For a long time, style-conscious guys on the hunt for luxury watches only had two options:
We could either shell out 800 to 1,000 bucks (or more) for a top-of-the-line timepiece, or opt for cheaply made alternatives that look pretty good, but lack the quality and craftsmanship of a true luxury watch.
But today things are quite different.
The good news is that now there are a ton of mid-priced options on the watch market that aim to give you the high quality of a luxury timepiece, without the high price point.
The bad news is that there are an equal (or possibly greater) number that claim to be high quality watches, but only achieve the low prices by cheaping out on quality.
I recently spent a few weeks wearing and trying out a watch from Vincero Watches, one of the more popular new watch brands that tries to bridge the gap between luxury and affordability.
Read on to learn the full results of my Vincero Watches review and find out if their Chrono S model – with a base price of just $165 – lives up to its luxury billing.
This review came about because a rep from the Vincero brand reached out to ask if I would review their product. As I always do when brands reach out, I told them I’d be happy to try it, but only if they were comfortable with me writing a thorough, honest and transparent review.
They agreed and sent me the watch of my choice. The honest, unfiltered opinions in the review that follows are entirely my own, as are the bad jokes and lame attempts at wordplay.
So with that disclosure out of the way, let’s find out if Vincero Watches are Chrono Superior or Chrono Sucky. (And again, I can’t stress this enough—nobody asked me to include that sweet, sweet wordplay. [Why would they?])
Overview: Vincero Watches
As I mentioned above, for a long time guys who wanted a legit luxury watch were pretty much out of luck if they didn’t have deep pockets.
(Hell, even the most “affordable” Rolexes start at nearly $4,000—and that’s for a pre-owned model!)
Not surprisingly, some less than scrupulous dealers have tried to make a quick buck capitalizing on this hole in the market.
They sell cheaply made watches that mimic the style of real luxury watches, and thus look great in photos on the internet, but are made with either cheap materials, poor craftsmanship, or both.
Vincero was founded in 2014 with the goal of solving that problem.
Rather than simply importing and repackaging watches from China made with cheap – and highly questionable – labor practices, the company’s American founders decided to move to China themselves.
That way, they could control everything about the manufacturing process, from sourcing the raw materials to in-house quality control, while still getting the benefit of much lower production costs.
(They moved back to the states after getting set up in China, and are now based in San Diego.)
Their goal is essentially to make high-quality luxury products in small batches – in addition to watches, they also sell other accessories like sunglasses, wallets, bracelets and travel cases – and sell them for an affordable price, without taking short cuts or cutting corners like so many other manufacturers and resellers.
So, do they succeed? Let’s take a closer look at their flagship product to find out.
The Chrono S Watch
(I can’t explain exactly why, but looking at the Chrono S reminds me of Tom Hardy’s character in Dunkirk, or this iconic shot of a real-life Royal Air Force pilot getting his hair cut during the war.)
As someone who frequently describes my sense of style as classic-meets-modern, I was immediately drawn to the timeless design of the Chrono S.
It looks like it would have been just as at home on the wrist of my grandfather in the ’60s as it is on my wrist in the 2020s, especially in the color scheme I chose – the green and silver combo is a particularly nice touch.
Variety Vincero is the Spice of Life
And speaking of choosing color schemes, the Chrono S is basically a chameleon:
One of the more unique aspects of Vincero’s offering is the sheer number of varieties available.
There are 19 different styles available on Vincero’s website, each in different colors and materials, along with 11 straps you can pick up separately and swap out.
After surveying all the dial colors I was extremely tempted by the Blue Steel model, but I went with green because I already have a couple watches with a blue watch face.
The Chrono S may not be quite as customizable as Undone Watches, but when combined with the size options (on which more below), you actually have quite a bit of control over the look and feel of your watch.
(Relax fellas—in this case it’s a good thing)
One feature I particularly appreciated while ordering the watch was the ability to choose what size I wanted the watch to come in.
The website gives you two options for the Chrono S: a 40 mm case or a 43 mm version.
I chose the smaller 40 mm, which is the same size as my beloved Timex Weekender, and a better size for my wrist.
I was pretty surprised that I was even offered the option to choose, since watches aren’t usually available in more than one size.
I’ve frequently found myself frustrated when shopping for watches from MVMT, one of Vincero’s close competitors, for exactly this reason.
I’m a big fan of a lot of MVMT’s designs, but find their sizing generally runs too large for me.
A lot of their watches are only available in 45 mm sizes, which I find too big and gaudy for my
dainty little elegantly smaller wrists.
But it’s worth noting that not all of the 19 variations of the Chrono S are available in both sizes, at least at the time of this writing.
Keep that in mind if you decide to pick up a Chrono S, and make sure to look for the “Case Size” option underneath the various models on the product page.
A “Fashion Watch”?
In doing research for this post, I found that a lot of people shared my appreciation for the way Vincero timepieces look.
But purists in the watch world took issue with the horology (which sounds like it should be the study of prostitutes, but is, in fact, the study of watch mechanics).
The watch aficionados over on reddit’s r/watches forum refer to Vincero as a “fashion watch,” a term they use derisively to describe a dress watch that looks good, but doesn’t have the impeccably crafted inner mechanics of some of the more expensive Swiss and Japanese watch brands.
Those guys really seem to know their stuff when it comes to watches, and I have no reason to doubt their appreciation for fine watch craftsmanship.
Stylish & Sturdy
But for me this isn’t really an issue, for two reasons. First, I don’t mind admitting that my main interest in watches is aesthetic.
Personally I’d rather have a watch that looks like it could be one of those better-made and more expensive brands, but comes at a much more reasonable price.
Plus, while I do want my watch to work properly, I live in a world where I spend most of my day staring at a screen that has the time displayed in the corner, and never go anywhere without another screen in my pocket that does the same.
So for me, keeping time really isn’t a watch’s primary purpose.
Second, as far as I can tell based on my (admittedly limited) understanding, the quality seems to be there with the Chrono S.
While I can’t speak to (and again, frankly don’t care much about) the watch’s inner workings, I can say that the Citizen Miyota Quartz movement seems to keep time just fine, and I have no complaints about how the watch functions on the inside.
What I can speak to is the outside, which in my opinion is impressive.
The leather strap is soft and supple, so it bends around my wrist easily without cracking, while the Italian marble showcase caseback means the watch looks (almost) as good lying face down as it does strapped to my wrist.
As for the watch case, the 316L stainless steel case is surgical grade and has proven to be both sturdy and stylish.
I tend to be hard on my watches, and it doesn’t take much for them to be get pretty banged up.
I have embarrassingly bad eyesight and even worse depth perception, so I misjudge distances and bang my arms into things more frequently then I should probably admit.
Just about the only feature of the watch’s durability I haven’t tested yet is its water resistance. (There aren’t a lot of opportunities to swim in Toronto in the middle of winter, especially during a pandemic.)
But in every other regard the Chrono S has held up quite well so far.
The scratch-resistant sapphire coated crystal glass over the watch face has certainly come in handy, and the stainless steel case has been strong enough to (quite literally) take a licking and keep on ticking.
I’ve only been wearing my Vincero for a few months at this point, so maybe my opinion will change, but for now I certainly have no complaints.
Are Vincero Watches good?
Way back at the start of this review (and if you’ve read this whole thing, thanks for hanging in there), I said I would get to the bottom of whether or not the “S” in Chrono S stands for Superior or Sucky.
After wearing the watch for months, I can say with confidence that in my opinion, this is a superior watch, especially in the style department.
The color and quality make it look like a watch from a much higher price range, while the Italian leather used for the band is soft and supple.
And it’s one of the few watch companies that makes models available in varying sizes, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your wrist and your personal tastes.
When you add it all up, the result is a handsome and stylish watch that makes a bold statement, but is sturdy enough for everyday use.
And the fact that you can get all that for less than $200 makes it pretty much a no-brainer, in my humble opinion.
So far the Chrono S is the only model from Vincero I’ve tried, but my experience has been so positive that I’ll definitely be going back to the well next time I’m in the market for a new model.
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More Men’s Watch Advice and Recos from Irreverent Gent:
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