Rodina automatic

Rodina Automatic, photo Yurly Akopov/

The Rodina Automatic is not a watch that I would buy. Neither is it a watch that I admire. Its Bauhaus looks are directly copied from Nomos Glashütte, and that’s something that in my opinion is not cool. But it’s there, it’s a mechanical watch with a self-winding movement, it has classical looks, a display caseback, and, according to user feedback, it works satisfactorily. At a price of $118, available online.

Rodina Automatic

It represents a different approach to giving everyone the chance to savour the delights of a mechanical watch. Swatch had the same objective when they launched Sistem 51, an nnovative mechanical watch with a completely new movement that – as announced by Swatch Group at its presentation a few years ago – is made using an entirely automated production plant 30 metres long. Regulation is performed automatically, and so the Sistem 51 Watch needs no adjustment. But as it’s sealed, maintenance isn’t possible. The Rodina is assembled by hand, and has a traditional movement with a regulation screw to advance or retard the rate of balance oscillation.

The question is, will consumers be more inspired by the Swatch Sistem 51 interpretation, or the Rodina method, with low-quality finish, blatantly copied design, but a traditional mechanical watch?

Case and dial

The watch is 38.37 mm in diameter and slim at 9.25 mm, with a narrow bezel that enhances the amount of space on the dial. The small seconds subdial is rendered with shallow snailing, that apparently differs from piece to piece, from barely noticeable to fairly marked. The case is in stainless steel with a 5 bar water rating, definitely no swimming, no dishwashing or showering. The strap is thin and flimsy, but the holes for the springbar run right through the lugs and so it is quick and easy to replace the strap with something more sturdy.

Rodina Automatic

Sea-Gull ST1701 movement

Rodina Automatic

The Sea-Gull ST1701 movement runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 3 Hertz. I can’t find any information on power reserve. The finish on the bridges and oscillating rotor resemble classic Swiss workmanship, but it’s at very low quality.

Rodina Automatic

Rodina Automatic – conclusions

The Rodina Automatic is not particularly noteworthy in itself. But this piece prefigures a possible contender for entry-level watches, made traditionally, at low costs in China. I bet that in the future we’re going to see more mechanical watches coming from that part of the world. They’re going to get progressively better at it. Perhaps one day they’ll create an original design.

Rodina Automatic

You can buy the Rodina Automatic online here or here.

3 thoughts on “Rodina automatic

  1. Whilst I agree completely with your views on this watch borrowing heavily from Nomos, and find it refreshing to read a review which puts it so bluntly, I would point out that this Rodina watch ‘borrowed’ from Nomos as much as Nomos ‘borrowed’ from watches (Stowa in particular) which were around in the Bauhaus era. Nomos weren’t founded for 60 or so years after the brief Bauhaus movement and if you compare their models to watches of the era, Nomos come out looking like the knock-offs!

  2. I have had this exact Rodina for 4 years now & it has been flawless. Why pay 10x more for a name when at more than 3 feet away you can’t tell the difference anyway?? $120 or $1500, the choice is yours.

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