Off the Cuff: Imperial Watch Co. Royal Guard 200

Charming. That’s the word that jumped to mind when I first saw images of the Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200. It has that BB58 vibe going for it, but also a little of that late 50s, early 60s, catalogue skin diver look, especially in its dial. But after having it in hand, I might choose a different word–capable, for instance. Maybe even, impressive.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 @calibre321


I rarely start a review by discussing the bezel, but as a dive watch nerd, it’s one of the first things I test out when a new timepiece arrives in the mail. It was honestly so visceral and responsive, that I immediately audio-taped the sound and sent it to a friend. His response? “Holy s*@t! That sounds so tactile.” Exactly my thoughts. Yes, sadly, this is the sort of thing watch geeks do.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Excellent, tactile bezel action @calibre321

The coin-edge knurling surpasses the case side ever so slightly, allowing for an excellent grip, as well. The insert is aluminium, with a countdown track and minute indicators between zero and ten.Visually, I also have to say that the brand’s choice of colours is spectacular. Whether it be grey, mossy green, denim blue, or the lovely wine red featured here, each has a faded, tropicalized look that fits the overall vintage appearance to a tee.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Vintage design elements abound @calibre321

The dial has this same deep brown/black retro colouring, made all the more timeless by the gilt elements (hands and markers) and the Swiss vintage lume. I particularly like the inverted triangle indicators at the cardinal points. Their oversized presence looks a bit like a star, and beneath the double-domed sapphire crystal they warp and move into all kinds of great distortions. The handset, too, with its shortened hour hand and arrow minutes is very reminiscent of French dive watches of the past. The lollipop seconds is entirely delightful here. And I am 100% sold on the dial logo. It’s over-the-top and playful and strikes just the right note.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Matte black dial /w gilt highlights @calibre321

The 316L stainless steel case is a great size at 38mm, with a very wearable lug to lug of 47mm. Including the crystal, the watch is 14mm thick and sports 20mm lugs. The case back is screw down and etched with the brand logo. The oversized crown, too, is threaded and signed with the same branding. The case is slab-sided with drilled lugs and predominantly brushed with a slim chamfer of polish running end to end along the top edge. The watch is rated to a respectable 200m of water resistance.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Slab-sided profile and drilled lugs @calibre321
Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Domed sapphire crystal @calibre321

The bracelet, for its part, is a standard three-link Oyster-style with polished edges and a line of brushed links down the centre. It tapers from 20mm at the lugs down to 16mm at the clam-shell clasp. It has a push-button release and four increments of microadjust.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Engraved case back @calibre321

The vintage lume application is surprisingly bright and long-lasting. It has a ghostly, yellow-green glow that makes the dial highly legible in the dark, given the size of the markers and the broad handset. There is a lumed pip at twelve on the bezel, as well.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Swiss vintage lume @calibre321

The Royalguard 200 is powered by Seiko’s NH35. It’s a 3Hz calibre with a 41-hour power reserve. The movement is ubiquitous in the industry and a favourite of microbrands. It is easily serviceable the world over.


Case316L Stainless Steel
38mm Diameter
47mm Lug to Lug
14mm Thick
20mm Lug Width
Unidirectional, 120-Click Bezel
Screw Down Crown & Case Back
200m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalDouble-Domed Sapphire Crystal
/w AR
Applied Markers
Gilt Hands
Swiss Vintage Lume
MovementSeiko NH35
24 Jewels
21 600bph
41-Hour Power Reserve
StrapStainless Steel Bracelet
/w Clamshell Clasp

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200


Of Interest

Brand founder, Ben, stumbled into the watch enthusiast sphere when he was twenty-two and attending a gruelling eight-week boot camp for the Coast Guard. During that time, he borrowed his father’s Timex Ironman and put the watch through its paces. Once his training was completed, Ben’s regard for his timepiece companion led him down a horological rabbit hole with a stop at Ginsbo Watches–a defunct Swiss brand that once produced a dive watch called the Coastguard. Thinking this would be entirely appropriate for someone like himself, Ben managed to secure a NOS version of the watch. Years of collecting and modding ensued, culminating in the Royalguard 200.

Ginsbo Super 200 Coastguard


Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Skin diver vibes  @calibre321


The bracelet clasp on the Royalguard 200 is relatively basic. It would be great to see a dive extension or on-the-fly adjustment with future iterations. As it is, the watch is likely to be a strap monster.

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Easy-wearing dimensions @calibre321

Final Thoughts

Charming. Capable. Impressive. Choose your poison. They all fit the Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200. The timepiece is a well-executed mix of vintage design elements and modern durability. It is sleek and elegant, but at the same time whimsical and prepossessing. It has a great bezel with an attractive dial design. The movement is a workhorse and the water resistance rating, solid. Rather than being a chimera of retro elements cobbled together, the Royalguard 200 is a thoughtful package where each of the components seems to be in exactly the right place and contributing to a unified whole.

The Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 launches May 16th and will retail for $450USD. For more information, please visit the brand website

Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 Watch Review
Imperial Watch Co. Royalguard 200 @calibre321


About the author

Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

7 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: Imperial Watch Co. Royal Guard 200

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