I was an avid reader during my teenage years, and one of my favourite book series was the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer. Set in the early 20th century, Ingersoll watches were frequently mentioned in the books as significant plot devices. In fact, Ingersoll actually released a special line of watches in collaboration with the book series. Classically styled with a handwinding movement, teenage me wanted one badly, but unfortunately I simply didn’t have the cash back then. So when H2 Hub asked if I wanted to review an Ingersoll watch, I jumped at the opportunity. Let’s see if the Ingersoll Herald is any good.
Ingersoll Herald – Video Review
For those interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the Ingersoll Herald below:
Ingersoll – the Brand
Ingersoll was founded by Robert H Ingersoll in 1892, making them even older than Rolex and one of the oldest watch brands still in existence. Throughout the years, Ingersoll watches have accompanied many historical figures such as Theodore Roosevelt and even Gandhi. Producing watches aimed at the masses, Ingersoll famously made the Dollar Watch (named as such as they cost just US$1 back in the day), as well as the Mickey Mouse watch, which was the first character watch in existence. The brand also boasts the distinction of making the first luminous pocket watch, which was used by American soldiers during the first World War. In other words, Ingersoll has a decorated watchmaking history.
Unfortunately, the brand ran into financial trouble in its later years, with sales of its mechanical watches being decimated by the Quartz crisis. The factory eventually closed in 1980. Today, the brand is under the ownership of Zeon Watches, a British subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based company Herald Group. Its modern watches bear little resemblance to the Ingersoll watches of old, though it should be noted that Ingersoll still enjoys widespread global distribution in over 50 countries worldwide, with many of its watches available in airports and the like.
Ingersoll Herald – Build Quality
I would say that the specifications of the Ingersoll Herald are satisfactory for its price.
Firstly, the Herald uses a domed mineral glass instead of sapphire crystal. That’s unfortunate, as mineral glass is significantly less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal. That being said, having a domed sapphire crystal would probably be unrealistic given the relatively affordable price point of the watch. The watch also has a water-resistance rating of 50m, which should render it robust enough for most everyday activities (that doesn’t involve submersion in water).
The Herald is powered by a skeletonised Seagull movement. Seagull movements have come a long way in the past few years, and I personally encountered no issues with both the reliability and timekeeping of the Herald. Unfortunately, Ingersoll doesn’t specify which movement is used inside the Herald, so I’m unable to provide the exact specifications. However, based on my observations the watch seems to have a power reserve of around 40 hours, and beats at 21,600 bph (3 Hz).
The Herald comes standard on a white faux crocodile leather strap. The white colourway is an uncommon one that complements its white dial well, and makes for a striking impression on the wrist. However, there is a brown alternative for those with more conservative tastes too. The quality of the leather strap itself is average, though there is a nicely signed buckle.
Given Ingersoll’s history in making luminous watches, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Herald features lume as well. Once again, the brand doesn’t specify the type of lume used, which should indicate that it’s the cheaper “Asian lume” instead of Superluminova. In any case, the lume isn’t the strongest, though that’s perhaps not a priority on what is billed as a skeletonised dress watch.
Overall, the build quality of the Herald isn’t the worst, but it’s far from the best either.
Ingersoll Herald – Design
But to focus on the specifications of the Herald would be missing the point – the unique selling point of the watch lies in its striking aesthetic.
Due to its skeletonised nature, the dial of the Herald possesses an abundance of depth, which is accentuated by the usage of applied baton indices as well as a sub-second dial that sits atop the skeletonised centrepiece. Coupled with the domed crystal, the multi-layered dial reflects a level of sophistication rarely seen at this sub-S$500 price point. Unfortunately, like most skeletonised watches the Herald isn’t the most legible watch – the gold plated hands blends in with the golden movement.
The mainplate of the movement features an engraved decoration, which is reminiscent of Haute Horlogerie watches from brands such as A. Lange & Sohne. The white outer track of the dial also showcases perlage, a series of small overlapping circles that are most often seen as decoration on movements. Combined with the conspicuously positioned rotating balance wheel, the Herald is an ode to traditional watchmaking, one that does a good job of recalling Ingersoll’s history as a manufacturer of affordable mechanical watches.
Upon closer inspection, it seems that the applied indices are placed on a brushed metallic ring that’s positioned above the track with the perlage decoration. It’s a small detail that I only realised when I placed the Herald under a macro lens – I think that’s evidence of the thought process that was poured into the watch.
The Herald actually comes in multiple colourways, with this particular variant featuring a rose gold plated case. When it comes to cheaper watches there’s always a danger of the case plating wearing off over time, but to date, I personally haven’t encountered this issue. The watch also has an onion-shaped crown that’s unfortunately unsigned.
At 40mm wide, the Herald is actually one of Ingersoll’s smaller watches in its current catalogue. On my 7-inch wrist, the watch wears larger than its diameter suggests due to the long lugs, though not to the extent of overhanging. Ingersoll doesn’t state the exact thickness of the watch, but I’ve found the Herald to slide underneath a shirt cuff without any issues.
All in all, the strength of the Herald lies in its eminently striking skeletonised design, which is bound to be a visual treat, especially for the casual watch enthusiast.
Shootout – Ingersoll Herald vs WULF Exo
In terms of specifications, the WULF Exo trumps the Ingersoll Herald. The Exo features a sapphire crystal (as opposed to mineral crystal on the Herald), a Swiss skeletonised movement (as opposed to the Chinese Seagull movement ticking in the Herald), and even a better strap to boot.
From an aesthetic standpoint, I believe the Herald has a slight edge over the Exo. The Exo looks good, but its skeletonised dial is a tad generic. In contrast, the skeletonised movement of the Herald highlights its beating balance wheel, and features traditional decorative attempts such as movement engraving and perlage. To me, the Herald is the more captivating watch out of the two.
Both the WULF Exo and the Ingersoll Herald are good watches under S$500 – which is better for you depends on your priorities. If you prefer a specs monster, the Exo would definitely be the better pick. However, if the design of the Herald appeals to you, then there’s nothing wrong with going with the visual feast. It should also be noted that Ingersoll is significantly more established as a brand, with retailers (and service centers) in dozens of countries globally. The same can’t be said for WULF, so if convenient aftercare support is important to you that’s something to consider.
Conclusion – so the Ingersoll Herald “shiok” or not?
I believe the Herald to be a good starter mechanical watch for those who are just getting started in the world of horology. My first mechanical watch was a skeletonised one, and I distinctly remember purchasing it because I thought it was cool to have the “engine” of the watch prominently displayed. The Herald will likely also be a great gift if you’re planning on introducing someone into mechanical watches. Despite its low price point, the Herald actually came beautifully packaged in a hefty wooden box, with a solid metal warranty card to boot (see picture below). With Christmas right around the corner, the Ingersoll Herald would be a perfect present for someone younger – I know teenage me would have loved wearing the Herald to school.
For those interested in purchasing the Ingersoll Herald (or any other Ingersoll watches), you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 5% off selected watch brands (Aries Gold, WULF, and of course Ingersoll) from H2 Hub’s online store. After the discount, the Herald can be had for S$464, which is fairly affordable as far as skeletonised watches go.
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Case Color||Rose Gold|
|Function||2 Hands, Sub second dial, Skeleton, Automatic|
|Local Warranty||1 Year|
|International Warranty||1 Year|
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.