RZE may not need an introduction although the brand is barely over two years old. It made a name for itself as soon as it released its first model, the Resolute, a rugged full-titanium field watch with great specifications and an attractive price tag. Following the success of the Resolute, RZE released the Endeavour, another full-titanium watch–this time designed to take on the underwater world. In 2021, the brand released its third model, again in titanium but this time aiming for the race tracks with their Valour meca-quartz chronograph, which we’re taking a look at here.
Let’s skip the part in which I tell you that the watch is made of titanium. That, we already know. The Valour marks a slight demarkation from the brand’s first two models in that it is their first—and still only—model to use a quartz movement. This model is equipped with the Seiko VK64 Mecaquartz workhorse which displays a 24-hour military scale on the rightmost sub-register and a 60-minute counter on the leftmost sub-register. A date window can be found at the 6 o’clock position. The VK64 does not come with a running seconds hand, but it does come, as you may have guessed, with a chronograph hand. The architecture of this movement offers visual balance by way of having two sub-registers located at the opposite sides of the pinion.
From a dimensions perspective, the case measures 42mm in diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, and is 12.5mm thick. The Valour is the brand’s largest watch to date, another departure from the 40mm diameter models they have been producing before and after the Valour. While the watch seems big on paper, it wears comfortably on the wrist thanks to its classic RZE case design in which the lugs are short and turn down. We got our hands on the three dial variants the Valour comes in—black, salmon with black sub-registers, and white with black sub-registers—on the black FKM rubber strap. Each model can be had with RZE’s comfortable and light titanium bracelet, the black version having a matching black DLC-coating.
As it is the case with all RZE watches, the Valour is equipped with a sapphire crystal with super-AR, BGW9 lume, screw-down crown and caseback, giving the watch a 200 meter depth rating. That’s a lot of rugged-tool watch specs for you there, all of which can be had for $369 on the rubber and $459 on the bracelet, regardless of the dial or bracelet color. Once again, RZE released a watch that offers very good value for the money and with a wearing experience which does not disappoint. Whether being worn on the rubber or the bracelet, the watch is light despite its 42mm-case diameter.
|Case||Solid Titanium /w |
48mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Screwed Crown & Caseback
200m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Sapphire /w AR|
|Movement||SII VK64 Mecaquartz Movement|
& FKM Rubber
RZE has steadily been going through the classic sports-watch catalogue by releasing a field watch, a dive watch, a chronograph, and since the Valour came out in 2021, a pilot watch in the Fortitude. There is no doubt, then, that the brand is 100% a tool-watch company. If you liked RZE’s first model and its design language, you will basically love any model they have released since each time you will know that you it’s money well-spent. It is uncommon to find so much consistency within a brand’s collection, and to know that RZE started with a field watch and not a cheap dress watch, as it if often the case with microbrands, is refreshing. Travis, RZE’s founder, is hitting home runs with each new release, and I have it under good authority that you will not be disappointed with their next release (and I’m not talking about the 2022 iterations of the Resolute models.)
This other point of interest is that the Valour helps see the benefit of having a meca-quartz movements over mechanical ones. (Spoiler alert: we will talk about the movement in the Quibbles section.) Putting a quartz movement in a tool watch makes a lot of sense and brings the value-for-specs of the Valour even higher on this imaginary scale. I love automatic movements, I prefer them in all of my watches, but I would be lying if I were not to say that quartz offers certain advantages that mechanical movements don’t: they are immune to magnetism, they are more accurate, they don’t need to be put on a watch winder to keep ticking, which means we can grab it at any moment to go on an adventure. And, should we logically add, they make watches cheaper to make and buy.
In a sense, then, the Valour is a better tool watch than the Resolute, Endeavour, and Fortitude, in that it really fulfills the role of grab-and-go tool watch. Let’s say you work in an office Monday-through-Friday, or work from home, and you want to hit the trails come Saturday morning. You simply have to open your watchbox and grad the Valour, and you’re all set. You don’t have to wind the watch and set the date and time—which is a process I adore, don’t get me wrong—but knowing that your watch is already set and that you don’t have to worry about it, is a godsend. It makes going on your weekend adventure easier to prepare for, and overtime I’ve come to love owning a quartz tool watch. Nothing can beat its reliability and practicality.
Quibbles are generally something that don’t pair well with RZE watches, but to be quite frank, I do have one with the Valour. And that is inherently something that the brand could not do anything about without increasing the sale price. And that is the 24-hour scale. This kind of scale does not seem to be extremely useful to me as I don’t need to know whether or not right now is morning or evening, as I can tell from looking outside my window, and although not every human being has this privilege—there are parts of the world in which it’s sunny or dark 24 hours at-a-time—I would argue that most of us don’t need that feature, and having a running seconds, or even better a GMT-scale, would have been much more useful.
But doing without this feature would have meant putting a more expensive quartz movement inside.
So this is a quibble but not one that I can blame RZE for really. It has more to do, as we said, with the way the movement was designed. I’m not an expert in meca-quartz chronograph movements, but it seems to often be the case that brands are basically stuck with certain movement configurations in that they can come with three sub-registers and a date at the 4:30 position (amongst many possibilities) which doesn’t necessary matches the brand’s ideas for design and functionality they wanted for their watch. This means that brands have to adapt the design to the movement, not the other way around, which in the case of the valor means we are stuck with a not-so-useful sub-register.
Although the Valour was released in 2021, it feels as though RZE could have released in 2022 as it offers something different from the previous models and familiar at the same time. The brand’s most recent release, the 2022 Resolute collection which includes a revamped field watch and a brand new Super-Compressor diver, continue using many of RZE’s well-established design cues whilst offering a new type of horological experience. In that same vein, the Valour represents a clear continuation of the brand’s dedication to build sturdy, well-spec’d tool watches which allows us, collectors, to dip our hands into different kinds of activities: racing, timing important events in life, connecting to a different world of purpose-built watches that invite us to look at timekeeping from a new and different perspective, all of that for well under $1,000.
The RZE Valour retails for $369USD. For more information, check out the brand website.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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