BYOW (Build-Your-Own-Watch) – The Revolo Concept, An Affordable Way To Design A Unique Watch

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Robin Nooy | ic_query_builder_black_24px 11 minute read |

Admit it, most of us (if not ALL of us) have dreamt about it at one point; building your own watch. Whether it’s our very own watch brand, or a Pièce Unique. Normally, if you call it normal, this will cost you thousands if not hundreds of thousands, especially when you want to turn your concept into an actual brand. There is a solution though, and it goes by the name of Revolo. We take a look at what it is, and what it can do for you through our very own “Monochrome Pièce Unique”.

The “Build-your-own-Watch” concept isn’t new, nor is it as unique as you might think (but it all depends on the execution of said concept, whether or not you should consider it!) Revolo understand this pretty well and offer a huge range of options to choose from, all available in a simple yet effective online configurator. You can really get crazy and build something that is a reflection of your personal ideas (or that might be downright ridiculous to others). Don’t think about that one second though, build what YOU want, not what anyone else should build!

Let’s go back to business and explain you everything about the concept of Revolo Watches and give you the rundown of what we’ve built for ourselves. Revolo as a brand is relatively new but backed by experienced people in the watch business. The name is derived from the word Revolution, for quite obvious reasons, and the ancient Latin word “Volo” which means “I want”.  Along the lines of this philosophy, Revolo tries to provide their customers with something not a lot of brands will offer: freedom of choice to design your own watch. Now this is restricted by the offering on display in the online configurator, but given the fact that they no less than 156 options to choose from, you would struggle to make the exact same watch as the client before you or the one after you.

Concept

Revolo offers seemingly limitless options for your watch. As mentioned before, 156 options to choose from is a lot. Probably more than the selection of beers or wines on offer at your local watering hole, probably more options than your favorite artery-clogging fast-food joint and even they even surpass the number of flavors the London based M&M’s Store offers to give you an (unusual) idea of how far you can go.

You might think this will come at a fairly steep price, considering they would need inventory for all of this in order to ship out watches quickly but you’d be wrong. Prices range from 250 euros for the quartz version up to 795 euros for a full PVD-rose gold version with automatic Swiss movement. Pretty sweet deal. We’ve investigated just about all the options to give you the best possible idea, so here goes!

Overall Appearance & Features

The watch we came up with is basically inspired by some of the more familiar Pilot’s watches on offer. We’ve got a black dial with white markings for the best possible contrast, a straight, knurled crown in steel, the 43mm wide divers case with shaped lugs, a see-through caseback and a vintage styled leather strap.

In terms of features, there isn’t really much to choose from, other than the differences between the movements. All movements provide you with hours, minutes, central seconds and a one or three characters wide date window. Other than that you can also opt for a unidirectional rotatable bezel on all 3 types of case. Then again, the deal is mostly about design, which is already rather interesting. The style of the watch is really up to you.

Dial and Hands

Number of options: 31 dials – 15 hours and minute hands – 10 seconds hands. This means already 4,650 possible configurations, just in terms of dial and hands.

The dial we’ve chosen is a black Pilot’s style with traditional triangle at 12 o’clock and white, highly contrasting applied hour markers and printed digits and minute markers. The dial is a bit flat, a bit dull but it stays true to the concept of a pilots watch where legibility is key. The applied markers feature luminous material, which diminish quite quickly sadly. The hands on our unique piece are the arrow-style hands with matching luminous glow and a straight central seconds hand with luminous pip at the end and a rounded counterweight on the opposite end. The dial also displays the date through a square, 1-date wide window at three o’clock so nothing out of the ordinary really.

When it comes down to the dial and hands, you can create a wide range of styles. No less than 31 different dials, with a few colors per basic design, can be selected. Ranging from a single level solid colored dial to a full rose gold colored one, or a multi-layered dial with a three-date wide date window or dials with markers only, digits only or a combination of the two. The hands for the hours and minutes are spread over three different types (arrow hands, leaf shaped hands or straight hands) and five different finishes per style. When selecting the central seconds hand, you get two different styles (arrow-tipped or round-tipped) in yet again 5 versions per style.

Case and Strap

Number of options: 3 case styles with 3 different finishes – 9 bezel styles (with 18 bezel inlays if you chose a rotatable bezel) – 4 casebacks – 5 different crowns with up to 3 finishes per style – 7 bracelets – 27 leather straps – 3 buckles with 3 different finishes. Now we’re talking about millions of possibilities…

Revolo offers three cases for you to choose from. A classically styled 41mm wide case, a 43mm wide classic diver or a 43mm cushion shaped case. All three cases come in three types of finishes: steel, black PVD or rose gold PVD. All of the cases offer 10ATM water resistance and come with sapphire crystals.

We’ve selected the classically shaped, 43mm wide steel case and while it might be offered as a divers styled case, it works very well as a case for just about any type of watch you come up with. You can also choose to add a unidirectional bezel too, but we decided not to and stay true to our idea of a pilot’s watch. The case is well made, with various lines and angles and a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. The shape and angle of the lugs is also quite nice, which is something that some brands in this price bracket can learn a thing or two from, and make this Revolo a comfortable watch on just about any wrist. The case can be finished with no less than 9 different crowns spread across 5 styles in total. Ranging from a straight knurled crown to a diamond shaped one like you see on an IWC Big Pilot for instance, most crowns are available in 2 types of finishing (steel or black PVD), while some come in three (adding rose gold PVD to the mix)

We fitted ours with a basic crown, with a straight cut knurl for better traction when operating it and a Revolo “V” logo engraved on the top. The bezel and caseback are fitted to the case perfectly, with no visible alignment issues or gaps between the center caseband, caseback and bezel. The flat crystal on top is made of sapphire, so scratch resistance is up to par. The caseback comes in 4 versions, two of which allow for a view of the movement underneath. It is fitted with mineral glass in both options and you can choose between a Revolo engraved one, or one with your own custom engraving. We strongly urge you to choose the latter, since having “Monochrome Unique Piece” like ours engraved into the caseback feels just that little bit cooler! The other two casebacks are enclosed and again with Revolo engraving or a custom text or image.

The customization doesn’t end with just the case or the movement, oh no! As we all undoubtedly have our preference for a specific type of watch, we also have our own preferences as far as the strap or bracelet is considered. Revolo have got you covered in that area too, whether you are a bracelet kind of guy or rather wear your watch on a leather strap. All leather straps come with quick-release pushpins and on one of three types of pin buckles in three different finishes. The only thing missing is a rubber strap to go with your divers watch you quite possible created. The alternative is a rubberized leather strap though, but sill, it should be possible to select a full rubber one really.

Movement

Number of options: 1 quartz, 2 automatic movements.

It’s not often you can fit a watch with one out of three movements. Revolo really allows the buyer to decide what he or she really wants, and also at what final price he or she wants to buy a watch. If it was up to us, at least go for a mechanical one of course but if you go for the quartz movement by Ronda who are we to really complain right? To each their own of course!

The mechanical movements Revolo offers are either a Miyota or a Swiss movement. The Miyota movement 821A features 21 jewels and a maximum of 32 hours of power and comes with a skeletonized rotor. This movement features basic finishes but also results in a slightly more affordable custom Revolo. To give you a clue about the price difference between the Miyota and the Swiss automatic movement; Our watch would cost you 645 euros as it is equipped with the Swiss movement where a Miyota powered version would cost your 200 euros less.

The Swiss powered Revolo features a date, just like the other movement options, that much is obvious. It features 26 jewels and can store up to 42 hours of power and is equipped with hacking seconds. The rotor is finished with Côtes de Genève, the Revolo “V” logo and the text “Revolo Custom Made Watches” engraved into it.

Conclusion

As I stated at the beginning of this review, the success of a concept like this depends entirely on the execution of it. Choose the right options for your clients to play with, enough choices to make truly unique watches in terms of design, and display this is an easy and fluently working online configurator. Revolo offer just that and of the various ‘BYOW’ brands out there this is just about the best. It offers you uniqueness, without breaking your bank account. It offers you diversity to stand out from the crowd if you want, or go for an under-the-radar watch that you simply couldn’t find at any of the existing brands.

Revolo themselves claim the idea is to give the freedom of design to the customer where traditional brands stick to designs following a certain philosophy. And that notion right there, is why you should REALLY play around with the configurator and should REALLY buy one for yourself if you have a design that you dig! And don’t be shy if you do so; share your creation, show us what you came up with! Not convinced? You can also visit one of the Revolo dealers if you are in the area and play around with samples. The dealer will guide you through all the options available and order the watch directly at Revolo. You can pick it up at your dealer, or have it delivered to your home. As with all things Revolo; your choice! All the details on revolo-watches.com.

Pros

  • The easiest “build-your-own-watch” configurator available
  • Wide range of options to select from, 156 in total to be mixed
  • Well thought out design options to allow for truly unique designs
  • Overall excellent value-for-money
  • Customizable down to the box

Cons

  • The dial we opted for is a bit “flat” in looks despite applied markers
  • No filter for absolute abominations of watches… But then again, Revolo can’t be blaimed here
  • No full rubber strap available when creating a divers watch

Prices for the Revolo “BYOW” concept range from € 250 for the quartz powered version with as little as custom engravings as possible to just under € 800 for the Swiss made automatic movement with full customization options (custom engraved caseback and box come at an added premium). To be fair, the price is really good considering the vast range of options you have. Just as any other brand the watches come with documentation and 2-year warranty.


Specifications of the Revolo “Monochrome Unique Piece”

  • Case: 43mm – stainless steel, polished and brushed surfaces – sapphire crystal on the front, mineral crystal on the back – 10ATM water resistant
  • Movement: Automatic Swiss Made movement – 4Hz frequency or 28,000 bph – 26 jewels – custom Revolo rotor – central hours, minutes, second – date at 3 – 42 hours of power reserve
  • Strap: vintage style black leather strap with light brown stitches – quick-release pushpins – pin buckle with Revolo “V” Logo

8 responses

  1. So really we aren’t building tit we are picking what we want like so many other companies. “micro”

  2. Hi Robin,
    thanks for sharing. I already tried the configurator, really insane LOL !
    No information regarding waterproofness anyway….

    Regards,
    slide68

  3. Dear Mike,

    Thanks for your comment. I think it’s better to say that you can design your own unique watch.

    If you have any remaining questions, you can e-mail me at geert@revolo-watches.com.

    Best regards,

    Geert Tibosch
    Marketing manager Revolo Watches

  4. No smaller cases and no 40mm diver option. Only 3 type of hands and i could go on. It’s a cool concept but far too limited to me.

  5. Can you provide more details about the movement in regards to what Swiss watch company makes it?

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