Although WRUK primarily reviews microbrands, every now and then a big brand contacts us with a new release. We were very excited to see the new Rotary Heritage SS20 Series, which promises a return to the brand’s roots.
Rotary Heritage SS20 Series Review
The Rotary Heritage series are new watches from a British watch company with a long heritage. Each of the models is based on a vintage design but brought up-to-date with a more modern size, reliable Japanese automatic-winding movement and a two-year warranty (three years if you register your watch online). Presentation of the watches is professional, with each of the 300 watches of each model arriving in a sturdy two-part cardboard box along with instructions and a certificate of authenticity.
Rotary Heritage SS20 Series Unboxing Video
I really like the design of the Rotary Heritage series case. It is a 40mm diameter, which makes it feel very modern, and finished in rose gold PVD. I’m not normally one for gold watches, but I think this one is tastefully done. It has mineral crystals on the front and back (I would have like to have seen them using sapphire at this price point) and so you can see the decorated Miyota 821A movement in action when you flip the watch over. The Miyota 8 series is a lower-end Japanese movement but it is reliable and fairly accurate. It runs at 21,600bpm (6 ticks per second) which gives it an authentically vintage feel. Although this watch has no date window you can feel that the movement still has a date function as it takes two ‘clicks’ to get to the time setting position. I’d rather no-date watches use a proper no-date movement but it is not the end of the world.
The case has some interesting features: a couple of steps down the side make it feel a little thinner and the lugs have a slight twist, similar to an Omega Speedmaster. The only thing I was not sure of is the lugs curve outward past the point where the strap connects, leaving an odd gap on either side. It is not hugely noticeable but it certainly kept attracting my eye. The crown has a smooth action and is a little larger than most vintage crowns which makes it a lot easier to use than a “real” vintage watch.
Dial and Hands
The dial is the real draw of the Rotary Heritage watch: it is a superb radially brushed metal dial with crisp, clear printed text and the indices are finished in a gold foil. Although it is not multi-layered, the domed crystal gives is a reals sense of depth. It is a pleasure to read, and the delicate hands are very legible. I particularly enjoyed watching the red second hand smoothly sweeping around the dial.
Strap and Buckle
The strap is the weak point of this Rotary Heritage watch: it is very stiff and cheap-feeling and you will want to immediately swap it for something better – I will be putting my Paul Twice strap onto it. You’ll want to keep the signed buckle, though. It has a really interesting and unique design that is a step above the generic buckles that are supplied with new straps.
What I Liked
- It is great to see a high-street brand producing a mechanical watch.
- The dial is beautiful, I love the vintage look and combined with its modern size it makes this style of watch much more wearable.
- If you buy a Rotary watch you get support and warranty cover from a big, well-known company that is unlikely to disappear overnight.
What I Didn’t Like
- Although this is a limited edition, the RRP of £249 is a touch high for the specifications on offer – although discounts are often available.
- I would have preferred a true no-date movement within the watch; perhaps even a decorated hand-wind movement to allow for a thinner case
- I’m not sure about the way the lugs curve outwards, leaving a gap on either side of the strap. Maybe a better, padded strap would mask this slightly.
Rotary Heritage SS20 Series – The WRUK Review
Overall, I really like this watch – and I am not just saying that because I didn’t pay for it. Rotary has always been one of the better British watch manufacturers when it comes to styling but their quartz-only high-street presence has put me off buying one since I became a serious watch collector. With this new range you get a great quality vintage-looking watch with the backing of a big brand. This makes it an absolutely perfect buy as a gift for someone who is new to watch collecting and as long as you can get a discount (I have seen these watches for under £200 on eBay) I recommend that you consider adding it to your wishlist.
Buy a Rotary Heritage Watch