To my wife, Thomas Earnshaw sounds like another Downton Abbey character in the popular PBS show. Regardless of your level of public TV sophistication, watch wearers are always looking for value. This highly polished quartz-powered chronograph watch from the Thomas Earnshaw Longcase 43 Collection might be the definition of value for you.
The brand gets its name from the British horologist, Thomas Earnshaw, who made improvements to chronometers in the late 1700s. My first impression was its weight, size, and overall presence, feels like an expensive watch. The polished, stainless steel case is substantial at 100 grams or about the weight of a small apple or pear. The case is 43mm round and 12.5mm thick and its 20mm lug width is proportional to its case size.
The chronograph pushers are at the normal 2 and 4 o’clock positions and have that snap like I would expect from a quartz chronograph. It has a large round, railroad style crown but even though it is large, it is difficult to grasp with my large fingers. This isn’t a deal killer, since it is a quartz movement with little need to use the crown except for the occasional time zone or seasonal time changes. It is a handsome crown, still, and supports the watches overall design.
On the opposite side of the crown, the engraved “Earnshaw” reveals the namesake. Likewise, the solid stainless-steel case back is engraved with the Earnshaw logo. Holding it all to your wrist is a leather strap with a signed, satin-finished buckle.
The crystal on this watch was a challenge to photograph. It is very reflective which makes it hard to read the time on your wrist. This is a shame, since the dial color on this model is a beautiful, dark navy blue and easily submits to the high contrast Roman numerals at 12, 2, 4, 8 and 10.
Now, I’m not a big fan of Roman numerals. I appreciate their roads, but their numerals on watches have always bothered me when watch makers don’t use the “IV” for the number “4,” but instead use the “IIII.” It bothers me here too, but I will get over it.
The “Breguet” style hour and minute hands include a small luminescent dot at the tips of the hands. This is hardly enough to see in the dark, but it is something. They dots appear to be off center, and I wonder if they could have been entirely left off. The chronograph’s independent sweep second hand has no luminescence and the Earnshaw, back-to-back “Es” visually weigh down the other end of the sweep and also block the 6 o’clock hour register on the dial.
The registers at 3 and 6 and 9 o’clock are sunken into the dial face and provide some depth and contrast when the light reflects on the dial. The white Arabic numerals on the registers offer a clear contrast with the Roman numerals but seem oddly out of place compared to the Roman numerals. The date window reveals a black numeral on white at 6 o’clock and is symmetrically placed in the bottom of the 12-hour register. The 30-minute at 9 o’clock and the 60-second at 3 o’clock complete the typical triad of registers.
The rest of the dial is a lot to look at still. Its applied Roman numerals, registers and date window all seem to be competing for attention. The outer ring of the dial is raised above the inner dial and lined with an Arabic numeral in 5 minute increments along with the minute markers. I like the depth this outer dial ring gives the watch, but still can’t quite find my way around it visually. I’m sure all of this would grow on you after a while.
Some of the other Earnshaw models use Japanese quartz movements or even mechanical movements, however, this watch is said to include a Swiss quartz chronograph with a date function from an unnamed supplier. Their web site could do a better job for the watch geeks out there who want to know the details.
Overall the watch fits well on my large wrist, and its weight feels appropriate like a substantial watch without being overbearing. The leather strap is comfortable, but like most new, seemingly inexpensive straps, it needs to be worn-in to hug the wrist. It fits well under the shirt cuff and it will surely be a hassle free watch for the suited event or tea time in your stately home, or while you watch the next television episode of British aristocracy. The watch comes with a two year warranty and retails for $295. thomas-earnshaw.com
- Brand & Model: Thomas Earnshaw Longcase 43 ES-0016-02
- Price: $295
- Who we think it might be for: This is for the person who wants a fashion watch without the worry of winding.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I would not by the watch but appreciate the effort to include some design elements at this price point.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would recommend that the dial is simplified.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I liked the feel and weight of the case in my hands and appreciate its size on my wrist.
- Brand Model: Thomas Earnshaw Longcase 43 ES-0016-02
- Movement (technology): Swiss quartz chronograph with date.
- Size of case diameter (mm): 43mm
- Height of case: 12.5mm
- Weight: 100g
- Case material: Stainless Steel
- Case Back: Stainless steel
- Crown: Stainless steel
- Crystal/Glass material: NA
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 5 ATM
- Strap/Bracelet material: leather with signature stainless steel buckle
- Illumination: Yes
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