Roue is a Brazilian independent brand founded in 2017 by Alex Iervolino, a gentleman who comes from multiple generations of vintage car collectors. Alex has a thing for race cars and utilitarian design which will become apparent looking at the CHR model. Honestly, there is no shortage of mecaquartz chronograph watches under the $300 price tag, so it’s a ballsy move for a young brand to tap into this market. In order to stand out from the crowd and be successful, you need to be doing something different. Either you offer exceptional design or incredible specs. Or both. Roue (which means “Wheel” in French) did both and manages to offer good quality watches that come packed with charm and plenty of features.
The PVD-coated tonneau-shaped CHR comes in with a diameter of 41.5mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm, a thickness of 10.9mm and a lug width of 22mm. As you can see from the photos below, it fits nicely on my 6.25” (16cm) wrist due to its short lug-to-lug distance and thin profile. The tonneau case definitely helps make the watch look and feel great on the wrist, and due to the mecaquartz movement within, you are looking at a lightweight timepiece. Although the CHR only costs $250, it comes with a flat piece of sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating and two interchangeable straps: a silicone one for hot days and a vintage rally one for the race tracks.
I like it when brands opt for a functional mecaquartz movement—as opposed to one that comes with useless complications like a 24-hour indicator. Roue chose the Miyota 6S10 movement that comes with a date, a running seconds sub-register at the 6, a 1/10th of a second sub-register at the 12, and a 60-minute totalizer at the 9 (I don’t personally care for the sub-register at 12 but I guess some people who are into racing do have a use for it). Being a mecaquartz movement the chronograph hand sweeps around the dial smoothly, and the action on the pushers is satisfying.
One thing to note about this movement: the pusher at the 2 o’clock position starts and stops the chronograph hand and the one at the 4 o’clock position restarts it. One can actuate the lower pusher to directly reset the chronograph hand without having to stop it first. A little trick that certain mecaquartz calibers come with and that I find to be useful.
As you might have noticed from the photos, the entire case comes with a black PVD coating that has a sandblasted texture. The crown and pushers also come with a sandblasted finish which gives the CHR a strong toolish aspect. This sensation is reinforced by the black straps and especially the silicone one that is both comfortable and practical. I can imagine myself sitting for hours in the cockpit of a race car at LeMans and flooding the helmet with drops of sweat and nevertheless feeling the CHR comfortable sitting on my wrist (one can dream).
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
48mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire /w AR|
Triple Layer Construction
4-Beat Centre Chrono Hand
Click Pushers /w Quick Reset
3 Sub-dials: Running Seconds,
60 Minutes, 1/10 Seconds
|Strap||Sports Silicone & |
As mentioned in the introduction, there are plenty of mecaquartz chronograph watches on the market that come with reasonable price tags. I’ve come across some in the past that look exactly what they are supposed to for the price you pay. I’ve reviewed another Roue model before that had a few tricks up its sleeves; the same ones we can see on the CHR model. Notably: a three-tier dial construction that gives the watch a lot of visual appeal. The lack of applied indices is therefore compensated by this particular dial construction. The sub-registers sit lower than the main section of the dial while the yellow tachymeter ring sits above the dial.
Looking at the watch from a side angle there is plenty to be mesmerized by, especially for $250. By mentioning the price I don’t mean to imply that one should expect a lesser watch at this price point, although it does sometimes happen. We are all too familiar with the expression, “You get what you paid for,” and I’m happy to report that this expression does not apply to Roue. In addition to having a cool movement and layered dial construction, the CHR comes with a particularly attractive design. I love the sign-post minute and hour hands, part of which has been painted black to disappear against the dial. The hands on the sub-registers have a square base which makes them look utilitarian.
Roue went through the trouble of framing the date window and kept text on the dial to a minimum. Only the words “Roue” and “Chronograph” can be seen on the dial. It’s easy to overdo a chronograph dial and Roue did a great job making it legible and functional. Lastly, I love the deeply embossed case-back that displays a Campagnolo wheel, a nod to the design of the Lamborghini Miura rims the CHR was inspired by.
Do I have quibbles? A quibble? I do, two actually. And it comes in the form of the crown, pushers, and the lume. Or lack thereof. The crown is small and sits very close to the case, making it a bit difficult to grab and operate. I wish Roue would have included a little notch in the case design underneath the crown to make it easier to grab and pull. Furthermore, the chronograph pushers are small as well and sit low, making them slightly difficult to operate.
Lastly, the lume. There is little of it and it is not present all around the dial. More specifically: the markers at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 have no lume. I know it’s hard to design a three sub-register dial and add lume plots all around, but I’ve seen it being done and wish Roue could have done it. The lume is also unevenly applied; it shines much brighter on the hands than it does on the dial.
I know, I’m nitpicking here but again, you should be aware of these things.
At the end of the day, the CHR is fun and cool. I don’t mean to sound too simplistic here but I do have to admit that it’s a watch that is easy to wear and that comes with a lot of personality. I am not too much into tonneau-shaped cases as I feel that they tend to look larger on the wrist than their dimensions might indicate. However, and as I’ve mentioned before, being thin the CHR is very comfortable on wrist. I can’t stress enough how much watch you get for our $250: a reliable and functional mecaquartz movement; sapphire crystal; PVD-coated case and pushers; and definitely a great conversation piece. If you are into vintage cars and racing, you need a CHR in your life.
For more information, please visit 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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