We see so many dive watches. Okay, there’s also the odd aviation watch but it’s nice to see something different: introducing the ATOLL Viceroy Precision.
ATOLL Viceroy Precision Review
Kickstarter has its critics, but I think it has benefitted the watch industry enormously. The big brands keep on recycling variations on the same few themes and there is little innovation. Crowdfunding allows niche ideas to find an audience and allows creators to ensure they can sell enough to support a production run. Margins are low and there’s little guarantee the manufacturer will be around in a couple of years for after-sales service but you get top-specs for a low-price and can pick up something far more exclusive than a Rolex or an Omega.
The ATOLL Viceroy Precision is housed in a 40mm case that wears smaller thanks to its thinness: 9.8mm or the plain bezel and 10.3mm for the rose gold version (as reviewed). To fit a sapphire crystal and Miyota 9039 movement in this is pretty impressive – I expect the absence of a date wheel helps with this.
Nevertheless, the watch wears very well and indeed meets the maker’s claim of fitting under a shirt cuff. Indeed it fits under a cuff better than any of my other watches, except for my 1978 Seiko Lord Quartz. The plain case-back is just fine by me, I’d rather my money go on the parts of a watch I see and a badly-done etching is worse than nothing at all in my view.
The signed crown is a little larger than you might expect, but it is easy to manipulate. I thought that a crown that had more diameter and less depth would be better balanced. It looks more functional than decorative. The watch has a slight 1970s-vibe with its straight lugs that almost look like the end-links of a bracelet. I get annoyed by gaps between watches and straps but this one leaves no flesh on show.
Finally don’ be scared off by the 48mm lug-to-lug length – those pseudo end-links mean that this one wears a lot smaller than you would think! I’m not sure I would wear a watch with a rose gold bezel, but it is not unattractive and the finish on the details is crisp.
Dial and Hands
California dials divide opinion. I am ambivalent. This is one of the few watches that balances better without a date, and so there are no distractions on the dial other than the two forms of numerals. Mercedes hands are perhaps a safe choice, but they are easy to read and well finished.
Lume is rarely a feature that dress watchmakers shout about but this one has Super-Luminova and lights up like a Christmas tree after even a short spell in sunlight.
Strap and Buckle
Other than the absence of a fancy case-back, the only indication that the ATOLL Viceroy Precision has been built to a price is the strap. It’s a standard Genuine leather black strap that is not the worst I have seen but I would be replacing it immediately. At the price, you can afford to budget for a high-quality strap of your choice and – like the case back – I would rather not pay for something I don’t want or need to even this slight negative is actually better for the buyer.
The buckle is again a standard tang affair with the brand name engraved upon it. I would not mind if my chosen strap was incompatible with this buckle and, once again, I can see this as a positive. It has a 20mm lug width so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
ATOLL Viceroy Precision – Video Review
What I Liked
- There are not many thin microbrand watches in a market dominated by divers, and this is one of the thinnest
- The super early bird price (£200) represents excellent value for money
- The ATOLL Viceroy Precision keeps its cost down but never compromises anywhere that it matters
What I Didn’t Like
- The design is one you will either love or hate – the two-tone look simply doesn’t work for me but I rather like the steel bezel version
- The crown is a tiny bit deep for my taste
- The strap is not great (although this frees you up to use whatever strap you desire.)
ATOLL Viceroy Precision – The WRUK Verdict
On paper, this watch is not my thing at all: I don’t tend to wear small watches, I am not a fan of the two-tone look, I would never choose a watch with a California dial and I demand a date. Yet, there is something that draws me to the ATOLL Viceroy Precision. Maybe it’s the way it has clearly ben made with passion by someone who knows what they like and is not pandering to the mass-market. Maybe it is because it manages to keep to its price point without compromising on anything that matters. Whatever it is, despite being very far from my usual style there is something about this watch that appeals to me.
As I say in my video review: you will have already decided whether the styling speaks to you or not, so fundamentally all these watch reviews can do is tell you two things: is it well-built and is it worth the money? Emphatically, on both counts, the ATOLL Viceroy Precision comes up trumps.
Buy an ATOLL Viceroy Precision
The ATOLL Viceroy Precision will be coming to Kickstarter in the next couple of days. Early bird pricing is an unbelievable £200, and even the final RRP of £339 is good value for the specifications on offer.
You can find the Kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atoll-watch-co/556020000
[EDIT – What I did not realise at the time of review (I’m not an expert on all things horological, just an enthusiastic amateur!) is that this watch is a close homage to a “Rolex Bubbleback” so if you are looking for a cheap Rolex Bubbleback alternative, this might give you the look you want for a low price. Bob’s Watches has an excellent article on the History of the Rolex Bubbleback here: https://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-blog/watch-review/vintage-week-rolex-bubbleback-3131.html]