looking for something a bit smart, it’s a shame the box it comes in feels a bit cheap. Not terrible, but nothing better than you’d expect to get with a $300 Kickstarter project. It’s not the end of the world, but if I’m buying something apparently “premium “ then I expect the whole package to sell that to me.
The case is polished stainless steel and flows nicely. There are no sharp edges or harsh contrasts – everything is curved and smooth. In an attempt to achieve this, the crown has even been “hidden”, meaning that when the watch is looked at from straight on you can only just see the end of the crown sticking out. Initially I thought it looked a little odd and made winding awkward, however it quickly grew on me. It’s amazing how much more comfortable wearing a tight watch is when you aren’t being stabbed by the crown when your wrist is at the wrong angle.
The Rotary Les Originales Tradition has an exhibition case back, meaning you can see the movement at work inside the case. Around the edge a few details are engraved. It’s an uninspiring case back, but as you’ll rarely see it I can’t see why it really matters.
The dial is a champagne colour and has a subtle sunburst effect. It catches the light well and looks both simple and somehow quite expensive at the same time. The Rotary logo is printed, while the hour markers are the exact same design as the hands and are well placed on the dial.
The date window is cut our with a double layer effect, which has the benefit of both looking like an effort was made and also making the date wheel appear closer to the dial.
Is horrible. I hate it, and if I owned this watch I’d replace it immediately. It’s patent leather which I always think looks bad, however here it’s also uncomfortable and a little stiff. It’s 20mm at the lugs down to 18mm at the buckle and I can’t find anything positive to say about it. Let’s move on before I let it ruin what is otherwise a pretty positive review.
The movement is a Swiss made Sellita SW200, a 28,800 bph automatic with a 38 hour power reserve. It’s as smooth as you could hope for and in my tests keep time within +/- 3 seconds a day.
The exception case back allows you to see the movement and the custom engraved rotor, which apparently is a thing people care about.
When the Rotary Les Originales Tradition first arrived I did’t much care for it. I found the strap uncomfortable and the design a little safe for my usual taste. But it grew on me in the time I had it, and I’m little sad I now have to send it back. Would I buy one in the future? Possibly, yes. Not at RRP (£495) as i think that’s unreasonable for what this is, however a quick Google search returned shops selling it new for £389 which seems reasonable. There may even be better offers out there. Just buy a new strap for it.
Model: Les Originales Tradition
Case diameter: 41.5mm
Lug width: 20mm
Movement: Sellita SW200
Strap or bracelet: Leather