Described as “a triumphant exercise in style”, the Cruiser is Aries Gold’s latest offering – let’s see if it is any good!
Aries Gold – the Brand
Many of us Singaporeans should be familiar with the brand Aries Gold – we see Aries Gold watches stocked in watch retailer H2 Hub (with over 10 locations in Singapore) across the island. What many Singaporeans may not know is that Aries Gold watches are actually “Made in Singapore” – the brand possess their own manufacturing and assembly facilities and team of watchmakers right here on our little red dot! If you would like to details of Aries Gold’s brand story, do read my review of the Aries Gold Jolter here, in which I covered Aries Gold as a brand in detail.
Aries Gold Cruiser – Build Quality
Aries Gold excels at offering great build quality for the price, and the Cruiser does not disappoint in that regard!
Firstly, the Cruiser utilises a domed sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. In addition, the WR rating for the Cruiser is 50m, which should render it safe for most daily activities except a trip to the pool or the sea.
For the Cruiser, Aries Gold chose to utilize the Miyota 8N24 movement. Some specifications: the movement beats at 21600 VPH, boasting 42 hours of power reserve, with accuracy stated to be ~-20 to +40 seconds a day. Unfortunately, the movement does not hack, though it does hand-wind. Given the affordable price tag of the Cruiser, the usage of the Miyota 8N24 comes as no surprise as it is one of the only skeletonised automatic movements available at this price range. I’m usually not fond of the Miyota 8 series movements due to the stuttering of the seconds hand, but this issue was not present on the Cruiser that I reviewed.
The Aries Gold Cruiser comes on a black genuine leather strap, which I found to be serviceable. The lining is rather comfortable, and it’s definitely better than the cardboard-like lining one finds on lower quality straps. In addition, the black strap (with PVD black buckle) complements the black PVD case perfectly, giving the watch a nice stealthy look. However, as the strap is merely “Genuine Leather”, the leather will not patina the same way top grain or full grain leather would. Granted, the patina would not be that obvious on this black leather strap, but it will certainly be a factor for consideration if you opt for the other colourways of the Cruiser.
The Cruiser comes with lume, which is a pleasant surprise. The “Asian lume” that is used glows brightly for a while, but unfortunately it lacks the longevity of its Swiss Superluminova counterpart. Still, it’s there if you need it!
Overall, I’ll argue that the Aries Gold Cruiser offers great specifications for the price. It uses a domed sapphire crystal (as compared to the more commonly seen flat sapphire crystal), a dedicated skeletonised movement in the Miyota 8N24, and even has lume! The only real knock I have with the Cruiser is its rather average strap, but that can be easily fixed with an aftermarket option.
Aries Gold Cruiser – Design
Like the Jolter which I recently reviewed, the Aries Gold 9018 features a skeletonised dial in what Aries Gold describes as “a look that conveys fearlessness in the face of the world.”
Firstly, I love this colourway of the Cruiser. There are two other variants, but I personally find this blacked out version to be the best by far. I really like the orange accents on the otherwise all black watch – it gives the watch a stealthy allure, with a hint of sportiness. Personally, I find the restricted usage of orange to just the outer and inner minute tracks to be genius, as it really enhances the colour contrast on the watch. Furthermore, I appreciate the presence of applied indices on the watch, which further increases the depth that’s present. The big roman numerals at the top and bottom of the dial looks cool as well, and adds an edge of boldness (or fearlessness, as Aries Gold describes it) to the wrist.
They say the devil is in the details, and in this regard the Cruiser passes with flying colours. The multi-layered construction of the Cruiser really shines, especially in a macro shot. I also love the juxtaposition in textures present on the Cruiser. For example, the big polished roman numerals contrast nicely with the brushed applied indices. There’s even contrast between the concentric textures at corners of the dial and the vertical indents (meant to denote individual minutes) present on the outer minutes track. There’s ample contrast in both depth and texture here, and given that the Cruiser is a relatively affordable watch, this is highly impressive.
The case of the Cruiser is PVD black in matte, and comes across as well-finished in general. Often, PVD-ing a case can result in the watch looking and feeling cheap (especially when it’s in black), but that’s not the case (no pun intended) here! In a move uncommon amongst affordable watches, the Cruiser goes a step further by incorporating a stepped case design. I personally think that it’s brilliant – it gives further depth to a watch that already possesses tons of it. Lastly, there’s also a signed crown that’s sized proportionately to make hand-winding the watch an ease.
The exhibition caseback of the Cruiser is fairly simple, with some relevant information inscribed around the exhibition window. Speaking of the exhibition window, I absolutely love exhibition casebacks on skeletonised watches. There’s a sort of boyish wonder when one is able to see through the caseback and glimpse through it to the other side. In addition, the caseback is screwed on, and not snapped on as one might find on other affordable watches. However, the high polish of the caseback is a scratch magnet – I would definitely have preferred for Aries Gold to utilise a matte finishing here. Furthermore, I would have love to see a custom rotor design here on the Miyota movement. It would have been the perfect icing on the cake for me, but given that the watch cost less than S$400, its exclusion is understandable.
On the wrist, the Cruiser wears incredibly well. In fact, I would say that the watch may be one of the most comfortable timepieces that I’ve worn till date. The reason for this is largely due to the concave design of the Cruiser’s case, which results in the watch resting perfectly on the natural curvature of your wrist. It’s of a great size as well, with the lug-to-lug length being just perfect on my 7 inch wrist.
All in all, I think Aries Gold has outdone themselves on the design of the Cruiser. The black and orange aesthetics makes for a stealthy + sporty look, the dial is chock-full of contrast in depth and texture, and the stepped case is a great touch. To top it off, the watch is also well proportioned and wears amazing on the wrist. I can tell that a lot of thought has been paid to the design of the watch, and that’s not something I can say for most affordable watches out there!
Shootout: Aries Gold Cruiser vs Thomas Earnshaw Holborn
The Thomas Earnshaw Holborn was one of the only affordable (around S$500) skeletonised tonneau watches I could find online, and thus I decided to pit it up against the Aries Gold Cruiser in today’s shootout!
In terms of build quality, I would say that the Aries Gold Cruiser has the win over the Thomas Earnshaw Holborn. The Aries Gold uses sapphire crystal, a reliable Japanese Miyota movement, and even has lume. In contrast, the Thomas Earnshaw Holborn utilises only mineral glass (which is much less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal), a Chinese mechanical movement, and does not have lume. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a Chinese mechanical movement, but Thomas Earnshaw has elected not to specify which exact movement the watch is using. In my personal experience, these movements can be fairly inconsistent due to poor quality control – they either work like a charm, or break down fairly quickly. When choosing a watch, I place great emphasis on a reliable movement, so for this reason alone the Aries Gold Cruiser (with its workhorse Miyota movement) definitely trumps the Thomas Earnshaw Holborn on the specifications sheet.
From a design standpoint, I have to give the win to the Aries Gold Cruiser as well. While the Holborn doesn’t look too bad itself, the Cruiser definitely possesses more depth due to it’s multi-layer dial construction as well as stepped case. In addition, there’s better colour and texture contrast on the Cruiser too, as compared to the Holborn. The Holborn does have an interesting sub-second dial, but unless you’re a sucker for that particular complication, the Cruiser is undoubtedly better designed.
Given that it has the better specifications, more intricate design (in depth and texture) despite being at a similar price, I have to crown the Aries Gold Cruiser as the winner in this shootout!
Conclusion – so the Aries Gold Cruiser “shiok” or not?
Definitely. if you’re looking for an affordable skeletonised tonneau watch, I don’t think you can find a better value proposition (taking design and build quality into consideration) than the Aries Gold Cruiser. In particular, I really like the blacked out look of this colourway – there’s a sporty vibe to it that I adore. It sits really well on the wrist too, so I predict this will be one that will be getting a lot of wrist time in the near future!
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will give you 30% off all Aries Gold watches from their web-store! After the discount, the Aries Gold Cruiser can be had for just $393 USD/ ~S$540, which I think is a great price for a well built, and thoughtfully designed skeletonised watch. With free international shipping and a lifetime warranty, the Aries Gold Cruiser is, without a doubt, amazing bang-for-buck.
View Aries Gold’s full range of watches here.
Model: G 901 BK-BKBU
Case: Solid Stainless Steel
Strap: Genuine Leather Strap
Glass: Sapphire Glass
Water Resistance: 5atm
Case Size: 53.66mm
Functions: Automatic, Skeleton
Movement: Japan. Automatic.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!