WT Author No. 1973 Review
The WT Author No.1973 raised a few eyebrows when we previewed it last March. Its unique design and British-built credentials proved popular; the choice of an 8-series Miyota movement less so. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the watches are now in backers’ hands, and I was pleasantly surprised when one dropped through my door just before Christmas.
At a glance
WT Author No. 1973
Packaging is to WT Author’s usual high standards. I love the recyclable cardboard box, and the little touches make it feel like a premium unboxing experience: a wax seal to break, a signed blueprint, a glossy booklet about the watch. WT Author captures a similar feel to the Apple unboxing experience, and it feels like an event when you receive the watch. It give me a Pokemon-like urge to collect the full set, even though not all of the watches are to my taste.
Case and Movement
I get a real feel of the brand identity in the WT Author No.1973. The U-shaped markers of the WT Author No. 1953 (last year’s WRUK Watch of the Year) are back and are echoed in the embossed 3D bezel. The bezel has a similar flower-shaped finish. The knurled crown is in the brand’s signature red. It’s a good size, and despite crown guards extending all the way to the end, it is easy to operate and feels very solid. Because it is located at 4 O’clock, the crown guards are inobtrusive and add a pleasant asymmetry to the case design. The case size is 45mm, but it wears a lot smaller thanks to clever design.
Around the back is a sapphire window revealing the Miyota 8217 movement. Although I am very much not a fan of 8-series Miyota movements, this one is at least finished well, and credit is due to WT Author for making the most of the movement by adding a 24-hour subdial. It sort of makes up for using what I consider a budget movement. I really like the case design. It has a great mixture of brushed steel on the top, polished sides and a knurled under-section that does a good job of making the watch seem slimmer than its near-15mm depth. The case feels like a premium product, with deep engraving and excellent finishing.
Dial and Hands
There’s a lot going on with the WT Author No.1973 dial, and as many will dislike it, as love it. I enjoyed the interplay of colours and textures, and with the right strap, I think the watch will be a great summer statement piece.
The text is all crisp if a little bold, and the applied markers all line up nicely. There’s a date at 4 in a bordered window, and the bezel is comfortable to adjust with very little back play. Overall, the WT Author No.1973 has a look that I really like.
Strap and Buckle
When you are building a watch in Britain as a small operation and selling for £500, you have to build to a price to some extent. One such compromise is in the straps supplied with the WT Author No.1973. Don’t get me wrong, as Zulu (or NATO as described by the brand) straps go; these are not bad. You get a black one and an orange one included in the box. They’re not bad quality (but not made of the best-quality seatbelt nylon) and are definitely a budget option even compared to a silicone or leather strap, as was fitted to the No.1953.
For me, NATOs and Zulus are just too bulky. I dislike the thickness the double-pass of material adds to a watch. The absence of a clasp makes the watch feel top-heavy, and the excess length of strap tucked into the metal keepers just feels wrong to me. I’ve ordered a rubber strap for my WT Author No.1973 and will publish a review in due course. WT Author sells a jubilee bracelet for £60, but I struggled to find real-life images to see how it matches up with the case.
WT Author No. 1973 – Video Review
What I Liked
What I Didn’t like
WT Author No. 1973 – The WRUK Verdict
WT Author is an unashamedly quirky brand. I see them as your classic English eccentric, and like British brands of old, there are some compromises between design and cost. In a way, the WT Author No.1973 reminds me of the Mini car: an unusual design, which lots of people will love, but some people will always want to drive a Mercedes instead. And just like those car owners, neither will understand why the other side feels the way they do about this watch.
Setting aside my personal dislike of NATO-style straps (and a replacement is hardly going to break the bank), I do think the choice of a Miyota 8217 rather than a 9-series is a potential misstep. Brands like Marloe are putting out similarly-priced or cheaper watches with better movements and equally interesting designs. With the No.1953, I think WT Author made all the right choices; with the No.1973, I couldn’t help wishing they’d added £100 to the asking price and provided a silicone strap and a better movement. It is a shame that some watch collectors will read this review only as far as “Miyota 8217” and move on.
I have now fitted a Barton silicone strap (review coming next week) onto the No. 1973 and it transforms the watch into a firm favourite. I really like the watch, I love the brand, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. The WT Author No.1973 gets the WRUK seal of approval.
Buy a WT Author No. 1973
You can buy a WT Author No.1973 direct from the brand – and you even get to pick your preferred serial number!