It’s another watch from Swan & Edgar. We’ve been surprised by the quality of some of their previous offerings – is the Swan & Edgar Ambassador any good?
Swan & Edgar Ambassador Review
Let’s be clear: Swan & Edgar is a very divisive brand. Not since Filipo Loreti have I seen a brand that inspires quite so many people to post critical comments on reviews and videos. I think it’s down to the marketing: Swan & Edgar are not claiming to build their watches in Britain, but they certainly do not seem to mind if one gets that impression. They are obtuse about the calibre of movement they use – which seem very similar to those used in sub-£50 DHGate or Aliexpress faux-chronographs (search “Calendar Watch” to see what I mean). And when I have offered the right of reply in an interview with WRUK, they have, thus far, failed to respond. To their credit, they still keep on sending watches over – and this one was provided free of charge on the understanding I give it away in a competition.
I always give a balanced view of watches I review – and so if you will only be satiated by a review that says the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is worthy of being thrown in the bin, then you will be disappointed. I am equally not going to pretend the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is going to seriously compete in the luxury watch sector! As always – my review focuses on the quality for the price – in this case, £150 at the time of writing.
Case and Crown
The Swan & Edgar Ambassador is massive. I mean massive. At 48mm across the widest part of the case, even the cushion shape and short lugs do not help to make this wearable on a smaller wrist. If you have a wrist smaller than, say, 7.5 inches, forget it. That is my wrist size, and I felt like a child trying on my dad’s watch. On the flip-side, it is weighty (233 grams) and does not feel flimsy like some of the Aliexpress watches that Swan & Edgar watches get compared to. The unnamed movement, which the brand says is hand-assembled, sits behind an open case back and has an undecorated rotor. It is definitely a cheap Chinese movement, but it seems to do the job adequately, and there is a 5-year guarantee if it breaks.
The watch actually was quite well-balanced on the wrist, despite its heft, but I had a couple of real issues with it. Firstly, the crown is too small and fiddly for my taste, and I did not like the way it sits off-centre vertically on the 16mm case side. Second, the bezel is adorned with some fake screws that I felt made it look really cheap. There are some real screws on the left-hand side of the case that appear to connect to nothing, so I am not sure why Swan & Edgar made this particular design choice – especially when the fake screws do not even line up straight! I was also disappointed at the price that the crystal is made of mineral glass and not sapphire.
Dial and Hands
The dial of the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is quite well executed. There is a lot to like here: the colour pops really nicely in the sunlight; there are some well-executed horizontal textured bars, and the applied numerals look pretty good. The hands are a bit tricky to read as they cross over the sub-dials (which are for 24-hours, day and date: this is not a chronograph). The sub-dials are altered by pushing the buttons on the right-hand side of the case, and it is quite easy to accidentally do this, which is a bit of a pain.
The one thing I could not live with on this watch is the “Tachymeter” around the dial. It would be nigh-on impossible to use it on a non-round watch case anyway as the hands would rarely get anywhere near it, but the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is not a chronograph, and so it is purely a decorative feature.
The bracelet is again better than some of the cheap watches I have handled. It is not up to the standard of, say, a Pagani Design at half the price of this watch, but the links are solid, and I have seen this clasp on several more expensive watches. It’s 3cm wide at the watch-end, as with the watch’s design means it has to do the job of lugs rather than sitting between them.
The problem I found with the bracelet was that it is long. Really long. The review watch arrived with one link taken out, and I could slip it over my hand onto my wrist with the clasp closed! I removed all of the remaining removable links, four in total, and it just about fits my 7.5-inch wrist. The links are not printed with arrows to show which direction to remove the pushpin. This may be a problem if you are not experienced in link adjustment, so remember that the end that looks like a screw head isn’t a screw – it’s a V-shaped piece of metal, and it pushes out from the other side.
There are neither micro-adjustments nor half links, so you have to wear it loose or tight. I went for tight; as a watch this big and heavy banging against the back of your hand all day would not be fun.
What I Liked
- The watch is quite well made for a fashion watch
- The dial has some well-executed features and a nice sense of depth
- The bracelet feels solid
What I Didn’t Like
- The watch is far too big for my tastes
- The fake screws on the bezel make it look cheap
- No serious watch collector would buy a watch with a fake tachymeter
Swan & Edgar Ambassador – the WRUK Verdict
Let’s be clear: the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is not aimed at serious watch collectors. The complaints I hear about the brand are legitimate but equally valid for every fashion brand, like Michael Kors or Emporio Armani and so on. All of these are low-quality, mass-produced watches aimed at people who want a watch that looks cool and do not really care about what is inside.
I try to be balanced at WRUK – and so it would be an unfair comparison for me to point out that the Swan & Edgar Ambassador is not a luxury-quality watch at a lower price. I would instead view it as one of two things:
- An alternative to an unbranded Aliexpress watch at half the price with a 5-year warranty. I’ve bought a lot of Parnis and Pagani Design-type watches direct from China, and about half of them had had some kind of cosmetic defect when they arrived.
- An alternative to a £150 high-street watch. A quick scan of Argos shows that for the same money, you could buy a quartz Armani Exchange watch or a Rotary with a low-end Miyota movement.
The Swan & Edgar Ambassador, then, is unfortunately not a watch I would choose to buy or wear.
Buy a Swan & Edgar Ambassador