Inspired by the straightforward classic Nomos Tangente, Rodina R005 aims to relive Bauhaus style and quality craftsmanship at a very accessible price. And, judging by the response from its vast following, the otherwise little-known watchmaker has done an exceptional job at paying homage to the German classic.
From its solid automatic movement all the way up to the sapphire crystal, you will have difficulties finding a machining or functional flaw in the R005. Even the design strikes the right chord, as Rodina doesn’t disappoint in the slightest in delivering clean, modernist aesthetics. Let’s have a closer look.
R005 Dial Design
The dial is executed very well, with all elements put together in a sharp, precise manner. Rodina was very careful in how they distribute color and substantial attention to detail has been given to this task. The dial color is off-white with notes of silver and cream, alternating in relation to the angles from which you’re looking at the watch.
You may also notice the subtle dark blue finish on the hands, a creative touch giving the watch that intriguing edge it needs. Another detail is the circular pattern spreading across the subdial – also a lovely addition to have at such a price point.
There are very few decorations on the face itself, perhaps in Rodina’s effort to come closer to the purist, minimalistic Bauhaus style. Apart from the words ‘’Rodina,’’ ‘’Automatic,’’ and ‘’China Made,’’ you won’t find anything else inscribed on there. The latter, even though there are some exceptional Chinese timepieces, may, unfortunately drive customers away from the watch, fearing needlessly of inferior quality.
But what really makes this watch so reminiscent of the Bauhaus style is the font. Deprive the watch of that early 1900’s angular styling on the numerals and what you’ll end up with will look a lot like any other dress watch on the market.
The 40mm polished case has nothing special about it that we could single out, but it is still put together very well. There is a lovely flow to its back allowing for an increased comfort and the lugs are executed in a traditional Tangente manner. Their uniquely thin, angular form makes them pleasant to look at and wear. What I mean is, you will not only admire their appearance but will find it easy to replace the leather strap should you so wish.
The case-back offers a glimpse in the Sea-Gull ST17 automatic movement through its mineral exhibition glass. Many watches in this price range will feature quite a small window into the workings of a mechanism but this is no the case with Rodina R005. Everything, down to the very plastic holding the mechanism in place, is visible through the case back.
If you’re like me, watches protruding far from your wrist will repel you. Rodina R005, on the other hand, has a thin 9.25mm case height, which enables you to wear the watch effortlessly and in an understated fashion. This is partly due to the flat sapphire crystal on the top, as domed glass would considerably boost the slim figure.
Bearing in mind its price tag, it’s quite a surprise to see sapphire crystal being used. There is no anti-reflective coating, though, but this isn’t an issue, mostly because it’s a lighter dial.
Very little negatives can be pointed out when it comes to Rodina’s case. Perhaps the biggest ones being the absence of crown guards and the mismatching font embossed on the crown. Poor manufacturing and tolerance have also made the crown a bit too firm and difficult to pull out. We recently reviewed the Stowa Partitio which also has very similar case, but with a more pristine finishing, which of course comes at a significantly higher price point.
Thin Leather Strap
The strap which comes out of the box with R005 is a rather thin black leather model. Very basic in appearance with a standard buckle. Although it is comfortable to wear, (to the point where you’ll forget the watch is on your wrist) I am doubtful about its durability.
It’s more than likely to start wearing quite soon, especially around the flimsy buckle. If you’re planning on replacing it with a more durable strap, aim for black, or if you’re brave enough, brown leather.
Sea-Gull ST17 movement
Chinese movements are stereotypically perceived to be of lower quality. However, don’t be deceived. Everything from ST17’s accuracy to finishing of the components is well-thought out. Sea-Gull is one of the largest producers of mechanical watches in the world; the design of this particular model is based on ST16 and has been in production since 2001.
So you can rest assured that this solid trooper will keep your timepiece ticking with great reliability at its 21.6k bph. Don’t expect much from a cost-effective automatic movement, but don’t underestimate it either.
Let’s wrap this review up. If you’re dreaming of the Tangente but are miles away from affording it, Rodina R005 offers an excellent alternative. It’s a very well-built, automatic available at little over a $100. In my eyes, that is a bargain. The mass following this watch has acquired doesn’t shock me in the slightest, what shocks me is the amount of specs Rodina was able to push into this low-range timepiece.