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Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

California-based Sisu makes big watches, and that’s all they do. However, there is more to the brand and its products than that, not least a healthy dollop of character. While size matters at Sisu, they offer impressive build quality and comfort, and the Sisu Carburetor Q1 watch I am reviewing today is a good example. Obviously going for a certain niche appeal, the question should be: for what the Sisu Carburetor Q1 is, does it do it well? Having had the watch for long enough to know it well, I hope my introduction to it will allow you to answer that question for yourself.

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Let’s start at the beginning, and that is with the comically heavy box that the Sisu Carburetor Q1 comes in that kind of represents what the watch is all about. I normally omit the packaging when discussing a watch, but in this case it is notable. When I picked up the package, I knew what it was, but was confused for a minute because it is just too heavy for a watch, even with all the packaging, literature, and accessories that accompany some watches (sorry, I didn’t get to actually weigh it, but trust me, it’s heavy). It is clearly meant to emulate military gear or a toolbox. Let’s just say that it makes a strong first impression, and the watch inside appropriately follows up with a heavy, chunky, and knobby piece of wrist-equipment.

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The primary purpose of every Sisu watch is to make a statement with its size – there is no practical reason or benefit for 100m-water-resistant watches like this to be so big other than style, at least not that I can think of. It’s a lot like the box it comes in that doesn’t need to be so heavy but is meant to convey certain things about the watch or the wearer’s values. When first asked to review a Sisu, I was hesitant because being familiar with the brand, it was questionable if my 6.5″ (17cm) wrist would even be able to accommodate one. A personal anecdote: after initially getting into watches, it took me quite a while to warm up to anything larger than 38mm. Now, I will often wear a 37mm watch one day and a 44mm watch the next; I have also happily worn 48mm and 50mm watches before.

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

So, I’m not against big watches, but being able to comfortably wear the 50mm-wide, 13.5mm-thick Sisu Carburetor Q1 was a pleasant surprise. I like it when something exposes and challenges my preconceptions. Almost Sisu’s entry-level piece, the quartz movement and mineral crystal further placed the Sisu Carburetor Q1 outside of my usual watch-appreciation comfort zone. These features, however, allowed me to focus on what Sisu specifically does well, and that is build quality and comfort. And Sisu does offer many watches with sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movements, but they cost more money than this model, of course.

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Sisu Carburetor Q1 is genuinely sturdy-feeling and comfortable despite its size. Its surprising wearability is actually a commendable achievement, and I recommend anyone drawn to the look to not hesitate in trying one on. Honestly, I expected it to look ridiculous on me, but it didn’t – and, while you may not agree, people I specifically asked confirmed that it did not look particularly silly. Where I live it is hot all year, and people wear a lot of short sleeves and big watches – Panerai(“-style”) and G-Shock are very common. I was a little disappointed, actually, that wearing the Sisu Carburetor Q1 out did not seem to draw much attention.

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Sisu Carburetor Q1 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This brings us to an aspect of Sisu I find interesting. That is that while the brand is macho, for sure, the “boldness” is achieved with size and emphasizing size, but avoids loud colors and blingy elements. That indicates some restraint and undercuts the idea that Sisu is just a look-at-me brand, as it may be easy to assume from their over-the-top and in-your-face designs.

This Sisu Carburetor Q1 actually does not incorporate one of the elements that I most associate with the brand as the Sisu signature. Carburetor is, I believe, the third and newest Sisu collection after the Guardian and Bravado series – most of which are around 50mm wide and about 16mm thick. Each of those series include dials that incorporate large numerals that are cut off by the edge of the dial, best represented by the Sisu Guardian, such as the one we reviewed here. The effect is that it looks as if the dial is too big to fit on the already giant watch. It’s a clever way of emphasizing and accentuating size, and I thought so even at a time when I was generally turned off by the idea of “oversized” watches.

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  • ??????

    – 50 mm
    – 100M WR (at 50 mm!)
    – mineral crystal
    – quartz (and a little one – look at the poor date)
    – almost no lume
    – $700
    + “people confirmed that it did not look particularly silly”

  • 14 year olds with 8 inch wrists will find this irresistible. Since I’m not in the demographic, I will be able to resist. There are certain elements I like but there are too many things that don’t jell for me. ??????’s list of “features” is pretty much my no-no list for a watch of this style. Plus the hands don’t appear to be easy to read being black on the black dial.

    • BiLL

      I liked how they included 18 sorta minute hashes. That was a nice touch. 🙂

      • Some minutes are more important than others.

    • Larry Holmack

      That was me Mark…I was 6’1″ at 14 years old and 210 lbs!! I probably had close to an 8 inch wist too, along with wearing size 14 Converse All-Stars!! But, in the early 1970’s they didn’t make 50mm watches….at least not ones a 14 year old could afford by saving up his lawn mowing money!! LOL!
      But…I don’t find this watch very appealing…almost no lume and the thing with the second hand not lining up with the indices would have me packing it back up in a heart beat!

      • Gotcha. Since you are no longer 14 and the watch doesn’t (now anyway) appeal to you, the questions becomes would the 14 year old you spring for a $695 watch with your lawn mowing money? And it seems like your answer is no. So I think this watch has a limited audience. But more power to them if they can sell them. In the end I think it’s good that there is a watch for every taste. Would have been nice if they didn’t miss on so many details though.

        • Larry Holmack

          Well, in 1971 money, I am guessing that the watch would have cost me about $150, and no, I wouldn’t have purchased it with my lawn mowing money!! And I agree that this watch has a limited audience. I think most guys would be rather turned off by the details they missed in this watch!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Resounding Clunk.
    There are to many things wrong with this piece to list. I would be here all day.

  • HectorAsuipe

    I applaud Zen Love for a pretty honest review. I am not sure you could have convinced me to wear that watch long enough to test it.

  • mrneddles

    Needs more knobs.

    • Bert Kanne

      Needs more cowbell.

  • Tõnis Leissoo

    Can’t they or you Zen share the story of how Finnish brand became Californian brand? They don’t have anything on their webpage that reminds about their Finnish origin anymore. Very strange.

    • The Victorius Boogur T. Wang

      Perhaps, and this is just a guess. better weather or “Follow the money.”

    • ZL

      I’m sorry, I don’t know the story if there is one apart from relocating to CA if they are originally Finnish.

      • Tõnis Leissoo

        Maybe they were sold and this is the first model designed under new ownership?

    • ??????

      No story, I think. If I’m not mistaking, these guys simply decided that choosing Finnish or any other northern country’s word as a name would make their watches even more masculine.

  • SuperStrapper

    I’d sooner shop at Tsovet.

  • Regarding the packaging: “It is clearly meant to emulate military gear or a toolbox.”

    Specifically, a NATO ammunition can. SISU went to the “machismo design school” and attempted to incorporate as many stereotypical images of masculinity as possible into their watches. Military packaging? Check. Comically large hex bolts? Check. Product named after a car part? Check.

    Looking forward to their “Exhaust Manifold” model, styled after a 12 gauge shotgun and shipped in a beer keg.

    • BiLL

      …with naked lady magnets on the keg…

  • The Victorius Boogur T. Wang

    Well, the strap sounds pleasant,

  • Roman
    • Shinytoys

      Bad ass looking truck…

  • Roman

    “…wearing the Sisu Carburetor Q1 out did not seem to draw much attention.” Because everybody knew it was just another fashion quartz watch, like Diesel or something.

  • Ulysses31

    Without those knobs, the case would look decent. It has a nice profile. Unfortunately, the watch is huge and the dial cheap-looking. The lack of decent lume is disappointing, as is that silly date window making it painfully obvious that under this big macho case is a tiddler of a movement. It is the horological equivalent of crotch-stuffing, and says something about the type of person who would wear this.

    • BiLL

      Hey! I stuff my crotch religiously, but I would never wear this!!

  • Joel Schumann

    They could at least have made the hex bolts different sizes then it
    would double as a mini tool! As it is, it mostly offers a cool way to open that beer.

  • gw01

    Ungraceful. Yuk.

  • DanW94

    You mention that the seconds hand doesn’t line up with the indices properly. Heck, it’s just running a bit rough, some Gumout will fix that right up….

    • I only buy fuel-injected quartz watches for that very reason.

  • cg

    Fuel injection is the way to go! Not this paper weight. Miniaturized to 42mm and it would sell for it’s realistic price of $150

  • Omegaboy

    I put my watch on in the dark when I first get up. If I fumbled the strap with this one, it’d break my foot. Besides, I’d need black hair implants on my arms and tats to make it look good on me.

  • Sheez Gagoo


  • Shinytoys

    As Ray has problems with misaligned screws, I have a major aversion to second hands and misc. complications that DO NOT align with the indices. To me it screams weak quality control and gives the watch a cheap look, which is sad because I like the overall look of this watch. I like big watches, own quite a few and the cosmetic presentation is spot on. This watch looks bad ass, and I love that. The least a watch maker can do is hit the indices with the needles….

    • ZL

      Check out their other stuff. I like the Guardian A4-50 (though 3x the price).

      • Shinytoys

        @ $2500- $3000. the love is gone…

        • ZL

          About $1,900, actually.

          • Shinytoys

            still a little stiff, but better:)

          • DanW94

            I think he’s definitely not feeling the Love, Zen.

  • Beefalope

    Fight me, bro.

  • Grumpy Cat

    Invicta by another name.

  • Only if it weren’t this small and a bit feminine looking…

    • You must be an Arnold Schwarzenegger watch man.

      • Yes. A properly sized wristwatch should be just small enough to get thru the door of a Humvee. You should be able to use it to fight in the shade like King Leonidas.

  • mtnsicl

    I get making big watches. Some people like them and some big guys can wear them. What I don’t get is not wanting to sell smaller versions to the other 90% or so of the watch buying public. That would be like a car company saying, “yeah, we know we can make a lot more money selling big and small cars. But, we decided that we are only going to sell big cars”. I actually like the design and I’d like to see it in a 42 to 45mm size.

  • otaking241

    I actually…kinda like this. They’ve made a number of good design decisions that I really applaud here because so, SO many others get them wrong.

    Cutting some corners by using mineral crystal and a quartz movement brings the price into a reasonable range for the target audience, including some folks like me who might buy this as a “why not” watch to wear on a rare occasion. Occasional wear negates the benefit of sapphire crystal, and the fact that it’s quartz also means I wouldn’t have to keep it on a winder or reset the time on those occasions when I do wear it. Screwed caseback (I know there’s a better way to identify that…) means that you can easily change the battery on your own without any special tools.

    Fit and finish look surprisingly good for a watch at this price level, especially the brushing on the case and the sunburst on the dial. The applied indices look really high quality as well.

    Design-wise I could live without the screws around the case and the handset needs to be rethought. Also, non-lumed indices is a really puzzling omission. But I do really like how the crown and the date window at the 4 position (so much better than 4:30!) line up across the dial, the articulated lugs look great and and the overall package is well-proportioned; most watches in this size look cartoonish even without some reference to scale, but this one does not.

    All-in-all I could see myself buying one of these to sit with my G Shocks for when the mood strikes. If I were to buy one I would probably have the seconds hand removed, which would do away with the ticking quartz issue and also the alignment issue with the indices.

  • Word Merchant

    Needz moar boltzz

  • As ugly as any other Diesel watch out there.

    • IG

      And Sisu is not a manly name like Diesel. Au contraire…

      • Pfft totally!

        Ha, also it sounds like “Sissy carburetor”.

      • Valtsu

        Sisu actually means something manly. Sisu is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered to not have a literal translation into English. As a Finnish dude I strongly dislike how the word is used by an american brand.

  • Ross Diljohn

    I’ll pass. Size is one thing but indices not lining up properly would drive me insane. Plus what is the point of that minuscule amount of lume?

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    ” it’s safe to say I don’t represent Sisu’s typical target consumer “.


  • TBSC

    A nice(ish) looking dial spoiled by… well everything else.

  • Alistair Salmon

    They remind me a lot of TW Steel watches, I like.

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