Rotary Jura Watch Review – Affordable Skeleton

Rotary Jura Watch Review – Affordable Skeleton

Rotary Jura Watch Review   Affordable Skeleton   wrist time watch reviews

With the Jura, Rotary has created a line of skeleton watches which are classically styled and handsome, yet don't overreach. Lower-priced skeleton watches are often horological traps set by fashion brands to ensnare budding watch enthusiasts under the false pretense of tradition and historical significance. What Rotary has done, is to proudly display the movement sans superfluous machine decoration. The Rotary name isn't well known in the US but this privately-owned Swiss company is headquartered in London with the UK being its largest market. Rotary isn't exactly forthcoming about the origin of their materials and movements but prices would suggest that the "Swiss Made" markings might not be as up-front as the designation would imply (e.g. the movement ain't no ETA we've ever seen).

The Jura model range features a largely unobstructed view of the movement save for the silver chapter ring containing roman numeral hour markers along with the brand name and winged wheel logo.  There is a slight brushed star-burst texture which contrasts nicely with the polished hour markers. Blue-colored pomme-style hands mark the time and are legible enough with adequate light but can blend in otherwise. Skeleton watches aren't exactly known for their legibility and the lack of lume anywhere, typical for a watch of this style, further emphasizes this point.

Rotary Jura Watch Review   Affordable Skeleton   wrist time watch reviews

The rounded 42mm stainless case is highly polished and looks slightly larger due to a substantial sloped bezel. The sapphire crystal is only slightly domed but the overall rounded shape of the case causes it to appear far more curved than it actually is. A diminutive crown is partially recessed into the case causing it to be extremely difficult to pull out into the time setting position. It is still easy to grasp for winding and you'll definitely want to keep up on that should the Jura see little wrist time. Keeping it on a winder could help with this as well. A snap-on sapphire display back offers an additional view of the movement.

Rotary Jura Watch Review   Affordable Skeleton   wrist time watch reviews

Rotary Jura Watch Review   Affordable Skeleton   wrist time watch reviews

The centerpiece for the Rotary Jura is the Calibre R.1000.21. Rotary claims this to be their first ever proprietary movement. It is obviously skeletonized but this automatic movement also features a hacking function and can be manually wound. The bridges of the movement are thicker than you would typically find on a skeleton movement in this price range. This not only adds more depth and visual interest but also helps the movement to appear more robust. However, my favorite part of the Jura's movement is the plain matte finish. That might initially sound a bit odd but let me state my case. There are few things more breathtaking upon close inspection than a meticulously finished skeleton movement hand decorated by masters of their craft. What makes those so amazing to behold also places them well out of the financial reach of most buyers. More affordable models often attempt to mimic the look poorly through rough machine finishing and confusing decorative scroll work. They occasionally look impressive from a (great) distance but never fool anyone up close. Rotary wisely chose to eschew such cheap tricks in favor of a simple and clean execution. The signed rotor also features a stylized "winged" window which helps viewing from the back. An embossed leather strap holds the Jura comfortably on the wrist. The strap ends are formed with the same radius as the case resulting in very little gap between them. Although the stainless buckle is signed with the Rotary logo, it does look thick and blocky compared to the entirely rounded case. While I appreciate the customization, a buckle with softer edges would have been preferred.

Rotary Jura Watch Review   Affordable Skeleton   wrist time watch reviews

With the Jura, Rotary pulled together a classically styled skeleton watch with modern proportions and thankfully skipped cheap decorative tricks. Stylistically, it's nothing new but Rotary did a good job with the look they were going for. It might not impress seasoned veterans or those with more expensive tastes but could easily capture the imagination of someone just starting out on their watch collection journey. The Jura skeleton watch by Rotary is available exclusively at Ernest Jones for £395. rotarywatches.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Rotary
>Model: Jura
>Price: £395
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we'd recommend it to first:  A newer watch enthusiast desiring a view into the workings of a mechanical watch
>Worst characteristic of watch:  Nearly impossible to pull out crown
>Best characteristic of watch: Lack of cheap decoration on skeleton movement

18 comments
electrominds
electrominds

The collection of this brand is very beautiful, I must say, but in UK, u can find it almost never sells at its original price. It's always on sale, starting from 30% to 80% off. I would not recommend it to a friend bc I got 2, and they stopped working after 7 weeks/8 mths. However, they do make beautiful pieces. Every time I saw the discount offers and the promoting piece, I just couldn't stop considering to get one. 

sf1974
sf1974

Hi all,


1st time poster long time reader, I have just brought the Rotary Jura, from , I originally clocked it at christmas as I passed the shop, yes Rotary are known as a discount brand in the UK, and no I wasnt looking to purchase the Jura, but above all of the Rotary this and their Super 25 model are in a different league compared to their usual range in design, build, fit, finish and above all quality, honestly think Seiko Premier rather than normal Seiko,


The movement is chinese based Claro-Semag CL-888 (I really had to dig deep on the web to find it) which is what Swiss legend use *never heard of them personally* then tuned by Rotary in Switzerland


The same casing and movements can be found in some of Rotary's R&Co and Dreyfuss ranges which is sold at a lot more money than Rotarys Jura range, 


Honestly its much better than you think its going to be, I own a Seiko solar a citizen at £200 and have owned a Dunhill Millennium gmt and the Rotary Jura knocks spots of the citizen and seiko, and is about 80% the quality of the Dunhill, for a fraction of the price,

My only gripe about the Jura is strap quality being leather only time will tell but the 2nd eyelet looks very flimsy


One thing I forgot to mention was Rotary rrp is £425 

Earnestjones had a sale on and I got mine for £170 so for a well built quality watch with  Swiss Made stamped on the front, the Rotary Jura really is a Bargain

billybigbollx
billybigbollx

Most WIS do not own businesses or have any business acumen.  A Swiss Made watch must be A. Assembled in Switzerland, B. Inspected in Switzerland and C. Use 50% Swiss parts, Legally!.  Because most of the western world is now pleading poverty, cost are being driven down and thus production is being moved to China.   The watches are not necessarily being designed by China and even if they are; so what.  Do you thing a swiss company will put its reputation on the line for poor Chinese construction....No, I don't think so.  Most of Apple Macs and iPhones are made in China but I don't hear anyone complaining about that!  To be honest I don't care where its made as long the quality control is in place.  What your getting here is a Swiss watch company, that is still in control of its ownership, using lean production, set up and marketing in the UK (Hmmm, I wonder why?), and been named superbrand of the year in three consecutive years for the price of a high end Casio.  Bravo I say.


I wish I was cocky enough to say... I guess your right...go buy an omega with swatch movement inside ohhhh, actually buy a Breguet with swatch movement inside and sit on your high horse.  That not what I call a WIS; I call them badge snobs. 


With Rotary, my advice is-

Buy the ones that have "Swiss Made" on the dial and movement.

Avoid the ones branded as "Est Switzerland 18XX" as these wont be made in Switzerland and actually designed for a different (budget conscious) demographic.  The same thing that Armani does with  Georgio Armani and Emporio Armani vs Armani Exchange.

markwolfe
markwolfe

Hey Adam, I'm seriously considering buying this watch. It's dead-on what I'm looking for in terms of aesthetics. However I am concerned with the brand reputation in terms of their use of Chinese parts. I realize this watch certainly contains non-Swiss parts, and Rotary is notorious for this. But since most of their lower end watches do not even claim to be Swiss made, would it be safe to assume that with the "Swiss made" designation (at least 50% Swiss expenses) that this watch will be of reasonable quality? I'm just getting into watches, so I'm really just concerned with it lasting for a reasonable number of years without breaking or being terribly inaccurate (and I'd assume my standards for accuracy are lower than most watch aficionados). Thanks so much for your help in advance! love the site! (If anyone else has an opinion I'd love to hear it!)

OC_Rob
OC_Rob

That "proprietary" movement looks suspiciously similar to the one in my $100 Android....

rsternadel
rsternadel

When you say that "prices would suggest that the "Swiss Made" markings might not be as up-front as the designation would imply", I believe you are on the right track. That movement is clearly Chinese.  It looks like a TY 2807 (a version of a Sea Gull ST16) minus the cheap decoration and a bit better finishing. While it looks as if the bottom plate has been skeletonized a bit differently, the motion and keyless work, gear train from what I can see of it, as well as auto winding system are identical to the TY 2807.

This watch while not expensive, is not worth the price in my opinion. Those who buy this will be thinking they are getting something "Swiss Made" At least most of the fashon brands using movements like this don't outright lie about where the movement comes from. If it were maybe half the price and not making false claims about being "Swiss Made" it would be ok.

Ryan B
Ryan B

I've heard of the name but didn't really know anything about the company, judging by the comments there seems to be a more hate than love relationship going on here. For the money it does look to be a good entry level watch for a beginner just starting out their collection.

Panagiotis
Panagiotis

I see this watch competing with the Swatch skeleton automatics, vying for wrist time on the fashion watch crowd. I do appreciate reading about different kinds of watches, even if I would not normally consider them, being to "fashiony."

It doesn't look that bad but for the price I can't see many readers of this blog picking one up soon. I could probably wear it once for a formal event, just for the sake of variety. 

And then I would return it to the store.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

I was really surprised to see an article about Rotary here.  I live in Britain and Rotary has a long history of producing poorly-built cheap and nasty watches with Chinese movements.  Much of their range are shameless copies of more respected and reputable true Swiss brands.  I wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole and the claim that this is still a "Swiss" company is about as valid as the similar claims Invicta makes.  For all intents and purposes this company is run and managed in Britain; the bulk of their business is importing movements and stuffing them into crudely made cases with a "classy" style.  Their products are frequently discounted (because they're never worth the sticker price).  They do deals with well-known "household name" jewellery chain stores but you'll never see their watches in independent retailers for the most part. 

This particular watch may well be an honest attempt at trying to produce a quality timepiece (for once) but they have dug themselves into a very deep hole over the years and I would be surprised if they could dig themselves out of it. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@rsternadel Yeah, that and also replacing "Waterproof" on the case back with "Water Resistant" and a depth indication. Smacks of Invicta's use of the word "Swiss". For $100 USD, no problem as an entry level mechanical. But for about $700 USD this is a joke. Heck, I bought a nice Chinese tourbillon for $500 a number of years ago. So $700 for this makes no sense to me.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@Ulysses31 Honestly, for months we got e-mails from seemingly random people asking for us to cover Rotary. So we did with a model that we felt was among the more interesting offerings from the brand.

Ryan B
Ryan B

@MarkCarson@rsternadelOkay disregard my previous post because I forgot to convert the price to USD, that being said this watch is not worth 700.00. For that type of $$ I could get a Helson or something else.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@aBlogtoWatch @Ulysses31 That's fair enough, I just feel that the Rotary reputation is built on deception of the relatively naive non-WIS customer.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@hobycook @MarkCarson @Ryan B @rsternadel Complex issue. But the deal is that the Swiss federal regulations (which keep changing) only are enforceable if you are a Swiss company. 

One screw won't do,  but even with a 50% content rule there are ways to fudge (cheat). For instance if your "Swiss" movement has parts from Asia  but is assembled in Switzerland and the labor rate is higher there so the cost of the finished movement could easily have more than 50% "Swiss" content (really labor) even if the majority of the physical parts came from elsewhere. 

I believe the current regs say the watch must also be encased and that final calibration must take place in Switzerland. Note that does not say where the case, crystals, straps, etc come from. Since the movement is the most expensive item in a watch (that does not have a precious metal case), the 50% content can be satisfied with a LOT of stuff made outside of Switzerland. Some of that makes sense as alligator skins for straps only come from the U.S. 

I hear that the Swiss are wanting to up the content to 60% for "Swiss Made". But it will still not stop companies outside of Switzerland from abusing their laws and trademarks far too often. 

BTW - "Swiss Made" is an international trademark so there should be some enforcement of that in other countries. 

hobycook
hobycook

@MarkCarson @Ryan B @rsternadel So, the "Swiss Made" topic was touched on here, but I was hoping for someone to explain how this and other brands get away with using this statement in their literature and on their watches.  I concede that this subject is worthy of its own topic, but I would really like to understand how this works!  Like maybe if one screw was sourced from Switzerland the whole watch gets a pass as "Swiss Made"? 

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@MarkCarson @Ulysses31 @aBlogtoWatch Not as crass as Invicta but it's one of those brands far removed from illustrious origins by decades of changing ownership and favouring mass production over quality while still trying to exploit "British heritage" (and now "Swiss made" too I guess) as a marketing ploy.  They make some attractive looking pieces but the more you learn, the less appealing they become.  I would rate them not far above Sekonda.  It's funny because before I got into watches and coming to this site I would've been quite impressed by such cheap mechanical skeletonised watches.