Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean watch review! Today, we’re doing something unprecedented – reviewing a quartz timepiece. Blasphemy, you watch fanatics yell. I feel you, and don’t worry this website won’t transform into reviewing Fossils and Daniel Wellington (shudders) anytime soon. However, there are people out there (some would argue the vast majority) who don’t want the fuss of an automatic movement. They simply want a well-made, good looking watch that tells accurate time. This review is for them.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at the Tordney Dual series in Navy. In another first, the company isn’t Singaporean! Rather, Tordney is based out of Hong Kong. Again, relax. Wahsoshiok will continue to focus on local efforts, but from time to time we will take a look at some noteworthy, international microbrands. So what is Tordney all about? Let’s find out.
Tordney – the Brand
Tordney was started by a married couple (happily, I hope), Alex and Winky, in 2016. Back then, sub-par quartz pieces were flooding the market (DW, MVMT, Filippo Loreti, just to name a few). With Winky’s 10+ experience in the watch industry (working for an OEM) and Alex’s marketing background, they decided that at a similar price, they could offer timepieces that are superior in quality to what these fast-fashion brands were offering. (Yes, they are fast-fashion companies, NOT watch companies) Thus, Tordney was born. If you’re wondering about the name, it’s actually a combination of the names of two cities – Toronto and Sydney. Before they crossing paths in Hong Kong, Alex and Winky spent considerable time living in Toronto and Sydney respectively. According to them, they hold these places dear to their hearts as they each have precious memories of their respective cities. As such, they decided to name their company after two places that had shaped their lives.
As can be seen from their brand video above, Tordney’s mission is to remind people of the “small wonders in life”. To illustrate this, Tordney actually ran a “Thank you” campaign late last year where FB/IG users wrote about the person they wish to thank. For those with the most heartfelt messages, Tordney sent their watches to the person they thanked. Sure, you can say that it’s just a marketing stunt – but I’m sure it made some recipients genuinely happy. Positivity was spread, which is more than can be said for some enterprises nowadays. (Ahem, the white moose cafe) In addition, Tordney is also big on corporate responsibility. Alex and Winky personally visited the factories of their suppliers to ensure that the working environments were safe and ethical. They also try to use materials that are durable and sustainable are much as possible, which is why they adopted vegetable tanned leather for their straps. Great to see a company that takes their social responsibilities seriously!
Alright, now that we know what Tordney stands for, let’s see if their watches are really better than Daniel Wellingtons…..
Tordney Dual – Build Quality
Usually, I tend to associate quartz watches with sub-par quality. Brands like DW, MVMT, Fossil are the chief culprits of this. However, I’m glad to say that the Tordney isn’t one of them!
Firstly, Tordney uses sapphire crystal on ALL of their watches. As stated in numerous of my previous articles, sapphire is one of the main things that you should look for when buying a watch due to it being virtually scratch-proof. While sapphire is fairly common on automatic watches (past a certain price point), it is actually rather rare on quartz pieces. Few watch companies actually offer quartz watches with sapphire, so the fact that Tordney do attest to their commitment to quality components. The sapphire is also slightly domed, which serves to magnify the dial of the watch.
In addition, Tordney utilises 316L stainless steel in the case for greater corrosion resistance. The usage of 316L stainless steel has become the norm in the industry nowadays, but some companies still don’t adopt it. For example, I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong, because I couldn’t find information of this on their website) DW and MVMT use 316L stainless steel for their cases. Also, CNC technology is used when cutting the case, resulting in a more accurate cutting process. I’ll be honest and say I couldn’t tell much difference, except in one area – the lug joints. Due to CNC cutting technology, Tordney was able to make the lugs angular, creating this distinct curved line where the lugs meets the case. This really gives the watch a sharper and more refined look, especially when viewed from the side.
For the movement, the Miyota 1L45 powers the Tordney Dual. That’s a bit disappointing, as I would have liked to see a Swiss Ronda movement, especially at this price point. In fact, build quality wise, that would be my chief (and only) knock on the the Tordney Dual. Admittedly, when comparing quartz movements there’s very little difference between a Japanese Miyota and a Swiss Ronda. (Being quartz, both are accurate and have a long battery life) Still, it’s something that I would have liked to see in a $225 USD (after the promo code, down below) watch.
Component-wise, my favourite part would have to be the strap. The strap on the Tordney Dual is Italian full grain vegetable-tanned leather, which is simply awesome. It’s super comfortable on the wrist, and looks great. Usually leather is chrome-tanned, which basically means that the leather is tanned using artificial chemicals. Vegetable-tanning is a more traditional, artisan way of tanning the leather that utilizes tannic acids found naturally in plants (therefore the name). The vegetable-tanning process is lengthy, taking around 1-3 months, which is why such leather tend to be costly. Furthermore, as aforementioned vegetable-tanned leather is more sustainable, durable, and better for the environment as well. I’m a leather guy, and I appreciate it when watches come with quality leather straps, instead of the stiff, cardbox crap that plagues most fast fashion watches. Well done Tordney!
Overall, the Tordney Dual is surprisingly well-built, bucking the trend of poor quality quartz watches that’s all over the market right now. Let’s see if they poured the same amount of thought into the design as well!
Tordney Dual – Design
I love the design of the Tordney Dual. The navy blue dial, paired with a complementing navy strap, makes the watch a looker.
We shall start with those diamond cut hands. Yes, you read that right – those hands are cut by diamond! The end result are these sharp faceted dauphine hands, which brilliantly catches and reflects the light. I love the usage of the applied indices as well because they create depth in an otherwise flat dial. Similar to the watch hands, the indices reflects the light beautifully, instantly catching one’s eye. Furthermore, the font of the numerals are actually created by Tordney’s index supplier specifically for them! Tordney had a specific font design in mind which their index supplier did not have. Rather than settling for what was available, they convinced their index supplier to create a new mould just for them, which undoubtedly added to the production cost. Great to see that corners weren’t cut!
This is actually the first watch I’ve owned with a small seconds sub-dial. I have always loved the look of a sub-seconds – I’m a sucker for the vintage styling. As aforementioned, Tordney aims to remind people of the “small wonders in life”. As such, they have decided to opt for a sub-seconds dial (as compared to a regular 3-hander), hoping to make the passing of seconds more pronounced. Traditionally, the small-second sub dial is usually paired with a railway track (Think Vacheron). Tordney has gone for a rather contemporary look here, with just minimalist white markers. It fits the look of the watch well, and overall the application of the seconds sub-dial separates Tordney from other well-made minimalist watch brands such as Linjer. However, I would have liked for the dial to be slightly recessed – it would have created greater depth in the dial, and made the watch more refined and sophisticated.
I also like the white dial/blue hands version of the Dual a lot. In fact, it’s their best seller! And it’s not hard to see why. Firstly, the hands and indices are electroplated instead of painted, giving them this rich blue look. For the mass-market watches that floods this price point (MVMT for example), the hands tend to be painted. Painted hands looks cheap, and the color also has a tendency to wear off. This is one area where watch manufacturers tend to cut cost in, as consumers (aka you guys) don’t really know the difference in quality between painted, electroplated, and heat-blued hands. Secondly, the white dial is actually manufactured in a special off-white color. Yes, there are differing shades of white as well! Tordney chose a specific shade of white that mimics the look of ceramic and enamel to give the watch a more atas look. It isn’t that obvious in the photo, but it definitely is in real life. Again, I’m really impressed by the level of details that Tordney has put into their dial.
I like the polished case-sides of the Tordney Dual. To me, they complement the polished indices and watch hands well. We also get a signed crown, which is nice at this price point. Tordney states that “The embossed crown on the Mono and Dual collections is specially designed to be pulled off and rotated easily.” In my experience, this wasn’t the case – I had to use my fingernails to yank the crown out. In my opinion, the embossed crown serves more function aesthetically, rather than in practicality.
The case-back is unfortunately rather pedestrian. You get some useful information, such as sapphire crystal, water resistance rating, and the fact the watch is made of stainless steel. You also get a stamped logo, along with a serial number for the watch. I like that they put the serial number on – I know it’s more marketing than substance, but it makes me feel that the watch I have is unique to me, and not so mass-produced. I wish that the logo was stamped straight though. I’m a little OCD, so it drives me a little crazy. Otherwise, there’s nothing much wrong with the caseback – it’s just rather forgettable.
However, I absolutely adore the strap that came with the Tordney Dual. The navy blue strap complements the blue dial extremely well. That’s by design, not coincidence – after deciding on the shade of blue of the dial, Tordney sent their strap supplier the same color pantone, requesting a strap that’s in the same shade of blue. That’s amazing! In addition, I really like the blue stitching on the strap. I also like (yes, I like a lot of things about this strap) the alligator print detailing – it gives the watch a slightly vintage and mature look. Being full-grain leather, the leather will develop it’s own unique patina over time as well. I’ve interacted with a lot of watch straps to date, and I must say that Tordney’s strap is one of my favourites, in terms of both looks and quality.
Shootout: Tordney Dual vs Rossling & Co Classic Rogart
The Rossling & Co Classic Rogart has a navy dial, features a small seconds sub-dial, and is priced similarly to the Tordney Dual series, making it today’s worthy competitor.
Spec-wise, the Rossling & Co Rogart utilises sapphire crystal, a Swiss Ronda movement, and comes with a genuine leather strap. The Rossling & Co has the win in terms of the movement, but the Tordney dual definitely has it in the strap department. If I had to choose, I would say that having a quality strap is more important than having a Swiss movement, at least for quartz watches. Like I mentioned, the difference in quality between Japanese and Swiss quartz movements is rather minuscule, and would likely have no impact on daily usage. As such, I would say that the Tordney Dual has the edge in terms of build quality.
Design-wise, I’ll definitely give it to the Tordney Dual. While the two watches look very similar, I feel that the Tordney has the better details. This is largely due to the aforementioned diamond-cut hands and indices. The polished sheen catches the light brilliantly, and I love the angles of the faceted hands. In comparison, the baton hands of the Rossling & Co looks rather one-dimensional, and in my opinion, a tad boring. I prefer the unique numerical fonts on the Dual over the stick indices of the Rogart as well. Stick indices to me are waaaay overused – everyone from Daniel Wellington to MVMT feature stick indices dials. The crown of the Rossling & Co is unsigned as well, and I definitely prefer the look of the navy alligator print strap of the Tordney. The strap of the Rossling & Co looks rather dull on the outside, while the red interior (in my opinion) doesn’t really match the blue dial. The only instance where red and blue should collide in a watch is on a “Pepsi” bezel! It just seems to me that Tordney paid more attention to the details of their watch. And as we all know, the devil is in the details.
Price wise, the Rossling & Co Rogart is $199 USD (~$263 SGD), while the Tordney Dual (after the promo code found below) is around $225USD (~298 SGD). Would I pay $35 bucks more for a higher quality strap and better design? Yes. As such, the Tordney Dual emerges as the victor in this shootout.
Conclusion – so the Tordney Dual “shiok” or not?
Yes – I do think it’s one of the best quartz watches under $300! I’m aware that you can buy a decent automatic watch for $300, but like I said there are people who want a watch solely as a fashion accessory. For this group of people, who are attracted by the looks of Daniel Wellington or MVMT watches, I highly suggest the Tordney Dual (or Linjer if you aren’t a fan of the sub-seconds dial) instead. The Tordney Dual not only looks good, but is made from high quality components (like sapphire crystal and a great strap) as well. Unlike fast-fashion watch brands, the Tordney Dual is both style AND substance.
For those interested in the Tordney Dual, you can view the complete line-up here. Tordney also has the Mono collection, where its basically stick indices instead of arabic numerals. I definitely prefer the Dual collection though. If you’re interested in getting one, you can use the code WAHSOSHIOK for 13% off! At $225 USD (after the promo code), it’s good value for money. It’s also cheaper than Linjer watches, and definitely better bang for your buck than a DW/Fossil/MVMT/Filippo Loreti watch. If you’re looking for a minimalist quartz watch to accentuate your outfit, I highly recommend the Tordney Dual!
View Tordney’s complete collection here.
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Specifications of the Tordney Dual:
- Case: 40mm diameter; 9mm thickness; made from anti-corrosion 316L stainless steel
- Sapphire Crystal: Anti-reflective coating vapour-desposited to the inside. Highly scratch resistant with Mohs hardness 9 (second to diamond)
- Movement: 1L45 Quartz by Miyota in Japan
- Water Resistance: 5 ATM / 50 meters
- Dial: Applied hour marker and printed minute/second track
- Hand: Premium diamond cut hands
- Crown: Embossed Tordney logo
- Strap: Italian full grain vegetable-tanned leather with matching stiches
- Buckle: 18mm, stainless steel pin buckle
- Functions: Hour and minute in the centre, Small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock
Joel Khoo, @keolojoh
Nigel Gomes, @the_lone_cadre
Rossling & Co