Wancher is a brand from Japan that I was not aware of until very recently. Started by Taizo Okagaki in the early 1990’s, the company began offering writing instruments and recently added watches to their product lineup. For this review I have their Extreme GMT and Ranger II GMT watches, both of which I consider to be affordable, well made with strong attention to detail.
Both of these watches are 100% designed in Japan, with 80% of their assembly done in Japan. The automatic movements in both watches come from Japan, but I do not have further information about these movements. Regardless, they both perform well and have hand winding and hacking functions. The two watches I am reviewing operate exactly the same way with hour, minute, second and GMT hands and a 3 o’clock well magnified cyclops date window in black on white.
Both watches use 316L stainless steel with flat sapphire crystals and beveled edges that are slightly raised above the bezels. The Extreme GMT watch uses a beautifully finished 24 click bidirectional machined edge stainless steel bezel with classic white on black GMT bezel insert. The slightly larger Ranger II watch uses a fixed brushed stainless bezel with a polished beveled edge and engraved black numerals and markings. The Extreme GMT watch uses a classic downward facing triangle at the 24 hour point and the Ranger II watch has a “24” in place of the triangle in the same location. It is interesting to note that numbers 8 through 16 face outward on the Ranger II watch bezel. All numbers on the rotating bezel of the Extreme GMT watch face inward.
The hour, minute and second hands are identical on both watches in the classic design of a Rolex Submariner. Since the Ranger II watch has a larger face, these three hands appear slightly shorter than on the Extreme GMT watch. The GMT hands of both watches have an arrowhead but the Extreme GMT has a bright green shaft with chrome and white arrow while the Ranger II has a shorter GMT hand with a orange and white arrow with spear tip and a orange and black shaft. The faces of the two watches are completely different. The Extreme GMT is done in the classic Rolex Submariner white on black design with raised chrome edged and white filled markers and short printed minute/second markers on the outer edge of the watch face. The slightly larger Ranger II face appears to be completely printed white on black with a very large downward facing triangle at 12 o’clock. Alternating even rectangular and odd square markers and longer minute/second markers complete the design. I have not seen this face design before.
The other somewhat humorous difference between these the faces of these two watches is in their printed wording. Both have the Wancher logo and name on the upper half. On the bottom half the Extreme GMT watch has the words “OYSTER PERPETUAL” above the green “EXTREME”. The Ranger II alternately says “SOLID PRECISION” above the orange “RANGER II”. I consider the face of the Extreme GMT watch to be a deeper shade of black than the Ranger II watch. The cases of these two watches are very similar with a few key differences. The Extreme GMT watch is 40 mm in diameter, not counting the crown, and is 47 mm lug to lug with polished center links on the bracelet, which taper from 19.5 mm to 15.75 mm and is 20 mm between the lugs. The Ranger II watch is 42 mm in diameter, not counting the crown, and is 52 mm lug to lug and has all brushed links on the bracelet, which taper from 20 mm to 16 mm and is 21 mm between the lugs. Both watches are 13.5 mm thick and are about 28.5 mm wide at the lugs.
Both watches have brush cases with polished sides and use the same gear edged polished 7 mm diameter by 4 mm high screw down crowns. When screwed down, the crown on the Extreme GMT watch protrudes slightly farther out from the polished crown guard, so it is easier to grip than the crown of the Ranger II watch. Both watches have the same style Rolex screw down appearing back with the same brand identification and very similar solid end links as well as the same clasps (polished center on the Extreme GMT watch). Folding clasp links on both watches are the same high quality with polished and satin finish.. The removable polished edge links in these bracelets are held in with screws, making removal and installation a pleasure. . The key difference between these watches, besides their faces, are their cases. The proportions of the face and bezel to the case of the Extreme GMT watch is the classic current model Rolex Submariner. The proportions of the Ranger II watch results in a longer case and and a smaller bezel to face ratio.
The Extreme GMT watch is rated 5 ATM W/R while the Ranger II watch is rated 3 ATM W/R, but for most wearers these watches will rarely go through more water than being washing off under a faucet. Both watches come with a 1 year warranty and are QC’d in Japan. Finishing is excellent on these watches, and each watch comes in a (unique to me) box made of lightweight paulownia wood, which is famous and very popular in Japan. The Extreme GMT watch is $220 and the Ranger II watch is $280. Right now, there is a 10% off promotion in effect when you use “MBWW10” with your order. wancher.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.