The Zinvo Blade was introduced last year at a very low price – $199 – and this year there are several new variants. The basic price is now $280, €258, but, considering that it’s a mechanical watch, it is still very “accessible luxury” as the brand defines their mission. That is, if you think that a mechanical watch is an expression of luxury, whatever its shape or form.
Zinvo is a company registered in Geneva, Switzerland, though its origins are in Boston, MA, USA. The mechanical movement is by Miyota, and the watches are assembled in Asia. It has a fairly large case at 44 mm diameter and 12 mm thickness, with distinctive short, angled lugs, brushed finish and machined rings on the caseband. The caseback is in bright steel with a sapphire window displaying the movement. Water resistance is 100 metres, not bad considering that the crown is the usual push-pull and not screw-down. The watch has a black leather strap with exposed red stitching.
The most unusual feature of this watch is the transparent plastic disc that replaces the seconds hand. A turbine motif is printed on this disc, and the disc slowly rotates at one revolution per minute. It is placed above the hour and minute hands, and so it rather obscures them most of the time. The date window at 3 o’clock is also extremely difficult to see. The hour and minute hands are long enough so that the tips just project beyond the turbine blades, but even so, it’s not the sort of watch that you can glance at and immediately know what time it is. And as all the turbine blades are the same, you can’t use the seconds to time anything. Zinvo work a lot on the fashion aspects of their products and so their objective is a watch that looks cool with designer gear and in smart cars.
The hour markers take the form of drilled holes in the bezel flange. It is a striking and attractive watch, and the turbine motif is certainly original although not entirely practical. But the real significance of this watch is its price, which introduces mechanical watches to vast swathes of the online population. More info on Zinvo Blade watches here, where you can also purchase online. Click here to see a selection of the cheapest mechanical watches.
The turbine motif has been used before in watchmaking. Perrelet have long been making watches with dial-side rotors, and the Perrelet Lab is a very subtle treatment of the theme. In the photo below, the Perrelet Diver. In Perrelet’s watches, the turbine is a dial-side oscillating weight, and so can spin much faster than the seconds disc in the Zinvo Blade.