I first encountered the Rogue Type 1 when Min Xiang (MX) from Chrono Design posted about the timepiece, which was to make an appearance on Kickstarter, in a microbrand Facebook group. The design immediately caught my eye, and through a quick follow-up, I found out that Rogue’s owner, Qi Feng, is the cousin of fellow watchmaker Yong Keong (YK) from Feynman.
I followed its progress on Kickstarter and was surprised at the very small media spend that seemed to be taking place. Lack of reach is one of the biggest reasons crowdfunding campaigns can fail, so I thought it was a risky move. However, it seemed to be the right one, as that additional investment in the quality of the product over promotion paid off. By the end of their campaign, Rogue Type 1 had surpassed their funding goal. Wanting to get a firsthand look at the formula for their secret sauce, I chatted with YK to arrange for a meetup with Qi Feng to review the Type 1 which sadly didn't happen but Qi Feng kindly loaned me one of his watch for review. Of all the colors, Type 1A was immediately my favorite.
At 46mm lug to lug and 41mm wide, the angular watch case resembles the 60s skin divers. For those who don’t know, skin divers are lighter versions of the heavy-duty swimmer watches that preserve the style while minimizing that high-pressure functionality that lets them take their timepieces underwater. However, unlike skin divers, the Rogue sports bent lugs. These, together with the polished chamfers, give the watch an even more sophisticated look, and some additional details for collectors to admire. Another thing that stood out to me was the pared-down crown guard of the case which protects the knurled screw-down crown. It’s very rare to find a crown guard on a skin diver, and if they’re there they’re usually very sharp (Think YEMA or Rolex). It’s nice to see this bit of innovation in the design. This, to me, also gives the Rogue Type 1 a slight field watch look. While the crown is easy to screw and grip, I do personally wish it was slightly bigger, and it is an element that gives the watch even more character.
One thing new owners of Rogue will notice right out of the box is that they’ve gone with a rice bracelet instead of traditional rounded beads. These are longer, flatter, sportier, unlike the stock beads of rice bracelets found in the market. The bracelet consists of links with a row of fused beads (three polished in the middle flanked by two brushed exterior beads) and tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 18mm at the clasp. In a step up from the usual specs, the links are screw connected, making it extremely easy to size. The bracelet also has little play when held sideways, and the solid end links match snugly with the case and have no play at all, but just the right amount of brush and polish to shine through. They definitely add a bit of a vintage feel to the style of the watch.
The brushed top and sides merge well with the brushing on the bracelet, and while there is a contrast, it feels very balanced and flowed very well around my wrist. I’m not a fan of bracelets because I like my watches on the lighter side but the weight of the watch and bracelet feels balanced. If the rice bracelet isn’t your thing, not to worry. The case design and rectangular lugs make it extremely versatile, so your Rogue will still look great with many alternatives. When I was changing out the bracelet to a rubber strap, I realised there were no quick-release spring bars, so the changeover won’t be as instant, but since this is a diver-inspired watch, I think the old-school spring bars give me more confidence in how secure the bracelet is as quick release pins are more likely to fail than regular spring bars (I don’t dive by the way).
Moving on to the bezel, it’s been intentionally made with aluminum so that it will take on a faded look over time. While the insert won’t survive the lifetime of the watch, the two-tone effect that results will be interesting to look at. Unfortunately, since I borrowed this watch for review purposes, I won’t witness it on this exact model firsthand. The engraved markings are filled with Super-LumiNova Lume and easy to read – wider at the 3, 6, and 9 markers with 12 being a triangle. The knurled bezel makes it easy to grip and turn the bezel and works in tandem with the knurled crown.
I wish the rectangular hands could be slightly thicker to match the indices proportionately but they are considered a good complement to the angular form of the case. I love the way the indices catches light. The lumed dial lights up brightly behind them, which is also aesthetically pleasing. Under the hood is a Seiko NH35 – reliable, easy to maintain, and sturdy as a tank. It definitely fits with their goals for the watch, although I would have preferred the ghostless position of an NH38. The caseback design gives the watch a utilitarian field watch look with strong branding which is appropriate as a 1st watch.
Speaking to MX, he emphasized that the primary idea behind Rogue Type 1 was to innovate something from the perspective of a watch collector. However, rather than combining existing elements, everything is proprietary, even the bracelet. The only things from a catalogue are the hands, and this was due to a budget-based decision that would lower molding costs and keep the watch at USD 199 at launch.
At the current sale price of $250, there is very little to complain about with the Rogue Type 1. The bracelet is comfortable, the case is sleek and well finished, the lume is strong, and the movement is reliable. Do check out their website for more information.
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Thickness: 13mm
Case Lug-to-Lug: 46mm
Case Water Resistance: 200m
Crown Type: Knurled, Screw-down, Signed
Crystal: Sapphire 3x Anti-Reflective Underside
Caliber: NH35 Japanese
Power Reserve: 41 Hours
Bracelet Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Bracelet Width: 20mm lug-side tapering to 18mm at clasp
Bracelet Attachment: Single fold deployant clasp with 4x micro-adjustments
Bracelet Links: 18x (excl. end-links), screw-in secured
Bracelet Maximum length, excluding watch: 19cm / 7.5"
Bracelet Minimum length, excluding watch: 12cm / 4.75"
Website (for more info): https://www.rogue.watch/
ABOUT ROUGE WATCHES
Rogue Horology was established to fulfill the need for affordable and well-built tool watches. We are a collective of seasoned designers, makers and brand-owners, who set out creating daily-beaters for our own use, as well as our budding collector friends who are new to the hobby. Rogue Horology operates on a no-nonsense business model, creating watches which are of actual usability and durability.
Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review, but I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Rogue Watches or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
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