Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08, a new timepiece featuring an innovative date mechanism.
This review of the Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08 includes specification details and pricing.
As a child, I was always fascinated with how my toys worked. Invariably a screwdriver and an inquisitive hand would dismantle a vulnerable toy in order to glimpse at the inner workings. Quite often the process of reassembly would result in a small pile of surplus parts. My curiosity came at a price.
Schwarz Etienne has gained a reputation for crafting watches which disclose many parts often hidden from view. The Roswell 08 proves to be no exception revealing a column wheel, jumper, springs and levers adjacent the hour and minute hands.
A key attribute of the new Roswell 08 is its prominent date display, positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock. The date display, the exposed balance wheel and the array of aforementioned parts make the Roswell 08 a unique and eye-catching watch, worthy of further discussion.
The hours and minutes are communicated with ‘Alpha-type’ hands which are lined with luminescent fill, exhibiting a tasteful, conservative aesthetic. The hour track is populated with luminescent trapezoidal indexes, save for 12 o’clock where Arabic numerals are employed.
A small seconds display is positioned at 11o’clock, employing a small green disc and succinct white arrow.
The prevailing date is presented on a crescent-shaped aperture. The date disc is inclined by 10° in order to improve legibility. Where the Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08 is different from other watches is that the date mechanism can be seen its entirety.
The date display is simple to read owing to the scale of the numerals. Cleverly, by using the jumper for indexing the date on a column wheel, the company has been able to reduce the size of the date disc teeth, which in turn allows more room for the numerals on the date display.
Adjacent the date display is the balance wheel which is intricately formed and features the maison’s logo. A micro-rotor is located at 9 o’clock.
Despite there being an array of details dial-side, the indications prove simple to read. I suspect one reason for the ease of read-off relates to the chosen colour-scheme. The tobacco brown dial provides the perfect foil for the indications.
Schwarz Etienne introduced its first Roswell timepiece in 2015. The brand chose to name the model after the Roswell mystery and it has used the mysterious alien phenomenon as a source of inspiration for its ‘flying saucer’ case shape.
The profile of the case fuses curving lines with sharply defined edges. The lugs are broad, yet seem at ease with the rest of the case. The stainless steel case measures a substantial 45mm in diameter, exuding masculinity and proving very comfortable to wear.
The fluted crown sits between two crown protectors. The lower crown protector is used for correcting the date and performs this task using a lever with an ‘all or nothing/on-off’ mechanism.
Six screws retain the case-back. At the centre of the case-back is a futuristic green disc, adorned with the brand’s nomen and a mysterious motif.
The strap is also worthy of mention. It is presented in tobacco brown calfskin and detailed with pistachio green stitching. In addition, the lining is also presented in pistachio green. This combination of colours, although unusual, works remarkably well.
The self-winding movement, the ISE 100.11 is an evolution of the brand’s ISE 100.00 calibre. This movement is inverted with the micro-rotor and balance positioned dial-side.
Both the balance and hairspring are produced by E20 Innovations, a sister company of Schwarz Etienne. The ability to produce these components is a technical capability only a few brands possess.
I have witnessed first-hand the impressive vertical integration of this maison. State of the art CNC machines produce main-plates and bridges to an exacting standard. Other types of movement components are also made within the confines of the company’s modern atelier. The technical prowess of the company has led it to supply other watch brands with its impressive movements.
The movement has a prodigious power-reserve of 4 days.
Part of the charm of the Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08 relates to the dial and the showcasing of components normally hidden from view. Seldom does a watch company grant sight of the balance, date mechanism and micro-rotor adjacent the time indications. Personally, I find this spectacle indulges my penchant for horological voyeurism. A potential pitfall of dials festooned with much detail is they can prove difficult to decipher, however, I am pleased to report that no such problems afflict this timepiece.
The ‘flying saucer’ case shape is aesthetically appealing and highly original. I especially like how the crown protectors harmoniously fuse with the case. Schwarz Etienne has masterfully incorporated the date corrector into the lower crown protector, providing a discreet means of advancing the date.
I am smitten with the Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08. The watch benefits from an array of virtues, distinguishing it as special. Most notably, the numerous parts shown on the dial reveal each thought process of the date mechanism. The company’s attention to detail is superb and, unlike my childhood toys, there is no need to foolishly tinker in order to understand the inner workings of the Roswell 08.
- Model: Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 45mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid case-back; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres)
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date
- Movement: ISE 100.11; Self-winding movement; power reserve 86 hours
- Strap: Tobacco brown strap with contrasting stitching and presented on a steel folding buckle
- Price: CHF 15,400 including taxes (RRP as at 13.2.2018)