This might be a debatable watch review I am about to write about and not because of the brand, but because of the large hand design and hour / minute movement concept on the dial. Introducing, the new MYSTERY collection by Zoid, and at first glance on it, immediately (if you are a watch person) it reminds you of the “Freak” collection by Ulysse Nardin and the “Space” collection by Azimuth. No doubt Ulysse Nardin is one of the big swiss giants that creates amazing watches, but how many can afford to own a piece of a “Freak” but Azimuth Space (a Singapore brand with Swiss DNA flowing in each of their masterpiece) was the answer to that with its’ unique and mesmerising dial concept at an affordable price point as compared to the “Freak“.
However, in today’s fast pace changes and substantial growth within the microbrand industry, so is the demand of watch buyer’s expectation and the buying amount factor. Therefore, I would probably describe MYSTERY by Zoid is the answer in the microbrand market to Azimuth Space collection, but not in terms of the specifications though. If I were to sum it up, it’s like you are buying a car with 4 wheels and has the capability to bring you from point A to point B, but the price you are paying is for a Lamborghini (Ulysee Nardin) or Ferrari (Azimuth) or BMW (Zoid). There is a saying goes, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
So lets begin with the usual introduction of the brand… Zoid was created by Andrew Oliver, who is a watch enthusiast and watch lover that appreciates great designed and unique products where each collection will be limited to a small quantity of production. Each of Zoid’s variation usually comes in 18 – 28 pieces, and that is how unique it would be if you own one. Previously I covered a hands-on review of their previous model – Dual Face and a preview article of their launched Mastermind via Kickstarter, and if “boldly unique” is what I can quickly describe what Zoid watches is all about.
What’s the positive…
- I actually like the “Rolex Sky Dweller” theme fixed bezel. It’s smooth and well balance on the case. Also love the contracts between the polished, glossy look of the bezel against the brushed matte finishing of the side case.
- The large minute hand movement design that looks like a anchor… of course this is the main star of the show…
- I like how Zoid considers placing a triangle in the centre of the hour disk to give an indication and pointing towards the exact hour.
- For this version that I am reviewing, I like the simplicity and colour combination used (black and blue) on the dial.
- Quick release pin strap is always a nice to have for the ease of changing and the need for any tool to do so.
- The packaging is professionally and elegantly done up, giving me a good 1st impression feeling during the unboxing process.
But on every upside, there’s a downside… these are just my opinions what could have been better.
- Would have love if the idea of the hour and minute switch places (reverse engineering). That way, from far view I already can guess the hour and I just need to look closely for the minute range.
- Not sure if this helps, but probably a magnifier glass on the hour indicator ? Placed on top of the hole displaying the hour index.
- 26mm lug width. Well this is just me… I would have preferred it to be 24mm though as it’s much more common and easier to get straps of this size from the market.
- The strap stitching should match the watch dial… probably blue stitching would be nice.
- Straps a bit thin to my liking and to match with the watch ruggedness.
- The lume could have somewhat be better. Maybe making the whole rotating disc lume ?
Technical Specifications of the watch :
- Modified Automatic Miyota Movement with Power Reserve up to 40 hours
- Stainless Steel 316L Case
- Sapphire Crystal
- Transparent Exhibition Case back
- Stainless Crown with etched logo
- Case diameter of 46mm and lugs to lugs 52mm
- Case thickness of 12mm inclusive of Bezel
- Quick Release Calf Leather Strap
- Stainless Buckle with etched logo
- Superluminova on Minute Hand and Hour Disc
- Water resistance up to 5ATM
- Limited edition of 18 pieces per variation
Here’s my detailed review on Zoid MYSTERY…
Case : Eventhough it’s 46mm with lug to lug 52mm, it actually fitted nicely on my 6.5″ wrist and I am surprised by the thickness of 12mm which includes the bezel. I love the combination of polished bezel and brush finishing case as mentioned earlier. The Rolex Sea Dweller bezel theme was constructed nicely where there isn’t any rough edges on it eventhough it looked as if it’s sharp but I guess it’s how the glossy polishing finish made it appear that way. The crown (with a spanner logo from the “I” on Zoid) at 3 o’clock position is a push-pull type, sandwiched by a crown guard giving it a muscular and ruggedness feel to it. On the back, there’s an exhibition caseback which offers a view of the beating heart to the watch. Finally, I am not a fan of any lugs that are larger than 24mm or smaller than 20mm. I always feel the ideal strap size should always be between 20mm-24mm as it’s the most common size for any watch brand in the market, hence making it easier to replace the strap if necessary for a change of look sometimes.
Dial : The main attraction of the watch is definitely the large size anchor minute hand complimented with its’ rotating hour disc. From far view you can accurately guess the minute, but for the hour time one must look closely onto the hole that display the hour index on the disc. Like I have mentioned earlier, I would have preferred if the minute and hour could swap places (reverse engineering). On the dial itself, the design looks as if there are a few jigsaw puzzle pieces being attached together through mini screws with a hole slightly in the centre to showcase the beating heart of the movement. On a side note, there is another variation whereby each of the puzzle comes in different colour (multi-colour) and I really love that design. Around the dial, there are 3 metal plates screwed down onto it which display the brand (ZOID), model (MYSTERY) and movement (AUTOMATIC). Because of this version I am reviewing has this stealth concept with a pinch of blue, the metal plates wording itself is in black and can’t really be seen clearly unless you look closely onto it.
Strap : 2 sets of straps were provided – black crocodile grain calf leather skin with white stitching and a smooth texture bright royal / dodger blue calf skin with black stitching. The quality of the straps are good, but I would have prefer it to be slightly thicker because whenever it’s on my wrist, it felt like it might drop off my wrist due to the weight of the case. Somehow this could be just me… Love the quick release pin attached to the strap, makes it easier to change without the need of a tool. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, would have preferred 24mm over the current 26mm…
Packaging : Kudos to Zoid to consider the unboxing experience. Really enjoy the process of unboxing the watch when I gotten it from TVG Singapore. The box is well-built externally and comes with a carbon theme design internally. The watch sits perfectly onto the cushion while on the side there is a hidden compartment that stores the warranty card, cleaning cloth and the additional strap.
My conclusion to the MYSTERY…
The watch definitely lived up to its’ model name, Mystery through its time-telling concept. Kudos again to Zoid for being bold with the design as usual with their collection thus far. I would definitely recommend this watch as an alternative to Ulysse Nardin and Azimuth if one can’t afford the swiss pricing but again, it’s definitely not an apple to apple comparison and what you pay is what value you get in return. Do check them out quick as each variation are limited to 18 pieces only. Thanks again to Alex from TVG Singapore for always considering me to review the brands that he brings in, which are always uniquely different from others.
If you are interested in purchasing, viewing or inquiring more about this watch, you can check them out (if you are in Singapore but they do have other retailers globally) through Zoid’s official retailers.