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!
To be very honest, I didn’t have much of an impression of Aries Gold watches till lately. They have a sprawling catalog – over 250 different SKUs are currently offered on their webstore – but I mostly knew them for their collaborative pieces with various iconic rock bands such as Aerosmith and Foo Fighters. That changed though, when I encountered the Jolter at an event comprising of several local brands. The layered look captured me, and I was shocked at the ~$200 SGD price tag. I reached out to Aries Gold thereafter to request the Jolter for a review!
Aries Gold – the Brand
Aries Gold is one of the OGs of Singaporean watchmaking. Founded by watchmaker CK Woo in 1970, the brand was envisioned with a simple goal in mind – to deliver premium watches and accessories at a radically fair price. Since its founding almost half a century ago, Aries Gold has come a long way. Currently, Aries Gold is an international brand sold in a whooping 28 countries – that’s no mean feat for a homegrown brand! Despite their global expansion, Aries Gold continues to stay true to their Singaporean roots by having their production in Singapore, instead of outsourcing manufacturing to China as the vast majority of local watch brands do today. Kudos to them for that!
Unlike most of the other affordable watch brands that talk about “making luxury affordable” (DW, MVMT, cough), Aries Gold actually talks the talk and walks the walk. Despite most of their timepieces coming in at around just ~S$200, sapphire crystal (with AR coating!) is used on most of their timepieces. In addition, it’s not uncommon to find automatic movements in their ~S$200 watches, or even unique multi-function movements such as the Miyota 6S50 found in the Jolter. Colour me impressed!
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Aries Gold Jolter.
Aries Gold Jolter – Build Quality
As aforementioned, the Aries Gold Jolter has outstanding build quality for its price!
Firstly, the Jolter utilises a flat 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, there’s also an AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent the bulk of nasty reflections! Given that most other ~S$200 watches (DW, MVMT, Fossil, Orient, Swatch, Seiko, the list goes on) only use mineral or Hardlex crystal, the usage of sapphire crystal (with AR coating to boot!) is a very pleasant surprise on the Jolter. Elsewhere, the 100M WR rating of the Jolter means that the Jolter will be safe for most everyday activities, except extended time in the pool or diving in the sea.
The Miyota 6S50 movement serves as the Jolter’s beating heart. It’s a mecha-quartz movement, though it seems to be more uncommon than its Seiko VK counterparts. For those uninitiated with mecha-quartz movements, a mecha-quartz movement basically allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds – the accuracy (and affordability) of a quartz movement (which also negates the need to wind the watch), and also the sweeping second hand that’s characteristic of a mechanical chronograph. With this Miyota 6S50 movement, you get the capability to instantly reset the 60 minute chronograph by pressing the bottom pusher, as well as a big date complication at the top. I must say, I was really surprised that the Jolter uses a mecha-quartz movement given its low price tag – mecha-quartz watches tend to cost S$400-S$500 SGD! Another score in the value department.
Unlike its Seiko VK counterparts, the Miyota 6S50 (apart from the big date aperture at the top) also features a 1/20 second counter at 3 o’clock. When the chronograph function is activated, the hand on the 3 o’clock sub-dial will rotate once a second for thirty seconds. When paused, one would be able to tell elapsed time down to a fraction (1/20) of a second. That’s some serious duty timing capabilities! The spinning second hand of the 3 o’clock sub-dial is simply super cool, and combined with the big date aperture at the top, makes the Miyota 6S50 my preferred mecha-quartz movement over the Seiko VK movements.
One gets the choice of either a leather strap or a metal bracelet with the Jolter. Interestingly, Aries Gold doesn’t charge extra for the Jolter on a bracelet, as many watch brands do. Between the two, I went with the metal bracelet as the default leather strap on the Jolter felt a tad too thin to complement the thickness of the watch. The metal bracelet that came on my Jolter is pretty decent – it’s nicely brushed throughout, and features a very serviceable buckle with a signed clasp. Unfortunately, the metal bracelet lacks half-links, and the buckle is not capable of micro-adjustments. As such, I had to wear the Jolter slightly loose on the wrist, and in the end I swapped the bracelet out for a custom leather strap as I was unable to nail down that perfect fit.
To put the icing on the cake, the Jolter even comes with lume! Sure – it’s not Swiss lume, it’s not very strong, it fades relatively quickly, but at least its there.
Overall, I’m genuinely staggered at the build quality of the Aries Gold Jolter for its asking price. One gets sapphire crystal with AR coating, an interesting skeletonised Miyota 6S50 mecha-quartz chronograph movement, a metal bracelet, and even lume! The Jolter is the cheapest mecha-quartz chronograph I’ve encountered till date, but surprisingly, it’s also one of the best built. The build quality of the Jolter really punches above its price tag! In the event that anything fails, Aries Gold also offers a lifetime warranty – most watch brands offer 1, at most 2 years, so that’s pretty astounding.
Aries Gold Jolter – Design
Usually, watches that pack stellar build quality at a low price point often unfortunately possess lackluster design. That’s not the case here – in fact, I’ll argue that the design of the Jolter is even more impressive than its build quality!
Let’s start with the dial. I once said in my review of the Zelos Avant that finding a well skeletonised watch under S$1000 is rare – finding one at the ~S$200 price point is near impossible. Making a fully skeletonised watch is hard work – that’s why most affordable watch brands do not attempt it. The designer of the Jolter shared with me that the Jolter went through 7-8 prototypes just to nail down the look of its multi-layered dial!
Visually, the dial of the Jolter reminds me of the Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer 02. I don’t mean that in a “It’s nothing more than a mere homage” way, I mean that in a “It’s legitimately reminds me of a mid 4 figures watch” kind of way. They share a lot of similarities – both are skeletonised, and both features the 3,6,9 chronograph layout. However, I actually like the dial layout of the Jolter better, due to the implementation of the big date aperture at 12 o’clock, as opposed to a standard date window at 4 o’clock that we see in the Tag. Due to the date window placement, the dial of the Jolter simply looks more symmetrical. In addition, whilst the Jolter comes in a variety of colourways, I liked this black/red variant the best – it looked the most striking and sporty, though the blue/red variant on bracelet looks great too. I love the thoughtful, and restrained use of the red – it’s there in just the right amounts to perk up the dial, without being overwhelming. Also, I quite like the shuriken shaped second disk at 6 o’clock – it’s looks quite cool, especially when perched atop that blue cross-shaped platform.
Often, affordable watches look great to the naked eye, but peer at it closer under a macro lens (or a loupe) and imperfections are glaring. The Aries Gold Jolter however, bucks that norm. It looks even more stunning when viewed close up – which is the trait of a well-skeletonised watch. The date wheels behind the big date aperture are exposed, and its super cool to see them rotate into place, especially when setting the time. Elsewhere, the “plates” of the dial are brushed, giving the watch an industrial, utilitarian feel. I also appreciated the applied indices on the minute track, and how they appear to hover above the dial. The same goes for the hand of the chronograph sub-dial at 9 o’clock, which seems to float over the dial. In addition, I think the lightning counterweight of the red chronograph seconds hand is a superb touch – clearly a reference to the watch’s name. I think the placement of the Aries Gold brand name – subtly, just under the date window – is also pure genius. It looks like the number plate on a car! If I had a knock however, it would be that I wished the 60 minute chronograph sub-dial at 9 o’clock featured minutes, or at least 5 minutes interval, markings. Because it lacks any markings between its 10 minutes numerals, telling the time elapsed when the chronograph function is running can sometimes be guesswork.
Overall though, I absolutely love the dial of the Aries Gold Jolter. Skeleton watches remains one of my favourite styles of watches, and I think the design team of Aries Gold killed it. I love the depth present in the dial – I think Aries Gold says that there are 8 technical layers in the dial of the Jolter! That’s very impressive, and it certainly looks great on the wrist. Most importantly, it’s not boring like most of the other chronographs in its price range (cough, Fossil). One thing’s for sure – you can’t call the design of the Jolter generic.
The Jolter comes with a tachymetre bezel, which enhances the sporty, racing feel of the watch. I like that Aries Gold kept the bezel thin – it’s there, but the dial is still the main star of the watch. If anything, it frames the dial well, pulling our eyes the Jolter’s various layers.
On the side, we get a signed crown – it looks cheaply etched, but I can’t really complain much given that most ~S$200 watch don’t even have signed crowns. The chronograph pushers protrude out nicely, with a satisfying response when pressed. I like the red ring around the top pusher (which one presses to start the chronograph function) – it contributes towards the black/red colour scheme, and reminds me of red start buttons on sports cars! Elsewhere, the main body of the Jolter is brushed, with the sides of the bezel polished. Really impressed to see some differing finishing on the case of an incredibly affordable watch!
The caseback of the Jolter is polished, with several relevant information etched on the edges. In addition, Aries Gold actually offers customers the opportunity to engrave their caseback, for a small additional charge of $10 USD. I think that this is a great feature – I can imagine caseback engravings being the perfect icing on the cake for those getting Aries Gold watches as a gift for their loved ones, or simply to remind yourself of something motivational (as I did with mine). However, because the caseback of the Jolter comes polished to a gleam, it does pick up scratches fairly easily, as seen in the above photo.
On the wrist, the 44mm wide dimensions of the Jolter means it takes up quite a bit of real estate. On my 7 inch wrist, it’s right at the maximum of what I find acceptable – if you have small wrists, or are a gal, the Jolter may be a tad too big for you. Personally, I think this is a shame, as a 42mm dimension would be perfect. At 44mm however, it’s going to be outside the size preferences of quite a number of people. In addition, the multi-layered dial of the Jolter results in quite a beast of a watch – at 11.25mm thick, this is not one that will fit under a shirt cuff! If you like beefier watches, this is right up your alley; if you’re into smaller, vintage or Nomos-like sized watches, the Jolter would likely not be your cup of tea.
All in all, I absolutely adore the thoughtful, skeletonised design of the Jolter. There are a lot of shitters in the ~S$200 price range – some decent watch brands may offer watches of good build quality or innovative design for ~S$200, but rarely a combination of both. The Aries Gold Jolter does not skimp on its design, and the result is a wonder to behold.
Shootout – Aries Gold Jolter vs Avi-8 Hawker Harrier II
In this shootout, I’ve decided to compare the Jolter to the Hawker Harrier II from Avi-8, as the Hawker Harrier II uses the same Miyota 6S50 mecha-quartz movement as the Jolter, and also features a skeletonised dial.
In terms of build quality, the Jolter edges out the Hawker Harrier II. Both watches uses the same Miyota 6S50 mecha-quartz movement, and possesses lume, but the Jolter boasts sapphire crystal. In contrast, the Hawker Harrier II only uses a mineral crystal, which is much less scratch resistant than sapphire.
From an aesthetics perspective, I prefer the Jolter. Of course, style is subjective, but I find the superior depth of the Jolter more appealing. Not only is there more skeletonisation of the dial, the watch looks better finished as well. I personally like the symmetrical nature of the Jolter’s dial, though some may find the asymmetrical dial of the Hawker Harrier II their cup of tea. However, where I have to give the Hawker Harrrier II credit is in their innovation of replacing the hand of the chronograph seconds sub-dial at 3 o’clock with a rapidly rotating disk instead. Starting and stopping the wheel can be quite a lot of fun! Nevertheless, I still prefer the aesthetics of the Jolter better – it looks better composed overall.
Where the Jolter has the Hawker Harrier II trumped is in its value. The Hawker Harrier II is more than twice the price of the Jolter, despite having worse specifications, and a less skeletonised, less layered design. As such, the Aries Gold Jolter is undoubtedly the winner of this shootout in my opinion!
Conclusion – so the Aries Gold Jolter “shiok” or not?
Hell yes! I never thought I would enjoy a ~S$200 Aries Gold watch so much. I think Aries Gold is a severely underrated brand – it’s a brand that not many watch enthusiasts think highly of, and also a brand that many non-watch enthusiasts (i.e 99% of the population) don’t have much of an opinion of, as compared to other brands it competes with in the same price range, such as DW, MVMT, Fossil, etc. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t realise that Aries Gold had such gems in its catalog too until about a month ago. Whether you’re a veteran watch enthusiast, or a “normal person” simply looking for an affordable, well-built, well-designed watch as a fashion accessory, the Aries Gold Jolter is a great option to either start, or add to, your watch collection.
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will give you 10% off all Aries Gold products on their web-store! After the discount, the Jolter can be had for just $161 USD, or ~S$218 SGD. At that price, the Jolter is a steal. After wearing this watch for a month, I’m surprised it’s not sold out yet at this price! For those of you who are not fans of skeletonised watches, and prefer something more simple, the Aries Gold Escalate is a great alternative as well – automatic movement, sapphire crystal, and great legibility for the same price of ~S$218 after the promo code. With free international shipping and a lifetime warranty, I truly believe that Aries Gold offers a lot of value for the money they are asking in some of their pieces such as the Jolter and the Escalate. Happy hunting!
View Aries Gold’s full collection of watches here.
Case: Solid Stainless Steel
Strap: Solid Stainless Steel
Glass: Sapphire Glass
Wate Resistance: 10atm
Case Size: 44mm
Functions: Chronograph, Big Date
Movement: Japan. Quartz
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!