Last I checked, "Glam Rock" was a musical genre from the 1970s that involved flamboyant hair, clothing, and performance styles to go with progressive rock & roll sounds. Basically, think David Bowie. Glam Rock isn't mentioned much anymore but now with the Glam Rock watch brand we can relive those days of big glittered purple hair and skintight leopard pants. Does the musical genre match the aesthetic of the watches? Sure why not. They are both sort of overproduced and loud in their own way - yet strangely satisfying.
My dedicated mechanical watch lovers can avert their eyes now. This Glam Rock SoBe Tachymeter 44m is a quartz-based fashion watch through and through. This isn't what I would call an enthusiast's timepiece, but is rather a pretty good looking accessory watch that fits the right demographic pretty well. It comes in a range of styles on a strap or bracelet, and features a unique bezel swapping system that works quite well.
Let's discuss the bezel first. With a pull of the finger, the bezel comes loose and can be replaced with another one that Glam Rock provides. Each piece comes with three bezels. The system is quite good actually. You'd never know the bezel can be pulled off if no one told you, and it sits really securely on the case. Swapping bezels couldn't be more simple and as I said, the system is engineered well. There is a bit of a problem though. Glam Rock hasn't quite figured out what other bezels to offer with the kit. The base bezel has a tachymeter in the same tone as the case. The others included with the watch merely change the color of the bezel giving you steel tone, rose gold tone, or yellow gold tone. A rose gold bezel on a yellow gold toned watch doesn't look good. What would have made a lot more sense is offering actually different types of bezel designs - that match the colors of the case. Perhaps that will come in the future, but for the time being, I don't feel that Glam Rock is making the best use of this feature. If there are better bezel options out there, they weren't included with the watch.
The cases of the Glam Rock SoBe Tachymeter watches are 44mm wide with extra-wide bezels that give the watch an interesting cartoonish personality. It is a very Italian design feeling. That also goes with the neat looking large crown and pushers that have black cabochons placed in them - a curious design feature that I actually like. The cases themselves aren't very thick actually - which is a benefit to the design. Further, there is a heft to the case that makes it feel valuable as opposed to cheap as is the case with most fashion watches.
Glam Rock felt it was necessary to place the water resistance of the watch right under the logo. I didn't realize that this detail was so important for this style of timepiece. So 100 meters is what you get. The dial itself is a deep black with polished applied hour markers and recessed chronograph subdials. That subsidiary hands are nice looking and the dial has a good mix of bling and purpose. The main hands could all be a bit longer and one thing I noticed is that the subdial scales could be a bit more perfectly lined up with the gold-toned subdial rings. The main hands and outer hour marker scale have luminant for night viewing. Then again, these are all things watch nerds like myself notice that most people buying these would never pay attention to.
For the price of the watch I would have liked to have seen a sapphire crystal versus a mineral one - even though Glam Rock uses those sapphire coated mineral crystals that are supposed to work pretty well. There could have been a bit more AR coating on the crystal, but legibility was never much of an issue. Inside the watch is a Swiss Ronda chronograph quartz movement that has the date as well. It would have been good for Glam Rock to use a black versus white date ring to match the dial.
The cases for all the pieces are steel, but the gold-toned versions are colored using ion plating (IP). This is fine, but for a bit more durability it would have been nice to see Glam Rock use a PVD process on the steel for the color, for more durability. For fashion lovers it is good to have a yellow gold toned case, as they are rare compared to the more popular rose gold tones these days. The Glam Rock SoBe Tachymeter 44mm is available on either a metal bracelet or strap. The bracelet is nice and has a rare feature for a bracelet - being quick release pins. The leather strap also uses quick release pins, but these are a lot more rare on bracelets. That with the bezel feature tells me that Glam Rock intends for the owners of these watches to mix and match the components a lot - which is something people who get fashion watches are looking for.
The "SoBe" part of the watch name stands for South Beach (in Miami). Glam Rock's designer Enrico Margaritelli lives there and you can see how these timepieces fit into the general mood and aesthetic of the area. Margaritelli is one of the most prolific watch designer's I have ever met. The most important part of his career was working at Fossil heading design. There he learned about the mass watch industry and the idea of making more accessible products sort of stuck in. What I like about him is that he truly understands the retail side of the watch industry much more than the vast majority of designers. He is also the designer (and owner) of the CT Scuderia brand that I reviewed here.
As a fashionable watch that is relatively versatile, the Glam Rock SoBe Tachymeter 44mm is actually a solid choice. It isn't a bad watch, it just isn't for dedicated watch snobs. It is however a pretty good wrist companion for a lot of other types of people - doing what it was designed to do rather well. I would have liked for the price to be a bit lower. The collection starts at under $700 for the steel-toned versions on a strap going up to over $4,000 with a version that has a diamond-studded bezel. The yellow gold toned model on the bracelet retails for $925. At that price Glam Rock faces a lot of competition from brands that even offer Swiss mechanical watches. None look exactly like this model, but the competition is still fierce. The SoBe Tachymeter 44mm watch might not be for the hardcore wrist watch enthusiast, but it nevertheless a good looking and loud watch that is emotionally satisfying on a (at least my own) wrist. Visit the Glam Rock site here.
>Brand: Glam Rock
>Model: SoBe Tachymeter 44mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Maybe
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Seasoned watch lovers will yearn for more, but it makes for a eye-catching piece for those with modest budgets or who just don't feel the need for anything high-end or mechanical. A decently exciting watch for "everyone else."
>Worst characteristic of watch: Interchangeable bezel system is slick but bezels other than the stock unit feel ill-designed for the watch's design.
>Best characteristic of watch: Not a "me too" fashion watch but is familiar enough to satisfy a lot of lay folk.
Thanks to Glam Rock for the review units. Opinions are 100% independent.