The Swiss-based watchmaking company that mostly specializes in fashion timekeepers, but also has a long history of making refined “classic” timekeepers has just revealed its new Alfex Big Adventure quartz watch. Powered by a Swiss made quartz movement manufactured by Ronda, the watch features sporty and energetic (alas, definitely inexpensive-looking, probably millenials-oriented) design with a rather unorthodox open calendar layout and an off-centered small seconds counter at 7 o’clock.
In its press release, the Swiss watchmaker doesn’t go into any details regarding the movement, but, judging by the looks of it, it is either a Ronda Caliber 1009 or a slightly more upscale Caliber 1019.
Both movements belong to Ronda’s “slimtech” line of ultra-flat quartz movements, are built on 10 jewels, and offer roughly 2 years of power reserve. If my guess is correct, it basically means that you get yourself a wristwatch that is powered by a mechanism that not only offers good timekeeping, but is also repairable (for yours truly it’s quite important) with more than two years of power reserve using standard cell. However, if you are looking for something fancy, it’s not the place to dig: the mechanism is absolutely ordinary with its -10/ +20 seconds per month accuracy and standard list of features limited to just hours, minutes, small seconds and date.
Case, Strap & Ergonomics
Well, like most “fashion” timekeepers, this Alfex Big Adventure is clearly not about the movement. Although definitely not a piece of art, the watch is by no means ugly. It even comes equipped with an integrated, internal rotating reflector and a 60-min timer. The timer actually consists of a simple 60-minute scale printed on the bezel flange.
The scale is operated by the extra setting crown that allows you to rotate the flange setting the timer in a way similar to that used on diving watches. From the point of view of usability, it would be easier to use if the bezel itself was rotatable, but at least the actual solution makes the watch look more original and, well, more sophisticated.
The Big Adventure is sold with either brown or a black synthetic leather wrist band, depending on the dial’s color, although replacing the OEM strap with a stainless steel bracelet (or even a NATO strap of similar color palette) isn’t problematic: unlike its numerous competitors, the watch is equipped with standard lugs that make choosing a replacement part a breeze.
Dial & Legibility
Another usability (or, rather, legibility) issue here is the simple calendar. With so many cut-outs in the dial, it takes some effort (a minor one, but still rather irritating) to understand where the actual date display window is. The small red arrow printed at 3 o’clock doesn’t really help: it is just too small to be easily found on the busy dial. On the other hand it is just a “designer watch”: it is not supposed to be worn by fighter-jet pilots or race car drivers, so legibility was definitely not on the top of the list, when the watch was still on the drawing board.
The Alfex Big Adventure quartz watch is water-resistant up to 5 atmospheres (50 m or 165ft), which basically means that you can take shower in it but should avoid wearing the timepiece while swimming or even taking a shower.
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Alfex Big Adventure watch specification:
Price range: around $600
Movement: Quartz movement by Ronda, Swiss Made
Complications: Calendar (date), timer
Power reserve: A couple of years
Case material: Stainless steel
Case diameter: No data
Dial: Black-and-White, Brown, Brown-and-Yellow
Water resistance: 50 meters
Crystal: Anti-glare sapphire crystal