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R L T '69 Review


pg tips
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The RLT'69 Limited Edition of 100 Military watch.

General Comments

The RLT’69 is, I think, Roy’s 1st “Homage†Watch. A tribute to, but not a copy of, the infamous and much sought after, Smiths W10 British military issued watch of 1968-1970.

It would be so easy to base this review on a comparison between the two watches. However the RLT ’69 is not supposed to be an exact copy so I will try to refrain from comparing. There are genuine Smiths all over the internet so you can “Google†and do your own comparisons if you wish.

Box & Papers

The RLT ’69 comes in a very nice quality Green domed topped cardboard presentation box with gold piping and a white interior. It also came with a signed certificate from the maker, Roy Taylor, with the limited edition number printed on it.

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Case

The case is beautifully made. It is 37mm diameter excluding the crown and 48mm lug tip to lug tip and 18mm lug width. The lugs are rounded off very nicely which adds to the quality feel of the case. Being a “mil†watch it’s obviously in brushed stainless steel giving the case a nice satin sheen. The watch comes with spring bars which may not please the purists but pleases me as it means I can put straps other than “military†style on it. One thing I have not seen before is the holes for the spring bars are drilled further in from the tips of the lugs and this gives a much neater look when the watch is on leather. The case back is again brushed and in that military style and is engraved with the limited edition number (mine is number 3).

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Crystal

Roy emailed me some time ago with a dilemma. He wanted Acrylic crystals but the cases had come supplied with mineral glass ones. What to do? I suggested he offered the watch with an option to chose either. I’m very glad he decided that was a good idea because it meant I could get mine with acrylic. The acrylic crystal (I haven’t seen the mineral but Roy says they are very similar) is nicely domed and sits proud of the bezel by 2 mm. And give the watch a feel of depth.

Crown

The crown is, as befits a watch of this type, nice and chunky and sits low in the case and is again brushed steel.

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Strap

Roy has given the RLT’69 a choice of “NATO†band but like every one else the 1st thing I did was to try it with various straps. I actually ordered mine on RLT’s ostrich leather with deployant buckle. You can see a lot of different strap pics HERE.

Dial and Hands

The dial is black and military in style as it should be. It has the classic “mil†“railroad†chapter ring with luminous (luminova) batons at 12, 3, 6 & 9 and dots at the other positions. It also has the “classic†lumed triangle at 12 and small Arabic white non lumed numerals 1 to 11. No date and a discrete maker name in the top half. In my opinion it’s a refreshing change to see a “homage†with out the "crow’s foot" on the dial. I for one am glad Roy decided not to go down this route. And just to finish it off it has “MADE IN ENGLAND†either side of 6 inside the chapter. When was the last time that was legitimately put on a watch?

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The hands are definitely different from the Smiths and probably the most noticeable. The minutes and seconds hand are just a tad short of the chapter making it very easy to read the exact time. The Hours and minutes hands are lumed and straight with a nice fine tip to them. I like them very much.

Movement

The movement is the excellent manual wind 17 Jewel ETA 2801-2 with hack. I have 2 personal standards with mechanicals that I judge my watches by, better than 30 secs drift a day and better than 10. Mine ’69 is running 7 second a day fast straight out of the box. What can I say? Fantastic standards yet again from RLT.

Price

Well all in, including next day delivery insured, this watch was £149.50! Probably the bargain of the century! It is an absolutely fantastic watch and for those of you who have always wanted a classic manual wind watch in the military style I think you would be hard pushed to find a better quality or more affordable alternative.

I was privy to Roy’s 1st mention of his intention to do this watch and have kept “nagging†for news almost weekly. Now it’s finally arrived I can genuinely say it’s been well worth the wait.

PG Tips, a very happy bunny!

Here she is on an RLT Fieger Strap.

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Edited by pg tips
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Great review and photos Paul.

Got mine today, love it.

It looks smaller diameter than it is. The dial layout, hands and the acrylic crystal help give it the look of a smaller vintage watch. The case is the same as my Speedbird 2 but you'd swear that the two watches were different sizes.

The lume on the hands and dial has an wonderful aged look to it, the colour is somewhere between green, yellow and biege.

The acrylic crystal adds to the look of the watch and it's great that this is available as an option.

Cheers,

Tim.

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thank you all for your comments. This is without doubt my favorite watch so far, just eclipsing the RLT4 and my Hamilton. It just sits on the wrist beautifully. I showed it to my brother yesterday whose main criteria with a watch is one he can wipe paint off (he does a lot of decorating work) and he said how nice it looked!

As for the photography I think I may have had a bit more time than Roy to play around with manual settings to get the right shots.

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Authenticity is one reason Mark but they do have a softer look to them, a bit sexier I just love the way the light plays on the edge of the curve, you dont get that on mineral, plus it's a lot easier to keep the plastic ones scratch free a quick polywatch and as good as new.

I would not have plastic on a work beater though, not the way I treat my work watches.

Edited by pg tips
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Thanks to Royal Mail and the USPS, RLT '69 #9 has finally arrived in New Hampshire.

Sure is a great looking watch and the good feeling starts when you open the box. Nice to see the warranty/explanation card with the Serial Number printed on it. Not to mention the hand-written signature of Roy hisself.

I had reservations about the mineral crystal until I saw the watch. It does add a smooth look to the dial, particularly with its curve. You can see in the 1st pic how it bends the light reflecting off the crystal from 12:00 forward.

Fitted the only long 18mm leather strap in the house on it and I believe it (a Movado Aligator embossed calf skin strap from a watch now residing in Germany) dresses it up a bit. Will try this configuration out for about a week and switch back to the Buffalo Skin strap after checking and re-setting the time (if necessary) If this one runs as closely as my RLT 4, I'll be changing straps more often than I re-set the time.

Not happy with the pics but am still experimenting with a new camera and picture taking set-up. The macro range is pretty wide but there is almost no depth of field. It may be time to add another light or bump up the ISO from 100 so the aperture can be stopped down a bit more.

Roy, THANKS for another winning design. thumbup.gifthumbsup.gifthumbup.gif

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RLT-69 #27 arrived last week and I've been wearing it for 4 or 5 days now. I like the hands and the nice clean face. It will take me a while I think to get use to the domed crystal. It is more reflective than my other watches since thay all have flat crystals with the exception of my Early Bird. Its a little stiff on winding but I assume that that will work it self out with use. All in all its a real nice design. Congratulations are in order once again Roy.

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