The kings of titanium are back at it again. After their success with the Resolute tool watch and the Endeavour diver, Singapore-based RZE Watches have released a chronograph: the Valour. It’s a decidedly natural progression for the brand: at this point, someone can buy all three models and have themselves a solid three-watch collection.
The Valour continues RZE’s use of hard-coated titanium, angular cases, and high-legibility dials. In addition to a panda dial with blue accents and an all-black option with orange accents, the watch is offered in “Vintage Salmon.” While it sounds like a snooty but concerning offering at a high-end seafood restaurant (How vintage is the salmon?), I imagine it will be the best seller of the bunch. To be sure, I fell in love as soon as I put it on my wrist.
On the Wrist
The Valour has excellent legibility. A fantastic handset and an amalgam of color and texture had me looking down without even checking the time–I just wanted to enjoy the dial. There are only a handful of watches that can make the same claim. In the dark, the lume popped and drew me in once more.
The Valour does what few chronographs–even others with mecaquartz movements–do. It wears very well. The short, precipitous lugs are a big part of this. But it’s also got to do with the finishing of the watch: the sharp, angular case is softened by its satin finishing, dodging light that would otherwise exaggerate its size.
Drilled lugs make swaps from the serviceable FKM rubber a snap, and the watch facilitates these “I own a guitar but clearly don’t play it because who puts their guitar right up against the amp’s panel like this” photos.
I’m certifying this dial as the Bee’s Knees. I love everything about it. Everything. You should, too! While I have you at this wider shot: the subtle crease and the bisected lume give the hands the perfect amount of character. The beveling on the date window is crisp and so too is the black numbering on the tachymeter bezel.
Look at those thick-ass applied indices. You ever seen indices so thick? No. You haven’t. They look like smooth, shiny Lego bricks. And the polish of the indices up against the beautiful frosted salmon (an amazing dial finish but a terrible dessert). And there’s plenty going on with the dial and the bezel, so a smart move to keep the dial text simple as they have on their other models.
Let’s talk about a couple things here. I won’t try to defend a 24-hour subdial; I’m on the record (somewhere) as saying they’re only good for long-term stays in bunkers. But the dual-finish just eases you right into that radial texture, doesn’t it? And the narrow bevel of the crystal is slim enough as to avoid any distortion while keeping the crystal thoroughly modern (like Millie).
The last thing I want to point out about the dial features is how the 3-6-9 markers were handled. Oftentimes with chronographs and date function watches, you’ll have the corresponding marker lopped off, pressed right up against the subdial or date window, suffocating, ruining the aesthetics of a watch because some broom-closet watch designer didn’t care enough to make it work. Not here. The 3-6-9 batons have breathing room and avoid any feeling of clutter. Add the white hashes to give the impression that the indices emerge from the periphery, and baby, you got a stew goin’.
Lume? Yeah, we got lume. Plenty. Bright, beautiful, even lume.
Case & Strap
This case is classic RZE (if one can say that of a brand with three models): superlight titanium, angles, and UltraHex™ coating for extreme durability. I love the knurling pattern on the crown, which made it incredibly easy to use. But not as much as I love the low-profile integrated pushers, which supply satisfying action when actuated. (I’m tired of generic pushers. If you’re designing a case, design pushers, too!) Plus check out the beveled edges–even the angles have angles!
Easy and simple on the caseback. Points for the quick-release strap (really, we’re at the point where I’m suspicious of any tool watch that doesn’t have drilled lugs and a quick-release strap or bracelet and drilled lugs).
The included strap is an black FKM rubber affair, with a notch to keep the first keeper in place (visible above), and a custom titanium buckle that mirrors the angles of the case. As with most FKM, it’s rather comfortable. While the watch did pair nicely with several other straps, NATOs are a no go: the way the case is constructed just makes it impossible. And if you’re interested in a bracelet option, RZE will be selling theirs for an additional $109.
Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, the RZE Valour seems to do everything right. The angles of the ultralight, ultradurable case, the texture of the dial the sleek pushers, the lume, the markers–on and on. You may turn up your nose at mecaquartz, but you should be better than that. And if you aren’t, it doesn’t matter, because the Valour is just that good–the movement doesn’t matter.
Here it is: The RZE Valour is not just my favorite RZE model. It’s one of the best affordable chronographs I’ve ever had the chance to wear.
Check out more chronograph reviews on The Watch Clicker
Check out the RZE website (affiliate link)
RZE Valour Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal