The Xpeda Amelia is a Chinese watch with a Brazilian theme celebrating an American pilot. Quite the cosmopolitan mix! Does all this add up to more than the sum of its parts?
Xpeda Amelia Review
The Xpeda Amelia celebrates the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic solo, Amelia Earhart. Hailing, as I do, from Hull, my pioneering pilot of choice is, of course, Amy Johnson, but we don’t discriminate here at WRUK! Earhart made her 1932 flight in a red Lockheed Vega and it is this that inspires the design and colour scheme of the watch. Xpeda supplied this watch free of charge to me for review purposes.
Presentation is spartan, to say the least, with a simple plastic pack and several hang-tags which took a fair bit of cutting to remove. One tag is a boarding pass from Brazil – which Xpeda claim as their country of origin – but the watch was made in, and shipped from, China.
The Xpeda Amelia wears large. Its 42mm case is already on the big side, but the thin bezel and white dial make it wear big. It is more comfortable than you might think even on smaller wrists thanks to its short lugs. The case is two-tone, with the (non-rotating) bezel being a gold colour, with the rest of the case in plain polished 316L stainless steel. Around the back is a little window that displays part of the movement, rather like that of the Aerotec Sea Hunt. It’s an unusual touch of flair in an otherwise rather conservative watch.
The crown is nicely signed, although a bit tricky to move to the time setting position, It is not screw-down and I found it a little fiddly. Inside we have a Seiko NH38 movement which is maybe a touch too high-end for this kind of watch design and perhaps pushes the price up higher than I would expect. I believe that watches should function as expected, so the fact this watch has only 50m of water resistance and fixed bezel with dive markings is disappointing to me.
Dial and Hands
If you value a watch that is easy to read then the Xpeda Amelia will please you. The gold outlined hands stand out from the white dial well. The dial has a really nice texture that is reminiscent of a Spinnaker watch and the applied numerals are straight and well-finished.
At 9 O’clock is an open-heart with a metallic ring around it. I’m no fan of open-heart watches but the execution here is technically well-done and it does not look as cheap as some similar fashion watches I have handled.
Strap and Buckle
It was a pleasant surprise to see quick-release strap-change pins on the Xpeda Amelia. This is handy, as you would want to swap out the stiff strap straight away. Unfortunately, Xpeda has chosen a 21mm lug width which is going to make finding compatible straps a bit of a challenge. The buckle is well-engraved and not the standard shape I so often see, so well done to the brand for that.
Xpeda Amelia – Video Review
Please note that since this video was recorded, the price of the Xpeda Amelia has been dropped to $299
What I Liked
- The texture on the dial is excellent
- The Seiko NH38 movement is a strong, reliable choice
- The watch wears well despite its large diameter thanks to its short lugs
What I Didn’t Like
- The strap is stiff but, because the lug width is 21mm, it will be hard to find a replacement
- The bezel is marked as a dive bezel but does not turn, a (lack of a) feature usually only seen in low-end watches
- The watch is expensive at $299 USD, considering its competition in the fashion space
Xpeda Amelia – The WRUK Verdict
I try to be objective in my reviews: some watches will not be to my taste but I can still offer a view of whether the specifications on offer are worth the asking price for those who do find a watch attractive. In this case, I think the Xpeda Amelia is a little mixed up – it appears to be a fashion watch by design and function, but its price puts it up against some very strong competition. It is hard to see an aspiring watch collector choosing this $299 (£250) watch over, say, a Spinnaker; and it is hard to see a fashion-watch buyer choosing this over a cheaper Michael Kors, MVMT or Daniel Wellington model from Watch Shop. If it’s open-heart you want, I’d personally go for an Orient Bambino at £100 less.
Buy an Xpeda Amelia
If youb want to honour Amelia Earheart by purchasing a watch, then you can back the watch via crowd funding at the introductory price of $199 (£169). Xpeda are bringing the Amelia to Kickstarter in September: find out more at http://pix.xpedawatch.com/Kickstarter-Amelia-2