Riedenschild Original

Ref. 1116/02
A WatchCarefully Review

by C. Bradley Jacobs

25 June 2008

One of the latest Riedenschild Original watches to be powered by a Gematic movement is the bold pilot-style AdvanceProDate (Ref. 1116/02). The young brand from Germany started out with a variety of movement supplied from noteworthy manufacturers worldwide, but has recently been focussing on using Swiss ébauches, modified in Germany, to motivate its products. This new timepiece features a very thin, high-quality automatic which will be described presently. But first, some details of the overall design and quality of this watch.

Measuring an appealing 40 mm wide, the relatively narrow bezel of this sturdy Riedenschild AdvanceProDate (Ref. 1116/02) stainless steel watch serves to emphasize the strength of the matte black dial and rehaut. The contrast between these surfaces and the glossy, luminous numerals and markers, as well as the polished and luminous hands, makes the entire ensemble eminently readable. The brand name and other text on the dial, though partially printed in somewhat large font, does not show such marked contrast and is consequently not a distraction when quickly reading the time from this watch. A long seconds hand makes timing events or simply taking accurate readings quite easy. The date window is unobtrusively tucked up near the 3:00 marker and is easily found but also easily overlooked when not needed.

Riedenschild has chosen a classic case shape, and one that is appropriate for a traditional pilot's-style wristwatch. To it they have added some appealing individual touches: a signed crown with black & white shield logo, sapphire crystals, and subtle model information etched around the display back. Sporty padded leather straps are well suited to this watch and feature a decorative button which, like the well-engineered butterfly deployant clasp, is also signed with the brand's logo.

As mentioned above, one of the most significant elements of this watch is the movement. Gematic Caliber 0988 is a 24-jewel automatic based upon the current industry-standard thin Swiss movement found in many high-end watches from brands as diverse as IWC, RGM, and Ulysse Nardin. This variant is elaborated in Germany with GeMatic Cal. 0988blued screws, plates and bridges covered in perlage, and a gilt rotor with decorative engraving. The timekeeping rates of this review example were not specifically tested, but in general use it exhibited accuracy typical of this high-grade caliber and no deviations were noted. Hand-winding and setting functions are very smooth and effortless; the rotor spins freely and no rattling or rubbing inside the case were detectable.

As with all Riedenschild Original watches I've had occasion to examine, the quality of this piece is very good. The brand prides itself in following rigorous standards in assembly and manufacturing, so it is no surprise that the watches are impressive. What is surprising, almost across the entire Riedenschild line, is the pricing. This model has a suggested US retail price of $799, a target that most makers of well-built European watches with exclusive movements could only consider in their dreams. For that price, the buyer receives a nicely packaged watch and a two-year guarantee. Riedenschild's quality packaging - Photo courtesy R.O.

If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you will know that I am impressed with what Riedenschild Original has been able to produce in the few years they have been in existence. Some of the styles are rather bolder than many traditional mechanical collectors prefer, but the market for these pieces is strong and Riedenschild has tapped into it. Their variety of simple, classic watches as well as gadgety, attention-getters seems likely to provide something to appeal to even the most discerning consumer, and the quality cannot be exceeded within the price range. For more information visit www.riedenschild.com.

Text & images (of the watch under review) © C. Bradley Jacobs; all other images courtesy EWG