The quartz-powered Roamer Vanguard is strongly influenced (to put it mildly) by the legendary Jules Audemars Extra Thin collection by the major Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet. Although featuring the same style and looking great in general, in small details the watch, to my deepest regret, clearly shows that it is at least ten times cheaper than the gorgeous piece of technical marvel that it pays homage to.
Too slow to follow the current trend of rapid miniaturization, the new watch is delivered in a slim, round case whole 42 millimeters in diameter. Available in pure stainless steel or with mirror-polished rose gold PVD treatment, the Roamer Vanguard actually reproduces all major elements of the exterior design of its source of inspiration.
The list of visible differences between the two is the diameter of the body, the thickness of lugs and the finish of the crown: the octahedral one on the Roamer Vanguard seems to be completely smooth, which will possibly make it more difficult to properly set the watch (and you will have to operate it at least five times per year: at the end of each month, which is shorter than 31 days, to set the simple calendar.)
The design of the dial is also very similar to that of the Jules Audemars model, although the leaf-shaped hours and minutes hands seem to be completely flat (I also hate the green dot in the center: it literally drives me nuts.)
It is, perhaps, cheaper to make the hands flat, however, saving a penny or two on the manufacturing process, the Swiss company completely destroyed the look of the dial that, otherwise, looks absolutely perfect.
I especially like the way they executed the small seconds sub-dial. Although its position was preordained by the layout of the ISA caliber 8176 ebauche (it can also be equipped with the caliber 2190 of the same company,) it looks very organic at its place at 2 o’clock, nicely balancing both the “ROAMER” logo at 3 hours and the tiny round date window at 6 o’clock.
The only problem here is that both aforementioned calibers are of a “throw-away” variety, which means that, instead of simply repairing a broken one, you would have to wait for your local service specialist to order a new movement from the manufacturer. All in all, it would be easier to buy a new watch. Also, ISA lists both movements as “Swiss Made/Far East Assembly” and this, too, doesn’t make me particularly confident about their life expectancy.
All things considered, even despite the gadget’s nice exterior, I think you would be better off to pass on this model. Although the price is still to be revealed*, Roamer watches of this kind are usually priced close to $400 USD, which makes them relatively affordable for a person craving for a “Swiss” watch, but still a fairly poor investment considering that for a similar price you can get a great Japanese (or at least a “Japan Movement”) wristwatch that would be of better quality and, what’s even more important, of a greater resale value than this one.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: It will cost approximately $350 depending on your location.
Roamer Vanguard Quartz specification
Price: $350 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber ISA 8176 or ISA 2190, Swiss Made/Far East Assembly
Number of jewels: 3
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel or Rose gold PVD-coated steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Dial: Black, blue or white
Hour markers: Applied, baton-shaped
Hands: Leaf-shaped, flat
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black or brown leather strap with buckle matching case