For a few years, Cadisen has tried to move up the rungs of credibility among the brands offered on AliExpress. Known mostly for dressier pieces with clean, sometimes simple dials, Cadisen has started to move toward everyday sportier watches. While their own original designs are some of the nicer-looking models on AliExpress, they have begun this year to offer homages.
In this effort to appeal to more people, their sportier models mostly take their cues from Switzerland. Visiting their official store, there are models such as the C8180G (inspired by the AP Royal Oak), the C8198G (modeled after the palm-dialed Rolex Datejust), and the C8197G (their take on the Longines HydroQuest). The standout of these recent homages is their take on the iconic Rolex Day-Date – the C8185G.
On the Wrist
Homage watches have been a source of debate in This Thing of Ours for quite some time, so let’s address it. In my experience, these watches have either made me want their inspiration that much more, or completely turned me off from the piece completely. These watches, while unoriginal, are becoming increasingly better-made and deserve to be placed in the same light as an homage from a big brand like the Bulova Super Seville. Homage brands and watches allow many collectors to experience what a model they are interested in may be like at an affordable price. No one will mistake any of these pieces for their inspirations, but the point for me and like-minded collectors is to get the best-looking and made watch for the money we are willing to spend now. There is a chance we get a bad model, sure. I would argue that getting a great surprise in quality for money is worth it.
In that vein, the Cadisen C8185G is surprising, to say the least. Taking it out of the box, I was shocked at how well the watch wore. This watch is light and on the wrist, it feels as a quartz watch would. Aside from the occasional glare from lights, I hardly know it’s there. I appreciate some heft to a watch, but the weight of this particular model isn’t a deal-breaker. It is a very comfortable and enjoyable watch to wear all day. That was a welcome change from the Omega Planet Ocean, Phylida SE-11, and Timex Yacht Racer I’ve been regularly wearing.
It is important for me that a watch perform well at my desk. Working on a laptop (or any keyboard, for that matter) you notice when you have to adjust your hands to keep the watch from banging the device. I don’t have that problem here. It sits unwaveringly on my wrist no matter how many hours I spend typing. No hand position adjustments, no horrifying clanks as it bangs against the desk or laptop. The watch is there, but completely out of the way.
Looking at the dial is always enjoyable. The sunburst pattern, paired with the faceted Roman numerals and bar indices, plays with every bit of light that hits it. The simple stick hands used for the hour, minute, and second hands in matching goldtone are extremely easy to read. I never have to stare for longer than a second or two to know what time it is. Even the chapter ring has a mirror finish, complemented with a laser etching of the brand name.
The finishing of the indices and hands is critical to being able to read this dial as there is no lume. Each bar and number is polished and beveled very well. Everything on the dial is aligned correctly. There are no glaring mistakes in how the indices are applied. Even the applied logo and accompanying lettering are aligned correctly. In low-light environments, a simple tilt will give enough of a glare on the dial to read the time. I had no issues checking the time on a recent date night to a movie theater.
While looking at the full day spelled out between 11 and 1, I started to become aware of how often I forget the day of the week – much more than I forget the date. Sunday gets special treatment, as it is red, but all the other days are black on a white background. What isn’t easy to read at a quick glance is the date. The one flaw of this dial construction isn’t on the dial at all – it’s the magnifying glass over the date window. The cyclops is positioned correctly; however, it is not sufficient in strength. If a good magnification strength is 2.5x, this seems to be 1.5x at the most. This lack of strength tends to block out the date, causing a full wrist turn to make sure it’s the 13th and not the 3rd. Annoying, yes. Is it enough for me to source and replace the crystal or take the cyclops off? No.
Bracelet and Case
As I mentioned before, the watch is very light. Most of that is due to what Cadisen provides as a President-style bracelet. For as comfortable as this three-link design is, its construction is not confidence-inspiring. The female endlinks make sure the watch hugs each inch of your wrist, but its tendency to flex can rip a hair or two out before it settles. Each link appears to be solid, but they sound tinny and frail. Having bought sports watches at this price before, I hoped for more of a solid feel in the links. It’s a bit disappointing, as the watch has a 10ATM rating.
You would think a watch with that much water resistance would be one of the more surer-feeling watches I have, but it isn’t. There are times (like training walks with my 35-pound Rottweiler puppy) that I feel the bracelet may snap. It never does, and I imagine that’s why it was constructed to flex in the fashion it does, but it still is a scary feeling. I’d like for it to feel a bit more solid. I’d gladly trade the jingle and jangle for no rattle at all. Lastly, I wish the butterfly clasp was gold-tone to match the bracelet. The starkness of the untreated stainless steel seems cheap, making the use of it feel like an afterthought. I’m looking for leather straps to try it on, but I like the bracelet’s ability to make this suitable for any situation. I’ve worn this watch with army fatigues, sweats, cargo shorts, AND khakis. I don’t think I would have the same versatility with a leather strap.
Moving on to the case, it is completely polished with a fluted bezel attached that shows hallmarks of being very well-machined. There are no sharp spots on either and the definition in each facet of the bezel is incredible for a watch of this price. A signed crown was a welcome surprise, and its use is surprisingly smooth and direct. I’ve had no bad windups. Each day- and date-setting is quick and complete; no half positions at all. The visible caseback also suffers from the lack of a gold-tone treatment. It, as does the clasp, stands out unnecessarily and contributes to a cheap look to a watch for which it would be hard to estimate the price otherwise. The case would benefit from a solid same-colored caseback.
This is my first experience with Cadisen and the C8185G was not a bad place to start. I wanted a gold-tone watch that was versatile and simple, and this design (while taken from Rolex) accomplishes that. I instantly fell in love with how it looked next to my skin. The yellow gold tone is warm and shockingly humble in its appearance.
It is very well-made despite my lack of confidence in the bracelet and the look of the caseback and clasp. Having designed their own models originally likely helped Cadisen execute this homage, as it doesn’t suffer from the bad construction, faulty alignments, and poor finishing that most AliExpress homage brands experience. This watch has managed to scratch every itch while effectively leaving a desire for more from the brand.
Check out more dress watch reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Cadisen Offical Store on AliExpress, here.
Cadisen C8185G Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal