Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! This Sunday, I’m reviewing something special – a customised watch from Hong-Kong based brand, Eoniq.
When the opportunity to review an Eoniq watch arose, I thought to myself: “This would make for a great gift!” Coincidentally, my father’s birthday was round the corner, and thus I decided to customise a watch specially for him. Read on to find out how the watch turned out!
Eoniq – the Brand
As aforementioned, Eoniq is a custom watch brand based out of Hong Kong. They describe as “the first globally to bring customized mechanical watches that are designed by users on our website at the price point of a fashion watch.” On top of offering selections for different watch components, Eoniq also prides themselves in enabling users to upload their own designs and images, so that they can create “truly unique watches”.
Fun fact: My first mechanical watch was actually from Eoniq! Yup – in late 2016, Eoniq launched an Indiegogo campaign to promote their maiden line of custom watches, the Pinot Blanc/Navigator. Then, the USP (unique selling point) was simple: they allowed buyers to put their signature (handwritten!) on the dial. Enthralled by that, I backed them on Indiegogo. Back then, I was wearing mainly fashion watches – Daniel Wellington, Guess, etc. To be honest, I didn’t really care that the watch was mechanical – it was the personalisation feature that hooked me. However, after receiving the watch (which had a skeletonised face), I became fascinated with the mechanical movement powering the watch, and thereafter begun to read more about mechanical watches. In fact, if not for that Eoniq watch which I ordered back in 2016, this website might not exist today and I might very well still be wearing a Daniel Wellington! As such, Eoniq will always hold a special place in my heart as it was their Pinot Blanc watch that first sparked my interest in mechanical watches, and horology as a whole.
With that said, the customisation process is an experience in itself. Let’s take a look at the process!
Eoniq – the Customisation process
2 years back, when I first ordered my Eoniq Pinot Blanc, I’ll be honest – the web-customiser had flaws. It was laggy, buggy, and made customising the watch a chore. 2 years on, I’m glad to report that the web-customiser is far more fluid now! The process this time around was much more enjoyable.
It was a really comprehensive customisation process. No disrespect to other custom watch brands that I’ve covered, but the Eoniq customisation tool is probably the most comprehensive one that I’ve seen thus far. To start, one decides the case colour and the colour of the hands (there’s silver, black, and blue, as well as a luminous option). I chose silver hands with a rose gold case as I felt that it looked the most premium, whilst going with a red second hand for that added pop of colour. In addition, I need to highlight the strap choices – the widest selection of strap options (24!) that I’ve seen offered by a custom watch brand thus far. The options came in a variety of materials and colours as well, so I’m sure that there will be something for everyone! I picked the “Sfumato” strap as I felt it paired best with the dressy feel of the watch – it even had, by default, a rose gold buckle. For more information on the strap, read here.
I chose a dark blue dial for the watch – I personally think that blue dials look great! Also, Eoniq allows you the option of removing their logo from the watch. Most custom watch brands do not offer that, as they still want others to recognize that that’s a “XXX brand” watch. I chose to have the logo removed, and in it’s place have my father’s name engraved instead.
There was also a surprisingly amount of choices for the sub-second dial. I found the first few a bit too reminiscent of Nomos Glashutte’s designs (a brand that I absolutely adore), and therefore went with numeric indicators for the sub-dial.
As aforementioned, I chose to have my father’s name engraved at 12 o’clock. I was really amazed at the large amount of font choices available to choose from – over 30 different types of fonts are available! Again, much more customisation choices here as compared to other custom watch brands.
Going a step further than most other custom watch brands, Eoniq recently introduced rotor customisation as a personalisation option. To my knowledge, Schaffen is the only other custom microbrand that offers such a option in their web-customiser. I chose to have the rotor engraved with “花“, the Chinese familial surname of my father (and I!). Unfortunately, Eoniq currently do not have font choices for Chinese characters (which is peculiar, given that they are based out of Hong Kong), though Eoniq has informed me that plans are in the works for that. I also chose to include an image of a flower on the rotor – for my non-Chinese readers, “花“ translate to flower! I applaud Eoniq for upping the ante on customisation, and allowing me to truly personalise the watch for my dad.
Overall, I’m really impressed with Eoniq’s customisation options – they have certainly came a long way since 2 years ago! The vast amount of choices offered dwarfs that of other custom watch brands, and for someone looking to personalise the watch as a gift (like I was), the web-customiser certainly has everything you need! If not, feel free to email Eoniq, where they will help you out on crafting the perfect unique timepiece for either yourself or a love one.
Eoniq Alster – Build Quality
Let’s see how the build quality of the Alster stacks up!
Firstly, the Alster utilises double-domed sapphire crystal to protect the watch face. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Eoniq states that the sapphire crystal is coated with 5 layers of AR coating. Unfortunately, even with the additional layers of AR coating, the face of the Alster is still very reflective (as seen in the photo above). While it is not disruptive enough to hinder legibility, it certainly makes taking photos of the watch a pain.
Eoniq chose the Miyota 82S0 movement powers the Alster. Some specs: The movement beats at 21600 VPH, with 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. At this price point, the inclusion of the Miyota 82S0 movement is no surprise, as it is one of the only lower cost options to feature a sub-second dial. I’m usually not a fan of the Miyota 8 series movement due to its stuttering second hand (which was an issue on my Pinot Blanc), but this issue does not seem to affect its sub-second counterpart.
The “Sfumato” strap which I chose is decent, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Eoniq indicates on their web-site that they have put in effort to ensure that the strap patinas naturally, as premium leather would. In addition, the lining of the strap is also supposedly water-resistant, in order to reduce the chances of water-related deterioration. Also, quick-release pins are fitted onto the strap, facilitating easy strap changes. While that’s all and good, it is still only a “Genuine Leather” strap, albeit “zhnged“. Peer closely, and flaws start to reveal themselves. There are some cracking of the leather around the stitching (on the underside of the strap), and the strap loops are glued together, not stitched. Overall, while the strap looks luxurious on the outside, I do not expect it to last long.
Update: After criticizing the Sfumato strap, Eoniq got back to me, informing me that the Sfumato strap they have currently was a new strap from a new supplier that they have just begun to test out. They sent me their vintage strap thereafter for a quick hands-on review. I have to say, I much preferred this vintage strap as compared to the Sfumato one I handled previously. It’s beautifully minimalistic, with hand-stitched elements at the tips of the strap. On the wrist, it feels more supple and comfortable as compared to the Sfumato strap, probably due to the thinness of this vintage strap. Overall, if you’re deciding upon strap options in the Eoniq’s customiser, I would definitely recommend the vintage straps over the Sfumato one!
All in all, I would say that the Alster has decent build quality. Sapphire crystal (if slightly overly reflective) coupled with a reliable Miyota movement ensures that you’re getting a timepiece that would stand the test of time. The same however probably cannot be said for the strap, which though looks luxurious, shows some signs of cost-cutting.
Eoniq Alster – Design
Nevertheless, let’s be honest – the calling card of the Eoniq Alster is undoubtedly the customisation features. Let’s now see how the customisation choices turned out.
I was quite impressed with how the watch face turned out. For once, the watch actually looked better in person rather than on the renders in the web-customiser! The shade of blue is a nice navy, which, coupled with the gleaming applied indices, looks rather brilliant. The sub-second dial is not only recessed, but textured as well with concentric circles, adding a welcome touch of depth and texture to the watch. The QC here is great too, with the applied indices lining up perfectly with their printed numerical counterparts, which are printed in a shiny silver font.
Most importantly, the personal touch is executed well. As aforementioned, I chose to inscribe my father’s name on the dial of the watch, and I think it turned out looking superb! The name is inscribed with the same shiny silver font as the numerical markers/minute track, ensuring that it does not look out of place with the rest of the dial. In fact, the name was integrated so seamlessly that when I first presented this watch to my dad, he thought “Victor” was the name of the watch brand!
The finishing of the Alster is a great improvement, especially compared to their earlier models. On the Alster, Eoniq employs hybrid finishing – the bezel and caseback rings are polished, while the sides and the lugs are brushed. This contrast in finishing really serves to elevate the watch, making it look much more luxurious than its low price tag suggests. The crown is decorated with a sunburst effect (as shown in the photo above), though it remains unsigned. On this note, I wonder if Eoniq can offer personalisation on the crown as well (perhaps an engraved image/text) – that would definitely be dope!
As mentioned previously, I chose to have my father’s (and mine) Chinese surname engraved on the rotor, as well as an image of a flower. I have to say, Eoniq managed to execute the design rather well! Firstly, the rotor itself is satin-brushed, adding a nice touch of texture. It also plays with the light interestingly, resulting in a semi-sunburst effect. The personalisation touches that I chose to include is again integrated seamlessly here, with both the image and the text visibly perceptible without looking out of place. In addition, there’s some basic decoration done to the movement as well, with the mainplate of the movement decorated with Geneva Stripes.
Overall, I’m really pleased with how my customised Eoniq Alster turned out. Compared to the Eoniq Pinot Blanc that I have, the finishing and construction is superior on the Alster – in many senses, the Alster feels like the refined, upgraded version of the Pinot Blanc! It is also very apparent that Eoniq has spent loads of time in R&D perfecting their personalisation capabilities, as both the personalised text on the dial, as well as on the rotor was integrated seamlessly into the existing design of the watch. A big thumbs-up from me!
Shootout: Eoniq Alster vs Schaffen A65
I’m sure a lot of readers out there would be wondering: how do Eoniq compare with Undone (a brand I’ve reviewed multiple times, and perhaps the king of custom watches). I’ll say this: both companies currently offer different types of custom watches, and therefore comparing them would be like comparing apples and oranges. Eoniq concentrates on dress/pilot watches (especially with skeletonised dials), while Undone mainly offers divers/chronographs. As such, which custom watch brand you want to buy from largely depends on what style of watches you like.
As such, I’ll be comparing the Eoniq Alster with the Schaffen A65. Both are dress watches from brands that played an instrumental part in my watch journey. I previously interned at Schaffen, and it was there that I learned more about watches – movements, watch components, straps, etc. I’ve previously wrote an article about the A65 (and the S65) here.
In terms of build quality, I’m afraid the Schaffen A65 takes this contest by a mile. The A65 utilizes a Swiss Sellita SW200-1 movement (elabore grade), which is a high beat 28,800 bph clone of the venerable ETA 2824-2. The movement used by Schaffen even boasts blued screws! Furthermore, the exhibition caseback on the A65 is sapphire, as compared to mineral on the Alster. Lastly, the strap on the A65 is top-grain leather, as compared to genuine leather on the Alster. As such, in terms of specifications, the A65 has the advantage over the Alster.
However, what Eoniq has Schaffen beat in is its customisation options. As aforementioned, Eoniq offers a mind-blowing amount of customisation options, from straps to watch faces to text fonts, etc. In contrast, Schaffen doesn’t really offer much in terms of customisation, with options limited to a choice between 3 different dial colours, 2 hand colours, and an option for the date window. If you’re the type who love to mix and match to figure out the best combination, Eoniq would be a much better choice. However, it is important to note that both Schaffen and Eoniq offer you the opportunity to personalise both the dial and the rotor with text/images of your choice.
In terms of price, the Schaffen A65 is slightly more costly at $469 USD, while the Eoniq Alster starts at $398 USD. Eventually, which brand/watch is better for you depends on what you are looking for. With Schaffen, it seems to be watch first, customisation second, with Eoniq representing the vice versa. Given that I’m somewhat of a watch geek, personally I would go with the A65 if I was getting the watch for myself – for just ~$70 USD more, you get a very significant movement upgrade from a low-beat, non-hacking Miyota 8 series to a Swiss Sellita SW200-1 movement, as well as a better strap. However, if I was looking to get a watch for a non watch geek (which is probably 99% of the population) who does not care about the differences in movement capabilities – which was the case here – I would go with the Eoniq Alster. As aforementioned, the customisation options are much vaster over at Eoniq, and I really had fun mixing and matching different combinations on their web-customiser.
Conclusion – so the Eoniq Alster “shiok” or not?
Definitely! I had a lot of fun playing around with Eoniq’s web-customiser as I sought to create the perfect birthday gift for my dad. When I received the watch, I was really impressed by the finishing of the Alster, which really was a significant step up from the finishing of the Pinot Blanc I have, if I’m being honest! Starting from only $358 USD (after promo code below), I commend Eoniq for delivering a custom watch at an affordable pricing. While the build quality of the Eoniq Alster isn’t the best, it must be noted that given the price, the Alster is actually already cheaper than several other watches with similar specifications (Reverie Sea-spirit, for example). Take into account the fact that all Eoniq watches has to be assembled individually due to the customisable nature of the watches, and the price tag becomes a steal.
For those interested in getting an customisable Eoniq watch for either yourself or as a gift, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” grants you 10% off their entire mechanical collection (Alster, Navigator, and Pinot Blanc). After the promo code, the Alster starts from just $358 USD! Given the custom nature of the watch, as well as the wide variety of customisation options available, I’ll say that that price is a steal. Sure, make no mistake this watch isn’t going to impress any watch snob – but that’s not the point of the Alster, and Eoniq as a whole anyway! Eoniq presents users the opportunity to make the watch your own, at the price of a mass-produced watch. I also think that Eoniq watches makes for a great gift, be it for anniversaries, Valentine’s day, birthdays, father’s day, etc. Certainly, it would be a gift that is sure to leave a mark on the mind of the beneficiary!
I would also like to give a shout-out to Brian over at Eoniq, who was incredibly helpful to me throughout my customisation process. Firstly, as aforementioned Eoniq does not currently offer text in Chinese for personalisation – Brian specially did a mock-up of the Chinese text on the rotor, and sent it over to me to ask if I was fine with the font. Secondly, when the watch came it included a nice little birthday card, as well as a sweet handwritten note. Lastly, he even sent me an email on the day of my dad’s birthday to wish him Happy Birthday, as well as check on my dad’s feedback on the watch. Customer service is paramount for custom watch brands like Eoniq – and I’m glad to report that I think their customer service is excellent! Thank you to Eoniq for presenting me the opportunity to craft a meaningful gift for my dad 🙂
To customise your Eoniq watch, click here.
Update: The promo code has since expired.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
316L Stainless Steel Case
Surgical grade stainless steel; Serviceable 3-piece construction; Hybrid polished/brushed premium finish; 40mm case diameter
Eco-friendly Sapphire Crystal
Double domed sapphire crystal utilizing eco-friendly variant of sapphire material and processing; 5-layer anti-reflective coating.
Japanese Automatic Mechanical Movement
Citizen (Miyota) 8 series 21 jewel mechanical movement; Côtes de Genève and exposed balance wheel customization; 21600bph; 42 hours power reserve.
Exposed silhouette mechanical movement combined with while-silver plated watch face with metallic applied indices.
Lug width 20mm; Quick release pins included; Leather straps utilize Genuine European leather with water-resistant inner lining.