If you have been reading our site for some time, you no doubt have caught on that I have been a fan of watches that manage to re-use materials. This most commonly takes the form of watches that house old movements brought back to life (ala Archer Watches or the Wrocket ), or perhaps materials being repurposed in the strap. When it comes to REC Watches, the recycled material actually shows up in the dial.
Who is REC? They are a brand new Danish company, founded in 2013 by a couple of watch enthusiasts. So far, that story sounds pretty familiar, in terms of a new watch brand starting up. The twist for them comes from their motto, which is “Recover, Recycle, Reclaim” – which then of course informed the name of the brand. That meant they needed to find some material to recycle for their first watches.
Of course, it isn’t that they went to the scrapyard, found some random sheet metal, and then began stamping out dial blanks. In this case, they actually found some old wrecked Morris Minis and decided to use the metal from those cars to fashion the dials in their two lineups.
This lends some uniqueness to the patterns and the like that you see in the dial face. For their Cooper C2 lineup, the ties back to the Mini also show up in the racing stripes that run across the dial – calling to mind the same stripes you’d be likely to see on the car. On one hand, you’d expect this sort of dial treatment to be on a sportier watch – but the C2 seems to have some dressier aspirations.
I think it leans that way primarily due to the slender, polished handset, as well as the polished steel case (42.5mm, for those wondering). The C2 is powered by a quartz Ronda 763 movement, and comes paired with a brown leather strap. When you add in the red-white-blue nylon strap that is also included, things try to lean back to a more casual look again.
This means that the C2 tries to straddle the line between a dress and a casual watch. While I think the brown leather strap works well enough, I think the watch might be better served by picking one direction and going with it. Given the overall dial styling (and those racing stripes), the casual look would seem to be the winner. So, a quick change of the handset (to something wider and lumed), and I think we would have a much more cohesive look.
Speaking of cohesive, there is another detail that pulls the watches (both the C2, and the M2 which we’ll cover next) to the donor car that put its skin on the line, so to speak. On the back of each of these watches you’ll find they engraved the VIN of the Mini that the metal came from. It’s not quite like a serialized piece, but it is another interesting bit of trivia about the watch.
Now, on to the Mark I (aka the M2). Like the C2, the M2 has its dial coming from metal recycled from an old Cooper. One difference here is that it seems that the dials have a rougher finish to them, giving a very raw metal feel. Another big difference is the fact that we’ve got some additional cutouts.
Courtesy of a Miyota OS21 movement tucked away into the 44mm case, the M2 has an owlish look to it, with a 60-minute chronograph register on the left, and a 24-hour indicator over to the left. Spinning over those we do have a wider, lumed, handset (that I think would fit the C1 nicely) – but that’s the only bit of lume on the watch. Sure, it will still let you tell the time in the dark, but I think a future version would benefit nicely from the polished indices getting a bit of luminant applied.
As with the C2, the M2 comes with two straps. The first is a patterned black leather strap (with a quick-release buckle), and then a second nylon strap (in grey) is also included. Sure, the nylon strap is a fairly inexpensive add-on for the brand to throw in, but it definitely gives the buyer some flexibility right out of the gate, without needing to search in the aftermarket for something.
Speaking of buying – the C2 has a price of $417 (2399 DKK), and the M2 comes in just a bit more, at $435 (2499 DKK) (both are available in different color variations). On the surface, you might say that it’s an uninteresting price for quartz-driven, mineral crystal watches. And while I think each design could use a little bit of tweaking, I think it is a solid first outing, and I applaud the brand for finding an interesting material to use for the dial. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for a repurposed case – should be intriguing, if it’s in the cards. recwatches.com
- Brand & Model: REC Watches Morris C2 and Mark I M2
- Price: $417 (C2), $435 (M2)
- Who we think it might be for: This is for the guy (or gal) looking for unique dial materials, or happens to be a Morris Mini fanatic
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: This is tricky – while I love the dials, there are some misses in the designs that would give me pause.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: For the C2, I think wider, lumed hands are in order. For the M2, I think lume on the indices is in order.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The use of the sheetmetal from the Morris Minis
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