Hello everyone! This Sunday, I’m reviewing the Volante from Scuro Watches. The Scuro Volante is currently live on Kickstarter here, and as of point of publication they have garnered about a third of their funding goal.
Scuro describes the Volante as “A Truly Skeletonized Titanium Sports Watch” – let’s see if the Volante is worth backing!
Scuro – the Brand
Scuro is based in Langkawi, Malaysia – a fact interesting in itself! While there are a whole host of microbrands based in Singapore, there aren’t many from across the causeway. According to Scuro, their philosophy while conceptualizing the Volante was to create “A beautifully executed, race cars inspired concept paired with great everyday wearability at an extremely competitive price.” The sentence is not very grammatical, but I think you catch the drift (pun intended)!
Scuro seems to me like the Malaysian version of Zelos – like their Singaporean counterpart, Scuro prides themselves in creating watches out of exotic materials (Titanium and Forged Carbon in the Volante, Bronze for their previous watch, the aptly named Bronzo). Like Zelos, I believe in the originality of Scuro watches that’s often dished out at extremely affordable prices. A multitude of watch brands, from MVMT to Filippo Loreti, claims that their watches are “affordable luxury”. While it is my opinion that the watches from the aforementioned brands fall short of that title (way short), I do think that with Scuro, there is some semblance of truth to that statement given the combination of exotic materials and strong designs found in their watches.
Scuro Volante – Build Quality
Given the Volante’s affordable price tag (~$284 USD), I’m really impressed by the build quality.
Firstly, the Scuro Volante uses 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. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it simply makes the watch much more robust. Furthermore, the underside of the sapphire crystal is AR-coated, preventing the bulk of any possible nasty reflections. In addition, the water-resistant rating for the Volante is 200M, so you should be able to take this to the pool with you without any issues.
The calling card of the Volante is definitely its use of exotic materials. The case of the Volante is made of Grade 5 Titanium, making the watch uber-light without compromising on sturdiness. Just for comparison, one of my grail watches, the Richard-Mille 67-01, has its case fashioned out of Grade 5 Titanium as well. Titanium is also hypoallergenic, thus it is unlikely to cause a allergic reaction on the skin. For an additional $39 AU (~$29 USD), Scuro allows you the opportunity to swap out the Titanium sides for forged carbon case-sides. Forged under extreme pressure from carbon fiber strands, forged carbon has one of the best strength to weight ratio of any material. Again, it is a material usually only seen in luxury watches such as the Audemar Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, as well as in racing sports cars like the Bugatti Veyron. While there are microbrand watches (Vilhelm Elemental is such an example) that seeks to offer such exotic materials at a considerably more affordable price than the abovementioned luxury brands, none has managed to offer them at the ~300 USD price point – Scuro may be the first! The combination of titanium and forged carbon sides will weigh the watch in at just 67 grams, putting it in the same weight category as some of Richard Mille watches. Unfortunately, the prototype I received had titantium sides instead of forged carbon, so I will not be able to show you hands-on pictures of them, although renders of the watch with forged carbon sides can be seen on Scuro’s Kickstarter campaign. In addition, some variants of the Volante feature black DLC-coated finishing, which is more resistant to shock and scratches as compared to the usual PVD or IP coating one sees at this price point.
For the Volante, Scuro chose to utilize the Miyota 8N40 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. 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. Furthermore, the 8N40 is a dedicated skeleton movement – to my knowledge, I don’t think there’s a skeletonised variant of the NH35. As such, I think that Scuro ultimately picked the best movement available for the Volante. The exhibition caseback is made out of sapphire crystal as well, so that’s a plus! In addition, the Volante comes with a rubber strap that’s supposedly custom-made for the watch. According to Scuro, the rubber strap has improved “durability and feel” as compared to regular rubber straps, with an anti-dust coating applied. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the quality as the strap I have on the Volante prototype is 3D-printed, not the final production strap.
The hands and applied indices are filled with “superluminous” – I’m not quite sure what that means, to be honest. What I do know is that the lume on the prototype I received is certainly on the weaker side. However, Scuro has again clarified to me that the lume on the production models will be improved.
Overall though, I’m really impressed by the build quality of the Volante. For less than $300 USD, you’re getting a titanium cased watch with sapphire crystal and a skeletonised movement, not to mention the mere ~ $29 USD for forged carbon sides! As aforementioned, there have been microbrands who sought to offer such exotic materials such as titanium and forged carbon at affordable pricings – Vilhelm, Zelos, Tempest, Magrette, Gorilla, etc – just to name a few. Yet, none thus far have managed to offer it in a truly, ultra-affordable package – most of the titanium/forged carbon offerings by the above-mentioned microbrands will still cost more than twice of the Volante. As I said earlier, many watch brands tries to lay claim to the “affordable luxury” title – with Scuro, that description actually has a ring of truth in it.
Scuro Volante – Design
The design of the Scuro Volante is no slouch as well! Let’s dive into it.
If you had read my review on the Zelos Avant A-4, you would know that I’m a fan of skeletonised dials! Personally, I love skeletonised dials as they are designed to showcase the mechanical marvel within. The dial here on the Volante is forged out of carbon fiber, which complements the racing theme of the watch (carbon fiber is a material commonly used in the world of motorsports, due to the material’s lightweight properties and strength). Again, you’re getting an “exotic” material in a watch that’s on the lower end of the price bracket. I liked that the carbon fiber dial is skeletonised to resemble Scuro’s logo – that’s pretty cool, and a smart move in my books! However, I do not like the painted, plastic blue hands, which in my opinion makes the watch look cheap. I do like that the hands are cut-out though, as it keeps to the theme of skeletonisation.
The Volante boasts a sub-second dial, which looks intentionally designed to resemble that of a car wheel! I like the red accents on the seconds track, as well as the wire mesh used – together, it reinforces the theme of racing and skeletonisation. Elsewhere, applied indices seat atop a raised minute track, which adds to the depth of the dial. Overall, I think the dial is extremely well-thought out, with emphasis given to both the theme of racing as well as skeletonisation. However, I have to say this is probably my least favourite colorway of the Volante – my pick would definitely be the the SV-R2, which features a heat treated titanium case with red hands and forged carbon sides. Black and red is always the colour combination most evocative of motorsports!
As aforementioned, the Volante features interchangeable case-sides. For an additional $39 AUD (~$29 USD), you will receive an additional set of forged carbon case-sides, which you can swap out the titanium case-sides with. I like this idea – it’s kinda cool, allowing owners of the Volante the opportunity to configure the look of their watch. For example, the titanium case-sides (seen above) would probably be more appropriate in formal settings, while the forged carbon case-sides inject some debonair flair into the watch during more casual occasions. In case you’re wondering, the unique look of the case-sides is inspired by the side-vents of race cars!
The crown on the Volante is polished, and nicely signed – a feature not always seen on sub-$300 USD watches! On the prototype, the crown is slightly difficult to screw in due to obstruction of the case-sides. However, Scuro has informed me that the “crown will be longer and feature a deeper groove for easy time adjusting” on production models. In addition, the Scuro brand is boldly engraved on the case-sides as well. The lugs are interesting as well, reminiscent of the lugs of the Vilhelm Talos I reviewed a few months back – it is certainly a striking look. All in all, I think that Scuro has done a great job on the case of the Volante!
The Volante features an exhibition caseback, with users able to see the Miyota workhorse movement beating away within. However, Scuro has decided to include a carbon fiber insert, meant to mimic the look of a racing car’s wheel. Personally, I’m not a fan of this – why open up the caseback, when you’re just going to put something there to obstruct the view? However, thematically I do understand that it makes sense, as it reinforces the racing/exotic materials/skeletonisation theme of the Volante. Nevertheless, if it were me I would have offered backers the the choice either a closed case back with the carbon fiber wheel motif, or a plain exhibition caseback.
In general, I enjoyed the carefully thought out design of the Volante. I like the smart skeletonisation of the dial, the depth it possesses, as well as the racing theme evident in all areas of the watch. If anything, the originality of the design is tastefully refreshing – you certainly can’t call this a homage, by any means!
Shootout: Scuro Volante vs Gorilla Fastback GT
In terms of build quality, the Gorilla Fastback GT has the upper hand. Both uses sapphire crystal, but the Fastback GT features a medley of exotic materials in its layered case construction, such as a polished ceramic bezel, anodized aluminium, forged carbon case, and a titanium crown and caseback. As compared to the Volante, the Fastback GT incorporates a wider variety of “exotic” materials. In addition, the Fastback GT utilizes the Miyota 90S5 movement, which – as compared to the Miyota 8N40 movement in the Volante – beats at a higher frequency of 4 Hz (therefore translating to a smoother sweep of the second hand), hacks, and is purportedly more accurate than its 8 series counterpart. As such, I’ll say the the Fastback GT has the better build quality.
As for design, I’ll say that I prefer the striking design of the Fastback GT as well. Gorilla (as a microbrand) has the stronger design language. The design of the Fastback GT is uniquely original, and distinctly Gorilla – I wouldn’t be able to mistake it for a watch from any other brand. I love the multi-layered dial of the Fastback GT as well, which is chock-full of depth and contrast due to smart skeletonisation of certain elements such as the minute hand and the balance wheel. I also love that Gorilla keeps the overall aesthetics of the case and dial ongoing with it’s other models, such as the Fastback Drift, which features a wandering hours complication. In contrast, the design language of the Volante is a less distinctive (in my opinion), less refined. One would have to take a closer look at the Volante to deduce that it’s from Scuro, as compared to the Fastback GT where you can tell that it is a Gorilla watch from a mile away. In addition, I really dislike the painted plastic hands. However, one does get a rawer, industrial feel with the Volante, which to some is the main drawing appeal of microbrand watches. While I think that the Volante has some nice design elements (the use of the skeletonised carbon fiber dial is one), overall the Fastback GT definitely feels more composed and haute horologerie.
However, what the Scuro Volante has the Gorilla Fastback GT soundly beat in is definitely in its value. At $284 USD currently, the Volante is less than a quarter of the Fastback GT’s MSRP! While the Fastback GT has better build quality and a more unique design, the Volante undeniably has the win in the bang-for-buck department. At a fraction of the price, you get on the Volante much of what you would on the Fastback GT, such as titanium, forged carbon, skeletonised dial and racing inspiration woven into the design of the watch. For those who find the sticker price of the Fastback GT a bit too steep for a Miyota-powered watch, the Scuro Volante makes for a very compelling alternative.
Conclusion – so the Scuro Volante “shiok” or not?
Definitely – in fact, I’ll say that it’s probably one of the best bang-for-buck watches I’ve reviewed thus far. For a mere ~ $284 USD, you get a racing inspired, skeletonised watch made out of titanium and forged carbon. As aforementioned, I think the Volante is probably the most affordable titanium-cased watch on the market today! I know this sounds silly (given the vast disparity in price), but wearing the Scuro Volante on the wrist really gave me Richard Mille feels. Yet, it is by no means an homage or derivative of Richard Mille (unlike brands such as MoVas) – the Volante is backed up by an original design that seeks to pay tribute to the world of motorsports. To me, the Scuro Volante is the epitome of microbrand watches – offering luxury materials, paired with original designs, at an incredibly accessible price.
As of this point of writing, the Scuro Volante’s Kickstarter campaign is still some ways off its funding goal. If you like the design and the materials used in the Volante, I highly recommend backing the project. Scuro is bringing exotic materials down to a very affordable price point, which in itself is already commendable. Back it – I don’t think that you will regret it at this price!
For those interested, you can back the Scuro Volante on Kickstarter here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!